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Messages - ffcal

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Everything and Nothing / Re: 2008 winter weather
« on: December 17, 2008, 09:18:34 PM »

May 2009 be a great year for you all!!!

Same to you, Bill ... and to other forum inhabitors  (posters and non-posters).


Likewise, Bill!  It's been a relatively balmly upper 40s in the Bay Area today.  Yesterday, there was snow in San Francisco, which was downright bizarre.  I've been hunkered down, getting my last minute online shopping done before Christmas.


Everything and Nothing / Re: Ancient Gugin Music
« on: December 15, 2008, 10:29:13 PM »
I'm glad you liked the track.  Robert actually strung together the listenable bits from two different gu zheng improvisions.  I had tuned the zheng to an unconventional scale that seemed to fit with the mood of Robert's backing tracks.  I don't think I would have the chops to sustain that kind of mood for an entire album.  Thanks for the encouragement, though.  I prefer to work with a "multiple instruments" sound anyway--a lot of layering.  I did recently play a short zheng solo as part of an extended piece that should be appearing on my next album.  I'm not sure how the CD was received by others, but I liked it a lot and it's definitely one of my favorites of Robert's releases.


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: December 15, 2008, 10:18:09 PM »
Been listening to:

Thom Brennan - Strange Paradise (very nice floating ambient CD from 2001; it used to go under the title of, "The Secret Faiths of Salamanders")


I've just added a new track for streaming to the page someone previously posted in my name.  (I might as well get some use out of it!)  It's a 6 minute piece called "Cicadas" that I finished in the last month or two.  It should be appearing on a fundraising CD for the WWUH show, "Ambience" by late February 2009.

Here's the new page:


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: December 13, 2008, 09:48:23 AM »
The Chills - Brave Words (time for some old school 80s New Zealand pop)


Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Fabio Orsi
« on: December 13, 2008, 09:46:34 AM »
What ever you do, I would steer clear of the Find Electronica release.  It's a 5 minute piece that is about 44 minutes too long.  As Alan noted, Wild Light of the Moon is a veritable bargain, though it's a CDR.


Everything and Nothing / Re: Ancient Gugin Music
« on: December 13, 2008, 09:41:05 AM »
Clarion is a great store.  I used to go there in the late 80s when my office job was near there.  I bought my first gu-zheng at that store.  The (then) owner recommended my gu-zheng teacher.


Everything and Nothing / Re: CD-R Deterioration
« on: December 13, 2008, 09:38:52 AM »
I have two players in the computer in question and neither reads the last track.  Both players are less than 2 months old.

Are you getting the same results in a conventional CD player?  I would think that the CD mechanism in the CD-ROM drive is relatively modest, compare to that of a standalone CD player.


Everything and Nothing / Re: Tinnitus
« on: December 09, 2008, 09:24:12 PM »
The discussion makes me wonder if I might have some mild form of tinnitus, too.  On occasion, I'll hear high pitched ringing when my sinuses are congested, but it doesn't seem to be triggered by anything, and it goes away after a short while.  Of course, there have been those occasions when I have experienced severe temporary ear pain when I have patched out of a mixer when I should have patched in.  Probably the worst sustained ringing I experienced was when I attended a Glenn Branca performance without any ear protection.  9 highly amped guitars and a pounding drummer at an indoor pier.  My ears rang for nearly a week afterwards (though it was a great performance).

I'm also sensitive to high pitched sounds.  Wierdly, I can distinguish individual pitches that comprise my computer's hum.


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: December 08, 2008, 11:04:20 PM »
Stephan Mathieu - Radioland  (my copy arrived today, and it sounds great.  Beautiful packaging to boot.  This is apparently the 2d pressing, which is the size of a conventional CD case, if a little thinner.  Can't remember who was looking for this in the US, but Mimaroglu Music Sales has it for less than $20.)


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: December 07, 2008, 08:56:35 PM »
David Borden - Music For Amplified Keyboard Instruments (on vinyl--still my favorite release of his; very listenable electronic minimalism)


Everything and Nothing / Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« on: December 07, 2008, 09:29:23 AM »

I think you give Immersion a little too much credit.  I took his remark to mean that those of us who prefer to listen to or create shorter works listen to "superficial" music.  That statement has about as much validity as saying that persons who don't enjoy artist X "don't get it."

I think you bring up an interesting point about non-Western cultures, but I don't think that most solo ambient artists work in that kind of cultural context (at least not without some faux new age trappings from the West).  The closest thing to that might be the 90s rave/ambient scene, where continuous ambient pieces might fill a "chill-out" during the wee hours.


I agree that ambient musicians operate largely outside of the mainstream.  I also think that the "bonus track" phenomenon probably had more to do with the transition from LP to CD.  Thankfully, there seems to be less of that going on now, though it seem to crop up a lot on CD reissues, where the record company seems to be trying to persuade the consumer who has the bought the album once before to cough up the dough again for some "remastered" tracks and a few bonus crumbs.


Everything and Nothing / Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« on: December 06, 2008, 02:06:08 PM »
One other opinion I'd like to add (though it is a little off-topic):

In our tiny genre, I think there may be tendency of some to think that structure is not important.  I think it is a big mistake to think that way, and may increase the odds of the result not being that interesting.


Everything and Nothing / Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« on: December 06, 2008, 01:59:56 PM »

I think case you prefer superficial ambient...Myself prefer psychoactive and contemplative ambient...that does bring me in a state beyond space & time.

One person's "psychoactive and contemplative ambient" is another person's aimless noodling.  It's a matter of personal taste.  Having composed and released ambient music for the better part of 20+ years, I have my own opinions about what is and is not useful in ambient music, but certainly do not consider my enjoyment of it "superficial."


Everything and Nothing / Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« on: December 06, 2008, 12:18:05 PM »
All I am saying is that we all choose what life we want to live...and what spend our time on...

I don't think music length of a CD is so much a function of lifestyle as it is a respect for the listener.  If I have a simple idea that can only sustain itself for a few minutes without becoming monotonous, why subject a listener to it for 80 minutes (unless that is the statement being made)?  I don't think there are too many other Philip Glasses, LaMonte Youngs, or even Steve Roachs out there who can sustain that kind of length and yet maintain the listener's interest.


Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Naked City
« on: December 02, 2008, 06:17:14 PM »
Sorry for the mis-spelling Forrest.

No problem, Michael.  It happens a lot.

BTW, Zorn got some flak from the Bay Area Asian community a few years back for using Japanese porn images on his albums.  I'm not that politically correct, but it did seem like a dumb thing to do.


Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Naked City
« on: December 02, 2008, 02:06:42 PM »
I prefer Zorn's earlier Nonesuch stuff, like "The Big Gundown" and "Spillane," which to me sounded free-wheeling and spirited without being skronky.  I still think he has a wierd fetish for Japanese porn/bondage stuff, though.  Some of his covers seem needlessly provocative to me, kind of a vestige of the Whitehouse/SPK industrial shock school of the early 80s.


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: December 02, 2008, 02:00:48 PM »
Forrest, I was thinking more about the other albums I have mentioned, especially Cyborg (EMS synth, tapes, organs, and head full of ideas). Mentioned Timewind was recorded using much less equipment. Some parts directly recorded on 2-tracks.
On X he used his "Big Moog" modular synthesizer plus couple of other synths. He sold it later to Peter Namlook, and Namlook put it on Ebay after DSOTM series (I saw that auction... ). And yes, real Mellotron for choirs.

I'm not familiar with Cyborg.  I remember that Timewind was very string synthy.  Especially liked side one (Bayreuth Return), though the white noise ending to that nearly jolted me out of my seat the first time I heard it.

Re Klaus' use of mellotron:  You're right--his website references a mellotron as of '76.  I guess I was fooled by Klaus' reference to a "voice computer" in the liner notes to his Mirage album.  A machine with multiple tape loops is no computer!  I thought for some reason that he might have been using a Chamberlin, but I guess not.

Currently listening to Hector Zazou's swansong, an ambient collaboration with Indian musicians called "In The House of Mirrors."  Very nice and meditative.


Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Speaking of ECM
« on: December 01, 2008, 06:47:48 PM »
I agree, Mark.  That's kind of lame for any label, much less one like ECM.  I guess this is their version of a minimal frills, mid-line priced album.


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: December 01, 2008, 06:43:27 PM »
Mike,  I think I must have had the same ugly reissue of 'X'.  I remember those crazy fonts on the back cover, too.  I think mine was a Thunderbolt reissue.

Paenon, Schulze's mid-70s tools were actually pretty expansive for the time.  He was (and probably still is) using a monster Moog analog console, and, I think, some kind of early cousin of the Mellotron for the choral sounds, though it was called something else.  Timewind, X and Mirage are probably my favorite Schulze albums.

Currently listening to my hardcopy of the new Byrne/Eno that came in today's mail.  It's a bit of a sleeper, but I kind of like it.  And my copy has David Bryne's autograph, so how can I complain?


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