Ring (mix)


“Ring” is the second part of the  two part auditive “guided fantasy” from 2006 (“Wave” being the first part). A mix of ambient music, soundscapes and other musical surprises, created in 2006.

The first of these four programs was a compilation of the (magnificent) album ‘Spellewauerynsherde‘ by Akira Rabelais, the fourth part was a compilation of music from Iceland. (Since these programs are not ‘ambient mixes’ they are not included in this collection).

The four parts were called “Spelle”, “Wave”, “Ring” and “Sharde”, which together is also the full title of Akira Rabelais’ “Spellewauerynsherde” album. Tracks and fragments of this album are present throughout all four programs. I’m very grateful to Akira for sharing some of the unreleased shardes from his magnificient Spellewauerynsherde project!

BTW – the pictures shown above are from Helga Kvam.
No one ever captured the mysterious Icelandic nature better than she does.

Wave (mix)


“Wave” is the first of a two part an auditive “guided fantasy” (“Ring” being the second part).
A mix of ambient music, soundscapes and other musical surprises, created in 2006.
No track is played completely, but the interaction of the fragments creates a completely new structure…. Which, in fact, is true for all ambient mixes of course…

These two mixes were part of a 4-hour radio broadcast that were thematically related to Icelandic music. At least: the first and the last were mostly. The first of these four programs was a compilation of the (magnificent) album ‘Spellewauerynsherde‘ by Akira Rabelais, the fourth part was a compilation of music from Iceland.

I guess it’s safe to assume that this also probably is the first (and possibly single) ambient music collage containing Venetian Snares music!
(read more for complete paylist)

Beautiful Companions: Dakota Suite

The End of Trying

‘The End of Trying’ is not a ‘typical’ Dakota Suite Release. Unlike most Dakota Suite albums (except 1999’s Navigators Yard) it is fully instrumental, with Chris Hooson, David Buxton and Colin Dunkley playing piano and David Darling playing cello.
The latter fact may indicate the mood of the music on this album: it is extremely delicate, heartbreaking melancholic music.
A ‘classic’ release that immediately struck me when I first heard it in the beginning of this year.

The track titles indicate the overall mood of this music: How Could You Let Me Go, Things We Lost Along The Way, All The Love I Had Was Not Enough, A Quietly Gathering Tragedy, and not forgetting “Een Langzaam Lekkende Wond‘ (A Slow Leaking Wound) which reminds us of the fact that Chris Hooson lived in Holland for quite a few years.
This beautiful sad music is clearly not meant to brighten up your day. But it might soothe your sadness with rays of hope shining through empathic, understanding themes and fabulous cello sounds. 

‘The End of Trying’ is one of the most beautiful albums I have heard this year, and it even gains strength with the companion CD that was released shortly after the release of the original: “The Night Keeps Coming In”.

The Hum in the Room (mix)

“The Hum in the Room” the final part of the three-part mix dedicated to … the hum in your room

The buzz that you suddenly notice, that appears to have been there forever but unnoticed – until this moment.
The sound that will be there forever from now.
The hum that appears to come from the inside of your head, and that keeps changing when you turn your head or walk through the room.
The noise that can irritate as well as fascinate.

Or, to quote John Cage from a 1937 lecture: “Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating. The sound of a truck at 50 m.p.h. Static between the stations. Rain. We want to capture and control these sounds, to use them, not as sound effects, but as musical instruments.

Acoustical Illusions (mix)

“Acoustical Illusions”, a part of the “Hum in the Room-trilogy” (2005), is dedicated to the environmental sounds that sound like distant choirs or orchestras.

Sometimes when you listen to sounds in your environmental background, they may vaguely sound like a full string orchestra, or like soft whispering voices.
An orchestra tuning? Cars passing on the highway?Sound that sound different from what they really are – Acoustical Illusions.

Like the other wo mixes in this set (“Mantra of Walls and Wiring” and “The Hum in the Room“) this is a very minimal, drone-oriented mix.

And probably, you’ll also hear some sounds that aren’t even in it!

Mantra of Walls and Wiring (mix)


Mantra of Walls and Wiring” is the first of a set of three one hour mixes created in 2005.
The other two are “The Hum in the Room” and “Acoustical Illusion” (will follow later).

As you can read from the titles, these mixes thematically deal with the sound you can hear in your living environment; the ‘everyday hum‘ surrounding you.

I got inspired for this theme when I listened to a slowly fading ambient-cd…and finally realised the cd had already stopped for quite a while and I was obviously listening to (and enjoying) the hum of my own refrigerator!
Since then the household environmental sounds do not disturb me anymore…they became part of the music I’m playing.

Starting point of these programs is the text Paul Simon wrote for Philip Glass‘s ‘Changing Opinion’ (‘Songs from Liquid Days’), featured here in an extremely ‘deconstructed’ version (full text below).

Compared to the previous mixes these mixes are less accessible for listeners not used to ‘ambient drone music’.
These are the most ‘minimal’ mixes, containing some very strange combinations: the David Darling recording with the Wulu Bunun for example (which may give the feeling you are lifted into the sky) flowing into the sound of eternal rest of Eliane Radigue, followed by Herbert‘s sound of home-cooking bringing you back to your own private home.

As in all mixes, there are some dark and tense parts. This is not meant to be ‘new age happiness’ at all.
But in fact its serene timelessness never fails to amaze me.

S.A.D. Sounds – 2 (mix)

S.A.D. Sounds

Part 2 of the 2-part mix called ‘S.A.D. Sounds (Voorjaarsmoe)‘  (from april 2004).

The first part can be found here. (Please listen in sequence…)

S.A.D.” is an acronym of ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder‘, otherwise known as ‘Spring Fatigue’ (and also for the other season’s equivalents, like ‘Winter Depression’).

In Part 2, this theme is reflected in the closing part, a recording of a Kathleen Ferrier’s performance of Handel’s “Spring is Coming” (From ‘Ottone’):
Why should I alone be silent, when all nature awakes to life?”

S.A.D. Sounds – 1 (mix)

Arthus Bertrand - Auyan Tepui

The joys of springtime usually get the most attention, but the season has a dark side, too: “Spring Fatique”.
The need to eat and to sleep more than usual, inexplicable mood changes, the difficulty to be able to concentrate, etc.

These feelings are not strictly limited to the spring season, however. Comparable feelings are also known in Winter and Fall. About 60% of all people will probably recognise these symptoms. About 2% suffer from the more serious “Seasonal Affective Disorder’ (S.A.D.), also known as ‘Winter Depression’.

The symptoms described can almost be heard in the strange soundscapes of this mix: not only in the titles of the tracks, but also in the atmosphere. Dark sounds, mostly, especially in the beginning. Luckily, the keynote of the pieces used gets lighter when time progresses: it is as if you hear the sun struggling to break through the sky.. Besides being an auditive impression of the tiredness of spring, this program may hopefully also be a remedy against it.

This mix was created in 2004.

The classic Peter Hammill track ‘The Birds’ in the beginning of Part 1 defines the theme:

‘Spring came far too early this year: Mayflowers blooming in February.
Should I be sad for the months, or glad for the sky?
The birds don’t know which way to sing, and, my friends, neither do I.’

(Part 2 of this mix can be found here)

Peinzing – Part 1 (mix)

Peinzing 1 

Peinzing” (pondering, muse-ing) (2003) is the name of the musical collage in which the difference between ‘music’ and ‘sound’ will not always be clear to the listener.

Over time, this has proven to be one of the most popular mix, especially with listeners that were not exactly familiar to ambient/electronic music.
It is indeed one of the more accessible – which does nót necessarily mean this is ‘easy listening’.

Do nót expect ‘New Age’ music, despite some whale-, cricket- and other sounds of nature. At times the layers of sounds are dark and threatening, maybe even confronting.
There’s always the dynamic range between tension and release. The quiet piano sounds of John Cage and Arvo Pärt surround a broad spectrum of auditive landscapes. Inbetween, sometimes ‘ordinary’ pop-songs define the theme, like Paul Simon‘s ‘Quiet’:”I am heading for a time of quiet / When my restlessness is past / And I can lie down on my blanket / And release my fists at last“.

This particular sequence (Arno Peeter‘s collage of hectic life’s answering machines, Paul Simon‘s detaching Zen-like song ‘Quiet’, and Jon Hassell seemingly rephrasing Paul Simon’s last vocal line) is one of my all time favourite sequences.
Because for me this part expresses what most mixes are about: TensionRelease…and then again: dark clouds gathering above strange landscapes…

Please note that this 2-part mix is meant to be listened as one.
Peinzing (Part 2) can be found here

Vergeten Tijd (Time Forgotten) (mix)

Vergeten Tijd (‘Time Forgotten’) was not specifically created for the Polderlicht Project (Amsterdam, 2001), but the mix fits in seamlessly with KlankSluis and Eindpunt.

Because these three mixes were broadcast in one ‘go’ on dutch radio in 2002, I like to refer to them as the “Polderlicht Trilogy”.

To me, good drone/ambient music always has a feeling of timelessness. This mix (like most of my others) combines some of the deepest drones (Thomas Köner, Alio Die, Stars of the Lid) with music that is not even remotely considered ‘ambient’, yet has a similar feeling (Calexico, David Darling, Kimmo Pohjonen).

The sequence image (below) shows the way the tracks are superimposed and combined.

Eindpunt (End of the Line) (mix)

One of the reactions on the earlier 4 hour non stop ambient collages broadcast by Supplement (…dutch radio program with a focus on modern/avant garde/experimental music…) in the past years, was an invitation to contribute two sound installations to the location project called Polderlicht (Amsterdam, november 2001).

This is the second one: “Eindpunt (End of the Line)”

The first one was “Klanksluis” (SoundLock, as in ‘Airlock’).

Klanksluis (SoundLock) (mix)

One of the reactions on the earlier 4 hour non stop ambient collages broadcast by Supplement (…dutch radio program with a focus on modern/avant garde/experimental music…) in the past years, was an invitation to contribute two sound installations to the location project called Polderlicht (Amsterdam, november 2001).

This is the first one: “Klanksluis” (SoundLock, as in ‘Airlock’).
The other one is “Eindpunt (End of the Line)”, which will be published next.

DreamScenes – Part 1 (mix)


DreamScenes was originally created in 2001 for dutch radio. It consists of four one-hour parts that were broadcasted uninterrupted.
To my surprise it led to quite a few reactions, some people even listened to the the full 4 hours in one radio session.

This mix actually was the second in the series: in april 2001 the first one, called ‘Ambient Mix’ was broadcast (also 4 hours).
That one was in fact more of a ‘live mix’ (I had no good setup to pre-listen to the tracks), so I find this mix a bit too messy to publish here.

Quite a few of these mixes would follow in later years. I will gradually publish them all on this podcast weblog
I will of course publish full playlist details here too. Hope you’ll enjoy them and hope to find you here again in the future…

(Read more for Playlist Details and download link)