You can trust Jacob Kirkegaard to come up with fascinating concepts. After recording the sounds of deep earth in Iceland and those of the deserted rooms of Tchernobyl, he now turns inward to record the sound of his own inner ear, using a medical technique used to diagnose hearing problems on young children. The recorded tones of his cochlea were used to create a fascinating installation for the Medical Museion in Copenhagen – which, judging by the photos of it – was visually as attractive as it was aurally.
At first listen, the ‘post-classical’ music on Janek Schaefer’s new CD “Extended Play (Triptych For The Child Survivors Of War And Conflict)” resembles the quiet peacefulness of the compositions of Arvo Pärt – especially in the beautiful 24 minute piece “acoustic ensemble”.
But there are some disturbing details: most artist would go a long way to avoid the vinyl crackle-and-pops for a CD release like this. The parts of the acoustic ensemble piece are also represented as solo piano, cello and violin piece, which contain some stops and re-starts breaking the flow of the composition quite unexpected.
Janek Shaefer is, after all, not primarily know as a post-classical composer but as a ‘turntablist‘….
The installation picture on the cover explains the performance we hear:
The ‘making of’ of this album is a nice story to tell:
Hammock (Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson) released three full albums (not counting ‘The Sleepover Sessions’) since 2005.
Most of these filled with quiet, guitar-driven ‘post-rock’, with some crossover to the ambient realm.
If that description sounds a bit like Sigur Rós – so does some of their music.
The Serein netlabel once again lives up to their expectations. With their latest release, ‘Unknown Language’ by The Inventors of Aircraft, the label now offers 17 free album downloads. All of which are quality ambient music, albeit in different styles.
The latest one (#17) is “Unknown Language” by “The Inventors of Aircraft”.
To be honest I had never heard the name of Esther Venrooy until recently, when I was struck by a track on a compilation CD ‘Avontuurlijke Muziek in Brabant’ (‘Adventurous music from Brabant’, a freebie with a recent Gonzo Magazine). This fragment from her CD ‘The Spiral Staircase’ (released on Entr’Acte) definitely proved checking out in full.
Holger Czukay always used to mention ‘shortwave’ (radio) in the instrument credits on his album. The mysterious, vaguely distorted sound of shortwave radio has always seem to trigger the imagination of those interested in sounds of the unknown and unreachable.
Shortwave radio is a direct connection with uncharted territories. Its distortion and strange sweeping filter effects add another dimension to the radio broadcasts: the fleeting connection may be lost any moment. It’s as if you’re transferred through time and space to a world you did not know until then.
All of this magic gets lost when technology improves. The same stations may lose their attractivity when heard in full quality. They become part of normal everyday life (and then mostly prove to be as boring as the local stations).
In this time of world wide web global connectivity, where no place on earth seems out of reach, there’s an enhancing interest in shortwave sounds. For example, take “A Ghost in the Phase“, the latest in the series of the beautiful Low Light Mixes created by Dave Michuda. t’s a collage of shortwave samples and ambient sounds of artists using shortwave samples. Haunting and definitely worth listening.
Some of the shortwave fragments in this mix can be found on the Shortwavemusic weblog, strictly dedicated to found shortwave sounds.
Also included in this low light mix is a track from the latest CD by Stephan Mathieu, Radioland (‘Auf der Gasse’, also included below).
Just mentioning Rutger “Machinefabriek” Zuydervelt’s releases could fill a blog on its own. In the high quantity of releases he’s able to maintain a very high quality standard, making it hard to pinpoint highlights in the continuous stream of new releases.
But there’s no doubt ‘Piiptsjilling’ belongs in the ‘Best of Machinefabriek’ list!
Piiptsjilling, by the way, is the name of a bird:Wintertaling, or Teal (Anas Crecca), in the Frysk language spoken in Friesland, northern Netherlands.
It is hard to imagine that there’s a direct link between Napalm Death and extreme ‘isolationist’ ambient. But there is, and ex-Napalm Death drummer Mick (MJ) Harris is the linking pin.
As Scorn he has created post-industrial dub (working with Bill Laswell, among others), and as Lull he has createst some of the deepest, abstract ambient imaginable.
One definition of ‘drone’ music might be: ‘finding the least thing necessary for pleasurable listening’.
Although it’s not it’s not a very good definition (because of the ‘pleasurable’ which may prove to be a bit ehh…subjective. And what’s a “thing”?), it fits the purpose for describing the intention of ‘drone music’.
“Constant” is the well-chosen title of the drone Mystified (Thomas Park) originally ‘found’, and which he thought impressive enough to listen to it constantly. It has the basic soothing drone quality of distant humming machines…reassuring and comforting sounds to listen to, to ignore, or to help disguise other, unwanted sounds from your environment.
When listening to the music on this CD, it’s hard to imagine that the creator, 22-year old Tomasz Bednarczyk from Poland, wasn’t born yet when Brian Eno and Harold Budd created their genre-defining work in the first half of the eighties.
In an interesting article about ‘web 2.0 fan-based fundraising’, Kevin Kelly (founding editor of Wire Magazine) states that any artists only needs “1000 True Fans” to make a living out of music.
“A ‘True Fan’ is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.”
It has become a sort of a yearly tradition since 2000: the “Spring ambient mix” on dutch national radio (NPS).
This year’s mix, a two hour mix, is now available to listen to online.
It was broadcast in the first two Radio 6 NPS-Folio broadcasts of April.
Not exactly “ambient”, but definitely “Cinema for the Ear” as the composer himself calls it. And indeed: the carefully orchestrated samples and sound fragments seem to tell a story without images. A beautiful tension is created in a dialogue between the electronic soundscape and the piano improvisations.
The Bersarin Quartett is a bit hard to classify. If a subgenre called ‘lounge ambient’ (not to be shortcutted to ‘lambient’, please) existed, the Bersarin Quartett would be one of the first to fit in. Or maybe even define it.
The Bersarin Quartett is not a quartet at all, as you might’ve expected: it’s just “Thomas”. Thomas “Bersarin’s” music can best be described floating somewhere between Biosphere’s ‘Shenzou’ and Cinematic Orchestra without vocals.
‘Cinematic’ this sure is: string orchestra samples are used to full effect. It’s a widescreen soundtrack to non-existent films.
And it’s full of mixed emotions….
100 Fragments is a re-release of Ikeda’s 1995 debut. Originally released on his own CCI recordings label, this album inspired the Raster-Noton founders, who proudly present this rerelease on their own label.
There are two sides to this album, or maybe even three…
“This Quiet Season” is aptly titled for a release on Slaapwel Records (Sleep Well). Slaapwel is a small DIY label from Belgium that focuses on ‘music to fall asleep to’ and releases it in limited amounts (because the packages are handmade).
While the releases on this label all have a recognizable package format, each release gets a handmade cover that perfectly fits the musical content.
Jasper TX (named after a city located in Texas) is also knows as Dag Rosenqvist from Sweden. Apart from earlier releases under this name, he also released titles together with Rutger Zuyderveld (Machinefabriek) such as Vintermusik and Feberdröm.
Some of you may have noticed the name of this weblog has changed.
“Sound is Audible Time” (a quote from a book by John Luther Adams: “Winter Music“) has been the motto of this weblog for over two years now. I felt it was time for something shorter.
“DreamScenes” was the name of one of the ambient-mixes I have created for NPS Supplement radio.
This particular one was broadcast for four uninterrupted hours back in 2002.
“DreamScenes” is a short but effective description of what good ambient music can be.
And, for some reason, it’s also the word that frequently makes search engine users land on one of my webpages.
(Could it be they came looking for a ‘dreamscene’ animated desktop backgrounds for Vista?
Most of these animated backgrounds are quite “ambient” natured too, so combining a desktop dreamscene with some of the music offered here may result in interesting combinations… )
By the way, the title is the only thing that has changed.
The rest of the weblog remains exactly the same. No need to change your links.
I can’t remember how I found the Resting Bell netlabel website – must have been on someone else’s weblog. The website layout looked promising enough, so I downloaded some of the albums available.
Starting, of course, with the latest release: Entia Non’s Sub routine.
The quality of the music of this album is impressive. Created by Australian artist James McDougall, it bears many references yet still maintains a completely personal sound.
It’s Entia Non’s first release on Resting Bell, after releasing other titles on U-Cover and Test Tube.