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Messages - chris23

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Recently finished Broken Sword on the iPad. Lots of fun, if you're a fan of adventure games.

This is a remake of an old PC title. It is a great mystery, with solid voice acting, good character development, and challenging puzzles that are well integrated into the story.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: November 03, 2012, 06:58:39 AM »
It has been fun exploring some of the labels that have been discussed here over the past week!

Some things on rotation this week:

Brambles - Charcoal (Serein)
Got turned on to this via an interview at Headphone Commute. Melancholic, cinematic music in the Broderick, Teague, et al. tradition. Mostly piano and strings. Highly recommended.

Andy Stott - Passed me by
I read Dave Michuda's comments on the latest release and it prompted me to return to this. Highly processed and treated electronic music, full of distorted samples that take me back 30 years. This particular album just seems to get everything right.

Steve Roach - Arc of Passion
This release didn't really resonate with me when it first came out, but I find myself going to it again and again in recent weeks. Not sure why. Nice set of atmo-pulse tracks framed between some majestic and spacious bookends.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Cover art and creative packaging
« on: October 27, 2012, 07:57:08 AM »
I apologize if this topic has been covered before.

I had a humbling experience last night. Over the last year or two I've invested an increasing about of money in digital downloads as opposed to CDs. My rationale was straight forward: It is typically cheaper to buy digital releases than physical ones. Moreover, there is something appealing about instantly being able to hear what you've purchased.

Last night my 7-year old daughter was perusing my CD collection and she was utterly absorbed in studying both the cover art and some of the creative ways in which artists assemble their products. We spent an hour together simply looking at the CDs, discussing the art, and what some of the common themes and points of divergence were among them. Like her cursed father, she has a bit of a collector spirit in her. I suspect this might be a turning point in her life that leads her to think about music in different ways--more than just sound that comes out of the speakers, but as pieces of history, artifacts, points of intersection between subcultures, and art. I hope she'll become a music collector too. ;-)

She was fascinated by some of the creative ways in which independent artists/labels assemble their products. She was intrigued by Steve Roach's Early Man--the edition that has what became ultimately became "Disc 1" was bound between two sheets of slate. And, although I've always found the size/dimensions of Faria Records releases (e.g., one manifestation of Oophoi's Dreams, some Aglaia) to be awkward, she loved them and enjoyed pulling out the cards and studying them. She was a bit puzzled over the use of seeds and leaves in some of the CD trays by Alio Die and Oophoi, but she seemed to warm to the idea quickly.

Anyhow, I think I'm back to focusing on physical products. Tomorrow she and I are pulling the vinyl out of storage. ;-)

Mike Griffin: If you're reading this, you should know that she was particularly fascinated by the Hypnos collection. She liked the way all the releases adhered to a common aesthetic theme. (She even liked the font change that took place, I don't know, maybe around 2001?) Her favorite Hypnos cover art is James Johnson's Entering Twilight. But she might be biased towards that piece because she has been listening to that album on repeat as bedtime music for years. I also told her Daddy designed the art on two of Numina's Hypnos CDs and I think I scored some Cool Daddy Points with her.
For anyone interested in a potentially fun discussion:

1. With respect to cover art: What three CDs are among your favorites?

2. What three CDs strike you as having some of the more unusual and/or creative formatting?

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 21, 2012, 09:47:53 AM »
Dustin O'Halloran - Lumiere
Beautiful piano and orchestral work. One half of A Winged Victory for the Sullen.

Hammock - Departure Songs
Contemporary shoegazing. Mostly instrumental, but features several tracks with subdued vocals.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 23, 2012, 08:37:10 PM »
Loscil - Sketches from New Brighton
I'm enjoying this one a lot.

Austin Wintroy - Journey OST
Brilliant soundtrack for a brilliant game (PS3). Mostly cello, harp, and serpent, with an occasional gamelan orchestra.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 16, 2012, 07:55:10 AM »
I haven't seen any new Pearce releases for a while. Does anyone know why his output is on pause?

Starting last year, he released a series of twelve singles every month (constituting an album worth of music).

Thanks for the head's up. This slipped past me!

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 15, 2012, 11:24:33 AM »
Andrew Thomas - Between Buildings And Trees
I've been enjoying this Kompact release a lot. Ambient sample collages, much in the spirit of Marsen Jules.

Jeff Pearce - Daylight Slowly, To the Shores of Heaven, The Light Beyond, Bleed
Was in a Pearce mood this week. I haven't seen any new Pearce releases for a while. Does anyone know why his output is on pause?


High Highs - High Highs
Melodic, catchy dream pop.

Some 80's and early 90's stuff that comes to mind:

Slowdive - Erik's Song - from Just for a Day
Heavenly Bodies - Cavatina - from Celestial
Clan of Xymox - Theme I - from Medusa

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 02, 2012, 07:23:21 AM »
I've been rotating through a lot of Matt Hillier releases this week, I think in part due to seeing some discussion of Orchid and Skyspaces in various places on forum. I realize that is would be inappropriate to state that Ishq doesn't get enough credit; Orchid, for example, is a top pick among many in the ambient crowd. But it is easy to overlook Hillier's genius. He's a mastermind when it comes to blending the mechanical and the natural. His alien soundscapes often sound surprisingly organic, for example, and his natural, pastoral pieces perfectly blend with his electronic improvisations. I always hear something new when I return to his albums; they're a reliable and rewarding source of aural exploration.

My Hillier collection is incomplete, but here is what is in my rotation: Orchid (Ishq), Skyspaces (Ishq), Under a Hexagon Sky (Ishvara), Magick Square of the Sun (Ishvara), Emerald (Elve), and Infinite Garden (Elve). Among these releases, Infinite Garden is my favorite.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Overrated Ambient
« on: August 28, 2012, 04:45:09 PM »
For plenty of unlistenable "uber cool," check out 12k label.  They've released some good stuff, of course, but most of it to me seems more concerned with how it was recorded ("field recordings by a crackling fire with my synth hooked up to a generator so I could be inspired by my natural surroundings!" etc.) rather than how it sounds.

This comment made me laugh and, unfortunately, spit coffee over my keyboard.

I like about half of what comes out of the 12k label, which is a decent hitrate imo. I think Taylor Deupree is an extraordinarily creative person. And I think one of the consequences is that is that a lot of what he selects, produces, and facilitates are misses. But I'll happily trade some misses for a few hits. Some of my favorites off the label include Deupree's own Northern, Shuttle 358's Chessa, the first two Pjusk releases, Fourcolor's Air Curtains, and Bretschneider & Steinbruchel's Status.

Chris, you have the This Mortal Coil remastered reissues including Dust and Guitars?  If not, recommend these highly!

I don't have the remastered set. Thanks for the recommendation!

College years: 90-94

1. Ride
2. Current 93
3. This Mortal Coil

It is kind of hard to pin point specific bands, but there were certain genres and groups of artists that were influential for various reasons. Ride represents for me the appeal of the shoegazing era, and is one of several bands I adored (including Lush, Slowdive, MBV, and others).

Current 93 is representative of some of the industrial/experimental stuff I liked (e.g., Nurse with Wound, Psychic TV, Hafler Trio, Organum) that eventually got me into ambient music. I eventually discovered--after listening to a lot of tiring artists banging on pipes and cans and looping those sounds over and over--that what I really liked was drone-based compositions that had ethereal rather than noisy qualities. It was a small, but significant step, to discover Eno, Fripp, Roach, and others after college and to make the bridge to what is more commonly discussed on these forums.

This Mortal Coil in some ways represents everything I loved about 4AD in the 80's and early 90's.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: August 21, 2012, 06:59:08 PM »
Max Corbacho - BreathStream
Fantastic deep space soundscapes

Oophoi - Athlit
One of my favorite Hypnos releases. Glacial drones that evolve in some beautiful ways.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: August 11, 2012, 11:19:05 AM »
That does sound interesting!

I've been seeking out and listening to free and/or donation based albums for the last couple of days. Here are three things that have stood out that others here might enjoy.

The Ghost of 3:13 - November

Gaston Arevalo - Habitat

36 - Reunion/ Deluge

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: August 04, 2012, 01:47:53 PM »
Greg Haines - Digressions
This is a great album of neo-classical/cinematic style ambient and will likely appeal to folks who enjoy some of the early Type recordings, Peter Broderick, etc.  The atmosphere is mostly that of subdued melancholy, with a few dramatic moments.  The standout track is 183 times.

Yagya - The Inescapable Decay of My Heart
I'm a big fan of Yagya. He releases albums so infrequently that, when something comes out, I want to celebrate (eat cake, dance, drink extra espresso). This album is interesting. The music itself sounds like standard Yagya fare (it harkens back more to Rhythm of Snow than Rigning). What is innovative here is that Yagya has included vocals on each track of Disc 1. (Disc 2 contains instrumental versions of all the songs.) The Yagya + Vocals combo works really well for the female vocalists. It feels a bit like ambient pop and works really well. However, I'm not sure I like the male vocal tracks much (the male vocals appear to be those of Yagya/Gudmundsson himself). The vocals are okay, but don't really fit the mood of the Yayga sound, at least for me.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: July 20, 2012, 08:47:08 AM »
Various Artists - Lost in the Humming Air
This is a solid compilation of electronic and ambient music inspired by the works of Harold Budd. The lineup is quite impressive and includes some of my favorite artists, including Loscil, Christopher Willits, Deupree, Mokira, and Marsen Jules. The standout track, in my opinion, is Hushhh by Andrew Thomas.

I think one reason I was drawn to this particular album is that I'm a long-time fan of H. Budd, but very little of the work by these artists reminds me of Budd. I was really curious to see how they would approach this task. I recommend this album strongly. It might not blow you away, but it is a highly rewarding listening experience.

Now Playing / Re: Too much music?
« on: July 01, 2012, 09:10:41 AM »
Wow, Paul!

For better or worse, I've never had the problem you all describe. I'm a bit OCD when it comes to budgets and I've limited myself to a maximum of one CD a week for about two decades. I fully vet anything I intend to buy and listen repeatedly to each release. The breath of my music exposure likely pales in comparison to most people here, but I like to think that I have an intimate connection to (almost) everything I own.

My sense of hearing (ironically, for a music fan) isn't great, so I can't tell the difference between the various formats that people discuss (e.g., 128 vs. 320). As a result, I've gradually moved from purchasing physical recordings to buying digital tracks on iTunes, bandcamp, etc.  The benefit of doing so is that I am able to recapture the pleasure that I used to get from walking into a record store, exploring the collections, and walking out with something I can listen to immediately. Now that I live in a small town with record stores that don't cater to my interests, I'd gladly sacrifice a bit of recording quality that I can't detect for instant gratification than use mailorder and wait a week or more for something a bit better.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Ride and Stone Roses
« on: June 27, 2012, 09:59:12 PM »
Ride was a favorite of mine during the "Nowhere" era.  I had the opportunity to see them live with Lush. It was a fantastic show. I'm really curious to see what the collaboration with Robin Guthrie will be like.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: June 27, 2012, 09:46:30 PM »
Aglaia - Absolutely Deep
Beautiful, organic, drifting ambient. My favorite Aglaia release since their first.

Goldmund - The Maladay of Elegance
Solemn and evocative piano compositions from Keith Kenniff

Senking - Pong
from Raster Noton. No frills electronic with some nice bass tones that vibrate my bones.

Birds of Passage - Winter Lady
Slow moving ambient textures and beautiful, almost whispered female vocals. Reminds me a bit of Formaria/Pete Kelly's Eight Shades of Sound (a favorite of mine), but less ethereal and more haunting.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: April 21, 2012, 04:08:31 PM »
Bop - Clear your Mind
I enjoyed "Adventure/pixel" so much after Dave's recommendation that I wanted to check this out too. It is great as well, but Adventure/Pixel nudges it out by a hair.

Steve Roach - Back to Life
I've been doing my best not to buy on impulse every Steve Roach album that is released. (I'd be broke if I did.) But I decided to splurge on this one because I enjoyed the samples. The album is great: slow and drifting pieces that capture the spirit of albums like Quiet Music and New Life Dreaming. It didn't stay on my rotation for long, however. Not sure why.

Alio Die - Deconsecrated and Pure
This one was worth the wait. The first track in particular is fantastic. This disc represents the ethereal side of the Alio Die catalog more than the "eat mushrooms and bang on things" side.

Sea Oleena - Sea Oleena & Sleeplessness
Probably the best thing I've heard in a while. Independent artist from Montreal. Female vocals and great homemade-sounding lo-fi music.

Sóley - We Sink
Don't know much about this artist, but iTunes thought I would like her and I did. Reminds me of Sea Oleena. Guess I'm just in that mood this week.

Grimes - Visions
I didn't expect to like this, but, as someone who was completely fixated on 4AD in the 1980's, I feel compelled to continue to explore their modern catalog, even though I find it to be hit and miss sometimes. This album is a true gem. It is a bit pop/disco in some regards, but the things this performer can do with her voice are astonishing. She has a true gift for processing, manipulating, and layering vocal tracks. I would love to see her perform live sometime.

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