Parallax (Mix)

“I’m not formed by things that are of myself alone”

This is the key quote (taken from Stoker) for this mix, which is also ‘not formed by things of itself alone’. Every detail, every short sample, has its origin in another context, another musical composition, from which it is taken to find a new place in a completely different context.

“My ears hear what others cannot hear.”

Parallax is the visual effect that, when you are moving yourself, objects closer to you seem to move by faster than objects in the distance, which slowly seem to move with you in the same direction.
In sound, drones seem to create a somewhat similar effect.
In some way that is what this mix is about: the background sound slowly moving along with you while some other fragments pass by so quick you cannot even focus.
Just don’t try to focus.

“…Now I see things that were hidden from my eyes…”

Rust (Mix) – The Video Version

When publishing the mixes for Ambientblog, I have always been looking for a way to ‘visualise’ the artist credits for the mix.

Most of the fragments and samples used in the mix-collages are almost indistinguishable, yet the interested listener might want to find out about the release details. 
This is why most mixes on ambientblog also feature a ‘sequence scheme’ image which shows the building blocks of that particular mix.

For my most recent mix, “Rust”, I decided to try out a different feature: a video version, which is showing the track details at the very moment they are used in the mix.

Rust (Mix)

The title of this mix is taken from the beautiful soundtrack it heavily leans on: Alexandre Desplat’s “Rust and Bone” (De Rouille et D’Os”).

“Rust” usually refers to ‘decay’, but in dutch “Rust” simply also means ‘rest‘, (‘tranquil – or ‘repos’ in french).

But – as we say in Holland: “Rust Roest”
or: “Too much rest will make you rusty…”

In other words: don’t expect just ‘tranquil’ sounds in this mix..
This is nót meant to be your average ‘healing session ambient’ soundtrack… so be prepared…

26 Shades of Darkness (Mix)

The sheer volume of the Headphone Commute’s …And Darkness Came’ compilation – issued as a charity fundraising for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and boasting 87 tracks (over 6 hours) of music – was also a kind of invitation to create a mix from it.
Presenting a wide range of music from well (and lesser) known artists – covering most of the ambient/electronic/post-classical/improv spectre, the compilation is an overview and ‘who’s who’ of what’s happening at this very moment.
Its diversity of sounds and musical ideas will appeal to everyone with open ears.

Broken Lines (Mix)


HAL's eye

If you have ever watched Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001 – Space Odyssey, you will definitely remember the impressive scene in which the memory modules are slowly taken away from HAL, the ship’s main computer, because it started to disfunction and became a threat to the astronauts and their mission.
Just before his memory fades completely, HAL remembers being programmed to sing“Daisy”, one of his earliest digital ‘childhood memories’.

With this scene (as well as with HAL‘s name), Kubrick directly referred to the IBM 7094 computer (used to control the Mercury and Gemini space flights, as well as the Apollo missions) which was programmed to sing Daisy in 1961 – a remarkable accomplishment at that time!

Computer systems revolting, loss of memory, human utterings that seem to come from lost souls….
I guess you’d better be prepared for a dark and suspenseful listening hour …

If you have listened to this mix, I’m really curious to know what you think, so please let me know!
(and please let your friends know, also… just spread the word and make these mixes heard …  thanks for your help!)

"Both Were Moving" (Mix)


image by Asifthebes

At the closing of 2012, I’m proud to present this new ‘dialogue mix’  (the only other collaboration on ambientblog is the Division Dialogue mix created together with Muttley in 2010).

When Christophe Ywaska, creator of the weekly Klankschap radio shows on VillaBota webradio (whose mixes can also be found on Mixcloud, by the way) suggested working on a mix together, I knew we were in for a sonic treat. 
Klankschap mixes are never “just” ambient – or “just” any other genre for that matter. Their tracklistings are a display of a deep knowledge of all kinds of experimental music, both new ánd old.
Due to their nature, they dó require some ‘active’ listening, though: they’re never meant to be ‘easy listening’ background music.

And the same is true for this mix, “Both Were Moving”: this is clearly no ‘ambient’ mix – it’s a sonic rollercoaster ride!

Gathering Clouds (mix)

This must be one of the darkest mixes I have created until now.
I recommend headphone listening for this mix, but also recommend to avoid late night listening – unless, of course, you know what to expect.

The atmosphere is immediately set with the first notes, with a threatening (Boduf Songs) howl , and may even get downright frightening in the end climax.
Yet, not all is dark and gloomy.
In the middle section, there are also more optimistic sounds to enjoy, some more comfortable moments. 

So: just let the Machinefabriek track (‘Stroomtoon Eén’- about 4 minutes from the start) guide you downward to a lower consciousness level – “Inception” style – and from there let your imagination do the rest….

Solaris Mindset (Mix)

Mentioning Andrej Tarkovsky’s 1972 movie Solarisas a source of inspiration has become a bit of cliche somehow. This classic movie (we’re talking the original Russian 1972 version now) has inspired numerous people, in various fields of art, in its 40 years of existence.

The sparse music soundtrack, created by Edward Artemyev, and the overall meditative ambient atmosphere has also inspired a great deal of ambient music artists.
It also inspired this mix-collage.
Referring to Solaris from a mix like this may not really be in the ‘true spirit’ of what Tarkovsky meant to achieve: he originally wanted to make the movie entirely without using music at all, and asked composer Artemyev to orchestrate the ambient sounds as a musical score. The latter proposed subtly introducing orchestral music. (source).

The sparse use of musical background, together with the length and slow pace of the movie (a ‘meditative psychological drama’) has always had a strange effect on me: it puts me in some kind of half-sleep, a kind of state in which where it is difficult to distinguish details, to separate reality from images less ‘real’.
A half-conscious state of mind that perfectly matches the movie’s theme.


Solaris

This mix includes many different sources. Some parts of the originals Artemyev soundtrack are linked to fragments of the beautiful game soundtrack from Skyrim, by Jeremy Soule. The cinematic parts are alternated with various electronic soundscape fragments – familiar and less familiar.
Together with many tiny fragments from your own memory, a new – and strictly personal- alternate reality may be created, which (like in Solaris) may be hard to distinguish from real life…

Solaris was originally released in march 1972.
This tribute mix is celebrating this inspiring movie’s 40th anniversary!

Stillness [Mix]


Stillness

“Stillness”
image by imago2007

This mix obviously found its name from the lovely intro (and outtro) track by Nest.
Inbetween, there are many moments of ‘stillness’, too… Moments you may slowly drift off into the drones, letting your mind wander … to be pulled back again by some of the post-classical ‘anchors’ in this mix by Winged Victory For the Sullen, Human Greed, Vladimír Gódar, and Maya Beiser (member of Bang on a Can, with a stunning cello performance of the Djivan Gasparyan composition ‘Memories’).

Most of the tracks featured in this were released in 2011. But this mix is nót intended as a “Best of..” overview. That would result in a mix with an entirely different atmosphere (- and much longer, because one hour would not be enough to cover all the great releases I have enjoyed in 2011).

Maybe it’s a good way to start a new year with a small opportunity to retreat from current society’s turmoil, and to find some time to ‘cocoon’ to the sounds (and the sometimes fascinating depths) of ‘Stillness’.

Some word of warning, however: if this suggests this mix only contains warm, comfortable and pleasurable sounds, be prepared for some suprises.
I never said that “Stillness” always means “Comforting”…

Best wishes for 2012 to all of you!

November Thoughts (Mix)

In the Northern Hemisphere, the November month is the month of Autumn: the month that summer is definitely over, when cold and darkness slowly creeps in. 
(In the Southern Hemisphere, November is a month of Spring – which means this mix will probably not fit your “November Thoughts” at all). 

(Northern) November can be rough and harsh, but it’s also very beautiful to watch nature prepare for winter and finding ourselves doing the same.
It is also a good month to think November Thoughts.


Teloorgang (Decay and Loss) (Mix)

“Teloorgang” is a beautiful dutch word that can be best translated with “Loss” or “Decay”.

Some say there is beauty in decay….This may be true, but in fact only when watched from a safe distance – the ‘decay’ not regarding ourselves or our own environment..

It is, of course, tempting to relate the theme of this mix to the current state of our (western) society.
But that may just be coincidence: this word “Teloorgang” came to mind when listening back the mix after it was finished.

True: this mix is a somewhat darker than some of the others published here. Thus, it perfectly fits in with the season that is up ahead: summer retreats, autumn kicks in, nights getting darker and colder. 

Sit back, close your eyes and immerse yourself in the beauty of decay and loss.

(The picture was taken in a small town nearYusufeli (Turkey): an near-desolate area that will be covered with water in the near future when the Dam Project will be completed)

Discouraging Intruders (Mix)

The main theme for this mix (as well as the title “Discouraging Intruders” ) came from the spoken word track by the Dwindlers: “What the Wolves Said”:

“No two of us on the same note, we sound bigger…our harmony discouraging intruders…”

Although generally not sounding like a pack of howling wolves, sometimes the purpose of ‘ambient’ music also is also is to ‘discourage intruders’ (such as unwanted sounds) to invade your environment..

From the opening, this mix slowly dwells into long drone soundscapes – some discouraging, others comforting – only to be interrupted by a climactic eruption from Siddhartha Barnhoorn‘s cinematic ‘Artifacts‘ directly following the enchanting vocals of Fovea Hex, a choir arrangement that seems to be coming directly from heaven by Franz Liszt (from ‘Via Crucis‘, 1879!), followed by a Sibil’La Catalana string theme from the 15th century – and finally to be concluded by the acquiescent vocals from the Terje Isungset track.   

Whether you prefer to be on the inside or the outside is up to your imagination…

Image with kind permission from the Panopticons project.

Amnesia (Mix)


Photo: 'Misty Park' by Michel Banabila

Although it was created in March, this mix shows little signs of “Spring”.

There was no intentional relation, but inevitably the devastating Japan Earthquake, and the frightening nuclear disaster following it, somehow found its way into this mix.
The result: a rather dark overall atmosphere, which seems to leave little room for hope.
But at the same time, in Europe, winter retreats and daylight returns.
Nature shows that it can destroy as well as recuperate.

Arno Peeters – The Peeters Principle (Mix)


Arno Peeters

When I started working on this ‘single artist mix’ featuring music and sounds from Arno Peeters, I did not realise that creating a mix-collage based on soundscapes would be more difficult than one based on single tracks.

A soundscape is a collage in itself – and using fragments from soundscapes to build another soundscape is like ripping up a collage and presenting the fragmented details out of their original context, rearranging them to create a new caleidoscopic image.
The original context gets lost, and the result feels like an aural stream of consciousness that may not exactly be “easy on the ears” …. but may prove to be a fascinating exploration of imaginary territories..

Fovea Hex – Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent (Mix)


Fovea Hex

When I read that a new Fovea Hex album will be released in the “Very-Imminent-Future”, this revived fond memories of their 2007 box set called “Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent”.

Two quotes may introduce this fascinating collection: Brian Eno thought these were “Some of the Most Extraordinary  Songs I’ve heard in Years”, and The WIRE aptly summarized it this way: “If Emily Dickinson had ever been allowed to make a record, this is probably what it would have sounded like”.

These comments are all about the songs, but I was also impressed by the way Fovea Hex combined the (unmistakable English) “folk” tradition, their sweet sounding but very strange and mysterious vocal poetry, with a daringly experimental sound backing – even to the most extreme on the stretched minimalist remixes of the Hafler Trio (Andrew McKenzie) on the bonus versions  included in the original limited special edition.

Dawn Secrets (Mix)

What exactly happens at the moment night changes back into day again, when darkness slowly retreats and light comes back in? 
Are we aware of what happens outside, at that time of day most of us are still sleeping? 
What sort of animals or creatures are hiding from the light, and what sort finally dare to come out again? 
Would we discover “Dawn Secrets” when we’d leave our own safe and familiar surroundings?

To be honest, I did not start this mix with this theme in mind…it just ‘dawned’ on me when listening to it when it was almost finished…But from the start, I wanted this mix to have a strong ‘environmental’ feel (but not only include field recordings).

Secret Chords and Apparitions (Mix)

Imagine yourself in deep sleep. Very deep sleep.
Unaware of your surroundings, unable to control images built from memories, unable to distinguish your dreams from impressions originating from the outside world. 

At times, following a gentle sleep cycle, your consciousness slowly raises – almost up to the point of waking up. At these moments, the outside world is more perceptible, you’re vaguely aware of what’s happening around you.

But not for long, because you gradually sink back to the realm of subconscious deep sleep.  

This mix was created in november, 2010. It was ‘premiered’ on Fluid Radio Mixcloud