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Messages - chris23

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Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« on: June 23, 2013, 06:32:33 PM »
Good review! It really was a fun read. I'm sure I'll revisit it sometime in the near future.

Recently finished: The Faculty Club by Danny Tobey
A thriller about a young law student, Jeremy Davis, who is eager to fit in and be successful at a top-ranked U.S. law program. There are rumors of a secret society, the V&D, to which only the most ambitious and select students are initiated. After realizing that he has not been selected to join the club, he charges himself with learning more about the society's secrets. And, as you might expect, those SECRETS MIGHT POSE A GREAT DANGER TO HIM AND THOSE HE LOVES. A fun read; I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: June 23, 2013, 06:24:29 PM »
I not well acquainted with the darker side of ambient, so I love seeing your recommendations, phobos, and exploring the samples.

Been traveling this past week and listening to music loaded on an old iPod:

Steve Roach - Possible Planet
When this first came out, it seemed like a natural extension of some of the themes explored in Early Man. In hindsight, however, this really stands out as a unique release in the Roach cannon. It a wonderful set of soundscapes, combining a wide range of frequencies and textures.

Sawako - Hum
Experimental and whimsical goodness from 12k.

Oophoi and Tau Ceti - Celestial Geometries
I haven't listened to this in a long time. I was blown away revisiting it. Some of the best space music evar.

Has anyone listened to the two new 12k releases? Illuha's Interstices and Seaworthy/Deupree's Wood, Winter, Hollow?  I've listened to the samples and can't quite decide whether I want to take the plunge.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Ambient cover tunes
« on: June 18, 2013, 09:08:48 PM »
This is a stumper.

If you want to use a potentially overly inclusive definition of ambient, the following may fit the bill:

Hammock did a cover of Catherine Wheel's Black Metallic
The Sight Below did a cover of a Joy Division song

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: June 14, 2013, 07:13:03 PM »
Ishq - Sama and Flowering Mountain Earth

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« on: June 14, 2013, 06:53:45 PM »
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
OMG. So much fun! If you grew up in the 1980's and have a nostalgic fondness for Zork, Atari 2600, early Apple computers, Rush, and the movie Wargames, you absolutely MUST read this book. The story is set in a future world in which the majority of people escape their miserable realities by logging into a massively multiplayer world, called the O.A.S.I.S., that serves a variety of functions that are currently served by our MMOs, social networks, online stores, etc. The dying designer of the world has hidden an "Easter egg" somewhere in the world and, whoever is the first to find it, inherits it all. A great adventure that will leave your inner Geek screaming for more.

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Mystified Thread
« on: June 11, 2013, 07:33:07 PM »
Sorry to be superficial: Love that cover art.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: June 10, 2013, 04:03:33 PM »
Brian Parnham - Mantle
Steve Roach & Loren Nerell - Terraform

I love both of these albums and they compliment one another well. Deep, vast subterranean drones.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« on: June 08, 2013, 06:57:19 AM »
Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking by Daniel C. Dennett
Excellent non-fiction. Daniel Dennett is a philosopher who has devoted most of his career to challenging and probing our scientific and intuitive understandings of consciousness, meaning, and free will. This book brings together a lot of the points he's made over the decades, with a specific emphasis on "intuition pumps"--basic thought experiments that can be used to better probe your intuitions on these challenging topics. Dennett introduces several systematic ways to turn the knobs on these intuition pumps to better reveal what the critical ingredients might be in making them succeed or fail.

If you appreciate good clear thinkers who are tackling complex issues, you'll enjoy this book. Sometimes philosophy can be a bit too tedious for my tastes. Dennett knows how to get to the heart of the problems without losing touch with the reasons they are compelling problems in the first place.

I'd buy that CD just for the giggles.

Good luck!

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: June 05, 2013, 11:08:49 AM »
Aglaia - Centurion
Lovely. This release follows naturally from some of Aglaia's recent work: mostly electronic instrumentation, with a smattering of organic instrumentation and field recordings. This particular release is composed of 15 relatively brief tracks, so it doesn't have the grandeur of some of other Aglaia releases that are based on long-form compositions, but there is clear continuity in the mood and atmosphere from one track to the next. Strongly recommend. (Downloaded via iTunes because I am too impatient/eager to wait for a well-priced physical copy to come along.)


Jim Guthrie - Takes Time
His first "I'm in a band" release in about 10 years. This is fantastic indie rock that will appeal to anyone who ever wondered what Nick Drake would sound like if he played video games and drank too much coffee.
Give it a free spin on Bandcamp:

I much prefer physical CD's over downloads, but sometimes it seems the BS you have to go through with flaky or unprofessional sellers is not worth it. 

I generally have good experiences with mail order, but the occasional bad ("we forgot to send it") or slow (overseas) experience always leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Here is the physical/digital compromise that I've come to adore: Bandcamp.

A number of ambient, experimental, and minimalist artists and labels are now selling their CDs on Bandcamp. What is awesome about buying CDs via Bandcamp is that the artist/label receives an e-mail notifying them of the payment/mailing address. So the label/artist can send out the physical copy per the usual slow process. But, as soon as you make the purchase, you can immediately download the release in a number of digital formats--including flac if you're an audiophile--all of which are DRM free.

Thanks to Bandcamp, the physical CD vs. download option is no longer a mutually exclusive choice for the consumer. I think of this as win-win for everyone. For the consumer, you get the physical product, but, while you wait, you can enjoy the digital release and/or store it on your hard drive as backup. If you want to save some money, you can download the digital version only. Plus, when the artist is slow to deliver, at least you have something to listen to in the meantime. On the artist/label side, I think you get a generous portion of the sale price. Plus, since Bandcamp covers the hosting and sales end, it makes it ridiculously easy (I assume) to sell in a global marketplace with little maintenance, auxiliary costs, etc. Plus, exposure becomes more "natural": I've discovered a number of artists simply by checking the playlists of other people who bought things that I also bought. It is so much fun to see what other people with like-minded tastes are listening to. In addition, because it is often possible to hear an entire track or album before buying, the exposure factor is fantastic.

It is very rare for me to order physical releases from sellers that do not have a Bandcamp presence these days. I still do it, but, I find myself less likely to do so than in the past simply because I love ability to download the digital immediately and receive the physical CD later. Bandcamp makes the process so darn fun and rewarding.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« on: May 30, 2013, 02:38:08 PM »
Good point.   ;)

I prefer Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code to Inferno largely because those stories touch on conspiratorial themes at the intersection of faith and science. They raise issues that are fun to consider independently of the plot itself.

The current novel is similar, but, instead of dealing with themes that are overtly relevant to the Catholic church, it deals with a moral dilemma that can be challenging for secularists and the devout alike: If you had the power to save humanity, but, to do so, you would have to sacrifice 1/3 of the Earth's population, would you do it?

Bottom line: It is a fun and quick read. It isn't meant to be classic literature, even if it pays homage to classic literature.  And, if you're willing to think outside of the main plot line a bit, you'll find some troublesome moral questions to consider that are likely to generate lively discussions among fellow readers.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« on: May 30, 2013, 01:10:42 PM »
Inferno by Dan Brown
This story stays pretty close to the Dan Brown mold: The main character, a Harvard professor, uses his vast knowledge of art history to save humanity from extinction. There is a young, pretty woman; codes to be broken; apocalyptic scares; many chase scenes; and plenty of plot twists. The book is getting slammed pretty hard by the critics. But, I don't need everything to hang together perfectly or be highly original when I'm reading for entertainment.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: May 28, 2013, 01:49:16 PM »
Christoph Berg - Paraphrases (Facture)
I love music that is situated at the intersection of ambient, experimental, and modern classical (e.g., Winged Victory, Deaf Center). This release from Field Rotation's Christoph Berg is perfect in that respect.  The standout track for me is Poems Written by an Old (Prepared) Piano, which features a soft, melancholy tune played over the background of someone typing away on a mechanical typewriter. The packaging for the CD is exceptional as well, with a hand-stamped cover and a multi-page foldout of photographs by Aela Labbe.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: May 23, 2013, 07:13:38 PM »
I've also been spinning the new Vampire Weekend over the past few days. It is wonderful. I believe they are one of those rare bands that simply get better and better with each release; they always do something that surprises me.

I also picked up the latest album by The National --Trouble Will Find me-- but I haven't had an opportunity to listen to it carefully yet. It seems fine on a first listen, but I keep finding myself popping Vampire Weekend into the CD player instead.


Recently received a copy of the untitled CD by Closing the Eternity and Mathias Grassow. I am absolutely blown away by this on multiple levels. First, the packaging is outstanding: 6-panel digipak containing filtered images of natural scenes and dark subterranean spaces. Second, the tracks are amazing; mostly field recordings, bowls, and various processed sounds--more on the organic than electronic side of things.  The track on the bonus CD is wonderful too. (If I were in charge, I'd trim the first 10 mins of the second track, which is a bit too busy, and include the bonus track in its place.)

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now Reading, pt 2
« on: May 21, 2013, 06:47:50 PM »
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
It took me much longer to get through this than Ender's Game, but it was great nonetheless.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: May 20, 2013, 06:50:36 PM »
Michael Mantra - D/A
Absolutely mesmerizing dronescapes. The disc, released by Silent Season, contains the two core tracks of the release: D/Mountain and A/Stream. The free download that comes with the order contains an additional hour + worth of excellent remixes of the original recordings by Loscil, Arjen Schat, Ohrwert, and others. The Loscil mix is particularly interesting; parts of it remind me of M. Griffin and D. Fulton's The Most Distant Point Known.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Coolest thing ever!
« on: May 12, 2013, 07:33:09 PM »
That was excellent.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: May 10, 2013, 06:31:41 PM »
Kreng - L'Autopsie Phénoménale De Dieu
Dark stuff.  Orchestral, opera, field recordings arranged into eerie and unsettling theatrical compositions. On the Miasmah label.

Current 93 - Faust
More stuff that creeps me out (but I can't turn it off). Layers upon layers upon layers of voices and whispers, often played back at half speed.

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