Few artists submerge you in darkness in quite the same way as Christoph De Babalon. With engulfing ambience, depth-charge bass drones and hyperventilating breakcore and jungle beats, the Hamburg-raised, Berlin-based producer has, for over two decades now, etched an unmistakable sonic persona onto an increasingly greyscale planet.
Christoph de Babalon isn’t interested in being a spokesman for doom. He apologises more than once when conversation steers toward his dour mythology. He laughs off the idea that his music is anything more than a necessary personal pursuit, and he certainly doesn’t think the world had to hit this particularly low tide to properly appreciate the 15-minute drone dirge of ‘Opium’ or the convulsive percussion of ‘My Confession’.
Few contemporary ambient artists can capture melancholy quite like Ian William Craig. Using tape loops, electronics and organic instrumentation to accompany his distinctly gossamer-light and classically trained singing, the Vancouver composer stands among the likes of Grouper, Julianna Barwick and William Doyle as an artist for whom the human voice is an essential instrument in the ambient orchestra.
Hi Ian. How are you doing? How has 2018 been? What have been the most significant things to happen for you this year?
Your use of tape loops throughout your catalog has always invoked the poignancy and William Basinski’s ‘Disintegration Loops’ and the capturing of “real time” and distinctly momentary sounds. Was he a direct reference point when you started to compose the way you do now? Can you explain what drew you to tape initially?
Since the reissue of his 1997 cult LP ‘If You're Into It, I'm Out of It’ in January 2018, Hamburg’s Christoph de Babalon has been enjoying a long deserved critical resurgence.
Known for his engulfing fusions of dark ambient, drone, breakcore and jungle on labels like Digital Hardcore Recordings, de Babalon’s steady stream of releases over the past two decades has long been celebrated in underground spheres. In November this year, a collection of previously unreleased tracks from between 1993 and 1998 was released under the title ‘Exquisite Angst’ via A Colourful Storm.
To celebrate its 15th birthday, visionary experimental and avant-garde electronic label RVNG Intl. has invited DJ and composer Beatrice Dillon to deliver a catalog mixtape.
Contemporary pianist James Heather released his debut album ‘Stories From Far Away on Piano’ earlier this year. A luxurious, forward thinking selection of post-classical compositions, Heather invoked the likes of Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds and the late Conor Walsh with subtle electronics and a style that was full of feeling and purpose.
Tel Aviv-based, Latvian-born multi-disciplinary artist Anna Lann will release her ‘Embodiment’ EP via The Ransom Note Records on 14th December.
A producer, composer, singer, videographer, visual artist, dancer and DJ, Lann has become a celebrated figure in the Israeli capital’s underground scene and beyond thanks to her varied approach and versatile catalog.
Following a superb LP on one of our favourite labels, Local Action, Orlando FitzGerald has launched the New Info label with a mesmerizing ambient tape. ‘Extinction 6’ is out on 16th November and, according to its press release, is “an ethereal exploration of waste, greed and ultimately the failures of our society”.