Apr 30, 2012

beyond our sphere

I started out just making a mix that used more ‘real’ instruments rather than synthesizer pads to give my respect to the more composed pieces of music. After working on it a bit, I could see that the titles lent themselves to a ‘space’ vibe. That was going to be a theme for a mix of mine at one point, so why not now? These songs represent space, weightlessness, and inspire awe just like the cosmos.

You know, very often my son (who is 6) and very much into super heroes asks me what super power I would like to have. My answer is always the same: the power of flight. Why? Because growing up as a little boy and reading Superman comics, I was always captivated and jealous of the fact that he could fly into outer space and see the most amazing thing that the majority of the world’s population would never see. I guess you could say that I’m a bit of an astronomy fan.

I pulled a few sound samples for this mix, from a NASA site as well as a site that posted a few samples online. For the next space mix (there will be another at some point), I’ll dig a bit deeper finding better samples, but for now…..

In keeping the instrumentation as organic as possible, I opened up with a track from HAROLD BUDD. To me, the sedating effect of this track represents weightlessness. The EP that this track is on was produced by none other than Brian Eno (with Chas Smith on steel guitar). Who would ever think that steel guitar could be so tranquil?

For the same reason I like STARS OF THE LID, I also like WINDY & CARL (pssst, real guitar!). They describe their music as ‘dreamy & psychedelic’. I couldn’t agree more. And, of course, with a title like ‘The Sun’, this song fits perfectly.

Next up is again a very influential musical hero of mine, VANGELIS. Creation Du Monde translates to ‘Creation of the World’ (French).

ALOOF PROOF is an artist that I discovered from the ASPHALT EDEN site and fell very much in love with the organic sound. I purchased Piano Text, and here I decide to play an excerpt from the same release (there are only 2 tracks, but that is more than sufficient). There are more recordings of this artist that can be found online, but this Piano Text is pure magic.

JONN SERRIE seems to specialize in ‘space ambient’, if there is such a term. And for a good reason, he makes epic voyage music.

I really enjoyed making this mix. I pulled out some astronomy books, checked out some Hubble pictures, and basked in the warm flow of great music.

turn on, tune in, sleep...
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Apr 20, 2012

from nightfall to first light

Hello! This time around, I wanted to capture a bit of a vibe from the time that one drifts off to sleep until the awakening. I started off with something from BIOSPHERE that for some reason reminds me of growing up in Daytona Beach, Florida. I lived not too far from the beach, and as the youngest of 6 spent a lot of time outside playing Frisbee in the summer. I was also not too far from the airport and Embry Riddle University. The students there often flew small prop planes for study (fun study, right?), and hearing this song from BIOSPHERE really takes me back to that time when I was young, carefree, and spending all day outside until day faded until night.

I put in the rain to transition between 2 events: the end of the evening and that time when just before sleep when your mind begins to visualize bizarre things. I wanted you to imagine you are hearing something out of the ordinary, hence the GLOBAL COMMUNICATION talking and an excerpt from JIM HALL’s Beija Flor. Beija Flor is a piece written by South American composer (can’t remember who), and this rendition from JIM HALL does it much justice. As far as jazz albums go, his album All Across the City and Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue are both my favorites (tie).

I have a lot of soundtrack material, and one day I’ll put more into use. I love everything about the soundtrack to American Beauty. Not only is it one of my all time favorite films (Kevin Spacey is an absolute hero!), but the music is dead on accurate as far as creating the right mood for the film. I’m envious of THOMAS NEWMAN. When you read his Wikipedia page, you’ll be blown away by the amount of output he’s had.

Oddly, I discovered the song Cirrus (HUGH & SATURATION) from a game created by IVORY called 4 DIFFERENCES. When the game loads, you can click a link to their website and get all of their compositions free. Not bad. Great game as well!

Again, more field recordings of a creek to break things up a little bit. The sleeping night is all about transitions.

The DAVID HELPING song comes from an album called Sleeping on the Edge of the World, which is appropriately named for our nightly passage. David shares a website with Jon Jenkins, so it’s worth checking out.

I have every album that PETER GABRIEL has released. Most people didn’t like OVO: The Millennium Show as much as his other stuff, but I love it. Peter’s not singing every song, there are a lot of cameos, but it’s him through and through. I spent a lot of consecutive days wearing the grooves out on this album, and every time I hear it, it’s like the first time that I’ve heard it again. And that’s okay. I have some more of his stuff that I’d like to use at some point, probably as excerpts.

The last 2 artists, ROBERT RICH and DAC CROWELL are both artists that I discovered via MAGNATUNE. Robert is a household name to those that like their ambient a little bit dark, somewhat like Steve Roach in feel. DAC is a bit unorthodox, and definitely has his own approach to soundscapes which are innovative and memorable. You can stream both at MAGNATUNE.

If the ending seems abrupt, it is meant to be that way (the song honestly ends like that) as you are awakening. And who ever wakes up over the course of 30 minutes? Only in Hollywood.

Well, I enjoyed making the mix, and have even more ideas for the next one. I’ll create one for the sleepers probably next, or a soundtracks mix, or a collage of snippets from rock tunes. We’ll see. Enjoy!

turn on, tune in, sleep...
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00:0000:00

Apr 14, 2012

reflection

This mix opens with the very first thing that got me into any sort of ambient music. I’m a huge admirer of VANGELIS ever since I borrowed (stole) his album Ignacio/Entends-Tu Les Chiens Aboyer. The first side (half of which is in the mix) is like a lullaby. I had the worst experience of my life at that point, and this album was played every day. VANGELIS, to me, is something of a modern classical composer more than an electronic musician. Other releases from him that I highly recommend are Heaven and Hell, Mask, Soil Festivities, The Blade Runner Soundtrack, Mythodea, Rhapsodies (w/Irene Papas), and L’Apocalypse Des Animaux (I know it’s a lot, but I’m a big fan!).

The next song comes from the album 76:14 (the duration of the album) by GLOBAL COMMUNICATION. HERE’S the Wikipedia page on the album, there are some interesting facts about it worth reading. Their other release (Pentamerous Metamorphosis) is also great, and I’ll do a mix with some stuff from that at some point.

One thing that I love about STARS OF THE LID is that they use a real guitar (!). They, like Paul Avgerinos, are a thinking man’s ambient. Their music for me is not so easily ignored. I can’t unconsciously listen to them, they draw me it with their organic amalgamation. I like this particular song because of the violins and the warm analog sound of the entire thing.

Once again, I have to use the opportunity to inject some PAUL AVGERINOS (of course). Not too much to elaborate on, this one is also from Words Touch. This piece is very compositional (Paul holds a degree from Peabody Conservatory and plays bass. I actually got all of my stuff of his from MAGNATUNE, which is a great (and affordable) source for independent music.

BIOSPHERE (real name: Geir Jennsen) is an artist from Norway that considers his music to be ‘arctic ambient’. He sometimes uses field recordings in his works. Like most of my favorites, he definitely has his own compositional style. There is another song from this same release that will be on the next mix.

Okay, I put in a thunderstorm to break things up a bit, sorry!

The last track on here is another VANGELIS tune from the Blade Runner Soundtrack played on an out of tune piano (or maybe is just an effect, hard to say). Very beautiful composition, if somewhat sad.

Okay, thanks for listening/downloading!


turn on, tune in, sleep...
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Apr 14, 2012

melancholy

I didn't pick songs that put me in a melancholic mood, but rather songs (or songs from releases that I admire) that represent periods of my life.

I wanted to pick some of my favorite (very difficult task!) songs for my first mix. I can definitely say that BETWEEN INTERVAL's Autumn Continent is in my top 3 for ambient releases. So it had to be the first song. The entire CD is very solid from the first sweeping entrance to the last dying ember of drone.

I have to say that PAUL AVGERINOS' Words Touch is an absolute must-have for those who like a thinking man's ambient. Paul is a more of a composer than the average brick-on-keyboard noodler, and Words Touch (along with Love, which can be a perfect sequel) is rather deep. I have an MP3 disc player that has played both of these releases every night for years now (in my son's room as well).

The next song, I Shall Be Removed from KEN (I don't have much information on this artist) is something that I discovered from sifting through people's suggestions for ambient music. Oddly, the rest of the artist's music is indie rock.

#19 by APHEX TWIN is a bit of departure for this artist, although he has released a couple of ambient works. I made a mix for a friend, who had never heard of APHEX TWIN, and he loved it. I then sent him a link to the videos WINDOWLICKERCOME TO DADDY, and RUBBER JOHNNY. Kind of blew his mind.

The last song is a great one from WILLIAM BASINSKI. I love what he did with loops, he is a pioneer of sonic decay. Hopefully, these songs will lift you up, and ease anything that weighs you down.


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