Inside and Outside

Being the prolific musician that he is, Stephen Philips has come up with quite some unusual ideas (see the recent post about the drone download project, for an example).

There’s quite a few projects under his name at www.darkduck.net. Inside and Outside is presented in the form of an extremely limited multi-part subscription project, which immediately raised my interest.
Only the final (fifth) album of this series, which is planned to end in december 2005, will be available as a non-limited release, but the preceding four (ánd an extra bonus disc) will be available only for the 25 subscribers lucky enough to have spot this in time..I guess we’re talking about a 100% collectors item release here!

The music is a combination of field recordings (from near Washington DC), blended with dark deep ambient drones and textures. The field recordings are made only just before creating the albums, so the complete series finally turns out to be an auditive description of this year’s summer, fall and the beginning of winter. I like that idea. And I like the music.

Most of the two cd’s that were releases until now contain dark, moody drones (though the atmosphere gets lighter in the seconds half of part two…)

Drone Download Project

DDP Year 2 CD cover

It?s heading to complete its third year already, so if this is the first time you hear about the Drone Download Project, you?ve already missed quite a few free ambient-drone download opportunities. You missed 80 tracks of the first two years, to be precise. But don’t worry: the third year (including a Year 2 Megamix) can still be downloaded.

As you?d probably expected by now, all material is of the minimalist drone kind, some even quite extreme.
New tracks are available online for a limited time only, so you have to keep an eye on the site, but Stephen sends out notifications to you if you want.
If you?re into this kind of music (and can spend some money on it), I can heartily advise ordering the first two years on convenient MP3 CD format. Listening to all tracks until now takes op 21+ full hours…

The DDP – as it is sometimes referred to – was started by Stephen Philips, and boasts some famous names. And some more less famous names too. There?s a lot of material by Stephen Philips himself, some other names you may already have heard before are Sundummy, Brannan Lane, Esa Ruoho, Austere, Igneous Flame, Jeff Greinke. To name just a few.

All material is created for this occasion especially, and most of it is not available in any other format.

Support Strongly Recommended!

Brilliant Concepts 2: LAST.FM

Almost everyone online is online permanently, using ADSL or Cable. This fact has produced some new concepts that would never have been possible before..such as that of last.fm – your own online music profile that you can fill up with the music you like. This information is used to create a personal radio station and to find users who are similar to you.

Basically – it’s very simple: you install a small plugin, and from that moment on the information about all tracks you play is stored in your online musical profile (only the tags, not the tracks themselves). This of course assumes that you play your music on a PC connected to the net, so playing normal Cd’s don’t count. But really – who still plays original cd’s???

After playing 500+ or so tracks, your musical contours get more detailed and your profile reveals your musical hangups and habits. This may lead to some beautiful spinoffs: if you like this, you might also like that. Of the 20.000 people listening to the same track you did, about 90% also listens to (…fill in a band that you may never have heard of!…).
Eventually, you get neighbours, or even friends, based on the musical profile you build. People you would never ever meet in your local record store, just because they may live in another part of the world. And there’s more…

Brilliant Concepts 1: Instant live concerts

Remember the good old bootleg days? The thrill of hearing a recording of a concert you actually joined (regardless of the sound quality of the recording)?
Even for people that did not join the concert themselves, a bootleg recording may have some magic to it. 
There are lots of fans exchanging all their live-tapes…(as if 50+ concert recordings do not start to sound alike…)

The guys (I guess) at instantliveconcerts.com have understood this concept and used current technology to offer a quality cd concert-recording in about six minutes after the concert ends…Now that’s what I call HOT.

Lewis Furey – Cleanup Time

From: Lewis Furey; 1975

Canadian singer sounding like Lou Reed performing musical soundtracks…(can you imagine?)
He was a one-of-a-kind man, performing with Carole Laure in music and movies…ohh those were the days.

If anyone of you remembers this man or this track I invite you to post your memories.

Stimmhorn – Melken

Overtone singing and ALPENHORN blowing….a combination you will probably NEVER hear on your local radio station (unless you’re swiss).

This track, Melksuite, is definitely a good first candidate for the ‘Weird Department’. The album from which this is taken is called ‘Melken’, and was released in 1997.

Arvo Part – Lamentate

Referring to Arvo Pärt’s music as ‘ambient’ is a bit like swearing in church, I guess.
But still, there are similarities. Listen, for example, to Da pacem Domine, and you’ll probably be remembering some of the earlier ambient works of Brian Eno (Music for Airports 2/1, to be specific).

The Hilliard Ensemble as always guarantee a flawless and heavenly performance.

Michel Banabila – Hilarious Expedition

Michel Banabila must be one of Hollands best kept secrets. He has released numerous albums, some ambient, some world, some jazz, some experimental, all worth the listen.

Hilarious Expedition is a double album with movie- and theatre music, which he has released himself in a limited independent edition. Because it probably would be too ‘difficult’ for official release.

I regret this album is a bit overlooked – due to it’s independent release – because it should attract a wider, adventurous, audience.

Nils Petter Molvaer – ER

For the ‘pop’ listener, ER is a far more complex album than Molvaer’s earlier work. The arrangements sound like studio improvisations, and the result is more ‘jazz’, less ‘dance. The accompanying background is created with delicate electronic sounds, which make the record very modern.
‘Sober’ is one of the best tracks, in my opinion. And that may very well be because it’s so ….er…..sober.