Lackluster: Container: Donal Dineen's Sunken Treasures Review (Irish Times)

Esa Ruoho began releasing records out of his Helsinki home studio in 1995. It was a pivotal time for undergound electronic music generally and one where the power base was noticably moving away from the centre towards ever more remote corners of the globe.
Back then, the tectonic plates were shifting in dramatic fashion. A new order was on the rise with self-sufficient producers beginning to reap the rewards of the DIY boom.

There was a flurry of activity undergrond and an explosion of new stars above it. Lights were going on all over the place. The bedroom soldiers were finally bringing the heat in earnest, using new fangled software to bypass the studio system entirely. The power was shifting back to the individual and a quiet revolution was brewing. The possibilities seemed endless.
Suddenly, up pops Finland on the dial and out pours the mesmerising sound of Lackluster and the album Container. What a beautiful noise to behold. It resonated with a gentle softness pre- viously unheard. Here was an example of how the understated could be reconfigured to pack quite a punch.
Ruoho crafted something fresh and original from generic music-production home-computer software. Despite appearances, this wasn’t easy. The easier it is to make noise, the harder it get’s to come up with a truly original sound, but Ruoho managed with aplomb. The source of Container was no surprise. There was a huge spike in the volume of electronic music coming from the colder corners of the Scandanavian north at that particular point. By the time Container was released at the turn of the millenium the Northern Lights were outshining almost everyone. Lackluster’s music stood out so effervescently you could nearly say it glowed. It’s a message worth getting.

Lackluster 50% off code 'unexpected', valid till 4th of April 2020

Lackluster Bandcamp code "unexpected" 50% off till 4th april 2020.

Why? Because 4th april 2020 was supposed to be a gig but it got cancelled. (i know, cry me a river. but the income from the sales go into mastering + remastering materials and result in new releases)

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HLER: LGM-1: Streetclip Review

~ 2020 (ZeroK) – Stil: Ambient / Drone / Soundscapes ~
Außerirdisches Leben oder nur Geräusche aus einem anderen Sternsystem? Vor fast 20 Jahren entdeckten Forscher hörbare, immer wiederkehrende Radiowellen aus dem All. Diese schnellen Funkstöße (Fast Radio Bursts) sind Millisekunden lange Funkwellenstöße. Zumeist handelt es sich um rasch wiederholende Stöße aus einer bestehenden Zwerggalaxie oder einem frühen Sternsystem. In diesen Millisekunden setzen sie mehr Energie frei als die Sonne. Die Ursache dieser extragalaktischen Phänomene ist dennoch nicht geklärt.

Das von „UnexplainedSoundsGroup“ gegründete Unterlabel „ZeroK“ widmet sich fortan ganz dem experimentellen und cineastischen Ambient. Insbesondere Stimmungen aus Sci-Fiction-Stories werden zu Gehör kommen. Das erste Projekt ist HLER, ein finnisches Elekronik Duo, Heikki Lindgren und Esa Juhani Ruoho.

Da die Musik neben dem auf Bandcamp üblichen Download allein als CDr und Kassette erschienen ist, bleibt dem Nerd selbstredend nur das Tape zur Wahl.

HLER nehmen uns mit ins All, lassen uns die Funkstöße hören und spüren. Sie lassen sie uns gewahr werden. Hypnotisch und transzendent. Wie weit sie uns tragen, liegt im Auge des Betrachters bzw. am Ohr des Hörers, der sich bis in die entlegendsten Galaxien mitnehmen lassen kann. Mit geschlossenen Augen und einem Kopfhörer auf den Ohrmuscheln werden Raum und Zeit eins, verschmelzen Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft.

„Man hat den Eindruck, dass die moderne Physik auf Annahmen beruht,
die irgendwie dem Lächeln einer Katze gleichen, die gar nicht da ist.“ (Albert Einstein)

Wessen Entspannung oder Vorstellungskraft nicht ausreicht, bleibt in Gedanken auf dieser Erde hocken. Nichtsdestotrotz tragen die Drones des Ambient-Sounds auch diese Zuhörer an einen anderen Ort.

Sie wähnen sich am Flughafen, direkt unter den nicht stoppenden Motorengeräuschen der Flugzeuge. Sie wähnen sich am Bahnhof, direkt das Ohr an den Schienen klebend, derweil der Bremsvorgang des einrollenden Zuges nie enden müsste. Sie wähnen sich in einem nächtlichen Schloss, in dem der Luftzug des Windes durch die Mauernritzen pfeift oder der Geist der vor vielen Dekaden verstorbenen Ahnen durch die Gänge huscht.

Die CDr enthält sechs Lieder, denn mehr kann kein Silberling fassen. Das Tape muss sich mit fünf Liedern begnügen. Der Download enthält in seiner Gänze neun Lieder, die eine musikalische Zeitreise über die Distanz von über 110 Minuten versprechen.

Lasst Euch treiben, empfangt die Stöße in Wellen …

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HLER: LGM-1: Head-Banger Review

It was ever since I was a kid when I was first terrified by Alien and became absolutely enamored by Jeffrey Thomas’s sci-fi masterpiece “Blue War” that I have been a big fan of that highly detailed science fiction that’s only done true justice on occasion. Even less often is when an act of any style can put together a listening experience the likes of which gives nothing but true glory to the entire genre of science fiction. It’s really only been Progenie Terrestre Pura and Mesarthim that have been able to do it justice, but even then there’s so much more to tap into. As if to answer my very desires, with this brand new work of some of the deepest ambient I’ve ever heard that HLER brings forth an experience I won’t soon forget.

Ambient has long been a thing that I only dip my toe into simply because of how immense the style is that I don’t want to get too lost in it and maybe lose my taste for it as well. But, when I had first heard of deep ambient, or “glacial ambient” as it was first described to me, I’d be lying if I said that my interest was not peaked. I was just confounding but simultaneously mesmerized at the sheer possibilities as to just what in the hell that would sound like. More than likely, something slow and grinding much like a glacier moving maybe inches a year. As their first release, Zero K with that new label smell immediately threw down “LGM-1” from HLER, and it really does feel as though this is a work meant to show newcomers to the substyle, like myself, the exact potential that deep ambient has without being too mind-numbing or even boring, and to say that I was greatly impressed with what was brought to the table here would be a grand understatement.

Just looking at the runtimes of each track from “LGM-1” made me wonder out loud what exactly there is that HLER could’ve busted out of the ether for songs that were fourteen minutes in length, much less even the 23-minute finale! And yet, looking back into the cosmic depths that HLER explores all throughout this wondrous piece of colorless splendor, there isn’t a single grain of what’s brought forth here that isn’t simply enamoring to say the least. The very idea of exploration and reverence of the unknown is spread into every part of “LGM-1” in such a way that it’s nigh on hypnotic with a dream-like substance constantly covering its surface. And the whole of this work is surprisingly diverse across all of its atmospheres which still leaves me confounded as to just how exactly HLER brought them to life so magnificently with one track not repeating the previous nor over-shadowing its predecessor. Whether it sounds like the soundtrack to moon dust shifting ever so slowly on some planetoid on the other side of the galaxy, more earthly drones that wonder what’s in the void, or suspenseful works like that of the stunning finale, there is virtually nothing about “LGM-1” that isn’t beautiful in just about every imaginable way. HLER should be extremely proud of what’s been pulled off here with this work for it is quite possibly the best ambient album of any kind that I’ve had the fortune of diving into, and I can still not even pull myself out of listening to it while typing this even after soaking my soul into its starlight for hours at this point.

In so many ways, this is the kind of experience I want more of whenever I think of a science fiction-influenced ambient work that just takes everything and puts it on another level entirely, and HLER has truly set a high bar with this album that I’d be more than keen to see topped for that would be something to behold all on its own. There isn’t a single speck of what’s done here with “LGM-1” that I wouldn’t whole-heartedly recommend to any person wanting to find themselves in a deep state of hibernation or even meditation for a while, and it’s by the end of this work that I can almost guarantee that your soul will feel both cleansed and as though it has gone on a journey of galactic proportions.

LISTEN to “LGM-1” on Bandcamp here.

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HLER: LGM-1 released on ZeroK records!

Zero K, a brand new label, has released a very limited edition CD-r and tape (and digital album) LGM-1 by, well, us, HLER (Heikki Lindgren & Esa Ruoho)

"When you are listening to the sound of pulsars, you are listening to actual star-size oscillators with the most minimal and longest lasting drones in the whole universe." - HLER