Sound Awakener - Five Chapters

Band / Artist: Sound Awakener
Year: 2014
Genre: Dark Ambient, Free Jazz, Modern Classical, Experimental, Field Recordings

My Review:
*EDIT - I'm a twat, and forgot to ask, Nhung is female. All gender references have been changed. Sorry!*

Today's artist of note is Sound Awakener. I got an email from her right before the new year. She lives in Vietnam, and makes ambient, experimental style field recordings with piano. She describes it this way.
Five improvisations recorded on upright acoustic piano. Each piece has a really extinctive character .Vibrate has layers of reverb and exteneded techniques on piano string. Gather Eternity has loud hiss noise and distorted sound. Gallery of emptyness is sort of a lo - fi recording. Remembering all passing things and Untold are a mix of piano chords and field recordings.
"Five Chapters" refers to the endless search in life.
Here's the interview that we had.

Jumbly Music: It's nice to meet you. How are you doing?

Nhung Nguyễn : I’m doing good. Thank you. Things are getting musicaly marvelous for me.

Jumbly: So, whats your back story?

Nhung My musical journey started in 2002 when I began taking private classical piano lessons. The training ended in 2007 and since then I have been developing my own techniques and focusing on composition and improvisation.
In 2011 I started my solo musical project - Sound Awakener but no material was released until 2014. My aim is to live with the sonic journey as close as possible. It has always been a natural process.

Jumbly: Where are you from?

Nhung : I was born and now living in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Jumbly: Do you find it influences your style and your music much?

Nhung : Obviously it does. The city is full of thousands types of sounds. That’s why I use a lot of field recordings from everyday life in my music. To be more specific, in “Five Chapters”, there are field recordings from streets and restaurants.

Jumbly: Who makes your album art?

Nhung : Right now my album artworks are stock photos and each of them connects strongly to my music. I hope in the future I’ll invite someone to work with me on that aspect.

Jumbly: What way do you think is best to enjoy your music?

Nhung : The best way is to enjoy with an empty mind.

Jumbly: What would you say is your favorite thing you've done?

Nhung : Interesting question. My favortie thing I’ve done is the thing I do everyday – appreciating and collecting sounds.

Jumbly: Do you like giving away your music for free? Do you hope to continue or would you rather move to a pay system?

Nhung : I like giving it for free when I feel I need to do that. I have some for free on my Bandcamp page and actually “Five Chapters” is free too. But I also have some paid ones  – honestly I need to support myself financially.

Jumbly: If anyone wanted to do a collaboration with you, would you be interested?

Nhung : I’m always open to collaboration.

Jumbly: How should they get in touch with you?

Nhung : The best way is to fill out the contact form on my website (http://soundawakener.weebly.com/contact.html) or the contact form on my Bandcamp page (soundawakener.bandcamp.com)

Jumbly: What kinds of projects do you really want to do in the future?

Nhung : I really want to focus on making music for moving images and installations. Of course other forms still interest me.

Jumbly: Do you follow the blog? What would you like to see more of? Or any suggestions?

Nhung : I’ve been following the blog since June and I much enjoy the content. One thing I would like to see is more interviews of artists

Jumbly: Do you know any other great sites that people should check out?

Nhung : Haha, this is self – promotion : I have a pretty private music blog called Cánh đồng âm nhạc (Vietnamese, which means “Field of music” in English) (http://canhdongamnhac.weebly.com/ ). The reason I write it in Vietnamese is that there are few music blogs here, especially for genres like ambient/experimental or even classical music.

Jumbly: Thanks for sharing your music with me.
I have one last question. What is the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?

Nhung : The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen hmmm is maybe the calm sea in Đà Nẵng (it is a city in the central of Vietnam, which I’ve visited twice) Thank you so much for the great talk! 

Here are some other places that she shared with me to check out
Facebook page

Alright, enjoy it.


Volcanoes - Future Sorority Girls of America

Band / Artist: Volcanoes
Year: 2014
Genre: Punk, Thrash Metal, Noise Rock, Dance Rock

My Review:
Afternoon Records is their label. They live in St Louis. They erupt music. Punny punny punk.

Okay so they make a fest, thrashy, gritty sound that makes me imagine that their shows have a lot of moshing or jumping around. The use of synth is great, because it's more grimy than I'd expect.

I found their band site here.

And I got their facebook here.

I'm out. enjoy some punk.

Volcanoes - Future Sorority Girls of America


Allister Thompson - Infinities


Band / Artist: Allister Thompson
Year: 1999 - 2011
Genre: Neo-Folk, Dark Psychedelic

My Review:
An album, as soft as the fog rolling in over the countryside. I feel like its hard to describe without some off the cuff visual descriptions.

Theres a hilly area, with the fog rolling in, over a peat bog. the voices and guitar seem to echo in from a forest farther away than the sound could travel. Small, alien lights and shapes dance about through the fog, at the edges of your sights. You sit amidst this, and feel emotionally pulled by the experience around you.

Infinities is an album of psychedelic folk music first released in 2006. It is comprised of bedroom recordings Allister made from 1999-2001, remastered. The initial release was praised by Terrascope Online: “Featuring some delicately poised vocal overdubs and just the right amount of instrumental ornamentation, the album seems to flow like a river, gently caressing your soul as it talks of the joys and tears of existence, and our place in the universe, the lyrics dealing with melancholy in a sympathetic and beautiful way.”

Influences on the recording were early seventies British singer songwriters like Nick Drake and John Martyn, psychedelic influences like Pink Floyd and the Incredible String Band, Krautrock and and ambient music. The 2014 edition has three bonus tracks, “Somewhere New”, “The Bomber’s Song” and “Spring Hill Fair (for Grant Mclennan)”.

Allister Thompson now makes music as The Gateless Gate and writes the music review blog Make Your Own Taste
Alright, well this one has been on rotation on my car a TON recently, so I'll just say go listen, and if you don't want to, then you suck.

Allister Thompson - Infinities


Bitbasic - Leonard

Band / Artist: Bitbasic
Year: 2009
Genre: IDM, Electronica, Shoegaze, Ambient Techno

My Review:
He brought you Meek, and I liked it, so I'll just pretend that you did too.

This one has some similarities, and keeps his sense of style, but is an obviously different approach to making an album. He made the whole thing in one month. ONE. I'm very impressed. Its so polished, and has so many good parts. I like to think of it as easy listening for the weirdos and people who get bored by easy listening.

I hope you get a kick out of this one. Bitbasic is London-based electronica artist Simon Haycock. I'm hoping that one day I get to chat with this fellow.


Bitbasic - Leonard


Youniverse - Dirty American

Band / Artist: Youniverse
Year: 2010
Genre: Indie Rock, Alt Rock

My Review:
I have held off on this album mostly due to forgetfulness, but this is actually the album that started me down the path of sharing free music I had been finding. They are great. In 2010, I was out at a bar in Memphis TN with my girlfriend of the time, and heard that a band was about to play, and that their guitarist was turning 18 that day. I figured, hell, why not?

They had a good sound, which the bar did not showcase well. They told me afterward that they were using bandcamp to share their first album. I had never heard of bandcamp before, so I checked it out, and since then, it has become a mainstay of the indie music world.

Here is the facebook page they have going, but nobody has posted on it since 2012.

Hopefully they come back around one day.

Youniverse - Dirty American


Mishka - Surf & Turf

Band / Artist: Various Artists
Year: 2014
Genre: Hip-Hop Beats, Trap, Dubstep, Chillstep, Trip Hop, Chillout

My Review:
Miska can be really hit or miss for me. This time around, I'm pretty happy with what they offered to the world. It's a great mix. Mishka is a New York fashion/anti-fashion label, that supports some really varied sets of music. This is their self description;
A New York City fixture since 2003, Мишка (“Mishka,” or “bear cub” in Russian) clawed their own path through the often homogenous streetwear world, beginning humbly as a small t-shirt upstart and maturing into a full blown cut & sew powerhouse.
Find them here.

Surf & Turf are hiphop/trap/dubstep/triphop blends that work really well as the music for your chill tent at a party, or as something to play in the background during that fancy soiree that you put on, so you can prove that you're hip, and know a lot of cool underground shit out of new york. That sounds like a total jerk description, but I've been driving around listening to these, and its really a good set mixes.
Mishka - Surf 

Mishka - Turf