After a relatively sparse 2019, it is very nice to see a flurry of new activity over at hibernate recordings, the Yorkshire-based ambient label founded a little over a decade ago by Jonathan Lees. The catalyst has been something called the 2.6 challenge, a charitable initiative intended to fill the void left by the cancellation of a London Marathon which was slated to be the world’s biggest one-day fundraising after raising more than £66.4 million for thousands of charities in 2019. The theme of the challenge is to encourage participants to come up with fund raising ideas that involve the numbers 2 & 6, a nod to the 26-mile length of the marathon and the fact it was to be held on the 26th of April.
Hibernate’s take on the theme was to solicit 26 EPs from a wide variety of artists from the experimental & ambient music scene with the proceeds from each going to a charity of the artist’s choice. The project is nearly concluded and has yielded a wonderful trove of new music to enjoy this summer. Featured here are six that particularly caught my ear by Oberlin, Marco Lucchi & Henrik Meierkord, Adrian Lane, Andrew Tasselmyer & anthéne, The Green Kingdom, and Blochemy. If you enjoy sampling these, be sure to head over to https://hibernate.bandcamp.com/ to check out the full collection.
Oberlin – Bodman
Alexander Holtz aka Oberlin chooses the long form route for “Bodman”, a twenty-minute soundscape that melds natural field recordings and warm guitar oscillations into an anodyne elixir for the ears.
Marco Lucchi & Henrik Meierkord – As riddled as the tide
Italian musician Marco Lucchi plays mellotron & piano and Swedish composer Henrik Meierkord contributes cello and double-bass on this contemporary classical leaning collaboration which features a short, but potent cinematic prelude to a beautiful, undulating fifteen minute showpiece that is both serene and affecting.
Adrian Lane – Atlas Browsing
Also appearing on the Whitelabrecs Home Diaries series, UK-based visual artist and musician Adrian Lane here offers a collection of ten compositions and vignettes on piano & electronics with several pieces featuring vocals from multi-instrumentalist and singer Ozlem Simsek. Evocative and quite charming in a melancholic vein.
Andrew Tasselmyer & anthéne – Distant
Two prolific artists in close orbit over the years collaborate for the first time to wonderful affect. Anyone familiar with Andrew Tasselmyer’s work on his own and as part of Hotel Neon or with Brad Deschamps‘ now extensive anthéne catalog will rightfully be thrilled to hear what they have come up with together. Two distinctive, but highly compatible styles the threads of which intertwine and effloresce into a splendid sonic immersion.
The Green Kingdom – Shinrin-yoku
With a pristine blend of shimmering guitars, electronics, and light vocals, Michael Cottone aka The Green Kingdom transports us musically from his home in Michigan to Japan with “Shinrin-yoku” (the Japanese phrase for “forest bathing”), “Sakura” (the infamous Japanese cherry-blossom), and “Ukiyo-e” (a style of paintings and woodblock prints often translated as “pictures of the floating world”.
Blochemy – Nia
Also an alumnus of the Whitelabrecs Home Diaries as well as part of their regular catalog, Czech artist Blochemy makes an appearance here with an especially warm collection of enveloping sounds awash in granular textures and dappled light.