Amen 2 by Mikko Joensuu – One of the Best Albums of 2016

Amen 2 by Mikko Joensuu
Amen 2 by Mikko Joensuu

Amen 2 is the second instalment of Mikko Joensuu’s proposed soul-searching trilogy.

Mikko Joensuu was brought up with strong religious overtones. But in the seven years prior to the release Amen 1, he suffered with depression and loneliness. Whereas the first album is Mikko Joensuu coming to terms with the idea that God was no longer a part of his life, Amen 2 recounts a complicated person losing their religion and looking for understanding in a new way of thinking.

On Amen 1 Mikko Joensuu uses the sadness of alt country and a voice full of pain and fragility, at times reminiscent of Gram Parsons, on songs like ‘Warning Signs‘ explaining the doubt of his religious convictions.


Warning Sign from Amen 1

Amen 2 starts with the powerful, driving ‘Drop Me Down‘. From the initial hum, the fragile voice is all that remains from the first album. ‘Drop Me Down’ begins “Starts out with a silent word, with a voice that can now be heard”. This is a beautiful song that builds as it drives, forward on a journey from A to B. Piano, strings and fragile voice embrace a sadness. Drums and guitar build, lifting the song into anthemic realms of celebration. Over the course of seven minutes’Drop Me Down’ continues rolling forward, gathering momentum and power.


Drop Me Down from Amen 2

Whereas on Amen 1 the singer-songwriter from North Finland was sitting alone on the porch of his small cabin by the lake, staring into the water and strumming his acoustic guitar, on Amen 2 he gets up and walks into the forest to celebrate a new found freedom, rising out of depression and confusion with a forward-looking hope.

But as Mikko Joensuu explains,

“There’s a certain balance to be found between an overwhelming joy towards the beauty of life and living, and not really knowing if the mind will collapse into the abyss again. On Amen 2 the light is definitely present, although it is more interested in observing emotions and thoughts than setting them in stone.”

On Amen 2 Joensuu explores euphoric long tracks inhabiting a similar musical territory as My Bloody Valentine’s shoegazer melodies and the space gospel of Spiritualized, infused with a sprinkle of The Jesus & Mary Chain on tracks like ‘There Used To Be A Darkness‘. It is a step into the light, in every respect, and a record that is built on the feeling of relief and acceptance.


There Used To Be A Darkness from Amen 2

Amen 2 by Mikko Joensuu is a truly brilliant album that deserves all the praise it receives. One of my the best albums of 2016. Now I am intrigued where Amen 3 will take us.

Mikko JoensuuAmen 2 is released on Svart Records.

Classical minimalism, experimental, ambient – Deer Heart by Tilman Robinson

Deer Heart by Tilman Robinson
Tilman Robinson

Deer Heart was written, recorded and meticulously pieced together at various locations in Berlin, Melbourne, the Canadian Rockies and Reykjavík’s Greenhouse Studios, and follows Tilman Robinson’s debut recording Network of Lies.

Tilman Robinson releases his second full-length album in a haze of glitch cut ups, distortion and tranquil beauty. Deer Heart is multi-layered. One minute beautiful, calm and endearing like a summer lake or snow covered forest, before sliding into darkness and shadows enveloping the listener as it pulls you from one state to another. Innocence, harsh coldness, this beautiful music plays out in black and white. Little room for colour. The music is mesmerising. At times sounding like a soundtrack to a spine-tingling Stephen King thriller; at others, more at home hanging in a gallery alongside abstract paintings, rather than boxed into any ill-fitting music category.

Like all great experimental albums, it is at times challenging. Pushing at boundaries and the simple notion of static, one dimensional forms of music.

With Deer Heart, Tilman Robinson draws from a wide range of musical influences and is intent on testing the psychological impacts of dense sound. Mixed by Valgeir Sigurðsson, best known for his work with Björk, Deer Heart finds Tilman Robinson elevating his sound into an unlikely mix of optimism and nihilism via dark sonic crevices. It is an album of depth and complexity; a record equally at home on the shelves of the most avid post-rock fan as it would in the ranks of any modern-composer collection.

Tilman Robinson is an Australian composer, producer and sound designer, creating electro-acoustic music across a range of genres including classical minimalism, improvised, experimental, electronic and ambient. Academy trained in the fields of both classical and jazz composition, his diverse output focuses on the psychological impact of sound.

One of the best albums of 2016, Deer Heart by Tilman Robinson is scheduled for release on 14 October 2016 through Hobbledehoy Record Co.

65daysofstatic – No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe

65daysofstatic - No Man's Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe 65daysofstatic release a new album on 5th August. No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe is the official soundtrack to the computer game, No Man’s Sky.

65daysofstatic are Paul Wolinski, Joe Shrewsbury, Rob Jones and Simon Wright. They were formed in Sheffield in 2001. Avoiding the confines of genres such as post-rock nonsense has seen the group continue to evolve over the course of the past 5 years on their own terms, treading their own path. At times their instrumentals are full of serene beauty and colour. But equally, they employ brutally sonic attacks on the senses. 65daysofstatic have developed a unique sound with a broad aural palette and a delight in mashing the extremes of noise rock guitars and electronica experimentalism with crashing beats and solid rhythms.

Their debut album, The Fall of Math, was released in 2004 and received wide critical acclaim. Reviewing the album for Drowned In Sound, Thomas Blatchford wrote: “an album that can retain the dynamics, fraught tension and climactic explosiveness of its peers and influences, whilst still sounding like one of the most urgent and direct long-player releases of the year.”

’No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe’ contains 10 new songs that make up the official soundtrack for the computer game, along with an additional six beautifully colourful ‘soundscapes’, exclusive to this release. The album presents a restless, overwhelming experience. ’No Man’s Sky’ is full of space, dense noise, at times serene, at others archaic. This is sublime music for post-acid dripping science fiction played out in an unknown galaxy. The album conjures up the beauty and loneliness of space and is everything that you would expect from a 65daysofstatic album of epic proportions. Played loud, with no video game distraction, No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe is like a powerful techno-coloured acid trip in space.

65daysofstatic

65daysofstatic have previously released five studio albums, The Fall of Math , One Time for All Time, The Destruction of Small Ideas, We Were Exploding Anyway and Wild Light; and one other soundtrack, Silent Running released in 2011 – an alternate soundtrack to the 1972 science fiction film of the same name, commissioned by Glasgow Film Festival.

65daysofstatic – No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe is released on 5th August 2016 as a digital download, 2x CD, 2x vinyl album & 4x vinyl album deluxe boxset.