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Messages - chris23

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Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 28, 2014, 07:12:47 PM »
Non-ambient listening:

Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles (aka Crystal Castles I)
Bizarre and awesome. A malfunctioning Atari video game + female vocals.


Marsen Jules - Beautyfear
Okay, maybe not classic ambient. This is the latest Marsen Jules release. I wasn't a big fan of his last release on 12k, so I was a bit uncertain about what to expect with Beautyfear. Fortunately, this album is perfect in the sense that it retains elements of what I would consider his "roots" (i.e., orchestral or acoustic samples manipulated, looped, and layered in creative ways) while still trying to innovate beyond that. As the title suggests, Beautfyfear is a collection of tracks of that span the spectrum from ethereal and light to the darker and more foreboding. The cool part is that the tracks cannot be discriminated by name; the tracks are simply numbered, leaving the listener a bit uncertain about what will come next. The instrumentation itself doesn't vary much and leans more toward the synthesized end of the strings spectrum more than the acoustic one. The homogeneity of the instrumentation coupled with the split personality lurking in the atmosphere makes for a really cool listening experience.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 27, 2014, 09:18:35 PM »
That is such an awesome song.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 25, 2014, 12:30:19 PM »
Alio Die & Sylvi Alli - Amidst the Circling Spires
Stefano's cathedral-style drones mixed with ethereal vocals from Sylvia Alli. I've been eagerly awaiting this release since it was first announced this past summer. It is perfect. I'm a sucker, however, for dreamy music that contains haunting female vocals; it is an old 4AD hangup.


Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 24, 2014, 09:17:44 PM »
Through a first listen I'd say the voices also remind me of what would happen if the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica were somehow reprogrammed to be peaceful and they all joined a hippy love cult- and I mean that in the best way possible.

I think we have a winner.  ;)

Forrest: Good points. But, given that fans can be discriminating with respect to what they choose to buy, I assume everything balances out in the end.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 23, 2014, 09:41:59 PM »
Some listening from today:

E and I - Putting Off Stars
2013 EP from Cotton Goods featuring Emmanuel Witzhum and Craig Tattersall. This is an 18-minute piece based mostly on viola, dusted tape loops, and other assorted samples. The music is quite sorrowful and wistful. The process by which the music was created is noteworthy; here is a brief description from Boomkat: "The score was generated by transcribing the poem into musical notes using a Hermes Baby typewriter, the letters on the keyboard being replaced with musical notes and the poem being retyped into music. Emmanuel played the score on his viola and the pair processed the strings back-and-forth with tape loops and digital manipulations." Sometimes I'm a bit skeptical about things that seem excessively artsy, as if the process, rather than the result, is the purpose. But there is always something playful yet sincere about Tattersall's work that continues to appeal to me on multiple levels. Samples:

Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
A 2006 release from City Centre Offices. Great stuff: looped and processed acoustic samples that evolve into layered, complex structures. Constructed with patience. One of my favorites from him.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« on: January 22, 2014, 05:45:04 PM »
Finished a few things recently:

Veronica Roth - Divergent (Vol 1) and Insurgent (Vol 2)
This series is concerned with a society in the near future that is organized with respect to people's core character traits--whether they value bravery, truth, compassion, etc. There is a conflict among the factions, however, and the way the conflict plays out drives the meta-story.  I'm a bit embarrassed to say I read the first two books of this series since they are billed as teen lit and, God knows, I haven't been a teenager in several decades. I saw a preview for the upcoming Divergent film, however, and thought it looked interesting and decided to give the books a shot. The basic ideas motivating the book work well as a sound bite, but things seem oversimplified, there is too much kissing, etc.

H. P. Lovecraft - At the Mountains of Madness
Excellent tale of an expedition to Antarctica in which the explorers uncover unspeakable horrors.  ;) This was wonderful; I hadn't read this before and it is now one of my favorites.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 22, 2014, 05:28:52 PM »
Margins - Fragile Existence
This is a late 2013 collaborative project between Dan Crossley (Facture/Fluid Audio) and Craig Tattersall (The Boats). Once again, this is an amazing product from Facture in which the packaging/art is as central to the release as the music. The music itself is decent, but not remarkable. It largely combines field recordings and tape loops to create a fractured but ambient atmosphere. The Crossley nature prints that accompany the release are absolutely beautiful, however, and are worth checking out on the Fluid Audio site regardless of how you feel about Tattersall.

Sound samples:
Images samples:

Who is Wintersilence, by the way?

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 21, 2014, 05:24:06 PM »
Purl & Deflecktion - Rest in you
A digital-only release from Dewtone, available on bandcamp. Spacious ambient with chilled, minimal beats.


Now Playing / Re: Too much music?
« on: January 21, 2014, 05:20:36 PM »
Last night I sold about 150 cd's at Amoeba Music in SF.  I got rid of a lot of rock/pop from the 80's, and also a lot of ambient.  It's amazing how much ambient electronic stuff I have/had that was just gathering dust on my shelves, that is "ok" but not great or inspiring like the classics.  Artists who I had an abundance of titles from I sold off most and kept the 2 or 3 very best.  Trying to streamline my collection into only the very best.  The only label I will not sell anything of is Fax.   

Was it hard to part with so many CDs? Or did it feel liberating?

Hypnos News and Announcements / Re: Thanks to Mike
« on: January 20, 2014, 01:41:27 PM »

Hypnos News and Announcements / Re: Thanks to Mike
« on: January 20, 2014, 12:33:23 PM »
Yay Mike and moderators!

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 19, 2014, 07:33:51 PM »
I have gotten a bounty of useful leads on the Hypnos forums over the years (dating back to the old forums!), so I try to document my own explorations as a way of returning the favor.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 19, 2014, 07:51:22 AM »
Billow Observatory is wonderful, no?

Now playing: Ishq - The invisible landscape. I downloaded the digital version on bandcamp since overseas shipping has been killing my wallet lately. This is a nice release--soft, pastoral ambient landscapes with field recordings and peppered with those electronic twists that are unique to Hillier. The first track is a bit chaotic at times, but, if you like some of the less structured (and more free form) work from Ishq, this release will appeal to you greatly. Buy/download link a few posts above.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 18, 2014, 11:48:56 AM »
Billow Observatory - Billow Observatory
Drifting, floating ambient, based largely on processed guitar. Expansive and beautiful.

Buy vinyl or digital or simply give it a listen:

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Jim Guthrie
« on: January 17, 2014, 04:52:20 PM »
Not ambient, but good:

Jim Guthrie is one of my favorite indie rock musicians. He's done some creative stuff, including scoring the soundtrack for a pretty fun iOS game called Sword & Sworcery. One of his better albums, Now, More Than Ever, was recently remastered and Gurthrie has released a digital version on bandcamp for the low, low prices of "pay what you want."

I encourage folks to give it a spin and/or a buy. It is truly great stuff. Rock-opera style in some places.

Listening: Podcasts, Mixes, and Music Sample Clips / Re: Low Light Mixes
« on: January 17, 2014, 04:33:24 PM »
Yay! Thanks, Dave. That was fun.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 15, 2014, 05:03:15 PM »
Looks like there are two new Ishq albums being released today. Samples are available on Bandcamp; physical copies on

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Oblivion - 2013
« on: January 15, 2014, 04:22:05 PM »
Haha. Good observation.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 14, 2014, 05:35:37 PM »
Aglaia - Hymns
This is a pretty cool release, but out of sync with the typical Aglaia vibe. Throughout each track there is a highly processed voice submerged in the mix. I can't understand what it is saying (if it is saying anything in particular), but it has a spooky, robotic quality to it. That voice, combined with the more typical Aglaia synth work, gives this album a really unique sound--something that is both alien and yet strangely familiar. I imagine this is what hymns may sound like if they were performed by humanoid insects on another planet.


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