I always welcome new music, new connections, new friendships that then come along. In this example, a track premiere by Joachim Spieth at the end of last year made me relisten to his works on Wolfgang Voigt’s Pop Ambient series, taking me to releases on his very own Affin imprint and finally asking him for a mix. In this process, this seemingly random stranger quickly became a musical friend, as we exchanged grand ideas and connected with music. I really appreciated the spectrum of electronic music genres covered on Spieth’s German label and requested that he showcased the output through a traversal of styles. The result is a beautiful 90-minute journey that will take you from soothing to upbeat, through highs and through lows. I’m very happy with how it turned out and honoured to host this showcase on Headphone Commute.
In November of 2020, Amsterdam-based label Ambientologist released a compilation titled Sustain Series, Vol. 1. It’s an impressive gathering of ambient artists and their music, showcasing some of the most delicate sides of the genre. The proceeds from the release have been donated to Conservation International, promoting sustainability across the world. I reached out to the label in hopes to broadcast this selection to a wider audience on my platform, and I am happy that they obliged to share this 90-minute continuous mix by Lauge with followers of my podcast. Take a look at the tracklisting and you will know why I’m excited to spend today in the company of my favourite ambient artists, as well as a few newly introduced names to my ears. As of this writing, the label is preparing a follow-up volume, with artists such as Halftribe, The Green Kingdom, Pepo Galán, awakened souls, Dylan Henner and Sven Laux, confirmed for the roster. I’m keeping my eye on the Ambientologist’s Bandcamp for the available pre-order, and so should you!
In anticipation of Matt Emery‘s upcoming six-track EP on Injazero Records, titled Spotlight Series : Cello, I have asked him to put together a thematic mix prominently featuring the instrument. As many of you may already know – I’m a big fan of this low-end stringed beast [side note: In high school, I’ve played the double bass in the orchestra, but I wasn’t very good and was jealous of the cello]. I have especially enjoyed the darker, moodier, and sullen pieces by the likes of Julia Kent, Resina, Anne Müller, Peter Gregson, Sebastian Plano, Clarice Jensen, and of course, Hildur Guðnadóttir, all of whom I have reviewed and interviewed on Headphone Commute before [I have linked up each name for HC content for you above], and who, once again, appear on this gorgeous mix selected by Matt Emery. His very own two pieces, one from the upcoming EP, and the other from his previously released album Empire, also appear on this podcast, which I hope you will thoroughly enjoy!
In December of 2020, one of my favourite imprints released a gorgeous label compilation! Ryan Griffin has been lovingly curating every single release on A Strangely Isolated Place since 2012. He’s also compiled sublime Reflection mixes, which I have happily syndicated on Headphone Commute. Following the first label showcase launched in 2019, Ryan puts together ten tracks, including a few previously unavailable as individual pieces, that make up this 2020 Label Compilation. As a bonus, this release includes an hour-long continuous mix (available as part of a digital-only purchase), which I have arranged with Ryan to share with you today. “I hope the (continuous) year-end mix will become a regular occurrence going forward,” says Griffin about the release. “Many of you will know a big part of my inspiration and passion lies in DJ’ing and classic mix CDs. If the label momentum continues and releases keep coming as planned, then each year I’d like to invite a DJ to select and mix tracks from the label – make an annual tradition out of it.” This compilation is still available for purchase on a CD for only $10, while the digital-only album is up for grabs for only $1! Please see this label Bandcamp page.
What’s this? Somehow, last year, both Mathias Van Eecloo and I completely forgot our annual tradition to publish another eisOtones instalment, in which this prolific French musician and label(s) owner collects 50 tracks from 50 releases of the prior year. How did that happen? I suppose, Mathias was extremely busy wrapping up his monumental Eilean Rec. project, in which he released 100 records based on an imaginary map of 100 points. The final catalogue entry in this imprint [as you can imagine] was number 100 and collected unreleased pieces in an 82-track compilation. Van Eecloo wasted no time there and immediately set off on another venture, titled LAAPS, releasing vinyl records in a permanent continuity of sounds and visual bridges between each one. Another puzzle for you to complete! So I suppose it was a very busy time of endings and new beginnings… but this year we’re back! So, without more words and reflected distractions, here’s a 72-minute journey, which I’m sure you’ll enjoy!
More than a couple of weeks late, but here we are, with the long-awaited vinyl mix, still marking down, bookmarking, and closing off a year we won't surely miss... but at least there was a lot of awesome music, and as such, thanks to Mike Jedlicka once again, we are celebrating the best it had to give. A fascinating playlist here, with more than a few new artists even to my ears. So yes, I am enjoying it as well! And if you like this beautiful selection, be sure to check out our past archive of Optic Echo Presents mixes, as well as the ongoing Best of 2020 lists, which I intend to finish up this week. Also, I want to quickly point out that this is Mike's 10th vinyl mix for Headphone Commute which we publish at the end of each year - so yeah, we've been at it for a decade now, kids!
Well, it’s almost the end of this dreadful year, and I’ve got one more mix for you before I sign off… This one is episode number 290. Can you believe it? By the way, I was recently forced (by my host) to take all of my past mixes offline. As a result, I’ve migrated the last year of mixes to Podbean. So if you are experiencing any technical difficulties with downloading, streaming, or anything else, please reach out, and we’ll sort it! Meanwhile, this beautiful selection from noition, who last contributed his child of nature mix back in 2017, should get you smooth sailing into the new year. Just look at that amazing tracklist! It’s been on rotation in Headphone Commute studios for a week now (vinyl crackle and all), so as you play it, you can imagine that we’re sharing this experience together, a better thought than listening alone. Anyway, I wish you all serenity, poised mental strength, and healthy choice in lifestyle! I’ll see you [virtually] next year when I return with my Best of 2020 selections!
In case you haven’t heard already, I’ve taken over the Contemplative Classical community, which curated an outstanding Spotify Playlist, hosted a podcast with Matt Emery, and offered the platform for artists to feature a mix. I intend on keeping all of the above going [more on this one a bit later!], with a bit of cross-pollination with Headphone Commute. Most of you already know that I enjoy solo piano and contemporary classical music, and I’m sure many followers of Contemplative Classical will appreciate my musings on here about ambient and cinematic music. I kind of hate to use the word “synergy” but if there was ever one of an appropriate union, it would be HC + CC. Today I wanted to introduce you to the outstanding selection of mixes previously appearing on Contemplative Classical, with the syndication of this gorgeous selection of tracks by a Peruvian pianist and a composer, Sergio Díaz De Rojas. He is also responsible for a site and a label called Piano and Coffee, so you’re in good company here! If you enjoy this, you may want to also follow my SoundCloud account, where I’m currently republishing Contemplative Classical Mixes every Saturday morning.
Shimmering Moods is an independent boutique ambient label based in Amsterdam. In the last couple of years, it has released albums by Halftribe, Andrew Tasselmyer, Anthéne, øjeRum, Purl, and Olan Mill, among the many recognized names in its quickly growing roster of artists. It’s easy to get lost in its catalog among the hazy, shuffling, dubbed-out sounds, glinting and shimmering, reflecting the light off the still misty waters. This is a very tranquil and radiant place, slightly subdued in its faint hazy colors. “The music offers the listener a soundtrack for daydreaming, walks around the city or in nature, a creative activity, meditation, or invites them to a fully concentrated listen.” Today I am happy to share these sounds with you in this special label showcase compiled exclusively for Headphone Commute. And if you like what you hear, be sure to visit the label’s Bandcamp shop, where every limited release is lovingly packaged, hand-made, and bespoke, awaiting to meet at your doorsteps and share its wonders. For a more detailed description, full tracklisting, and more information about this mix, please visit headphonecommute.com
On today’s Headphone Commute podcast, we’re syndicating an episode of James Murray‘s Slowcraft Radio (episode 4, to be exact), on which this London-based composer and Slowcraft Records label boss showcases some of his favorite pieces. These, of course, include selections released on his own imprint, as well as remixes and collaborations [including one with yours truly] on the extended family of labels, such as Subcontinental, Ultimae, and Home Normal. Among the choices, you’d be happy to hear an Alva Noto cover of The Cure‘s “A Forest”, an excerpt from a beautiful long-form track by An Moku & Stijn Hüwels titled Where We Meet (I’ve got some proper coverage on this release coming up!), and a top pick from our very own album, coming out in just a week, titled Suññatā, on November 17th. This particular episode appeared on October 17th at CAMP, a broadcasting platform for artists offering a “diverse array of audible pleasures,” but for my own taste, I’m not gonna lie, there’s only room for Slowcraft… For a more detailed description, full tracklisting, and more information about this mix, please visit headphonecommute.com