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Hiking up a mountain for the first time does something to you. It changes you in ways that are hard to describe. Faced with so much overwhelming beauty on a scale that is hard to image, you can’t help but be affected. So when you descend, it’s almost like you are a different person—somehow more than when you began your climb.

Last year I had the opportunity to hike up a mountain in the Swiss Alps near Lauenen, Switzerland. It was truly an amazing experience made even more special by my companions who accompanied me, one of whom has been a guide to me both hiking up mountains and in life. I decided I wanted to try and capture this unique experience and put it to music. The first challenge, of course, was: how do mountains “sound?” I began collecting different pieces of music that seemed to reflect the feelings of my climb and represented the grandeur and majesty that are the Swiss Alps. Artists like Hammock, Deepspace, Jeff Pearce and Manual fit very well. Then I happened upon a documentary on Philip Glass on public TV. Several Glass pieces I thought perfectly captured the rhythm of Wandern—German for hiking—as did a piece by Parks. Other artists like Mark Isham, Bass Communion and Sigur Rós I thought captured well the feeling of finally reaching the top and seeing the amazing view—surrounded by peaks as far as you can see. Finally, I found other pieces representing the descent and end of the journey. Because the mix represents points along a journey I decided to label the different parts of that journey as “movements” which I have listed below along with the timecode where each movement begins. I also was able to incorporate a number of field recordings of wind, mountain streams and even cowbells in the mix. You’d be amazed at how many cows are climbing around the Alps!

So, with that I present to you Music for the Swiss Alps. This mix can’t possibly do justice to the beauty of the Swiss Alps. You will have to go and visit yourself to see what I mean. I would like to dedicate this mix to all of my friends in Switzerland but especially to my mountain guide and great friend who has taught me a lot about the Zen of Wandern and about myself. I will be returning to Switzerland soon to go Wandern again. I almost feel like I am returning home—to climb other mountains and find new paths to try and touch the sky.

- nrvnet, June, 2009

Movement 1. Voices (00:00)

Movement 2. Majestic (01:47)

Movement 3. Ascent (13:53)

Movement 4. Wandern (25:02)

Movement 5. Peak (34:28)

Movement 6. Transcendence (39:21)

Movement 7. Embrace (42:38)

Movement 8. Descent (47:16)

Movement 9. Remembrance (54:52)

Movement 10. Overflight (56:18)

Movement 11. Echoes (59:53)

D O W N L O A D S (right click, save link as):

Music for the Swiss Alps MP3 (60:33) (320k) (138 mb)

Cover Art & Score (539 kb zip)

Stream: (available on my blog.)


1. David Sylvian - Laughter and Forgetting (excerpt)

2. Michael Stearns - Mantra/Organics

3. Leandros Ntounis – Arkadian Mountains Lagadia (field recording)

4. Hammock - This Kind Of Life Keeps Breaking Your Heart

5. Mark Rownd - Before There Was Rain

6. Deepspace - Arctic Sun and Weather Experiment

7. Jeff Pearce - The Emergence

8. Lawrence Dolton – Blue Lakes Creek (field recording)

9. Roach, Stearns, Braheny - The Canyon's Embrace

10. PEI – Bigfish Tree (Zurich) (field recording)

11. Manual with Jess Kahr - Dawn Changes Everything.

12. Eisuke Yanagisawa – Marble Mountain (field recording)

13. Hammock - Eighty-Four Thousand Hymns

14. Olivier Nijs - Birds in the Morning (field recording)

15. Philip Glass - Island

16. Parks - The Breath of Autumn

17. Mark Isham - Sympathy And Acknowledgement

18. Bass Communion - Transcendence

19. Sigur Rós - Festival

20. Philip Glass - Choosing Life

21. Patrick Franke – Cows, cowbells (field recording)

22. Lisa Gerrard – Elysium

23. Peter Gabriel - The Nest That Sailed the Sky

24. Max Richter - Horizon Variations

25. Jon Anderson - Song of Search

The Swiss Alps

YESTERDAY brown was still thy head, as the locks of my loved one,

Whose sweet image so dear silently beckons afar.
Silver-grey is the early snow to-day on thy summit,

Through the tempestuous night streaming fast over thy brow.
Youth, alas, throughout life as closely to age is united

As, in some changeable dream, yesterday blends with to-day.

Uri, October 7th, 1797

- by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Artist links etc. can be found on my blog.


THC Series [20][12]

Here is the second of 12 mixes from THC Series [20][12] for the 15 Minutes of Fame Mix Series. [02] Absolute Motion is another departure from the usual quiet ambient mixes on the Hydrogen Cafe. I wanted to do something that was much more polyrhythmic and incorporated cuts from some Berlin-school electronic artists like Tangerine Dream and Synthetic Block. I wanted to create something very rhythmic that flowed nicely together. I continued the idea of using conventional artists who did unconventional tracks and using conventional tracks in an unconventional way. Once again you will hear U2 masquerading as the Passengers along with the Twilight Sad (an AMAZING indie-rock band!) and Snow Patrol. Excerpts from these artists are intercut with some great polyrhythmic electronic tracks from Synthetic Block, the Irresistible Force, an amazing cut done way back in 1966 by Raymond Scott, Tangerine Dream, the Alan Parsons Project (I Robot was the very first LP I ever got!), a snippet of Vir Unis and a great cut by Saul Stokes. I also tried to incorporate field recordings that were rhythmic in nature as well.

THC Series [20][12] is a series of 12 mixes, all 20 minutes in length. I will intersperse these mixes with my regular long-form mixes throughout 2009. THC Series [20][12] will also be cross-posted on the 15 Minutes of Fame board. The Zip file below contains artwork for the mix as well as the “score” for the mix which is a jpeg capture of the timeline from the mixing software I use, Acoustica MP3 Audio Mixer. The score can show you exactly what is playing at any specific time code. I hope you like [02] Absolute Motion. This mix is meant to be played LOUD! ; )

D O W N L O A D S (right click, save link as):

THC Series [20][12]-[02] Absolute Motion MP3 (20:00)
(320k) (45.8 mb)

Artwork & Mix Score
(861 kb zip)

Stream this mix


1. Passengers – Slug (excerpt)
2. Twilight Sad - Talking With Fireworks/Here, It Never Snowed (excerpt)
3. Synthetic Block - Sonic Approach
4. Snow Patrol - If There's a Rocket Tie Me to It (excerpt)
5. Irresistible Force - Spiritual High
6. Raymond Scott - The Bass-Line Generator (1966)
7. Tangerine Dream – Logos (excerpt)
8. Alan Parsons Project – Nucleus
9. Vir Unis - Pale Blue Dot (excerpt)
10. Saul Stokes – Fields (excerpt)
11. Snow Patrol - The Lightning Strike (excerpt)

[F I E L D R E C O R D I N G S]

1. John Arndt - Montego Bay
2. Matthias Kispert - Buddha Machines
3. Matthias Kispert - Weaving Factory
4. Cedric Deloche - Taipei aeroport interieur
5. Dave Pape - UK Photo Machine
6. Olaf Ross – cowbells

(′ab·sə′lüt ′mō·shən)

(navigation) Motion relative to a point fixed on the earth's surface or to an apparently fixed celestial point.

(physics) Motion of an object described by its measurement in a frame of reference that is preferred over all other frames.

“Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration.”

- Kahlil Gibran

Artist links etc. can be found on my blog

Listening: Podcasts, Mixes, and Music Sample Clips / Re: Low Light Mixes
« on: February 24, 2009, 12:32:43 PM »
"A tour de force! Low Light Mixes does it again!"

- Ambient Mix Magazine

Really, REALLY good! It was great listening to in_transit going to work this morning. The sounds of the mix were blending with the ambient sounds around me of the subway and the streets of DC. Sometimes I couldn't tell what was live and what was Memorex. Very cool! :)

- Rick

Everything and Nothing / Re: Facebook vs. Myspace
« on: February 19, 2009, 11:07:01 AM »
I just joined Facebook a few weeks ago and I'm really liking it. I had thought it was mainly "Planet of the Kids" but I was amazed at how many "old" people are there. I've already reconnected with some old friends and relatives I haven't been in touch with for ages. It's a fun and easy way to keep in touch with people. MY only hesitation so far is in adding lot's of work-related people as friends. I have current Fbook friends who I got to know through various jobs but I definitely consider them as friends. I've been hesitant to add a wider range of work related contacts who I don't know that well because, so far, most of my Wall postings are silly stuff or links to music or other fun stuff. I'm not sure if I want business contacts seeing all that. ;)

- Rick

Rick on Facebook


Thanks for the iTunes instructions.  Now I can check out your podcast on my iPhone. I have my Hydrogen Cafe podcast mixes registered through iTunes and have not had any problems with it. The podcast is offered for free and I don't exchange any money in any way for my mixes. I also provide complete attribution for all of the artists that show up in my mixes through the tracklisting on my blog site. I also give links directly to the artist's website, Myspace page or directly to the album on Amazon to hopefully encourage folks to but their CD's. So, although our podcasts may fall into a "gray" area, they are usually seen as promotional by the artists. I have not come across any problems or negative feedback either through my blog or iTunes. I'm looking forward to giving your podcast a listen!


Listening: Podcasts, Mixes, and Music Sample Clips / [01] Monoamine Road
« on: January 25, 2009, 10:44:57 AM »

THC Series [20][12]

A good mate Mick invited me to participate in his “15 Minutes of Fame Mix Series” which asks folks to submit shorter-form mixes. There are some great mixes posted there, several excellent ones by Mick himself. So, I thought I would start a new series of short-form mixes for 15 Minutes of Fame. “THC Series [20][12]” will be a series of 12 mixes, all 20 minutes in length. I thought it would be really interesting to do some mixes that were experimental or more offbeat than the normal fare for the Hydrogen Cafe
. And, limiting oneself to only 20 minutes forces you to choose tracks more deliberately and also can offer you the freedom of exploring a single idea that may not work in a longer mix. I will intersperse the THC Series [20][12] mixes with my regular long-form mixes throughout 2009. Maybe this way there won’t be months between mixes. ;) THC Series [20][12] will be cross-posted at the 15 Minutes of Fame site as well. Thanks for inviting me Mick!

The idea for THC Series [20][12]-[01] Monoamine Road came from a small collection of tracks I have been putting together made up of unconventional tracks from conventional artists. I stumbled upon an ambient track of all things from Doves, an indie-rock band (one of my favorites). It’s from a collection of b-sides and rarities. I also had never, until recently, listened to David Bowie’s Low album all the way through and discovered the Eno-inspired ambient-like tracks towards the end. Those, along with U2 masquerading as the Passengers, The Crystal Method, and excerpts from Amusement Parks on Fire and Snopek (a great local band from Milwaukee from when I was in college), and a few ambient tracks thrown in, make up Monoamine Road. I also threw in several field recordings, including one of my own.

I would also like to remind people that the Zip file below contains artwork for the mix as well as the “score” for the mix which is a jpeg capture of the timeline from the mixing software I use, Acoustica MP3 Audio Mixer. The score can show you exactly what is playing at any specific time code. I hope you like this trip down Monoamine Road.

D O W N L O A D S (right click, save link as):

THC Series [20][12]-[01] Monoamine Road MP3 (20:00)
(320k) (45.8 mb)

Artwork & Mix Score (461 kb zip)

Stream Music from [01] Monoamine Road


1. Amusement Parks on Fire - Await Lightning (excerpts)
2. Doves - Where We're Calling From
3. Jacaszek - Rytm to Niesmiertelnosc II
4. David Bowie - Art Decade
5. Passengers - Beach Sequence
6. Snopek – Solalex (excerpt)
7. Takagi Masakatsu – Piano
8. The Crystal Method – Vice (excerpt)

[F I E L D R E C O R D I N G S]

1. nrvnet – (fr) Lee HWY 01
2. Clemens von Reusner – Basel Soundwalk
3. PEI – Waterpark Tram 4
4. Marco Targa – Lungolago Lakefront

"What's your road, man?--holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It's an anywhere road for anybody anyhow."
- Jack Kerouac, On the Road

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
- Robert Frost

Artist links etc. can be found on my blog


Are your podcasts available through iTunes? I did a search but did not find the Quiet Sounds.



Things have been really busy for me lately so I have not had much time to devote to the Hydrogen Cafe. But, I finally managed to finish a mix I started back in August. This mix is a follow-up to Music for Stargazing Vol 1 which people  seemed to enjoy. Like Vol 1, Music for Stargazing Vol 2 is a quiet, drifting mix put together specifically to accompany a night of stargazing. What makes this music suited for stargazing? It’s hard to say specifically, but, like my other mixes, I like to put together music that evokes an emotional response of some kind in the listener. So, for this mix I chose music that sounds the way I feel when I look at a star-filled sky.

Every summer, my friend Dave, from Low Light Mixes, and I go to a cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin. There aren’t any big cities around so there are no lights to drown out the night sky. The stargazing is spectacular. We often see satellites and shooting stars with the naked eye. I made a version of Music for Stargazing Vol 2 for this year’s trip. But, after listening to it up there, I decided I didn’t like parts of the mix and decided to redo it. Well even with the best laid plans, weeks turned into months. But, vowing to finish this before the end of the year (lol), I finally got the mix to a point where I was satisfied with it.

So here it is after a very long delay. I hope you enjoy Music for Stargazing Vol 2. With this mix, I took the advice of some listeners and encoded the mix at a bitrate of 320k—hence the larger file size. I’d also like to give a special shout-out to my listeners in Russia. I’ve gotten quite a few e-mails from folks in Russia lately saying kind things about my mixes. A special thank to everyone in Russia and around the world. Happy holidays and best wishes for the coming year.

D O W N L O A D S (right click, save link as):

Music for Stargazing Vol 2 MP3 (68:57) (320k) (157 mb)

Cover Art & Score (539 kb zip)

Stream Music for Stargazing Vol 2


1. Jean Francois Cavro - St Andeol de Clerguemort (field recording)
2. Laurent - Natural Night Sounds in Boquete (field recording)
3. Dave Michuda - Froggies (field recording)
4. Steve Roach - A Deeper Silence (excerpts)
5. Bitcrush - Prologue
6. David Tagg - Waist Deep Sea 1
7. Hammock - City in the Dust in My Window
8. David Helping - Loss of Words
9. Bersarin Quartett - Die Dinge Sind Nie So Wie Sie Sind
10. Cliff Martinez - Hi Energy Proton Accelerator
11. Steve Roach - See Things
12. Jasper Leyland - Charcoal Weir
13. Slowdive - Cello
14. Koda - Dark Secrets We Harbour
15. Talkingmakesnosense - Slow Grounding
16. Manual - Seleva
17. Deepspace - Slow Moving Lifeform 2
18. Stars of the Lid - Mulhlolland
19. Ashera - Temple Ritual
20. Steve Roach - Red Shore
21. Hammock - Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow

“We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them and discuss about whether they were made or only just happened."
- Mark Twain

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I'll bet they'd live a lot differently.”
- Bill Watterson

Artist links etc. can be found on my blog.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Forgive me, but I have to write this one out.
« on: December 14, 2008, 12:30:18 PM »
"All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain."

-Roy Batty in Blade Runner

My condolences as well.

Everything and Nothing / Re: light cycles
« on: May 13, 2008, 05:34:33 PM »
Thanks g.@b.   ;D  Glad you like it.


Everything and Nothing / light cycles
« on: May 11, 2008, 09:51:14 AM »

After a very long absence I am finally posting a new mix--light cycles. I love repetition in music–-music that uses the constant repetition of notes or themes or sounds as a basic structure to the composition. I wanted to put together a mix where all of the pieces used repetition as a major part of the cut. I also wanted to use pieces that had an “ambient” feel to them but that also were bright or upbeat. The title of the mix was inspired by the movie Tron. light cycles starts out fairly slow and quiet but becomes more vibrant as it goes along. Near the end it almost rocks out with an amazing piece I stumbled across by Can. The Can piece Future Days uses repetition to great effect. This piece is also cool because it was done back in 1973 but still sounds amazingly contemporary.  I hope you enjoy light cycles. Like the last several mixes it is somewhat of a departure from the typical ambient drift and drone but I think it still evokes “ambient-ness” throughout the piece.

Let me know what you think. Bright times are ahead for the Hydrogen Cafe.

D O W N L O A D S (right click, save link as):

light cycles MP3 (68:30) (192k) (94 mb)

Cover Art & Score (284k zip)


1. Kamen Nedev - Waves, Atlantic Coast, Porto, Portugal
2. Cliff Martinez - Is That What Everybody Wants (excerpts)
3. Budd-Garcia-Lentz - Pulse, Pause, Repeat
4. Sonmi451 - Second to None
5. Bobby Devito – Untitled Ambient Track
6. The Elf Machine - Buddha Zone 6
7. Fenton - Neon Giraffe
8. Shuttle358 - Calty
9. The Green Kingdom - Lucky Bamboo
10. Cliff Martinez - Is That What Everybody Wants
11. Thomas Fanger - Twinkling Sun
12. Saul Stokes - The Bright Tones (Even Brighter)
13. Dollboy - Juicyfruit
14. Isan - Cinnabar
15. Can - Future Days
16. Tangerine Dream - White Eagle
17. Underworld - To Heal

“To the dull mind all nature is leaden. To the illumined mind the whole world sparkles with light.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Artist links etc. can be found on my blog, The Hydrogen Cafe

Everything and Nothing / Re: Hypnos Forum move
« on: January 05, 2008, 04:02:14 PM »

Thanks for all of your efforts in putting the new forum together.  It sucks that everything on the old forum was lost and can't be migrated to the new.  There was years of interesting stuff there.  Oh well, what can you do?  Maybe there is a way to allow viewing of the old forum as read-only somehow?  It might not be worth the effort though. 

The new forum software looks nifty.  I did have a question though.  Most BB's I visit have dialogs as part of the process when posting a reply or a new topic.  On other boards when inserting an outside link, when you hit the Insert Hyperlink button you get a popup window dialog that steps you through pasting the URL you want to link to and the text you want to show up in the post.  Something like this.  However, with the new Hypnos Forum, when clicking the Insert Hyperlink button you just get something like this: "[url]  [\url]".  The dialogs make things so much easier.  I was just wondering if the new forum software has this as an option?  Just wondering.  Thanks again for all of your hard work.



While I was gathering music for the Desolation Angels mix, I was originally going to have both vocal and instrumental tracks. Once I started putting it together, however, I felt that having a mix of just instrumental and operatic cuts was best. So, I decided to put all of the vocal tracks left over from Desolation Angels together in their own mix which became Tears in Rain. It was actually fairly difficult to find tracks that had both sad lyrics as well as slow, somber backing music. Although somewhat of a departure from my other ambient mixes, I think the sad and melancholy mood I was going for turned out pretty well and the mix serves as a nice companion to Desolation Angels. The title is taken from the film Blade Runner. I hope you like it. This mix is also dedicated to my friend Katie, gone too long.

Downloads (right click, save link as):

Tears in Rain MP3 (74:26) (192k) (104 mb)

Cover Art & Score (575k zip)


1. Various field recordings
2. Peter Gabriel – The Drop
3. The Montgolfier Brothers - Journey's End
4. Canyon Country - Dead or Dreaming
5. Damien Rice - Sleep Don't Weep
6. Porcupine Tree - Feel So Low
7. Peter Broderick - Another Glacier
8. Michael Andrews & Gary Jules - Mad World
9. Johnny Cash - Hurt
10. Cowboy Junkies - Spiral Down
11. Sigur Ros - Gong Endir
12. Azure Ray - Sleep
13. Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - Falling Slowly
14. Red House Painters - Have You Forgotten
15. Archive - Fold
16. Peter Gabriel - I Grieve

Cover art is adapted from a photo I found online. After this mix, I promise to do something a bit brighter.  :)

“There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.”

- Aeschylus

Mixes that were formerly posted on the Hypnos Forum can  be found on my blog.

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