The massive set features new music by Nick Cave, Blake Mills, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Seu Jorge, Sam Gendel, Sam Wilkes and dozens more Listen to the birds. That’s […]
Listen to a fresh Balmat Records mix of ambient electronics – and a lush new Mike Paradinas track
Two years ago, the Barcelona-based DJ, writer and electronic music expert Philip Sherburne teamed up with Albert Salinas to launch Balmat Records, a boutique label devoted to experimental electronic works, many of them on the ambient end of the spectrum.
Across five releases so far, Balmat has forged an immediately identifiable aesthetic, one linked by its art design and its curatorial instincts.
The two DJs had been producing a weekly radio show on Spain’s Radio 3 called Lapsus Radio, and envisioned a label designed to, in its words, “foster new ideas, expand upon personal obsessions, and put enveloping sounds out into the world.” It added that where Lapsus Radio has focuses on what it calls “a wide range of electronic sounds, encompassing everything from IDM to techno to footwork,” the pair’s tag-team sets “typically skirt the edges of the dancefoor, if not steering clear of it altogether.”
Balmat cites “the experimental spirit of Mediterranean and Balearic electronic traditions” as its foundation, describing an interest “in creating enveloping environments that incorporate ambient music, atmospheric soundscaping, and low-BPM rhythms—music with a cloudy outline yet a distinct sensibility.”
You can hear that misty essence in its first releases. Produced by Luke Sanger, “Languid Gongue” came out in 2021, but sounds like a lost electronics classic from the 1970s.
See-Through, by the Portland, Oregon-based composer Patricia Wolf, is awash in soothing electro-acoustic sounds.
Balmat, notes the label, “means ’empty’ or ‘void’ in Catalan. But quite apart from any negative connotations, we prefer to think of it in terms of possibility: a space waiting to be filled.”
The label’s most prominent release to date, its sixth, will arrive next month when it issues 1977, by the influential electronic producer and Planet Mu label head Mike Paradinas, aka μ-Ziq. Paradinas is best known for his oft-frantic rhythms and complex pieces with abrupt tempo and structure shifts. 1977 is a whole different animal altogether.
Writes Balmat in release notes:
With 1977, he turns the clock backward in a sense, and not just with the album’s title: Rooted in classic ambient and electronic sounds, these 15 tracks evoke the anything-goes spirit of the early ’90s, before the tools and tropes had calcified into cut-and-dried styles. There’s no shortage of familiar sounds on 1977. There are echoes of raves and chillout rooms and transmissions from the fringes of techno; there are detuned synths and glistening reverb tails and, above all, gauzy vox pads, the eerie glue that holds it all together.
Last week Sherburne and Salinas crafted a sublime hour-long mix for Movement Radio. Listen loud.
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