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Messages - Altus

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Everything and Nothing / Re: Happy Birthday Loren
« on: November 30, 2009, 04:08:22 PM »
Have a good one, Loren!   :D

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: CDR prices too high
« on: November 19, 2009, 05:17:03 PM »
OT, but I figured it was worth mentioning regarding safe storage of discs:
Everyone knows sunlight is a big no-no when it comes to optical media, but did you know that all light (even artificial) very slowly degrades the dye in burnt media (CD and DVD).  For the most part this is a non-issue because the degradation is almost non-existent, but those who greatly value their backups might feel that much more safe storing their media in a dark space.

That goes on for wa-a-ay too long.  Do these people have no shame?

Everything and Nothing / Re: Sound quality still matters....
« on: November 14, 2009, 07:10:23 AM »
I think it's safe to say that ambient and classical music is best listened to uncompressed.

On a side note, I've started releasing my work in MP3 and FLAC, and was very surprised to see quite a number of listeners downloading the FLAC over MP3 (around 30-40%).  In fact since I've started doing this, I've had a number of people contact me asking for specific albums in my discography as FLAC.

So I'm happy to say there's definitely people out there who do still care about sound quality... and not just music artists either.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Beautiful Ambient Video
« on: October 28, 2009, 07:40:56 PM »
Thanks Mirko.  Glad you liked it.  :)

To anyone who may not know, this is a promo video for my new release "Coma Cluster" on the Endless Ascent netlabel.

If FLAC is more your thing, you can download that here:

And full-length previews if you just want to take a listen without downloading:


Everything and Nothing / Re: Sad News
« on: October 18, 2009, 05:58:40 AM »
I hardly knew you.  But in the short time I have, I can definitely attest to what everyone's been saying about your love for music.
If there's something past this life as we know it, I hope the music of Earth only pales in comparison to what you're hearing now.

My condolences to his family and friends.

Thanks Shane.

Judd, those Buddhist links that come up at the end are YouTube's doing.  I don't have any control over it.  I think they're based on the tags I put in, and the words "earth" and "mantra" are likely what's causing it.  ;)

Oh, and I don't practice any religion or beliefs... although a lot of people who know me say I'd make a good Buddhist.   ;D

Welcome to Earth Mantra Netlabel's one hundredth release. To celebrate this milestone, we decided early on that this album should be a compilation of the artists who made up the previous ninety-nine releases.

Little did we realize how many of our artists would want to contribute and how excellent the music would be. As a result, this release has grown to encompass four full discs of sublime ambience, with more than four hours of music end to end. We're very proud of the result.

Special thanks to all of the artists for their contributions, both to this compilation, to Earth Mantra, as well as to the ambient community at large. Your generosity helps make the ambient world a better place, and Earth Mantra simply could not exist without you.

Finally, we would like to thank our listeners, without whom there would literally be no point. We sincerely hope that you have enjoyed the first one hundred mantras, and we look forward to many, many more.

Features original music from the following artists:
Alex Tiuniaev
Carl Sagan's Ghost
Copal River
Darkened Soul
Darren Harper
Desert Mystic
Emerald Adrift
Incandescent Void
Jacob Newman
Kit Watkins
Lucette Bourdin
Medicine Man
Michael Sandler
Mister Vapor
Musir von Vidalia
Phillip Wilkerson
Shane Morris
Stephen Philips
Sylvie Walder
Tone Ghost Ether
Tony Gerber

A promo video I put together for the release.  If you enjoy timelapse photography, be sure to check it out.

And of course, the link to the release itself.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Hi From Mystified
« on: October 09, 2009, 05:15:34 PM »
Hey Thomas.
Good to see you here.  :)

While I generally aim for three releases a year (which could be considered too much by some), I try to keep things fresh by having each release sounding different than the last.  I cycle between floaty ambient (borderline new age), darker ambient, and sprinkle with orchestral stuff in a film soundtrack vein.  In doing so, I'm sure there's listeners who only enjoy some releases, but I figure I capture a larger audience in the process.

As an artist to who gives away everything, I think it's hard to find a following from listeners who generally download, listen once, and forget about it.  I'm sure 75% of my downloads fall into that category.  This is the down-side everyone's talking about... about losing the magic of getting your hands on a new release... there's no commitment to the music.  But I do have repeat contact from a number of visitors with their comments, and interest in upcoming releases, so I must be doing something right.

Seren's comment on having listeners recoil from personal contact seems bizarre to me.  I've seen the opposite.  Perhaps since I give my stuff away, I'm more approachable since I'm not seen as "a real artist".  I'm just some guy who makes music.  ;D

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: The ambient 'scene'
« on: September 29, 2009, 03:45:59 PM »
Thanks Mike.  That hair will haunt my dreams.   :o

I think $900 for that build (minus junk) is very reasonable.

Like I said before, I love these custom shops.  Having the support is absolutely worth the little extra cost incurred versus buying from a big manufacturer.  And I generally feel better about giving my money to a local shops... where it actually makes a difference in keeping them in business.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Get Well for Jim Brenholts
« on: September 24, 2009, 06:57:54 PM »
Jim clearly isn't listening to enough soothing ambient.  (Just kidding.  ;))
I hope things get back to normal for you soon, Jim.

I'm glad to hear everything's working out.  But 10 year parts and labour?  Holy crap, I've never heard of that.  Awesome.  :)

Hi Saul,

Sorry to hear about your computer.  There's one thing worth looking into before you buy a new system.  What exactly is the problem?  Does it turn on at all when you hit power?  If not, it could just be the power supply.  I find that a computer power supply is almost always first to go.  Replacements go for around $75-200, depending on quality and wattage required.  If you're still happy with that system, it might be worth checking out.

Of course, this breakdown could be an easy excuse for an upgrade.  ;)

Regarding the two cheapest options dual and quad-core CPUs, here's a generalized speed test.
Dual E8400:
Quad Q8300:

Is that speed bump worth $70?  I think so.

While the quality of Dell is fine, I'm always leery of purchasing computers from big names like Dell.  They'll ding you on the extras.  For example, another extra 1TB drive is an extra $400?!  I'd suggest purchasing a bare-bones system from Dell, and buying any extra components from either a local store or a site like

Personally, I prefer to support local "computer" stores, since the guys running those places KNOW computers and are fairly competitive when it comes to prices.  You can walk in and build a system to match exactly your needs... get the best bang for your buck.  The other reason is if something breaks down, I can deal with that local store for service and support.

One last suggestion:  Get at least 4 gigs of RAM.

Good luck!   :)

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Guitars picking up noise from PC
« on: September 17, 2009, 06:01:58 AM »
I assume you're using your computer as the recording device?  If so, what kind of soundcard are you using?  Could it be a noisy A/D converter or badly shielded input on the soundcard?  Maybe just a bad cable?

Mirko does it again.  Absolutely beautiful textures, soundscapes and chord progressions.

I'm a fan of all your mixes, but I'm a especially large fan of your mixes that can induce sleep.  Suspended in Air still gets play fairly often.
Thanks for these.  :)

Hey Jim,
Thanks for the comments.  I'm glad you enjoyed it.


City of Ashes

Altus proudly presents City of Ashes, an audio/visual project pairing the music of Mike Carss and the photography of Shawn Sintzel. A mix of ambient and orchestral works, this is by far the most cinematic music Carss has released to date, and acts as a film-like soundtrack to Sintzel's stark and austere photography.

Active listening is encouraged.

Available as 320kb MP3, and FLAC for those who rather to burn to CD.
Full-length previews also available at

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