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Messages - chris23

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Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 09, 2013, 07:51:09 PM »
The Ashes of Piemonte - Datura Notes
A brilliant new release from Wil Bolton and Lee Anthony Norris, from the Perth-based Twice Removed label. This double CDr album contains four long-form drone works based primarily on acoustic samples with a mix of environmental sounds and light, distant synths. The tracks are airy and ethereal and, combined with the track titles (e.g., "Endless Sleep in the Garden of Dreams"), serve as a guide along a foggy path between dreaming and waking. This is pretty fantastic stuff and I strongly encourage folks to give it a listen if you haven't heard it already.


BTW, M. Griffin, there are some blatant Lovecraft overtures here; share it with your friends.  ;)

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 05, 2013, 04:50:06 PM »

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 05, 2013, 10:14:01 AM »
Re: Light Folds: That is weird. I've only ever received download codes from Facture via paper slips in the packaging. That's great news for you, though, Anthony: you can start digesting hours and hours of music right away! And it appears they've sold out of the extra copies; that link is dead and they've removed the non-deluxe version of the release from their main web page.

I've managed to listen to the CD and Vinyl tracks a few times; I'm setting aside the DVD tracks for a dedicated listening  next week. I must say that this is an absolutely brilliant effort. The release, as a whole, has a somber, isolationist feel to it, with the primary instrumentation being piano, strings, and trumpet (yes, trumpet!). Those recorded fragments are looped and obscured in a variety of creative ways, leading both to tracks that skirt the fringes of minimal, modern composition (e.g., Light Folds, CD2) and tracks that are experimental and glitchty (e.g., the various permutations of "Her Whispers" where processed static and tape hiss provides part of the structure for the pieces).

Is it too much music? I worry that Forrest may think so once he has a chance to listen to it.  ;) In one of my favorite movies, Wonder Boys, there is a well-regarded author who has delayed releasing his sophomore novel for years. Many people are worried that he's blocked and he hasn't been able to produce anything of interest. The problem turns out to be the opposite: he's been writing and writing, but hasn't been able to reign the material in to provide it with an arc that contains a natural beginning and end.

In some ways, Light Folds reminds me of this author's manuscript: There are multiple versions of the same song, using manipulations of common source material, and the artists simply chose not to edit it down to an album of a more manageable length. I appreciate this, however. The sheer vastness of the material is part of what adds to its mystique and makes me want to dive in and explore it. And, even the tracks that are variations of the same theme (e.g., Tear In the Sails --> A Void in the Sails) diverge in ways that enrich the listening experience.   

Thanks for doing this. I've enjoyed listening to your work on Bandcamp, but for various reasons never took the leap necessary to actually buy and download the work. I'm looking forward to giving your releases a more careful listen.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 04, 2013, 05:50:41 AM »
I hope you two enjoy it!

Exciting news for you, Phobos. I hope you have a blast and treat the audience to some lovely, dark drones.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 03, 2013, 02:46:25 PM »
I think An Aerial View is a great release. It is quite subdued and, like some of his better long-form work, has a journey (no, not Steve Perry) or voyage-like feel to it.

Currently digesting Light Folds, by The Seaman and the Tattered Sail. Really interesting work, but it will take a good week to give it all a deep listening. I managed to grab a copy from Experimedia before they sold out. If anyone is still interested in the release, Fluid Audio sent out an email today announcing a few extra copies of the CDs + DVDs for a good price: I wouldn't be surprised if the included download codes also contain codes for the vinyl too. (The original package contained download codes for all the relevant media.)

Some helpful reviews and samples:

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Breaking Bad
« on: October 01, 2013, 05:54:44 AM »
Finally got a chance to watch it late last night. I agree--it was a fantastic finale. The entire series is simply outstanding. And the conversation with Skylar couldn't have been scripted better.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Breaking Bad
« on: September 29, 2013, 02:55:32 PM »
Anyone gearing up for the finale this evening? I might not be able to watch it until Mon or Tues; going to be hard to stay away from discussions of it until then.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 29, 2013, 10:36:10 AM »
Hey Chris- I used to love ANYTHING by Oophoi, and played it almost constantly, but somehow I lost the feeling for his music, and most other dark ambient as well. I don't understand it!

You're probably just going through a phase. A terrible, terrible phase. ;-)

I just listened to the samples for Aether Blueprints. This seems like pretty dark stuff too. ;-)  I really liked certain tracks, and the "listening to the far off sounds of life and activity" really captures the spirit of the album well. Glad I followed up on this!

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 28, 2013, 06:55:15 PM »
I love The Seed.

Oöphoi & Ran Kirlian - The Physics Of Heaven
I ordered this disc based on Richard Gurtler's fine review.  This is an outstanding recording. I think it would be easy to write it off at first because it isn't terribly dynamic. But it is beautiful in many respects. It is mostly drone-based work, but it evolves in ways that give the full work a great amount of depth and diversity. The stand out track, for me, is the 20-min White Shores I, which contains some nice ocean sounds that, when combined with the theme of the disc, creates a experience that is both terrestrial and ethereal. My only real complaint is that the recording feels very "mid range;" there isn't much going on in the low registers. I don't know if that is a mastering issue or a recording issue.

Buy/Samples here:

Richard's review:

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« on: September 28, 2013, 06:42:04 PM »
Recent reads:

Agatha Christie - And Then There Were None
A classic in the mystery genre. One of my favorites as a kid and one that I revisit every once in a while. Ten individuals from different walks of life are invited by a mysterious host to an island. One by one, each of the ten is murdered. No one other than the ten were present on the island. Clever, suspenseful, and quite terrifying at times.

Daniel Quinn - Ishmael
This was a gift from a friend. Pretty interesting philosophical novel in which Ishmael, a wise gorilla who can communicate telepathically with people, explains to a human student the mythologies that people construct about the world, their place in it, and the inevitable conclusion to the myth that that many civilized societies live by. This novel feels a bit preachy in places, but there are some profound passages that make it worth a careful read.   

I do think that too much self-promotion is counter-productive in this little world of ambient music and that the things that established bands or indie artists do, isn't necessarily relevant to the ambient world either.

That's a good point. The potential audience is relatively small to start with and it is accustomed to taking a more active role in searching for music. Sometimes simply having the music "out there," mailing out a few codes/discs to reviewers, and being part of an on-line community is all the self-promotion that is needed to get some exposure.

Speaking of the digital era and promotion: I'm currently listening to some of Andrew Lahiff's releases. They are FREAKING AMAZING. I'm not sure if this guy does any self-promotion, but, thanks to the Internet and word of mouth, I was able to discover his excellent work.

It is a reasonable concern and, as a highly introverted person, I can relate to it. But she started to lose me when she began blaming the digital era for making it more challenging for the "quiet musician" to thrive.

It has always been the case that musicians who were actively self-promoting, mailing out demos, integrating themselves into the "scene," and performing live were more likely, on average, to get noticed, get contracts, and see financial returns on their work compared to so-called quiet musicians.

The digital age doesn't fundamentally change that pattern. If anything, I would argue that the digital era is a godsend for quiet musicians. Artists can now record a high-quality album in their living rooms, release it on Bandcamp or other platforms, and have instant world-wide access at little cost. And, although an artist can choose to self-promote that album via social media and other outlets, there is certainly no contractual obligations that require the quiet musician to do so. Simply put, the contemporary environment is much better suited than the old one for enabling the quiet musician to focus exclusively on his or her art.

Can a quiet musician make a living off his or her music? I think that's a separate issue and I won't expand on it here except to note that there is little reason to believe that being a musician has ever been a lucrative occupation. There are, of course, many salient examples of wealthy musicians and artists. But they represent the tip of a large, deep iceberg that now exists and has always existed in unprofitable waters.

In short, although I fully understand why an artist might be frustrated over the idea that building a fan base may require more than simply recording a great album, I think Simone's claim that the digital era and social media are responsible for "forced entrepreneurship" is misguided. Being a successful artist has always required some degree of entrepreneurship. But, at least in the current environment, one can actually record a record and distribute it worldwide with little investment and no contractual complications. No one is "forcing" artists to do anything. And that, in my view, is the beauty of the digital environment that she holds accountable for her woes. 

What I missed most about having a label wasn’t the monetary investment, but the right to be quiet, the insulation provided from incessant self-promotion. I was a singer, not a saleswoman. Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur.

Interesting read. It isn't always clear what point she really wanted to make, but the essay was thought provoking nonetheless.

The irony is that she is quite good at self-promotion.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 24, 2013, 03:35:47 PM »
By the way, you mentioned that the Virlyn- Man Asleep album has the potential to be-- a "sleeper". Well said ;-)

I wish I could be that clever on purpose!

Aaron Martin / Christoph Berg - Day Has Ended
A new release from Dronarivm, which is currently being curated by Pleq. This is a split album with tracks that fall nicely into the experimental/minimal/modern composition category.  The Berg tracks are outstanding. And, although the first Martin track is excellent, I'm still warming up to the other ones. (I'm not a huge fan of pipe organs.) The CD is still in the mail, but the Dronarivm photos suggest that the packaging will be lovely. Samples/Buy:

Everything and Nothing / Re: Sampling in Ambient Music
« on: September 24, 2013, 03:27:03 PM »
Damn. Now I'm more curious than ever!

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 22, 2013, 07:10:48 PM »
Glad you enjoyed it, Joe. I think it has the potential to be a "sleeper"--one of those albums that might not make a huge impression of folks at first, but will stand the test of time well.

Speaking of The Boats (re: your other post): Just noticed this upcoming Fluid Audio release featuring Craig Tattersall:
The samples are fantastic. But, like much of the Facture stuff, the damn thing is sold out before even being released. I want to stab myself in the throat.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 22, 2013, 09:57:51 AM »
Brian McBride - The Effective Disconnect
A Winged Victory for the Sullen - ST

Great drone-meets-chamber music albums.

This year marks Kranky's 20th anniversary. There is a nice article on the subject here:

Stars of the Lid and Loscil will be performing on Dec 15th as part of a four-night Kranky celebration in Chicago. I'm considering hitting that.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« on: September 18, 2013, 06:10:24 PM »
Finished Lexicon, by Max Barry. Excellent novel. The basic premise is that there is a secret organization of linguists (or modern "wizards") who have uncovered ways of manipulating language in order to bypass people's normal psychological defenses and, thereby, control their behavior.  The story is focused on one girl, Emily, who is recruited into the organization and, depending on which characters you identify with, either loses her way or transcends the organization. The narrative structure is quite clever (I wont' reveal the details). The only downside for me was that the "magic" of the world requires too many sky-hooks (just take the author's word for it kind-of-stuff). In addition, many of the themes reminded me of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash--maybe too much so. Recommended, nonetheless.

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