Since 2012, A Closer Listen has claimed a specialized niche in the music industry: instrumental album reviews!  By concentrating on this above all else, we’ve built a healthy fanbase and a strong reputation.

If music is recorded and nobody listens, does it still make a sound?

We know how hard it is to be part of the music business.  Most artists and labels are doing it solely for the love of music, and on Monday mornings, they return to their day jobs.  They pour their hearts into their art, yet few people notice their efforts.  Emails to review sites go unacknowledged; if a review appears, it is often perfunctory, leading artists and labels to ask, “Did you even listen?”

We began to ask ourselves a few questions.  What if a review site saw itself as being in partnership with labels, artists, fans and other sites, determined simply to spread the word about great new music?  What if this site, although critical when necessary, vowed never to be harsh?  What if the site’s writers bought so much music that they didn’t even need submissions?  And what if those writing to the site received a personal response instead of a form letter?  So we decided to do things a little differently.  We listen to samples of everything that is sent our way, and respond personally to everyone who writes personally and submits music that fits our profiles.  (See our Submissions page for more!)

A Closer Listen was founded on the principles of kindness, communication, and partnership.  Other sites we love and admire include Fluid Radio, Textura, Echoes & Dust, Headphone Commute, Stationary Travels and The Wire.  We also love the sites that sell and review music: sites including Boomkat, Norman Records and Forced Exposure.  We hope that you’ll visit them frequently; we do!

We also aim to be a resource for the discovery of new music.  Here at A Closer Listen, a bedroom artist is just as likely to get reviewed as a major label artist.  We hope that if you enjoy a particular release on our site, you’ll click on the category (for example, “Field Recording and Soundscape”) to find related releases.  You may be surprised to find new names and amazing underground sounds; your next favorite album may be only a click away.  In addition, we’ve prepared a steady stream of exclusive mixes for your listening pleasure.  We love doing what we do, and we hope you’ll love what you see and hear!

This newsletter is compiled, with preambles and exclusive writing, by ACL co-founder Joseph Sannicandro aka thenewobjective, producer of the Sound Propositions podcast.

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a bi-weekly round up of writing on experimental music


dedicated to instrumental and experimental music.