image by Lidija Hauck
“We were playing Hide and Seek on a Cemetery Hill…
…quiet hiding in the flowers…among the Flowers and Bones…”
Atmospheric drones slowly unfold into childhood memories …
Peaceful melancholic romanticism, but gradually overshadowed by fear of something out of control?
Remember: all’s well that ends well….
Mentioning Andrej Tarkovsky’s 1972 movie “Solaris” as 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.
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!
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!
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” 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)
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.
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.
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..
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.
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).