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Topics - 9dragons

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There have been some great electronic/ambient scores for films lately. I don't know if this is a new trend but it feels like it. Recently got the soundtrack for the original Tron (1982) by Wendy Carlos, and along with Edgar Rothermich's recent re-recording of the incomparable Blade Runner score by Vangelis, it's got me thinking about electronic beauty and weirdness in more recent films. For some of these films, the music is an inseparable part of the presentation; some may lack traditional narrative storylines in favor of pure visual expression, and sometimes it works...but I'm enjoying to the extreme most of these movies because of my deep love of electronics in music.

A quick short list of recent movies and their soundtrack authors (will use soundtrack and score interchangeably, because I can't help it):

Beyond the Black Rainbow: Sinoia Caves
Under the Skin: Mica Levi
Ex Machina: Ben Salisbury/Geoff Barrow
Kumiko the Treasure Hunter: The Octopus Project
Enemy: Danny Bensi/Saunder Jurriaans
Maniac (2012): Rob
It Follows: Disasterpeace

Not to forget more mainstream work like Daft Punk's for Tron Legacy...which reaches to the heights of soundtrack greatness...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Exotica / Lounge / Tiki Classics
« on: August 27, 2012, 08:31:43 PM »
I know I started a thread on this topic some time back, but am unable to find it. I can't seem to stay away from this stuff. The fatal attraction to Lounge glory has me listening to recently acquired Arthur Lyman album Taboo. Also The Exotic Sounds of Martin Denny (2cd) in heavy rotation. I know this type of music might be funny to many people, but I swear it grows on you. You start out listening to it as a laugh, then suddenly realize this stuff is actually heavy, and you're getting into it. At least I did. There is some amazing playing on Taboo. Vibraphones destroy my anxiety. The more I listen, the more I am seeing how influential this music must have been on ambient masters like Roach and Rich. Is there a connection?

These albums are full of bird call noises. Where I live there are many birds outside the window. They go crazy when this music plays, it is hilarious. One day I thought the Martin Denny album was still playing, but went into my room to find that the music had stopped, but the birds outside were continuing to try to outdo it!

Lounge takes me to a relaxation spot similar to ambient. Mixed in with tribal ambient (Fever Dreams-I know some have criticized it but for me it works) and some Gamelan it makes a nice cocktail.

Any other fans out there, and any recommendations for albums to get? My collection is very thin as it stands now.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Emeralds
« on: November 25, 2010, 04:05:30 PM »
Emeralds are getting me interested in the electro/ambient world again. There is tradition here, and innovation, but overall a solid emotional cohesion and sense of inspiration (purity?) that is so refreshing.

Albums I have so far:
Emeralds (s/t)
What Happened
Does It Look Like I'm Here?

All most excellent, and brimming with power. It's got me wanting to check out others in the same realm, like Oneohtrix Point Never. But I'm so slow and cautious in buying music these days, due to lack of funds and jadedness in general, it may be a while.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Audio Centaur and Viatorium Press
« on: September 03, 2010, 08:30:58 PM »
I've got a fledgling label going, under the rubric of Audio Centaur, in addition to graphic and print acitivities as Viatorium Press. I encourage everyone interested in paper, letterpress, and traditional graphics, to check it out:

Thanks for looking, feel free to comment or critique the work.

Everything and Nothing / Hearing Voices - Bugs and Birds
« on: July 24, 2010, 02:04:00 PM »
Just listened to this program, it is amazing. Music from moth wings. The microsonic worlds of insects. All around excellent audio joy. Check it out here:

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Robert Rich: Ylang
« on: February 28, 2010, 08:18:06 PM »
This release definitely deserves its own post. Ylang has been running repeatedly in my stereo since Friday afternoon and I just wanted to hear if others are as excited about it as I am. I'd first have to admit that my devotion to Rich's work was flagging a bit in the past couple of years. Interest in albums like Electric Ladder, Eleven Questions, and the collaborations with Boddy just wasn't sustained for me. The quality was there of course, but I just wasn't feeling any kind of emotional connection to the music. Ylang seems to pull in what Rich has been doing in recent years and ensoul it with the kind of lifeblood that is in Temple of the Invisible, probably the most masterful Robert Rich album so far. At least since this new album. Ylang is just about everything a fan of music could want. A more detailed review will be written soon...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Robert Rich New CD and Tour
« on: February 18, 2010, 11:14:25 AM »
Very excited to see this news from Robert Rich. A new album and tour dates:

- New Solo CD: Ylang

Robert Rich's first solo studio album in almost three years,
Now available directly from us at

The title comes from ylang ylang, a flowering tree that grows
in South Asia, with a mysterious fragrance that embodies
elements of shadow and light, eros and gnosis, earth and sky.

Ylang pushes the boundaries of Robert's melodic world-fusion
vocabulary, such as on Seven Veils or Propagation.

Ylang blends Rich's expressive steel guitar, shimmering organic
electronics and yearning flute melodies with influences as
diverse as south Indian Karnatic music, pulsing minimalism
and pensive jazz; while its deconstructed drums and blurry
guitar feedback might feel at home with Sigur Ros or Bark

Rich enlists help for this undertaking from a circle of trusted
musician friends. The rhythmic scaffolding for the album comes
from two very different drummers. Ricky Carter adds his
intelligent sparse drumming, fluid with syncopation but complex
in meter. These rhythms could be a slow tempo homage to Jaki
Leibzeit from Can. Post-processing transforms them into rubbery
chuffing abstractions. The other rhythmic foundation comes from
the Karnatic mrdungam playing of Sakthivel Muruganandhan, which
also wanders into Rich''s sonic blender, shifting from time-
stretched blurs into organic live duets with bansuri master
Sunilkumar Sankarapillai.

Lilting in and out of this heady atmosphere of South Indian
music and minimalist space jazz, the wordless voice of art-pop
virtuoso Emily Bezar adds a feminine intelligence to several
pieces, and subtle melodic guitar additions from Haroun Serang
augment Rich's soaring lap steel feedback. With acoustic bass
from Paul Olguin and string additions from Forrest Fang and
Hans Christian, the sonic texture warms to a glowing woody
earthiness. Rich's audiophile production and delicate sound
design glue the textures together into a seductive and inviting
mossy nest. From these disparate elements, Ylang forms a sonic
entity unto itself.


- 2010 North America Tour

A tour is taking shape for late springtime. Below are the dates
so far. These should become more certain in the following weeks.
Check for updates.

Sunday April 25
    Toronto, ONT Canada
    St. George the Martyr Church
    197 John Street, Toronto, ONT, M5T 1X6

Saturday, May 1
    Philadelphia, PA
    The Gatherings
    St. Mary's Hamilton Village, 3916 Locust Walk.
    Details at:

Tuesday May 4
    Hartford CT
    University of Hartford, Wilde Auditorium

Friday May 7
    Burlington Vermont
    Flynn Space, 8:00 PM, $28 ($20 students)
    Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
    153 Main Street, Burlington VT 05401
    Box Office: 802-863-5966,

Saturday May 8
    Sherbrooke QUE
    Plymouth-Trinity United Church
    380, Dufferin Street
    Info: Erich Langlois <>

Saturday May 15
    Woodcliff Lake, NJ - One Thousand Pulses house concert

Tuesday May 18 (awaiting confirmation)
    Chicago Cultural Center
    78 E. Washington St., Chicago IL 60602

Friday May 21 (TBA)
    Louisville KY - University of Louisville

Sunday May 23 (TBA)
    Memphis, TN - University of Memphis?

Friday May 28
    Kansas City MO
    Gottlieb Planetarium at Union Station
    30 West Pershing Rd, Kansas City, MO. 64108

Saturday May 29 (TBA)
    Des Moines IA

Friday June 4 (TBA)
    Santa Fe NM
Sunday June 6
    Tucson AZ
    Solar Culture, $10
    31 East Toole Avenue
    Tucson, AZ 85701
    (520) 884-0874

Saturday June 12
    San Jose, CA
    CET Soto Theater
    701 Vine Street
    San Jose, CA 95110

Saturday June 19
    Pomona, CA
    DA Gallery. free admission
    252-D South Main Street, Pomona CA 91766

Thursday June 24
    Portland, OR
    The Clinton Street Theater
    2522 SE Clinton St.
    Portland, OR 97202
    Events Phone: 503.238.8899
    Message/Contact Phone: 503.238.5588

Friday June 25
    Portland, OR
    Sleep Concert - limited audience

Sunday June 27 (TBA)
    Seattle, WA

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Steve Roach at Grace Cathedral
« on: January 05, 2010, 09:53:36 PM »
Steve Roach is set to release a double live of his performance at Grace Cathedral. I'm feeling bittersweet about it, as I really want to hear this performance, but I am kicking myself for not having attended. I lived in SF for five years, and the hill and the cathedral were favorite spots to visit on bike rides. I imagine it was an awe inspiring show in that environment. I blew it off cause I didn't want to spend time money to travel back down to California, and am now feeling like I missed out on a rare chance. Anyone see this show?

Everything and Nothing / More of my collection for sale on Ebay
« on: August 29, 2009, 08:24:11 PM »
It must go, need the cash. Thanks for browsing and bidding:

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Sunn - Monoliths and Dimensions
« on: May 27, 2009, 01:09:30 PM »
Getting excited about a second listen. First listen yielded much intrigue, and an urge to listen much more. I've been scornful in the past, but I think this album might be the one that breaks me through.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Rabih Abou-Khalil
« on: April 23, 2009, 12:35:23 AM »
Rabih Abou-Khalil is master Oud player who also makes some of the most interesting world music I've heard. His music really does justify the category World, encompassing multiple national traditions and instruments, somehow anchoring it all with master Oud playing.

I've owned the album Tarab for quite awhile; listening to it last night reminded me how awesome Khalil is, and made me want to share my enthusiam with everyone here.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Martin Denny / Exotica
« on: March 31, 2009, 07:15:39 PM »
I have come to realize that this music is wonderful. Before, I liked it, now it is becoming something deeper. I got the "Exotic Sounds of Martin Denny" from my library a couple years ago, and it took me on a magical trip. I feel like going in deeper now, and getting a couple of the 2 for 1 album reissues that are out there.

This passage from the Wikipedia article on Martin Denny tells a delightful tale of the somewhat random birth of the Exotica genre:

During an engagement at the Shell Bar, Denny discovered what would become his trademark and the birth of "exotica." The bar had a very exotic setting: a little pool of water right outside the bandstand, rocks and palm trees growing around, very quiet and relaxed. As the group played at night, Denny became aware of bullfrogs croaking. The croaking blended with the music and when the band stopped, so did the frogs. Denny thought this to be a coincidence, but when he tried the tune again later, the same thing happened. This time, his bandmates began doing all sorts of tropical bird calls as a gag. The band thought it nothing more than a joke. The next day, though, someone approached Denny and asked if he would do the arrangement with the birds and frogs. The more Denny thought about it, the more it made sense. At rehearsal, he had the band do "Quiet Village" with each doing a bird call spaced apart. Denny did the frog part on a grooved cylinder and the whole thing became incorporated into the arrangement of "Quiet Village".

Let me be clear that I am not being ironic when I say that this music affects me. There is a sense of uninhibited imagination, and frankly straight up fun, to this music. It unleashes the mind into a fantasy world. Anyone out there been to the Tonga Room in San Francisco, up on Nob Hill? That place makes me feel the same way.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Tetsu Inoue
« on: March 16, 2009, 12:34:00 AM »
Tetsu Inoue is an ambient/electronica mastermind, and I feel that his work is near the top of the greats in this field. I first got into Ambiant Otaku, which I found in the early days of my exploration of ambient music. It was an absolute dream to experience this album. Then I discovered the glitchy wondrous madness of his releases for the Tzadik label. I sold those albums at one point, when I got overloaded with that kind of music, but I am thinking it might be fun again to listen to them with my more experienced ears. Now I experience an album like Inland, which combines all his skill into a work that just keeps on giving. I had this one playing for days on end, and I think it is some of the greatest and most vital new ambient works out there. Excellent reissues of World Receiver and Slow and Low in the past couple years have made these classics accessible, and they are, for me, taking this artist up into the heights. He is able to do glitchy experiment and serene ambient in such a unique way, and now seems able to combine these two factors into an inspiring whole.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / New Sleep Chamber
« on: March 06, 2009, 01:41:55 AM »
Sleep Chamber has a new album out, "Sorcery, Spells and Serpent Charms", on Klanggalerie. Hmmmmmmm.....

My curiosity and nostalgia demand that I check it out, but I am resisting, somehow. I liked Sleep Chamber quite a lot in the early 90's. I sold my copy of Sirkle Zero (out on the Musica Maxima Magnetica, which I bought in Rome) years ago, and have no other SC albums. Virtually all SC work is unfindable as far as I have looked.

Is there any interest by the forum?

Everything and Nothing / Octagonal Houses
« on: February 14, 2009, 12:10:31 AM »
This is fascinating. Why is the octagon so attractive?

World Music Library - Dombra Music of Kazakhstan

Some weeks ago, they were playing this in my favorite local record store, Wall of Sound. I was captivated by it, but did not pick it up, chalking up my excitement to being too juiced up on espresso. Then, for days after, I felt the gap, the terrible void in my collection - even if I wanted to, I could not hear some music of Kazakhstan, right now...was the thought running through my head. Finally I got it, and listening to it tonight (though indeed I have partaken of a few espressos) I am utterly amazed by it. This is the sonic equivalent of a hyper scrolling persian rug motif. I love it. I highly suggest finding this if possible, or any other music of Kazakhstan. The Kazakh people know how to play music, it has retained a deep sense of transmission of ancient memory and awareness.

I hope this could spark up a general discussion of Central Asian music. There is another album that is quite excellent (though gathered from previously released recordings) called "The Silk Road: A Musical Caravan", that I would consider absolutely essential.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Discovering New Labels
« on: January 21, 2009, 07:21:58 PM »
Through the intrepid sonic explorers of this forum, and by my own restless searching of late for interesting music, I have found some curious and wondrous labels that are putting out music that rivals the bigger names (in ambient world terms) in my collection. It's very refreshing to open up a bit more and go off the beaten track. I think early on in my ambient/electronica searching I felt a bit burned by some of the obscurer stuff I was picking up, so retreated for a time in filling out my collection with more well known artists that I could rely on much more easily. But my search for more unique packaging, raw vision, and diverse takes on what ambient means has led me to some of the following great labels.

Diophantine Discs: They use Stumptown Printers for their packaging, and the music in wonderful from what I have checked out so far (excellent works by Brian Lavelle and 'kirchenkampf')

I believe the releases of this label have been mentioned on this forum. I have just begun checking them out and ordered some up for myslef (Mystified and Bones of Seabirds). Very promising, and I am getting into the mini cd experience:

Please share if you have any favorites or new discoveries.

I don't necessarily think nostalgia is a bad thing. It sometimes seems that styles and trends move so fast these days in art and music that nothing ever has a chance to really develop. I am suddenly really appreciating all kinds of revivals, or rethinks, in electronic music. Sending Orbs, U-cover, and a slew of others have been giving new life to electronica. Is it retrogressive? I think not. These new acts are giving a new shine to an old school electro sound, something I've been missing for a while. I was a huge Warp fan for quite a while, and I think that they were kind of a revival of an older, primordial school of electronica. I got into stuff like B-12 because I loved that shimmering futuristic sound. I had a vague idea that it was "Detroit" inspired but never really got deeper into origins. I'm finding the newer music to have some of the trappings of the first and second generation of electro, but doing something different to it, making it more "alive" somehow. I know this was already the idea when the term "IDM" was coined, but when I listen to some of the original IDM it doesn't seem that intelligent yet. Even Aphex can seem a bit flat. But the next next generation of sounds flow out of my stereo, as from the Sending Orbs label, it feels more mature, less pop oriented, more of a true "listening" experience, not geared toward some kind of imaginary dance floor or club. Am I just imagining it, or does Warp kind of well, suck, nowadays. Just way too slick and overloaded with hipness. The "I" in the IDM has turned to some kind of invisible unspoken worship of being ironically ironic, or being ironic about being ironic, while still being tongue in cheek. Screw that. I am digging the new freshness, the big heart of retro futurism like Saul Stokes, and I think some of the newer revival artists are building on the older sounds, just like any art form should, in a normal society, and giving them new resonace. So Secede may sound something like Plaid or whatever, but for me it goes beyond the kind of slick cuteness of Plaid (which I absolutely loved in the past, don't get me wrong)...

Your thoughts?

Thanks to the Hypnos forum, I've found out about a musician by the name of Takahiro Yorifuji, who under the name Hakobune is rapidly becoming one of my all time favorites. There is a kind of focused purity and stream-lined essence to this music that has so deftly and instantly drawn me in. The first Hakobune album on the U-Cover label is entitled "Sense of Place", and I think this perfectly sums up how I feel about the music. It evokes so strongly a place I have deep in the back of my mind, a place where I have been, or want to go to again; it is undefined however, and could be a dream location. More like a sensation possessed of, or adorned by, the qualities that attach us emotionally to a physical environment. What blows me away about Hakobune is that the music is so emotionally driven, but so detached, distilled to an essence; There is no obvious defining emotion, it seems to hover near joy, nostalgia, melancholy, longing, while not being bound by any of these definitions. The mind floats freely on it. I feel like I am right there, in the place where the musician is making the music, the place he wants me to see and experience, without even having to define that place concretely. Such a strange and wonderful evocation! He is showing us a place that could be right outside his own door, or even the view from his window, but it merges with the magic of places we dream of in our own private hours.

One of the important things about Hakobune that makes it more powerful, I feel, is the "cropping" that is performed by the artist. In the realm of ambient, I am just beginning to realize how crucial this is. The songs of Hakobune are generally either short on the two full albums he has, or if long, comprise part of a relatively short mini cd. So either way, we are given an exacting and shaped expression of sound. The songs seem to end at just the right time, leaving the listener uplifted and dreaming. These songs never seem to overstay their welcome, giving just enough to achieve the full expression, then drawing back.

But listening to the music of Hakobune has really made me examine the nature of ambient. Do I like this music so much because it strikes a special chord with me personally? Does it seem to evoke the country of Japan itself, a place that I find so mysterious and full of wonders, places I want to explore?

Whatever it is, I am feeling extreme enjoyment from these sounds, and have collected all the Hakobune I can find. I think I've found them all: Sense of Place, Wandering Toward What Was Unsaid, Melting Reminiscence, We Left the Window Open Sometimes, and on the way is the artfully packaged double 3" split release with David Tagg on, which appears to have sold out quite rapidly.

So, since my knowledge of the guitar ambient world is limited, I am curious to know how Hakobune might fit into it. How unique is his sound in this realm, and do you feel that he merits the acclaim that I give him?

Two very exciting sounding new releases from Mr. Serries:

A description of the Microphonics upcoming album on the vidna website:

I've been recently getting into Fear Falls Burning even deeper, with the amazing, mind-blowing "Frenzy of the Absolute" album. Just blew me away on multiple levels. And there is also the fascinating sense that the FFB and VO musics are somehow coming full circle to each other. One could be a fan of just FFB or just VO, but having known VO very well from the past has enhanced my listening of FFB very much; it is so strange and delightful to hear the VO sensibility come through a completely different and almost diametrically opposed style of project.

I have to say though, that I am not a user of vinyl, and I will be missing out on the above mentioned new releases. Perhaps they will come out on cd someday, or I will raise the money to get a nice record player, but until then I will be further immersing in "He Spoke in Dead Tongues" and "Frenzy of the Absolute".

Also recently got the collaboration with Birchville Cat Motel, and it is very interesting, a single longform foray into the outlands of drone...quite a listen, very fun...

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