Lovely Recordings Hosted by Ola Björling

If there's a theme for this list it's psychedelic repetition. Not all of it falls into that category, but those craving songs in the traditional sense will have some barriers to overcome. Regardless of whether it's ultra lush or mind meltingly harsh, those hypnotic qualities of music is a theme across almost everything I listen to. Oh, and not a lot of vocals, which seems to be another preference of mine. I guess it's easier to drift away to other worlds when there's no human anchoring you to reality.

All of these are recommended wholeheartedly as complete albums, to be listened to from beginning to end.

The Future Sound of London: Environment Five (FSOLdigital, 2014)
A duo that was huge in the nineties, they are still going strong with 8 or so albums in the past decade. FSOL create some sort of sample based, electronic psychedelic futuristic world music and this one speaks to me now in nearly the way their iconic Lifeforms album did in 1994, which says a lot: That one was enormously important for my formative years. For the same artist to impact me the same way 22 years later is absurdly rare. Give the opening track a few minutes and if that doesn't get you hooked, FSOL are not for you.

Available from FSOLdigital

Luigi Tozzi: Deep Blue Volume 2 (Hypnus, 2016)
Techno is—often wrongfully—used to describe a lot of things, but this is getting somewhat close to the core of it. Never too concerned with conventional musical structures or song progression, techno is more of a state, each song a very precise singular color in the overall palette of the genre. Young Italian newcomer Luigi Tozzi crafts his variety with deep, warm atmospheres and masterful restraint, and he's quickly become one of my absolute favorites. Play loud on a big system, this is music to be felt and to melt into the vortex of.

Available from Bandcamp

Aluk Todolo: Voix (Norma Evangelium Diaboli / The Ajna Offensive, 2016)
Blackened occult kraut metal, anyone? No vocals here—just swirling, crushing, mesmerizing, propulsive metal, channeling the German kraut rock tradition, only much much heavier and far darker. As this list proves I've always had a thing for hypnosis and repetition, both on prominent display here. To quote one of the comments on their Bandcamp page: "Imagine if Pink Floyd listened to some black metal before recording Live in Pompei and then decided to make it an instrumental album."

Available from Bandcamp

Jeremy Bible & Jason Henry: Vryashn (Gears of Sand, 2008 / Infraction, 2011)
According to Google the only artist in this list to be mentioned on Audiostream in the past is, unexpectedly, this fairly obscure American duo. "Vryashn" presents two long melancholy drones to burrow head and heart into. A sound world far from the standard hifi diet but no less rich and nuanced. Most definitely November music, so turn out the lights and let yourself drift into this beautiful darkness.

Available from Bandcamp

Minilogue: Blomma (Cocoon, 2013)
More from the world of electronic dance music. This long standing Swedish duo, nowadays pursuing separate careers, have their background in not just techno but also trance and house. Here we get a blend of lysergically meandering danceable beats and incredible ambient landscapes, all improvised and recorded live in the studio. The tracks are incredibly long, but (to my mind) never dull. Those who think electronic music can be summarized with "you just press a button" should give this a go, there's some solid musicianship on display here.

Available from beatport

Solaroid: First Wave (Superstudio Grå, 2000)
Writing a bio about fellow Swede-in-New-York Krister Linder, the man behind Solaroid, is nearly impossible since he's spanned so many genres. Some of his work, in particular this album and a preceding one called Holtkötter released under the moniker Yeti—are some of the most important in my life. But if you liked Future Sound of London, above, then this should intrigue too. Trippy sound collages where throbbing sub bass drum machines meet cellos and ethereal ambiences, occasionally with Krister's unique and strikingly beautiful voice making subtle appearances.

Available from Tidal

Arve Henriksen: Cartography (ECM, 2008)
I figured I should include at least one album palatable to the jazz-and-classical constituency of the audiophile population, and this one is even on renowned label ECM but still sneaks in a lot of electronic trickery. Arve's trumpet evokes in me memories of Keith Jarrett's soprano sax on records like Invocations—Melancholy longing, serene introspection and a very human expression overall. Incredibly beautiful music in an equally beautiful recording.

Available from Acoustic Sounds

Expo '70: Awakening (Sloow Tapes, 2009 / Sonic Meditations, 2011)
Despite the title, this is some of the most sleep inducing music I have. A lush summer night in distilled sonic form, these are long hallucinatory drones crafted with synths, tape loops and guitar. The vinyl version of this does something digital can't do (yet): Each side ends in a perfect loop, making this even more ideal to fall asleep to than it already is.

Available from Bandcamp

Skáphe: Skáphe² (I, Voidhanger, 2016 / Fallen Empire, 2016)
Since its emergence, rock music has been a threat to the establishment, rebellious and confrontational. But in 2016 it has become so accepted and ingrained in society, its conventions so mainstream and its age so far gone that its ability to shock and scare is almost entirely eroded. Almost. Somehow, there are still things you can do with guitar, bass, drums and voice that are truly, deeply terrifying. This record is some of the most violent and menacing music I've heard crafted by these traditional rock means, and I find it absolutely intoxicating. This is NOT for the meek and you could debate whether it's a "lovely" recording by any reasonable measure, so only dive in here if you want to be swallowed whole by the most macabre abyss.

Available from Bandcamp

I'm a born & bred Swede living in the US for 3 years now. I spend my days poking around at the frontiers of both technology and human perception by ways of working with virtual reality. I live in Brooklyn with my wife, our lovely loudspeakers and three turntables.

Share your Lovely Recordings with us!

LesT's picture

...some quality electronic/ dance music acts. I have been listening to FSOL since Accelerator, and all their guises inbetween. Minilogue are also great and their fantastic Animals album often gets played in my house. I will check out Deep Blue volume 2, so thanks for the heads up, and your list!

GarkM's picture

I haven't heard of any of these but you hooked me with the phrase "psychedelic repetition", so I'll have to check them out. Thanks!

garrettnecessary's picture

Liking Deep Blue Volume 2. Reminds me of Voices from the Lake.

Joe Surdna's picture

I loved the Minilogue, which is new to me because I haven't kept up with them since 2008. Happen to be listening to Jeremy Bible's Music For Black Holes right now so thanks to you and Michael for turning me onto him. And mushrooms go well with everything.
Joe Surdna