The announcement of this charity compilation – the very first release of the popular Headphone Commute weblog – has caused quite a buzz in the ‘ambient’ music community. I’t not very difficult to see why.
Boasting a tracklisting of 87 tracks, it seems that almost everyone artist imaginable has contributed to “…. And Darkness Came“.
More than six hours of music (and sounds) for just USD 10 (or more, of course) – of which all proceedings will go to Doctors Without Borders and The Humane Society to support those affected by the recent Hurricane Sandy.
How’s that for a Christmas present?!
Just one glance on the list of contributing artist is enough to see what an impressive line-up this is. I cannot even begin to name them all, so I will just mention some of the more familiar artists:
Helios, Simon Scott, Kane Ikin, Roel Funcken, Sunn Hammer, Pleq, Autistici, Kreng, Julien Neto, Machinefabriek, Hammock, Lawrence English, Loscil, Peter Broderick, Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds, Antonymes, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Dakota Suite, Olan Mill,Clem Leek, Dustin O’Halloran, Christoph Berg, Max Richter, Hauschka, Clint Mansell, Valgeir Sigurdsson, Bersarin Quartett, Brambles, Rafael Anton Irisarri, Ian Hawgood, Radere, Celer
-and that’s not even half the list!!
I guess most listeners will listen to these tracks in random mode, but it’s good to see Headphone Commute took great care to the track sequence:
“The flow of the tracks on the compilation is laid out to traverse the events of the hurricane. First a soft windy breeze, a quiet surrender, then a dark moving mass of wheezing noise until it suddenly subsides into a dark and peaceful stillness. Then the selection oscillates through five stages of grief: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. In the middle comes a glimpse of light and hope (this is my favorite part – can you guess where?) and the flow takes on an almost lighter mood, until the world, with a few stumbles along the way, falls back into the cycle of the norm… with moments gone but not forgotten…”
Ambient/Soundscape compilations tend to get more and more voluminous every year: for example, think of the (Future) Sequence 1-5 series, or Escala 2.3 for another example.
But who’s to complain if the quality is this good?
Needless to say “…. And Darkness Came“ immediately went to #1 in Bandcamp’s top sellers list on the first day of release. And it will hopefully stay there for quite a while.
2012 has been a very good and productive year for the ambient-electronic-experimental-post-classical-improv music scene – and this charity compilation is easily the best way to conclude it. Or to start 2013 with.