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Messages - ffcal

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Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 19, 2009, 09:32:26 PM »
I just heard his latest, and, blimey, heís finally cracked it. Confluence is a really gorgeous album thatís wholly satisfying.

Thanks for the tip, Alan.  It's available on emusic, so it should be relatively painless to check out.

I've been listening to The Zombies a lot recently and in particular their album, "Odessey and Oracle" (Yes, the title was misspelt: long story there).  They are basically one of those bands that was just missed by the public, and never got the recognition they deserved.  If you're into psychedelic 60's baroque pop, then Odessey is one of the greatest albums you're likely to hear. 

I remember hearing the Zombies' Time of the Season quite a bit on the radio when I was kid.  Great song.  A strange prog connection is that the Zombies' lead singer, Colin Blunstone, was a guest singer on Dave Stewart (of Canterbury fame, not the Eurythemics guy) and Barbara Gaskin's 1st 45, "What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted" (a great version, BTW).

I was in the time machine today, too.  Listened to Chris Squire's Fish Out of Water.


Everything and Nothing / Re: Hi from New Zealand
« on: January 16, 2009, 11:04:31 PM »
Making music while on vacation?!  Well, you're one very dedicated musician...:)


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 16, 2009, 11:02:25 PM »
Enjoying two very different discs I picked up at Amoeba today:

Shanghai Traditional Music Society - Jiangnan Sizhu (Traditional Music from Southesatern China)(on Hugo(!)--I never see these discs around here)

Manual - Azure Vista (I like this a lot more than a beatless ambient disc of his I heard a few years back).


Everything and Nothing / Re: It's a new year... let's introduce ourselves
« on: January 16, 2009, 10:58:05 PM »
I recently was honored by the use of my art on two separate releases of Alio Die, which is something I could not have imagined when I was sitting in distant lands, creating art to the soundtrack of his music.

Belated congratulations to you, Joseph.  Your artwork for Alio Die is quite intense and really outstanding.  The attention to detail almost reminds me a little bit of outsider artist Adolf Wolfli (though you're probably a lot saner than he was, of course).

Sounds like a fascinating life route you've taken.


Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: The Foundry: Closed
« on: January 14, 2009, 10:18:02 PM »
I've spoken with Michael recently about the closing of Foundry.  I think that the continuously shrinking market for conventionally manufactured CDs had a lot to do with it, especially as it applied to distribution.  It's really a shame, because Michael was instrumental in bringing together several of us Bay Area ambient musicians under the Archipelago umbrella.  We met on a semi-regular basis at different Korean restaurants to talk shop and brainstorm, and it was a lot of fun.  I met Saul at one of these dinners.  Michael also sponsored several "Foundry" nights at local venues a few years back, that featured music performances by Foundry artists and video.  The Foundry label had some really cool "concept" albums, like 360 degrees, and Jonathan Hughes' Fluidities, and will be sorely missed.  Hopefully, my Invisibility release with Carl Weingarten did not hasten its decline!


Wow, especially great to hear about new Thomas Koner and Paul Schutze releases.  It's about time!


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 13, 2009, 09:58:12 PM »
- Intelligent Toys 5  (Sutemos)
First listen. Didn't sound as spectacular as 4, but interesting stuff for sure.
3 albums and free. Have not heard it all yet.

Yeah, I'd have to agree.  I liked it, but it's a bit lower key than 3 and 4.

Recently played:  The Blue Nile - A Walk Across the Rooftops (still my favorite of theirs, their 1st)


Everything and Nothing / Re: Organizing large music collections.
« on: January 13, 2009, 09:54:48 PM »
I don't have the greatest filing system, but I try to keep my ambient and electronic CDs separate from the rock and indie ones.  I also keep my classical, jazz and world music CDs separately, in (mostly) alphabetical order.


Everything and Nothing / Re: Vinyl Mastering
« on: January 13, 2009, 09:52:40 PM »
The Problem is solved. The Label will pay for the mastering which
is going to be done by a professional Mastering Guy. Which means
that i don't need to worry about this process. A good thing. Instead
of this i can plan a few Concerts for a small tour to promote the record
when it comes out.

Sounds great.  Glad that it all worked out.


Everything and Nothing / Re: It's a new year... let's introduce ourselves
« on: January 13, 2009, 09:51:22 PM »
Hello, I'm the other Forrest (not to confused with Forrest Houle).  I'm a couple of years older than Mike with 70s progressive rock collection to prove it.  My early interest in electronic music started with a class in college, which provided me with generous access to an Arp 2500, Arp 2600 and a Moog Mark V.  I was also interested in minimalism, having really taken to the works of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Terry Riley.  In the late 80s and early 90s, my music took a little detour from EM when I studied the gu zheng (Chinese zither), started playing gagaku (Japanese court music) with a local group of Asian musicians on an oboe-like instrument called the hichiriki, and took a workshop on Balinese gamelan in the Bay Area.  I returned to EM in earnest in the late 90s when I discovered algorithmic music and, in particular, fractal music. My current music is probably still a mixture of these different influences.  In my other life, I am a Bay Area lawyer.

Forrest (Fang)

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 10, 2009, 01:36:29 PM »
VA - Intelligent Toys 5

(a massive "three disc" mp3 set on netlabel Sutemos.  Have only digested part of it so far.  No real impressions of it yet.)

Also listening to some nice Kyma sound streams from Richard Lainhart.


Everything and Nothing / Re: How to stay interested in music?
« on: January 10, 2009, 01:33:54 PM »
It's not that I don't have a desire to hear music, it's more like I need a rest.

I agree.  My ears definitely need a rest after an extended session of concentrated listening, whether to others' music or to my own stuff.  I also find that music can sometimes become too much of distraction when it starts to become the soundtrack of my day.


Actually, I think a far worse business model might be Silent Records or Extreme.  Artists from both labels were apparently not paid at all or were severe unpaid for royalties--presumably to subsidize future releases.  I was never paid for a box of 25 CDs I hand-delivered to Silent at a time when I was only marginally employed.


I didn't have any problem with HOS/Fathom for releasing both very commercial material and less commercial material.  What bugged me about what happened there, which led to the demise of Fathom, was that they started out small and humble, and apparently satisfied with selling a smaller number of copies of CDs.  Then when they started releasing the more commercial stuff, as I understand it, they changed their operation and added a ton of overhead (lots of employees and expensive offices) which made the Fathom type releases no longer feasible. 

I say, fine, do the more commercial stuff if you like, but not if it's just a quick path to becoming a bloated, overly-profit-focused corporate entity that can no longer "afford" to do the kind of cool, artistic stuff that got you where you are in the first place.

I don't know.  I think it's far easier to second guess marketing miscalculations in hindsight.  I think it can be difficult for a growing company not to run the risk of being victimized by its own success.  At some point, you may need to grow to accommodate increased demand, but that may lead to giving up a certain amount of control to others (marketers) whose decisions may be ultimately prove to be wrong.  On the other hand, I think that Projekt helped to ensure its continued survival by cutting back its staff and closing its Chicago office a few years back.


I had a brief conversation with Stephen Hill when he stopped by.  I remember him telling me that the success of more commercial releases such as those by John Boswell and the "Celtic Twilight" series helped to subsidize the releases on Fathom.  I doubt that there was any pressure placed by the HOS/Fathom label on Steve or Robert to commercialize their sound.

That is not what the artist on the label told me in conversation (I should point out this was not from just Steve & Robert I heard this, but from other artists as well). To be fair I think Stephen may remember it this way as from my understanding he was not the main person putting the pressure on the artists.

If there was such pressure, I doubt that it was coming from Stephen.  I'm surprised to hear that HOS was putting pressure on Robert to release more commercial stuff.  The closest I heard to a complaint from Robert about them wanting a concert grand piano (instead of the home grand that Robert used) for what later became his "Open Window" release.


One other thing.  While it might seem fashionable to slag a label like HOS/Fathom for releasing both "mainstream" and noncommercial ambient albums, I think it's a very practical thing to do.  It's very easy to dictate the terms of someone else's business, but when it's your own money, you might feel differently about it.


At the time that Bob Ohlsson was mastering Gongland at Hearts of Space, I had a brief conversation with Stephen Hill when he stopped by.  I remember him telling me that the success of more commercial releases such as those by John Boswell and the "Celtic Twilight" series helped to subsidize the releases on Fathom.  I doubt that there was any pressure placed by the HOS/Fathom label on Steve or Robert to commercialize their sound.  I don't doubt, though, that the Fathom releases were phased out after a period of declining sales.


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 06, 2009, 12:58:03 PM »
Wouldn't be AS bad if sites only put up 64kbs versions of albums,
but putting up 320kbs versions is simply giving the album away
... making many labels wonder why they bother putting all their
time and effort into releasing this music. No surprise we are seeing
more cdr/download releases. Maybe in the future it will be only free
net releases ... with very little quality control,  embedded ads,
interspersed political slogans, and plenty of malware.

I read an article this past week which stated that CD sales had dropped 20% in the past year, and that the drop had not been covered by digital sales, so I'm not surprised that to hear that this has been happening.

I'm now listening to:

Steve Kilbey - Painkiller (much better than I expected)
The Kinks - The Kink Kronikles


Now Playing / Re: Best of 2008
« on: January 06, 2009, 12:52:02 PM »
Thanks for the props/mentions, Dave, avec, Alan and Fern.

Here are my 10 for 2008 (some ambient, some not):

Elm - Bxogonoas (Barn Owl side project)
Fabio Orsi - Wild Light of The Moon (maybe not his best, but his most consistent throughout)
Peter Wright - Pretty Mushroom Clouds
Juana Molina - Un Dia
Forgas Band Phenomena - L'Axe du Fou (melodic Canterbury-styled prog)
Natural Snow Buildings/Isengrind/Twin Sister Moon - The Snowbringer Cult
Nik Bartsch's Ronin - Holon
Jason Sloan - Ending [light]
V/A - Perceived Distances (excellent Blue Oasis comp)
Haruomi Hosono - Archives Vol. 1

Forrest (Sans Serif)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: AtmoWorks Compilation(s)
« on: January 06, 2009, 12:43:58 PM »

Sounds like a fun idea. I'd be happy to contribute a piece.


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