Akira Rabelais’ Christmas Gift

Akira Logo

**Please note: **
This remix was intended as a special 2009 Christmas gift from Akira Rabelais.
It is now no longer available to download

Right from the very first time I heard the “Spellewauerynsherde” album by Akira Rabelais (released in 2004 by David Sylvian’s Samadhisound label) this album has been one of my absolute favourites. 
And now, 5 years since the original release, it still is a sound unheard neither before nor since.
Spellewauerynshere is built from found sounds, field recordings of traditional Icelandic accapella lament songs that were recorded in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The recordings are heavily (and sometimes less heavily) treated and manipulated by Rabelais’ custom built music software, Argeïphontes Lyre.
You can check back on ambientblog to read my review from 2005:
“It’s as if a voice coming from the middle ages haunts you in your deepest sleep. It’s beautiful, heavenlike. But at the same time it’s distorted and confusing, scary even.”

Now, Akira created a complete new mix from the same source material, and decided to present it as a Christmas gift.
It has the same haunting atmosphere, so if you want to have some ‘slightly’ different christmas music at home this year, this gift is for you. You’ll have to act quick, since the links and podcast will be removed after christmas day.

Peter Broderick – Music for a Sleeping Sculpture…

Peter Broderick

Earlier this weekend, the Belgian label Slaapwel (Sleep Well) presented their first labelnight in Leuven, Belgium.
To my regret, I was not able to be there – although I’m a big fan of Slaapwel’s sleep inducing catalogue.

And, looking at the venue for this special night (including breakfast) it must have been very special indeed:

Read post"Peter Broderick – Music for a Sleeping Sculpture…"

Dream Calibration (mix)

Nonstop Ambient Montage: from Alva Noto to Arvo Pärt, via Arve Henriksen and Jacaszek, with short stops at Christopher Bissonnette, Entia Non, Kraken, Goldmund, and many, many others.

This mix was created may/june 2009.
Image by Weirena

This is the last of the ‘ambient montages’ that were created for radiobroadcast. 
Until now, 24 mixes are published on this weblog, counting 26 hours of continuous ambient/electronic/experimental music.  

In the remaining weeks of this year some ‘different approach’ mixes will be published additionally: one focussing on game music and another focussing on the work of one composer. 

Then, in 2010, on to the next phase….

Nest – Retold

The Serein netlabel was founded in 2005 and released quite an impressing batch of quality ambient and electronic music. In 2007, Serein released it’s ‘flagship title’: the Nest EP.

Nest is the collaborative project of Otto Totland (Deaf Center; Type Records) and Huw Roberts (Serein Label owner).

The beauty of their music was quickly recognised, the blogosphere caught on and the EP was features in a lot of favourites-lists that year. 

Then, early 2009, the Serein site closed down.

Utsura – Utsura (mix)


Utsura-Utsura” is a japanese expression indicating the ‘fluctuation between alert wakefulness and a state of half-sleep’. Or at least: I was told that it means something like that…can anyone confirm this?

True or not, this is exactly what this hour-long mix is about: between being awake and half asleep. Sigur Rós, Arve Henriksen and Helios may be your grip to reality in this somewhat abstract, sometimes hallucinatory sound.

True (mix)

Like it’s companion mix (“Strange Birds“, published last week) this mix was also broadcast in April 2008.

It’s a further walk in the same landscape. Sometimes the tension may rise somewhat, but the view remains spectacular.

This mix is concluded by the Soccer Committee song ‘True’ that also gave this mix it’s title.
In her search for quietness, Mariska Baars (Soccer Committee) has proven that ‘ambient’ music does not necessarily involves ‘electronics’.

Peter Broderick & Machinefabriek – Blank Grey Canvas Sky

These artist names are probably familiar to everyone even remotely interested in ambient/electronic music.
Multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick (from Oregon, now living in Berlin) released quite a few impressive albums under his own name, and is currently touring as a member of Efterklang.
The number of albums Rutger “Machinefabriek” Zuydervelt (from Arnhem, now living in Rotterdam) has released can hardly be counted any more (quite some of them are featured on this weblog).

So when two such great artists start working together expectations are quite high!

Strange Birds (mix)

The central thematic piece in this mix is Christina Kubisch‘ “Tea Time (Autumn Leaves Mix)“, from Gruenrecorder’s “Autumn Leaves” – male singers communicating as if they were birds, twittering words like “Who’s awake?“, “Me Too!” and “Who cooks for you?“.

This spring-like chatter evokes a strange and hypnotic landscape sometimes unnerving, sometimes comforting.

This mix was created february – march 2008, together with “True“.  It was definitely an early spring that year!

Various Artists – Hope

The brand new Fluid Audio label kicks off with a promising start: a compilation album donating 50% of its profits to charity. (Toybox Charity foundation, supporting latin america’s street children).

One may wonder how much funds this may raise in times where ambient musicians hardly make enough money to break even on any physical CD release.
Just realising the fact that the ‘average Guatemalan street kid’ has an average life expectancy of four years should make you buy this album.
But the music included proves to be rewarding too – raising expectations fairly high for future releases on this label.

Allegaar (mix)

According to my dictionary, ‘Allegaar‘ translates to ‘Hotchenpotch‘ – but I can imagine there may be a better word for that!?

Just like the previous mix (“Leftover Mix“), this 2008 mix has no special theme, it’s just a collection of tracks mixed together fairly randomly. But in their new context the tracks seem to start to tell their own new story!

Celer – Close Proximity…

This could have been one of the shortest reviews of this weblog: I simply could state that this music induced some of the deepest sleeps I experienced when listening to ambient music. And please don’t doubt that that is meant as a true compliment!

Even the found environmental sounds included in the tracks could not disturb the peaceful quiet and the balanced harmonies of this music. And most of the real-time environmental sounds merging in from outside can’t either.

This fact alone makes this album one of the most impressive I heard this year.

The Leftover Mix (mix)

Leftovers (Photo by Muffet)

Though the title may give the impression that this mix consists of ‘second choice music’, that is definitely nót the case!

These tracks did not find their way to a 2007 Folio radio show, but were too good to stay unnoticed. So I used them in this ‘2007 end-of-year’ mix. It serves these tasty ‘leftovers’ as one uninterrupted delicate stew.

Solo Andata – Solo Andata

A few years ago, ‘Ambient Music‘ used to be almost synonymous to ‘Electronic Music‘ in regards of instruments chosen and production process.
But gradually, acoustic instruments crept in, maybe as a reaction to laptop concerts proving to be quite boring – throw in a ‘real’ musician playing a ‘real’ instrument (cello is favourite for its sound) and any live show is far more interesting to watch.  

A lot of this music can hardly be called ‘ambient’ any more. Some of it is modern classical music, some of it has firm roots in ethnic folk music or even folk psychedelica…

Enter Solo Andata. Australian duo (Kane Ikin and Paul Fiocco), creating great ambient soundscapes which are as much ‘electronic’ as they are ‘acoustic’, still definitely also ‘ambient music’.
Their second album (Solo Andata) is released on the 12k label, mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi and with cover art by Taylor Deupree. Any more recommendation needed?

The Lights Galaxia – Global

Global EP

Obviously, since it’s very hard to earn a living (or even a part of it) from creating ambient music, a lot of musicians creating this kind of music offer it for free.
From their own websites,  through netlablels or using archive.org, bandcamp.com or one of the many alternatives for sharing music.

So if you take some time to do a good search you may find quite some nice music (and a pile of rubbish too).