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Messages - doombient

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1
Hi all,

in order to celebrate ['ramp]'s 21st anniversary this month (for some reason I believe in the magic of three times seven...) I decided to make the first two albums available as digital downloads.

"nodular" was released in 1998, and you might have guessed already what the pun in the title is referring to. It's heavily sequencer-based music firmly rooted in what is commonly called "Berlin School" -- I still am amazed at the sequencing in the title track, and it's almost twenty years old:

https://ramp1.bandcamp.com/album/nodular

"frozen radios" was the second album by ['ramp], released in 2000. It carries on where "nodular" left off. If at all, it's even edgier and rawer in its approach to sequencing and sound design:

https://ramp1.bandcamp.com/album/frozen-radios

Many people still have fond memories of the main sequencer rig crashing halfway through the concert where "damage / dissolution" was recorded... that was fun, if not for me.

More is to come, stay tuned.

Enjoy, and thanks for purchasing,

Stephen.




2
Hi all,

it's shameless self-promotion season again, apologies for that ;).

I've uploaded the CDR Version of my 2010 limited-edition album permafrost as a digital download album on Bandcamp:

https://stephenparsick.bandcamp.com/album/permafrost

It was recorded between February and March 2010 during an exceptionally cold winter; many field recordings used on this album have to do with ice in some way or other. For example, I close-miked a frozen pond to record the crackle of ice, tree trunks and rocks tossed onto the surface of a frozen lake (which the local police found a bit, well... interesting), and of ice floes grinding against each other on a frozen canal. As a contrast, I also recorded the sound of fire which was used very prominently in Part Four of the album. These recordings were processed in the studio and combined with textural sound from various analogue and digital synthesisers.

There is a 3 1/2-hour version of this album as well which I might upload eventually but for the time being, I am happy to treat you to the album-length rendition of permafrost.

Thanks for listening and, of course, for your support.

Stephen

3
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: TC Electronics' reverbs
« on: April 08, 2017, 03:17:40 AM »
[...] I'm sure they're great and worthwhile if I was in a surf rock band but not for an ambient musician who might only use one a little bit here and there. [...]

I wouldn't call Brian Eno "surf rock" but he did use a Roland RE-501 Chorus Echo in conjunction with a Lexicon 224. This is what made "Plateaux of Mirrors" and "The Pearl" so lush-sounding.

Stephen

4
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: TC Electronics' reverbs
« on: April 02, 2017, 01:00:02 PM »
There is plenty of them around. The problem is, most of them are "vintage" and thus fairly pricey.

The Sound Workshop 242 is a classic stereo spring reverb, a bit like the Klark Teknik DN 50 (which is also stereo). Both are 19" rackmounts. Fostex, D&R, Tapco, Quad/Eight, Masterroom, Vesta Fire, Furman, and Korg also made rackmounts.

The Great British Spring is a stereo device but fairly awkward to carry around (let alone place in the studio). Shipping one of these could be a real challenge.

The king of springs would be the AKG BX-20 but this one has become extremely expensive recently, as well as its smaller siblings, the BX-25(E), BX-15, or BX-10. I would not spend a fortune on a BX-5. Too limited for the price it fetches.

For guitar and instant Dick Dale the Lafayette Reverb is interesting (marketed under different brand names), as well as the Schaller Reverb. These two are mono.

Vermona RetroVerb is one of the more contemporary (and affordable) offerings. Ekdahl Moisturizer probably is a bit too hip and correspondingly more expensive.

My personal favourite would be a BBD echo, combined with a spring reverb (e. g. Evans/Electra EP-250). This, or a Roland RE-201/301/501/555. Sweet tone.

Stephen

5
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: TC Electronics' reverbs
« on: April 02, 2017, 12:03:07 PM »
You might want to give a decent spring reverb a try instead.

Stephen

6
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: TC Electronics' reverbs
« on: April 02, 2017, 11:08:35 AM »
Depends on what you are looking for. I've always found TC reverbs to be on the clinical and cold side -- which can be a good thing if you want contrast in your mixes. If it's your only reverb, it might be a tad too sterile. The long-discontinued Behringer V-Verb is rumoured to have been modelled on the TC 3000/4000, and, in fact, the reverbs tend to be on the clear but cold side. Which is nice, if only for contrasts.

But that's only me, of course. I could never warm up to the fabled TC 1210 Chorus Flanger either. Had two of them, sold them both (but always kept at least one Roland Dimension D).

Never liked (or used) reverb stompboxes -- I'm not really into this sort of gimmickry either.

Stephen

7
Hi all,

after the rather fierce doombient.two album I am happy to announce the release of the third limited-edition doombient album, kalte sterne ("cold stars") as a digital download:

https://ramp1.bandcamp.com/album/doombient-three-kalte-sterne

Recorded live in concert at Bochum Planetarium on 24th February 2007 and originally released in a limited production run of 100 copies back in 2008, it was to become the final recording of the original line-up of ['ramp]. On the same night, the official release of ceasing to exist was celebrated, and it comes to no surprise that doombient.three is the most tranquil and peaceful recording of the trilogy. If you are fond of cinematic deep-space music with a colder and somewhat darker edge to it, you might like this one. 

Thanks for listening and, of course, for your support,

Stephen

8
[...] Too much choice can be paralyzing.  [...]

It makes people docile -- and hope for someone to make all the important choices for them because the world has become a tad too complicated.

Stephen

9
Alright, here we go, here comes the nasty bit:

https://ramp1.bandcamp.com/album/doombient-two-a-declaration-of-war

doombient.two probably is the most radical album in ['ramp]'s repertoire (well, that's my take on it anyway). It was recorded during a one-off festival which really went out of control due to the organizer being very ambitious but inexperienced, and the personnel he had asked to help him being totally inept. The FOH mixer, for instance, had never heard of "stereo", and in order to cope with clipping he tweaked the EQ controls rather than lowering input gain.

This left me not only with a ruined live recording but also with an audience that really felt annoyed by the sheer amount of noise and aggressiveness ['ramp] presented right from the start. In fact, ['ramp] managed to empty the hall in less than 20 minutes. I believe that this concert put off quite a lot of people who still believe that ['ramp] is rubbish, fifteen years on.

To this day, I sometimes can't stand the emotional intensity of the recording as it was not only recorded under really extreme personal and existential circumstances, it also marked the beginning of the end of ['ramp] as a duo.

Be prepared that this is not exactly for the inexperienced listener or for the faint at heart.

Thanks for listening, and -- as always -- thank you for your support,

Stephen.

10
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Teufelsberg Reverb
« on: February 15, 2017, 04:19:45 AM »
If you know the location from actually having been there, you will have found out it is a rotten, crumbling, run-down, filthy place (I was tempted to write "piss-hole") with (bad) graffitis all over the place. The qualities of the place in terms of "ambience" or "reverb" are pretty much non-existing -- the only intriguing bit would be the cold-war connotations it evokes.

Stephen

11
Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Forrest Fang news
« on: February 14, 2017, 09:38:53 AM »
Thanks for the pointer, I really enjoyed reading this interview.

Some tough questions I would have a hard time to answer.

Stephen

12
And now for something a little more pleasant (before it gets *really* bad) and tranquil:

https://stephenparsick.bandcamp.com/album/planetary-music

"Planetary Music" has just been made available -- a concert from March 2008, recorded at Osnabrück planetarium. The programme was billed as "Planetary Unfolding" in order to pay homage to Michael Stearns'  highly influential space music album -- interestingly, a local newspaper described "doombient" as "a hybrid of new-age music and death metal." This I'd love to hear -- if only once.

Anyway, thanks for your attention. Feel free to enjoy,

Stephen.

13
doombient.one -- verbrannte erde ("scorched earth") has been made available as a digital download Album as well:

https://ramp1.bandcamp.com/album/doombient-one-verbrannte-erde

Unlike the regular releases by ['ramp], this one -- as well as its siblings -- was more heavily influenced by early industrial music bands and artists like e. g. Throbbing Gristle and can thus be filed under less pleasant listening rather than "Berlin School".

The concert this music was recorded at literally witnessed some airborn vegetables and other positive response from the audience... always a good and encouraging sign. A true disconcert.

Thanks for listening and, of course, for your ongoing support. Much appreciated.

Stephen

14
I received an email from Hearts of Space earlier this morning... apparently, one of the tracks Markus Reuter and I created was played on last night's broadcast, all across the USA:

=--------------------------------------------------------------------=
    PGM 1134 : "AFTER THE BURN"
=--------------------------------------------------------------------=
    PGM NOTE : the nostalgic sound of a world without us
=--------------------------------------------------------------------=
    FEED DATE : 1-13-17
=--------------------------------------------------------------------=

  ROBERT RICH
   "Corvid Collections" (beginning) < 0:00->2:52 >
   "Soft Rains Fall" < 2:52->6:47 >
   "Corvid Collections" (ending) < 6:47->10:23 >
    : WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND; Soundscape Productions SP027; 2016
    : Info: www.robertrich.com

  ROBERT RICH
   "Equipoise and Dissolution" (edited) < 10:23->17:41 >
    : VESTIGES; Soundscape Productions SP029; 2016
    : Info: www.robertrich.com

  ROBERT RICH
   "Aerial on Warm Seas" (part) < 17:41->21:37 >
    : WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND; Soundscape Productions SP027; 2016
    : Info: www.robertrich.com

  SECRET DRUID SOCIETY
   "Lonely Moon" < 21:37->25:18 >
    : RESTLESS; First Fallen Star ffs006; 2010
    : Info: www.secretdruidsociety.bandcamp.com

  STEPHEN PARSICK and MARKUS REUTER
   "Weightless Particles" < 25:18->32:43 >
    : LAMENT; Gterma Records gterma003; Sweden 2012
      http://www.markusreuter.bandcamp.com/album/lament
    : Info: www.gterma.blogspot.com; www.parsick.com;
      www.markusreuter.com


  ROBERT RICH
   "Night Seas Luminesce" < 32:43->39:10 >
   "Anchorless on Quiet Tide" (edited) < 39:10->44:05 >
    : VESTIGES; Soundscape Productions SP029; 2016
    : Info: www.robertrich.com

  ALIO DIE and SYLVI ALLI
   "Crepuscular Birds" < 44:05->54:27 >
    : AMIDST THE CIRCLING SPIRES; Projekt PRO292; 2014
    : Info: www.projekt.com; www.aliodie.com; www.verticalpool.com

  ROBERT RICH
   "Obscured by Leaf Shadows" (edited) < 54:27->58:59 >
    : VESTIGES; Soundscape Productions SP029; 2016
    : Info: www.robertrich.com

=--------------------------------------------------------------------=
    PRODUCED BY : STEVE DAVIS and STEPHEN HILL
=--------------------------------------------------------------------=
    BAY AREA WEATHER : waterlogged
=--------------------------------------------------------------------=
    (c) 2017 Hearts of Space
=--------------------------------------------------------------------=


Wow.

Took me more than twenty years to get there.

BTW, "rhizophora -- music for mangroves" will be up on Bandcamp soon. I still am amazed at how this music makes time dissolve. Extremely slow, deep-listening stuff.

Stephen (smiling with satisfaction).

15
[...] Did you play right under the moon sculptur? ;)

Yes, I did. It was suspended from the ceiling, and at that time it was the biggest three-dimensional moon model on earth (with a diameter of roughly 25 metres). Quite impressive even though it tended to get lost a little inside the gasometer (which measures roughly 70 metres in diameter and 120 metres in height).

I would have loved to play at Landschaftspark Nord in Duisburg (another abandoned steel plant) but, with those weather conditions in mind, playing inside the gasometer was perhaps a better choice (if only slightly...).

To me, the Oberhausen Gasometer is a very special place. I saw Lightwave play there live in 1996 when they were performing their Mundus Subterraneus installation for Anne and Patrick Poirier. That was awe-inspiring, and I always wanted to play there myself. I played there twice, actually -- once in 2007 and again in 2010.

[...] Very smooth textures! [...]

Thanks. I believe the gasometer's natural reverb blurred the edges even more :). Best moment during the performance: A fellow came walking up to me, asking "Excuse me, sir, but what are these sounds?" -- you have got to love this.

Stephen

16
Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Some ['ramp] and Parsick news
« on: January 01, 2017, 03:35:18 AM »
Hi all,

as already discussed elsewhere on this forum, I decided to take a sabbatical from releasing music after the Bochum Planetarium Show in July 2012. The workload of running a label enterprise (even a tiny-scale operation as mine), creating and producing music, and working a day job which pays the electric bill turned out to be a tad too much.

My hands have not been idle, though, and I kept producing music in the meantime, although perhaps not as ambitiously as in the past -- I'm getting older as well. I hope to be releasing one, if not two new ['ramp] albums on CD in the course of the new year which I finished off in 2016 (with a third album waiting in line). Also, I hope to get my website (ho-hum...) up and running -- it took me all of 2016 to elaborate on the concept, write the texts, and sift through my archives for some pictures I might want to upload.

The first step to get things going again was signing up to Bandcamp. Some of you may know how reluctant I am to release music online but people really seem to embrace this format as I could tell from past experience with Iapetus. I took the time around Christmas to start uploading not only ['ramp]'s back catalogue but also some music I created under my name. I hope to have some more albums added to my discography (download-o-graphy?) soon:

https://stephenparsick.bandcamp.com/

https://ramp1.bandcamp.com/

There are two ambient music albums I have had in the pipeline for some time which I decided to upload to Bandcamp, "music to walk through" and "a beginner's guide to doombient". I hope you will enjoy listening to them. You can order downloads and physical releases (if available) directly through Bandcamp while my own webshop is still inactive. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me.

Many thanks to all who have sent emails, encouragement, and moral support -- much appreciated.

Thanks for your time,

Stephen.

17
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: The Modular Synthesizer Thread
« on: August 19, 2016, 01:10:31 AM »
[...]

Trying to bring this thread back on focus and leaving EMS non virtues behind.....kind of funny but not really.

I thought we might gloat at Mr Cortini's Buchla Rig.....



Cortini's Buchla stuff is among the few listenable (and enjoyable) Buchla performances on the net.

I sometimes can't help the feeling that most people seem to mistake the Buchla for an expensive whoopee cushion.

"There is nothing more satisfying than making a synthesiser sound like a fart." (Vince Clarke)

Nothing wrong with the EMS. Its price is just a bit out of proportion.

The first incarnation of the Synthi-A was to be called The Portabella.

Stephen

18
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: The Modular Synthesizer Thread
« on: August 17, 2016, 08:26:21 AM »
[...] and now we know the meaning of VCS3, I wonder what AKS stands for  ::)  ;D

A krappy sequencer.

Aye, kool shite.

Just an idea...

Stephen

19
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: The Modular Synthesizer Thread
« on: August 17, 2016, 04:29:19 AM »
According to Dave Cockerell, the abbreviation "VCS 3" stands for "Very Crappy Synthesiser, third attempt".

Stephen

20
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: The Modular Synthesizer Thread
« on: August 15, 2016, 05:23:50 AM »
[...] You got to really want one of these and have patience.

As much as I like the VCS-3 for what it does, there are better and more instantly available options around today.

More cost-effective, too.

Stephen

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