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.

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

Invisible Ink (Mix)

Though the title of Arve Henriksen’s opening track (Stille Veg, Quiet Road) was the working title for this mix, I finally decided to call it “Invisible Ink” – referring to the quote from Laurie Anderson’s track from “Homeland”, which may describe the confused global state (and – if you wish –  the political state of Holland in particular):

Was the Constitution written in visible ink?
Has everybody here forgotten how to think? 
Is this great big boat starting to … sink?”

But apart from this, this journey along the ‘Stille Veg’ may present some interesting encounters – some dark and mysterious, others enchanting and optimistic…