A Closer Listen: Best Labels of 2017

We have been readers of A Closer Listen for many years and the site has had a hand in shaping the listening taste that aids the curation of Whitelabrecs. So we were thrilled to see this small label has been named one of A Closer Listen’s favourite labels of 2017, alongside top US label Constellation and Indonesia’s Tandem Tapes.


“The U.K.’s Harry Towell is no stranger to the ambient realm.  As Spheruleus, he’s unleashed many gorgeous albums into the world; as the head of Audio Gourmet, he continues to release Tea Break EPs; and in early 2016, he established Whitelabrecs as yet another outlet for beautiful music.  The fun part about the label is that the physical releases all look like 45s.  Each comes with a polaroid print as well.  With sounds ranging from the sedate to the drone-induced, the artists on the roster offer a seemingly endless supply of static, loops and lovely melodies, the perfect panacea for a fast-paced world.  The label released 16 albums in 2017, bringing their total to 32.” Richard Allen, A Closer Listen


To check out A Closer Listen’s full post, click the image above or HERE

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Best of 2017: Andrew Lang

The next artist to contribute to our ‘best of 2017’ rundown is Andrew Lang who debuted with us with his piano compositions entitled ‘Burnt Shades’. We had a catch up with Andrew who also chose his five favourite records from this year, covering Ambient and Indie territory.


Gang Of Youths
Go Farther In Lightness
[Mosy Recordings]

“Sophomore record from an Australian indie rock band. I genuinely believe this is one of the best Australian albums ever released (easily the best in the last few years) – it’s a celebration of life and the darkness within it; in being hurt and becoming stronger from the experience. This one’s been on pretty much constant rotation since I discovered them a few months back.”


Phoebe Bridgers
Stranger In The Alps
[Shhpuma]

“Dark and melancholy indie folk in the vein of Carissa’s Wierd, amid moments of Twin Peaks-y ambience, Totally haunting stuff – strongly recommend listening to this one on a solitary late night walk.”



Slowdive

Slowdive
[Dead Oceans]

“None of Slowdive’s previous releases have ever grabbed me particularly, but this one is truly stunning. I don’t really know how to describe this record beyond just telling everyone to go listen to it – from the opening seconds of the opening track, you’ll understand.”


How To Disappear Completely
Mer de Revs I + II
[Self Released]

“(Technically two albums but…) Several hours of blissful ambient music that feels like entering a second womb. It’s music intended for sleep but I can’t bear to do it that injustice – I can only listen to this with my full attention, which in itself is pretty rare for ambient music. These records have genuinely been a huge inspiration on my own creative approach in recent months.”


The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die
Always Foreign
[Epitaph Records]

“I didn’t love this album at first compared to this band’s previous releases, but repeated listens uncover a really beautiful record documenting the band’s history over the past couple of years, cast against the US election and its effect on the members’ personal lives. It’s a bold new direction for the band, both stylistically and thematically, but one that’s worth many spins.”


What have you been up to Andrew?
“It’s been an eventful year personally so I haven’t released a huge amount, but things are settling down and slowly beginning to take shape. I’m starting to explore more in the way of effects processing and ambient experimentation, which has really shaken up my own process and the way that I’m approaching things. Something releasable is starting to form…


You can find out more/buy Andrew Lang’s music here:
http://music.andrewlang.net/
http://facebook.com/andrewlangmusician


Best of 2017: Ondrej Zajac

Our next ‘best of 2017’ feature sees us welcome back Ondrej Zajac who has been pretty busy since his debut ‘Monolith’ on Whitelabrecs. We caught up with Ondrej who put together a beautiful best of list as well as providing insight into his selections and spending some time updating us on his recent activity and plans.


Andrea Belfi
Alveare
[IIKKI]

“I consider this Italian wonder to be one of the most important musicians active today. He has released two albums this year and it seems to me that in the delirium caused by his latest record Ore, everyone tends to forget his earlier record Alveare, which comes with a book as part of IIKKI project. It much more resembles his 2014 record Natura Morta, since it was recorded during the period of 9 years. I like to think of it as a kind of “best of” compilation. You can see so much of his musical development in this lovely piece of work…”


Raphael Vanoli
Bibrax
[Shhpuma]

“I noticed Raphael thanks to the Knalpot band and in his solo work, I found something I haven’t heard anywhere else. I followed him for few years now and in Bibrax, you can hear an album full of unusual beauty. Nothing sounds like guitar on this guitar album. His playing technique is unheard of and there is probably not a single other guitarist today who is willing to be so different in pursuit of his beliefs.”



Diatribes

Sistere
[Mappa]

“Diatribes are Cyril Bondi and d’incise. This record was released by an amazing label from my country: mappa. It requires patience but it can pull you into the ocean of rhythms, repetition, dissonance and silence, where you will definitely lose sense of time. They just played in Prague and I was unable to attend the gig, so I am constantly crying since then!”


Tante Elze
Hmota
[slnko records]

“This duo from Slovakia came under my radar while it was still just a one person project. You may consider them to be too mainstream but the truth is that they are successfully doing everything they can to be as honest as possible, which is something I admire above all. Hmota means matter. And this album is some serious objectification of pure and innocent ideas.”


The Necks
Unfold
[Ideologic Organ]

“David Kollar, Mt Accord, Theydon Boys, Gosheven, Julian Sartorius, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Knivtid, José Soberanes, Jenny Berger Myhre, Tittingur… so many records I would like to place here. But this spot goes to The Necks, since Unfold is proof that you can always explore something new and still sound fantastic. I also went to their gig this year and it was a transcendental experience.”


What have you been up to Ondrej?
“After being yes man for two years and after a second year of compilations, solo releases, curation of my micro-label métóre, compositions for gallery exhibition, collaboration with filmmakers and constant gigging, I’ve been learning to actually say “no” lately. While it is true that I am currently booking gigs for 2018, I would like to hide in some deep cave and get some rest. That being said, I am working with Nicola Fornasari on some new music and I don’t plan to work on anything else before this is finished. I am extremely grateful for this because I kind of adore Nicola and his Whitelabrec’s album with Diego Balconi blew my mind. I also have some other future collaborations planned so I will just work in my new slower pace and do my best to deliver some honest music.


You can find out more/buy Ondrej Zajac’s music here:
https://www.facebook.com/thisisondrej
https://ondrejzajac.bandcamp.com


Best of 2017: Teamforest

We’ve a special new feature to close the year out: we decided to ask some of our artists for their 5 favourite records of 2017 as well as have a general catch up.

First up, we caught up with Philipp Buckle, one half of The Restless Fields who kicked everything off on the label in our inaugural release. Philipp records as Teamforest and provides a selection of lo-fi electronica, drone and African music:


Amadou Binta Konté & Tidiane Thiam
Waande Kadde
[Sahel Sounds]

“Is this African blues? Whatever it is, it’s highly addictive and didn’t leave my record player for quite some time.”

 

 


The Remote Viewer
Us. In Happier Times
[Other Ideas]

“This isn’t exactly new but released now for the first time which is good enough for me. The liner notes say it’s a “musical panic room” and this is true. Known sounds but very consoling in cold times.”

 



Brannten Schnüre

Muschelsammlung
[Vrystaete]

“Christian Schoppik never lets you down. Weird German music.”

 

 

 


BJ Nilsen
Massif Trophies
[Editions Mego]

“Atmospheres and stuff. I really like it because it somehow bends reality.”

 

 

 


Jaap Vink
Jaap Vink
[Recollection GRM]

“Also released on Archival Recordings but so stunning that it could have very well been brand new.”

 

 

 


What have you been up to Philipp?
“Last year I have released two cassette albums “Abendlieder” on Awkward Formats, which are evening drones coming in a nice wooden box. Then there is “They Never Got The Message”, a split tape with Michael Potter on Null/Zone. John Kiran Fernandes from Olivia Tremor Control played clarinet and Antony Ryan from ISAN mastered my side. Caro Mikalef provided us with a one of a kind riso printed cover. This is probably one of my favourite releases ever so I constantly rant and brag.
The new year will bring us a new CD album on a Swedish label and finally the release of my “Paintings” album as a vinyl LP in March. I’ll make updates of more details when they are available. Also my short film “The Craftsman” seems to draw some festival attention. This is something I am especially excited about.”


You can find out more/buy Teamforest music here:
www.facebook.com/teamforest
www.teamforest.bandcamp.com