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Moin, Lolina, Gaia: Selected Ambient + Downtempo Works

Some incredible heavy hitters in today from the likes of Moin, Lolina (Inga Copeland), the Music From Memory compilation Dream Dolphin – Gaia: Selected Ambient + Downtempo works compiling 90s and early 00s IDM and ambient techno. Read on.


We were already fans of Moin (aka Raime with percussionist extraordinaire Valentina Magaletti) but on Clocked Off their sound has gone straight into heaven’s hell. Clocked Off is absolutely CRUSHING, Magaletti’s drum kit chopped and sculpted into a pounding, crushing weapon that drives each track. The bass and guitars, minimal, scraping, threatening, sharp and used at precisely the right moments, provide the knives flying out at you at all directions. These are 4 tracks of aural, hard-hitting ecstasy.

Pockets uses a stereo panned drum kit with ludicrous tom work before the bass, all staccato and unmoving, flits in. Vocal samples, wiry guitar, all mastered and pushed right up against your ears. No Neck has one hell of a kick drum and warbling bass duo that’s, frankly, terrifying. Is it perverse to kind of half-wish Ian MacKaye was ranting over the top of this? Glasgow bod Fritz Welch shows up on I Can I Can’t which is slightly slower and more lopping in tempo, with Welch’s text punctuating the half speed Jungle. Closer is more akin to previous Moin forays reminding us a lot of the kind of forward-thinking rock music of the late 90s and early naughties. Don Caballero revival soon please? OK, maybe it’s got slightly more tribute to pay to Slint, but you get the drift.

Clocked Off has some lead in the “EP of the year” category, I’m telling you.

Lolina / Inga Copeland continues going way out, this time back into the realms of outsider pop and UK Funky tributaries. No other artist in the current underground scene seems to duck and dive expectations quite as much as Lolina/Inga Copeland. Having first made her name defining “hypnagogic pop” with Hype Williams, her solo outings have ranged from aleatoric, avant garde club music, noise and more straightforward tunesmithery.

Face The Music combines all of the above but with a hefty af low end, reminding us a little of UK Funky with the BPM maybe dragged down a little but not too much. Above all this feels like Lolina having fun, stabbing keyboards and bass-heavy kicks providing the movement juice. The title track feels like several midi files exploding into a 90s sample pack, broken in all the right places. If you ever wondered how an improv jazz troupe would approach Neo Soul, now’s your chance to see. Forget It Left Blank dials up the fuzz and repetition until it’s just below the threshold to be called “Noise” and What Is Power reminds us a little of Neneh Cherry helming a 2010s Powell track. Ultimately, it all sounds like Lolina.

Gaia: Selected Ambient & Downtempo Works (1996-2003)’ is a new in-depth compilation of works by Japanese musician Dream Dolphin.

Co-compiled by Eiji Taniguchi, it draws from a vast discography of music oscillating between IDMPop and Electronic Dance Music. First appearing on Eiji’s compilation Heisei No Oto – Japanese Left-field Pop From The CD Age (1989-1996), this selection of rediscoveries, further shines a light on the singular musician known as Dream Dolphin and her place in Japan’s rich electronic music legacy.

Dream Dolphin was originally an Ambient and Electronic project by the Japanese artist referred to simply as Noriko, who moved from studying classic Italian songs as a child, to increasingly being inspired by artists such as PILYellow Magic OrchestraKLF and movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Le Grand Bleu. The music she released under the name Dream Dolphin, from the age of sixteen, is unique and versatile in style, encompassing Ambient, IDMTechnoTrance and Drum & Bass, whilst fusing natural sounds with her own spoken word lyrics.

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