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No Stars (Mix)

No Stars

I know, I know – it’s a bit risky to use a cheesy teenage love song as the title track of an otherwise fairly dark ambient mix. Even if the song is taken from the Twin Peaks 2017 soundtrack. Some listeners probably won’t get past it – and if they quit at that point, they’ll miss the 40 minutes of associative transitions in the rest of the mix.
But I personally really love the juxtaposition of this dreamy love song between the feverish mumbling of David Sylvian and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s track merging into the almost frightening climax of Stefan Wesolowski.
To quote Woody Brown (the ‘industry expert of mixing’): “use your ears, not your prejudices”!

But, jokes aside, this ís a serious mix. With the occasional exception, most of the music in this mix is heavily mutilated: the original tracks are cut-up, shortened, fragmented, edited – often using only a fragment from a track that originally is much longer. A collage like this takes the sound out of its original context to serve its own purpose. That is not meant disrespectful, please let me emphasize this again… (I hope you can hear that in the result!)
Be sure to check out the original sources if you enjoy the sounds – you can find the details it in the tracklist below.

Now, follow me into a movie that you might wanna see sometime… a movie that’s happening in the back of your own head…


“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky (Ryuichi Sakamoto – Full Moon intro)

Edit June 19, 2018:
I’m very happy that the wonderful Headphone Commute has now re-published No Stars which means it’ll get much more listeners now. Find it [HERE]

No Stars - Sequence

(first time is the start time, time in brackets is the sample length)

  • 00:00 (01:33)
    Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet – Dreams
    Landfall, 2018, Nonesuch 7559-79338-9
  • 01:21 (01:10)
    Tomoko Sauvage – Clepsydra
    Musique Hydromantique, 2017, Shelter Press SP087
  • 01:25 (01:36)
    Christina Vantzou & John Also Bennett – Alfred Hitchcock Haze
    Zin Taylor’s Thought Of A Dot As It Travels The Surface, 2018, Shelter Press SP092
  • 02:38 (01:14)
    Scott Worthington – Interlude
    Orbit, 2018, 2018, IIKKI IIKKI005
  • 03:17 (01:34)
    Anne Garner – Brink
    The Last Sense To Leave Us (A Tribute To Pauline Oliveiros), 2017, Rural Colours RC80
  • 04:23 (06:47)
    Swoop And Cross – St. No
    Stories Of Disintegration, 2018, Time Released Sound TRS074
  • 09:56 (05:03)
    Rhodri Davies, David Sylvian, Mark Wastell – There Is No Love
    There Is No Love, 2017, 2017, Confront Core 01
  • 14:07 (04:33)
    Rebekah Del Rio – No Stars
    Twin Peaks – Music From The Limited Event Series, 2017, Rhino Records 081227933982
  • 17:57 (02:47)
    Jóhann Jóhannsson – The Horse Latitudes
    The Mercy OST, 2018, Deutsche Grammophon 479 8303
  • 19:17 (03:45)
    Stefan Wesolowski – Prelude
    Rite OF The End, 2017, Ici D’Ailleurs
  • 22:03 (04:24 )
    Tonaliens – Pallas, Pt. 2

    Tonaliens, 2018, Edition Telemark 785.02
  • 22:41 (02:36)
    Scanner – Cast To The Bottom
    The Great Crater, 2017, Glacial Movements Records GM 030
  • 24:38 (02:00)
    The Beacon Sound Choir – Drone 3 
    Sunday Songs, 2017, First Terrace Records, FTR002
  • 25:21 (03:33)
    OSA7029 – Osa 2 (feat. Debi Wong)
    A Sense Of Belonging, 2017, self-released (Bandcamp)
  • 27:53 (01:06)
    Ryuichi Sakamoto – Full Moon (intro)
    Async, 2017, Milan 399 903-2
  • 28:54 (03:18)
    Joana Gama & Luis Fernandez – Lucid Stillness
    At The Still Point Of The Turning World, 2018, Room40 RM492
  • 31:31 (01:54)
    Max Richter & London Voices – What Did They Die For
    Hostiles OST, 2018, Deutsche Grammophon 479 9865
  • 32:54 (04:00)
    Yann Novak – The Inertia Of Time
    The Future Is A Forward Escape Into The Past, 2018, Touch TO:105
  • 35:58 (01:17)
    Nanook Of The North – Qulingat
    Nanook Of The North, 2018, Denovali Records
  • 36:42 (01:32)
    Laurie Spiegel – Three Sonic Spaces I
    Unseen Worlds, 1994, Aesthetic Engineering 11001-2
  • 37:50 (03:31)
    Loscil – Azimuth
    Illuminations II – The New Year 2018 Charity Compilation, Dronarivm
  • 40:50 (01:56)
    Shall Remain Nameless – Untitled III
    Untitled, 2018, self-released
  • 42:22 (01:28)
    Koenraad Ecker – L’Incendio Genovese (In Memoriam Carlo Giuliani)
    A Biology Of Shadows, 2018, In Aulis AUL001
  • 43:26 (02:34)
    Lee Yi – Desecration
    An Instant For Momentary Desolation, 2017, Rottenman Editions
  • 44:45 (03:24)
    Haarvöl – Senescéncia
    Bombinate, 2017, Moving Furniture Records MFR042
  • 46:23 (04:15)
    Solo Collective – Ascension
    Part One, 2017, Nonostar NR02
  • 49:01 (06:40)
    Olan Mill – Molanret 
    Orient, 2017, Hidden Vibes HV044
  • 55:46 (02:10)
    Trio Mediaeval & Arve Henriksen – Gammelkjerringsvalsen
    Rimur, 2017, ECM Records ECM2520, 481 4742

Download No Stars Now 136Mb (57:59 min.)
[Alternative download from]
[Surround-version (DTS.Wav) here]

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Bas van Huizen, Orphax, Chihei Hatakeyama, Dirk Serries


You only need one short look at the (A5-sized) cover to know that you’re in for something different. The title is – as usual for Van Huizen‘s releases – untranslatable: a nonexistent dutch word which could mean something like ‘entangled force’.

‘Van Huizen searches for music that can speak for itself’.
And so it does – but once you watched the fantastic teaser video (check below) there’s no escaping the striking surrealistic images conjured by this combination of sound and images!

Kluwekracht is created from voice, guitars and singing bowls – but the resulting power ambient is never far from noise and may not be anything like what you would expect from this combination!

Dream Sequence

For this short 3″ EP-release – the first of a series ‘with a dreamy touch’ – Orphax (Sietse van Erve) used a 40 year old Digisizer DIY synth to create the basic drone material.
‘A weird machine that has a high random factor and many errors’.
The result is a nice meandering, adventurous – yet dreamy – drone piece with enough variation to keep your attention for its full 21 minutes length.

Five Dreams

Once you’ve heard a few of his releases, you’ll immediately recognise the soothing sounds of Chihei Hatakeyama.
The calm, slow and peaceful meditations on Five Dreams are no exception.

Inspired by Ten Nights of Dreams‘ by Soseki Natsume, which were each set in different time periods, Hatakeyma presents his interpretations of five dreams, each one from a different month.
The basic sound files were recorded in 2008 using an electric guitar, but Hatakeyama took all the time he needed to edit them until they were ready to be released.

Storm of Silence

The Glacial Movements releases are all related to winter, and cold desolate icy landscapes.  So is this collaboration of Chihei Hatakeyama with Belgian ambient music veteran Dirk Serries:

“My work with Chihei is one for the winter. Amidst the icy landscapes, the isolation and the desolate space. When nature becomes almost super linear, less expressive in colour but with equal strength and severity. […] Chihei’s approach to my sources were different, more isolated, perhaps colder and distant. Almost like something you witnessed in the distance on the horizon, something less concrete and hard to define.”

A perfect description of the seasonal ‘isolationism’ in these recordings, but at the same time I never really feel any ‘coldness’… I feel nothing but ‘warmth’ when listening to this music.
Not the kind of tropical, festive summer heat of course, but the kind of warmth you feel when you decide the weather’s too bad to to go out an so you stay at your comfortably heated home to surrender to the dark and sleepy winter days.
So: perfect winter music indeed.

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Ian Hawgood & Friends – Wolven (A Modern Reinterpretation)



In its relatively short existence (almost 4 years), the Hibernate label has presented us with many beautiful releases and positioned themselves as one of the most important independent labels at the very centre of the ‘ambient’ music scene. Or – since it’s increasingly difficult to use the word ‘ambient’ as a genre definition: music “both abstract and melodic but always with a hint of melancholy.”

The Hibernate label kicked off in 2009 with a release that set a high standard immediately: Wolfskin“, by Ian Hawgood – well-known for his own music as well as from the labels he curates: Home Normal and Koen Music.

Hibernate and Koen Music (KoMu) now present a 2-CD set revisiting the original “Wolfskin” release, called Wolven – A Modern Reinterpretation”.

As the slightly changed album and track titles suggests, this is not merely a ‘cover’ album of the original. The tracks take their inspiration from the original album, which “referenced a series of nightmares Ian had as a child, focussing on elements of dreams and violence by marrying beauty with the harsh.”

Wolven does not just portray the original recordings from Wolfskin in a different light – it also takes another look at the concept of dreams and nightmares. This time, the album strives to literally tread the pathways in Ian’s dreams – not without its terrifying moments along the way but always accompanied by a comfort pillow to keep you from harm.”

On the first CD of this 2CD set, Aaron Martin‘s cello takes center-stage and sets the (rather dark) mood. Embedded in layers of organ, keys and guitar fed through various tape reel machines, and mixed in with interpretations by Dag Rosenqvist, Spheruleus, Pillowdiver, y0t0, and Hakobune, the music easily and almost naturally shifts from ‘post-classical’ acoustics into abstract electronic soundscapes.
With “The Dance”, it takes off with exactly the same chord that concluded the original Wolfskin album – sticking close to the original concept and atmosphere, but at the same time a completely different, new, approach.

For the second CD, Brock Van Wey (aka bvdub) chooses a different approach. His characteristic bvdub sound creates a different, somewhat lighter atmosphere: three extremely long (24 – 32 minutes each) tracks with layers upons layers upon layers of (stretched and dubbed) samples, slowly accumulating – somehow his music always makes me feel as if my head (as well as the room around me) is filled with sound until there is not a empty space left….

If you know the original Wolfskin album, it is of course interesting to compare the details from these tracks to their original sources. But it is not necessary to know the original album to fully appreciate this new reworking, as it presents an inspiring set of different kind of contemporary ‘atmosphere music’.

Hibernate is releasing the physical 2CD-version, while Komu offers the digital download version of the album.
The release date is set for May, 19.


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Leonardo Rosado – Mute Words

Mute Words

However deep and fascinating ‘classic’ (drone) ambient music may be, listening too much of the same kind can get a little eh… same-ish. The borders and boundaries need to be stretched in some ways, and that’s where the adventurous music tends to start.  Even though, by strict definition, this may or may not be called ‘ambient’ music at all (such as with a lot of the post-classical or improvised acoustic music lately).

I don’t really know, but this may very well have been one of the reasons for Leonardo Rosado, also known as the curator of the Feedbackloop label (with its impressive catalogue of ambient/experimental music), to start a new label with a somewhat different concept: Heart and Soul.

Heart and Soul  will focus on combining poetry and music, and will release albums in physical formats only (so NO downloads!): a paperback book combined with the CD in this particular case.
Editions are “totally homemade” – but unlike many others not ‘strictly limited’, because they are made on demand. 

The very first release on this Feedbackloop sister label is Rosado’s own Mute Words

The poetry and the music on Mute Wordsis written by Leonardo Rosado. But do not expect ‘spoken word’ poetry on this album:
“Mute Words explores the delicate boundary between thoughts and words”. 
“Guest vocals are brought in almost imperceptibly, adding further dimension to the floating and ephemeral drone works.” 

The first vocal track, featuring Barbara de Dominices‘  voice, tries to reach you fragmented and multi-layered, as if coming from a distant dream,  while the last track (voiced by Alicia Merz) is in fact more ‘sung’ than ‘spoken’. Michelle Seaman (half of the Dwindlers) performes “The Study of Doubt” ; to me, her voice has the same kind of spellbinding and hypnotizing quality as Laurie Anderson’s.

With these three tracks being about half of the album, one could hardly call this a ‘vocal’ album. The other half. the instrumental tracks, perfectly match the atmosphere, thus making Mute Words  a well balanced introduction the new label concept of Heart and Soul .

Leonardo Rosado has set himself a high quality standard for this label!

Mute Words  is released on 2 december 2011, but can be pre-ordered now.

Leonardo Rosado with Michelle Seaman – The Study of Doubt

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