12 earthy, organic and blissful record picks by e/tape

As a DJ and musician, Eli has spent the last decade working on the sound archive of ambient music. Born in Slovenia but a true citizen of the world, he started the e/tape project out of his desire to expand his inner self and invite others to join him on these expanded states of consciousness. He strongly gravitates towards an electronic sound space that lies somewhere between the heavenly and the blissful.

Next to his personal music project, he also started a platform called Antena Kolektiv in 2020. Together with Camila, they aim to form a bridge between familiar states of being and sounds that might be unknown. The result: collaborative playlists that are a joy to explore, as every song is contributed by artists, musicians and listeners that are perfect strangers to each other. 

As Eli is equally passionate about using sound as a powerful tool to set the mood, we were naturally curious about what albums would float his boat. He shares: “Each of these records is very earthy, organic and blissful. What ties them all together is freedom of movement, human friendship and exchange.” 

Laraaji – Vision Songs Vol I

I really love everything about Laraaji: his character, his softness, his visionary zap of vertical energy. The whole album feels as loose and blousy as yoga pants. I fell in love with the song Hare Jay Jay Rama II. There is something in the bridge of Hindu chants and hopeful electronic notes that made me fly through the streets of Mysore (where I had this on infinite repeat.)

Vladislav Delay – Entain

This record was a gift from a really good friend of mine who has been supportive and sincere since the start of my journey. It’s also one of those records that has never left my bag. My pick from this album is Notke, as I’ve played it countless times, although the whole record is meant to be played from start to end. Sasu Rippati’s work is a beautiful reflection on a geological emptiness where time and location have no real meaning. You’re placed dead centre into a landscape that has a haunting, abstract serenity on the surface, yet underneath is concealing layers of almost imperceptible levels of movement, be it the resonant tones of the wind hitting the trees, or the droning, cracking sounds of compressed glacier ice.

Hu Vibrational – Universal Mother 

Vibrational is the fourth album by Hu. It’s a deep groove masterpiece that blueprints a vision of future dance music. A true ancient to future expression of percussive African rhythms and Afro Jazz organically arranged with elements of hip-hop and electronica. I’m choosing the song We Call to Her, as it always reminds me of Her endless beauty and deep devotion. Her, of course, being the mother of us all, Earth.

Arve Henriksen – Chiaroscuro 

Around the time I moved into a wooden Balinese house in Ibiza, I discovered this album through a friend. For weeks, it was constantly playing in the background, subtly reminding me of the northern Norwegian landscapes that inform Henriksen’s work. In addition to being a remarkably experimental trumpet stylist, Henriksen also sings wordlessly, with an angelic, falsetto voice. He sounds untrained, airy, and wholly naked; a broken plea stops your breath.

Zoviet France – A Flock Of Rotations 

When I used to work as a tour manager, I would fill up my iPod with everything I could find from Zoviet France, and that is what I listened to mid-air while the hours passed on one plane after another. I love this album’s strangely seductive exercise in ambient noise and atmospheres with traces of melody and tonality. The pick has to be Dream Hole, dedicated to never-ending stretches of time on those endless flights.

Black Merlin – Hipnotik Tradisi 

This is yet another record that was passed to me by a friend as a present (see a trend here?). I remember gazing at the cover for a while before even listening to it, and letting my senses absorb its full technicolor richness. As for the music, it’s a mix of luminous, otherworldly Indonesian sounds and contemporary electronics that is totally stunning. The pacing is measured so that it creeps along slowly, giving the organic and electronic textures time to blend, and every time I listen to it, I rejoice in its glorious diversity.

Transient Waves – Sonic Narcotic 

It’s difficult to wrap the right words around Sonic Narcotic. Let’s just say that I have a soft spot for loopy ethereal vocals, and I love the post-rock manipulations. I think Sketches on the Eastern Shore is the track that really captures the essence of those elements. 

Kelan Phil Cohran And Legacy – African Skies

Every time I listen to this, it always shifts my thoughts to what Africa would be like now if colonialism had never intruded. My housemate at the time would ask me to play the album for her over and over again, so the selection here goes for White Nile, as it was her favourite track. Trying to pare down its immaculate beauty into words could never do it justice.

Terry Riley – Persian Surgery Dervishes

Might be the holy grail as far as Terry Riley goes. The whole album is intensive, energetic, hypnotic and trance-inducing. The way he plays the organ as if there were no future and no past. Only an eternal now which is a river of ever-changing sound. 

Martin Rev – Cheyenne 

Hidden treasures of Martin Reverby, and the joy of finding secondhand copies in low-key record stores. My song selection: Mustang. I just love the oddness and fun in that song as well the whole album. Interesting side note: several tracks on this release are instrumental versions of songs from Suicide’s second album.

Raul Lovisoni Francesco Messina – Prati Bagnati del Monte Analogo 

Beginning of 2020 I was traveling to Ladakh to meet a friend, that I barely knew, which she ended up being my girlfriend. Every time we listen to it, there is some state of peace that is hard to put in words. I didn’t have the time yet to research more about their work, but I know this album was inspired by René Daumal’s surrealist novel Le Mont Analogue.

Ryuichi Sakamoto – Futurista 

The whole Futurista album sounds like echoes of a distant planet in Star Trek infused with some design from the 80s. My pick goes to Milan, 1909., a track that always makes me feel like someone is sending me a secret message from 2909… maybe the future inhabitants of space? 

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