The tenth No Ground-R release is signed HL and is entitled “Takuma”. I’m not 100% sure but I think it safe to say that this release would be the first to bear a Formula 1 driver’s name and even if that’s not the case surely it must be the first time for Takuma Sato? As any serious racing fan would know he is not the most successful driver in Formula 1. “Twenty Years” starts of the ambient four-tracker, the pulsating “Nowhere but Here” follows it. The beatless “Autumn Leaves ” and finally “Your Ghost Still Haunts Me” and its slowly mumbling narrative. This release also includes “Fields That Speak” a 3-inch DVD with visual work made by the artist in question. HL is Dan Hopkins. Investigate this release and you just might get surprised driving your: car, bike, board, underground, airplane, rocket, bus, pace car, boat, submarine, train or mind.
This wonderful and 7th release (MAR 2006) from No Ground-R is signed John Barnes alias Sam Arnold. Sam Arnold used to be part of the group Mountain Men Anonymous and has previously released music using the John Barnes moniker on Machine Records. John Barnes’ music is heavily influenced by beat driven genres such as drum’n’bass and fused with delicate melodies he creates wonderful contrast. And the effectiveness of leaving some space in the production cannot be more clearly demonstrated. So there you have it, if you like beats, don’t mind basslines and support lovely melodies mainly comprised of piano and string instruments, you’ll like John Barnes. However, whether or not you actually like football is not relevant in this context, that being another enjoyable No Ground-R 3-inch release.
“Song Time Two” is the third No Ground-R release and it followed the lovely “Pre FM Tracks” by PFM. On the eight-track “Song Time Two” Sticker Club has chosen a somewhat different path compared to the two previous No Ground-R releases. It’s a dirtier lo-fi sounding and less rich sonic texture being presented. “Poorly Song” features nursery rhyme like melodies with grit. Not bad at all.” And then follow “Vacation (Go Go’s cover)” with arcade game music influences, “Pooty II” featuring acoustic guitar and dry almost invisible beats and it’s essentially an electronically infused singer songer ballad without vocals for the 21st century. “Mall of Sound” has quirky beats and quirky sounds making a quirky song. “Fage” features more minimal beats, acoustic and electric guitars and a very subtle bassline. It’s song writing ability demonstrated. The lo-fi setting, understated beats and strong melodies could very well be said to be Sticker Club’s insignia, quite unique sounding and that is always a good thing in my opinion. The third release from No Ground-R has some surprises in store.
Pre FM Tracks is the title of recording artist PFM’s three track 3″ No Ground-R release. Exceedingly beautiful and very cinematic in its qualities, layers of strings and crystalline-like structure, without being cold sounding, the first track does its title full justice “The Beauty of Repetition”. The second song on the three-song long EP “Prophet Making” features gently treated piano and guitars, a superb build-up and washes of synthetic sounds added to an increasingly complex sonic picture, all to great effect. It’s a great track revealing the talent behind the composition. “My favourite Memory” is ending the EP, which has a steady no-frills acoustic sounding beat and straight forward melody, until the end that is when the song is completely deconstructed. The shorter story: “Pre FM Tracks” is an excellent second release by No Ground-R.
“A449/19″ is the title of the very first No Ground-R release an independent label activated in Great Britain. Releasing music and visuals on their main format of choice 3″ discs. “A449/19″ features ambient and slightly menacing soundscapes drowned in low frequency assemblies playing the leading role of structure. According to the background information the 20 min long track is based on the experiences and surroundings of the A449. A road between Newport and Monmouth in South Wales and it lasts for 19 miles (30,5km), during this distance it is not possible to turn around and go back to the place of origin. This is excellent ambient music with rich bass textures and very subtle rhythm. And you just got to love the 3″ disc format and the level of ambition of the entire No Ground undertaking of which No Ground-R is an integral part.