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Topics - 9dragons

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Everything and Nothing / Matcha
« on: September 22, 2008, 02:55:00 PM »
Just switched over to Matcha after years of being an espresso drinker. This powdered green tea is mixed in a bowl with a whisk and creates a kind of green tea espresso due to the wonderful foam. It actually tastes delicious and I hear it is full of vitamins. Two weeks on this and am not missing coffee that much anymore. This stuff feels cleaner and healthier. And if you control yourself, you can get the good stuff, and make it at home for about $1 a serving. It's fast and gives a good rush similar to espresso, without the burnout sensation (though of course with caffeine there is always the danger of insomnia). I find I am taking another one in the mid afternoon, by I think with discipline just one could be had in the morning (each serving is half a teaspoon). Anyone out there tried it, or switching to green tea?

Other Ambient (and related) Music / New Age Music and the Path of Darkness
« on: September 15, 2008, 11:31:52 AM »
The rather melodramatic title to this thread was inspired by a quote I found on the Hearts of Space website, in a description of the Tuu album "Terma", a Fathom sublabel release from 1998:  "Musically superior and not too scary for the new age audience either, Terma reveals the 'ghosts in the landscape' and delivers enjoyment in depth."

I've been trying to find out what happened to the Hearts of Space label, and Fathom; its origins and what it meant for ambient music. This quote was interesting in that it made me think about why the Fathom label was created, in order to contain the darker side of what was then being called New Age. I don't know much about the earlier history of Hearts of Space, as I only became aware of its albums after its heyday. So I am curious, does anyone know the history behind this split in Hearts of Space, and was it prompted by complaints from the New Age listeners, or by the artists themselves, who were exploring the darker territories? It seems this shows a fundamental strangeness in the whole New Age movement, where the dark side of humanity and the universe is glossed over, or not acknowledged.

I've read other articles that see Roach and Rich as too dark and scary, and I find it a curious statement. Since I listen to the music of these artists quite often, I would tend to agree that they are intense, and go to some deep places, and the dissonances and darkness of their music can sound very off-putting and even unsettling to the newcomer, but they also equally explore places of light and beauty, which are all the more exquisite and alive for being contrasted with the dark. I will admit, that sometimes I want to just bliss out, and I will put on some more harmonious music, albums that would probably be considered New Age, and I am quite content with that when the mood strikes, and enjoy seeing this lighter side.

But do you think that there is a failure of New Age music to incorporate the darker side and create balance, or does this defeat the purpose. And what is the purpose of New Age, pure relaxation? Were artist like Roach and Rich shunted aside when New Age was at its height, because they did not "toe the line" and started following where their muses led, into darker territory, and thus alienated the listeners? Or did they make this break on their own, not wishing to be forced into the mainstream of New Age?

Everything and Nothing / Dream Collaborations
« on: September 10, 2008, 12:48:38 PM »
Is anyone else out there hoping for more of the masterful collaborations between our favorite ambient artists, like in the days of yore? I assume that a new collab between Roach and Rich is to only be dreamed of, and will most likely not come about, for no reason I can discern. Some of the great ambient collaborations have strengthened the whole field of ambient music, and the artists themselves, in the past, yet we are seeing very few of them these days (at least in my limited range of awareness). Why is this? I vaguely remember reading an interview with, I think, Robert Rich, that stated Rich and Roach simply had nothing more to express musically together (or rather, they would do another collaboration if and when they had something they felt they could say together). But that seems strange. These two men created some of the best ambient works together, in the span of only two albums! Certainly they've got at least a third that they could do, at this stage of their careers.

So I am wondering, what are your favorite past collaborations, and what would you like to see (hypothetically) in the future? My faves are "Stalker", "Well of Souls", "Strata", "Soma", "Fissures", "Body Electric", "Mother Sunrise",  "Greed" (Vidna and Klinik) "Serpent's Lair", "Cavern of Sirens" - wow, the list could go on and on...

And some dream collabs would be: Fear Falls Burning and Robert Rich (Why not? Rich worked with Markus Reuter, another ambient guitar man), Steve Roach and Rapoon, Fear Falls Burning and Steve Roach (that would be a mind-blower would it not?), Rich and Roach again (of course), Stokes and Alio Die (perhaps this is too weird to imagine, but it seems an exciting clash to me)...

Could it be that part of the reason for fewer collabs is the need to split the profits? Seems reasonable. Would the increase in sales due to the fusion of two great names justify it?

Everything and Nothing / Advice Needed On Where to Have CD Manufactured
« on: August 09, 2008, 11:12:53 PM »
I am in the process of creating artwork for my brother's upcoming cd. He is self-releasing it, and we are searching for a duplication and packaging company that doesn't suck. Primarily, I would like to find someone who can do an artisanal style, quality job, and do justice to the highly detailed art I am making. The one place I called up here in the Seattle (I think their name was Paragon) was not even able to tell me what kind of special card stock I could get. In short, I would like to find someone up here in the Northwest who can give a personal touch to this project. I think we will go for a 4-panel digipak with plastic tray, but I am also open to doing some kind of paper sleeve or gatefold design (maybe like Essence Music or Important Records).

Any advice on this, or general suggestions about having albums made, would be very much appreciated.

Once we get this whole thing firmed up, I will drop the info on where to hear samples and such. Some very fascinating work little bro is creating! He is a pro upright and electric bass man, but his older brother seems to have driven him (or would like to think so) into ambient territory. I've heard the demo of the album, and it is all instrumental, with some dark drone bowing and electro spices carefully implanted. I describe it with difficulty as a kind of loungified, slightly tiki-infused journey through a territory of dark alchemy and sublime leisure...with mandolins and washboard weirdness floating around...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Darkest Ambient
« on: July 22, 2008, 01:32:07 AM »
I find this category to be a strange place to dwell. A lot of the super dark ambient is just so stupidly cliche and fake evil, it is sad. I have to admit that I include Lustmord amongst the cheesball dark ambience. I was once a hardcore fan, but the last few albums he did (Metavoid, Carbon Core) were so crappily soundtracky (and not even in a good way) that it made me look askance at all his other work, and ruined it for me.

So what or who is the darkest ambient, but still good, honest, and truly deep instead of just cheesy? Recently, I had the five cd changer going, cycling through all the albums. At a certain point, I forgot what I had in there, and got distracted in some tasks. You know how sometimes you hear some big blasting sound outside, like a deep distant truck, or jet liner, or some other deep bass city sound, and your ambient tuned mind just grapples on to it as sounding really cool? This was happening to me all of a sudden; I was thinking, whatever that sound is, it is cooler than any dark ambient I've heard, that is some deep and insane stuff! I went back into my room, and realized it was Inade's "Aldebaran" playing!

So my estimation of Inade is fairly high. These guys go deep, but they are very thoughtful, and really seem to have a mission, a reason for going deep. Other dark feasts of late include Asmorod's "Hysope", and Necropolis' "Necrosphere"...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Monolake
« on: July 09, 2008, 07:32:31 PM »
Anybody out there have some words to say on Monolake? I just heard some on the radio the other night and it was quite an enjoyable experience. I think it was stuff off the "Momentum" album, which seems only available in the hated ITunes. What I've heard so far kind of sound like, to me, a cool version of what I wish Autechre had evolved into. It is weird and complex, but has a visual sense, isn't filled with its own avante-gardeness like Autechre. Anyway, I was wondering what your favorites might be. I am thinking that "Gravity" might be just the thing I am looking for right now...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Hawkwind
« on: June 24, 2008, 05:17:30 PM »
I've been having trouble holding back my enthusiam, talking about this band in other threads, so it is time to dedicate one. From first hearing Michael Moorcock scream out "The Wizard Blew His Horn!" almost a year ago, my attraction to this band has been increasing, to the the point where I am now a most avid listener, and have come to appreciate the totality of what they and the artists and writers around them accomplished. It seems that there are some other Hawkfans out on the Hypnos forum, and I hope by this to bring them from the aether to tell tales of sonic journeying, of live shows, of favorite albums, of love (or scorn, as it were), etc...

Watch this excellent and informative BBC documentary on the band:

Everything and Nothing / Interspecies Music
« on: June 02, 2008, 04:31:26 PM »
Curious to know what the forum makes of this site:

This musician goes out on boats, sticks microphone in water, and plays along (or jams with) sea life! They featured this amazing guy (Jim Nollman) on NPR some time ago, and I wrote down his name. Just rediscovered it, and went to the website. Haven't checked much of it out yet, but it is very exciting, even just for the fact of what they are attempting! The description of how Orcas reacted to a Tibetan lama chanting, and the sound clip, are very intriguing:

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Wonderful World of Gamelan
« on: April 03, 2008, 03:12:34 PM »
Any Gamelan music fans out there who have checked out this epic series of albums called Gamelan of Central Java (I think it is up to 9 volumes now) from the Felmay (Dunya) label in Italy:

I have a fair amount of Gamelan cds, but this one is special, from the recording quality to the musicians chosen. They are quite expensive due to the import cost, but the best price I have found is at Timbuktunes, great world music shop in Porland, OR:

I'm quite ignorant of different systems of Gamelan, and how Javanese compares to Balinese, and when I try to read the liner notes I become intrigued but confused. I do know that Gamelan is one of the most mind blowing musics the world has to offer, a realm all its own. I've been enjoying this series immensely because it seems so focus, and has that glow of stumbling upon golden secrets, the real heart of the music. And each volume focuses on a differnt aspect of the music, while still keeping the focus on central Java...I like that kind of thoroughness...

Check it out, or if you have any other thoughts on Gamelan, post them. I've been into this music for a long time, but haven't dedicated a really long stretch of my listening time to really digging deep into it. For some reason, at this time, I just feel like loading up the 5 changer with all gamelan for weeks on end...would be quite a consciouness altering expedition...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Infraction, Some Great Music
« on: January 29, 2008, 03:36:45 AM »
Not sure if there is already an Infraction thread but I have to start one. Just got Aloof Proof - Piano Text, Milieu - Beyond the Sea Lies the Stars, Tetsu Inoue - World Receiver, and am awaiting arrival of Koda - Movements. I feel like I'm arriving late to the party but this label is epic! Finely designed digipaks with smooth looking text and graphics, and of course the music. Please mention other favorites from this label, or comments about the above releases...

Now Playing / You Must Listen to Joe Frank Radio
« on: January 29, 2008, 03:10:08 AM »
If you are in any way interested in old school radio goodness; in strange extended stories told in deadpan, mesmerizing voice; in melding of sound design and story that leads you into a trance of mystery...then you must listen to some Joe Frank shows. I caught these amazing shows first, probably in the mid-eighties on public radio, and followed them for many years through many incarnations. This guy is a master storyteller, by equal turns bizarre, extremely emotional, hilarious, and outright weirdly delightful. Many of the shows have backdrops of sound that might be recognizable to fans of ambient and other outland musics. Indeed, I think this show is what broke me into the idea of drone and ambient music, before I even could conceive of what it truly was. Go to the website and sign up for the free samples, they are delightful...then plunge in deeper if you like what you hear and need to hear more:

There is nothing else like it on the air. An audio holiday for heart and soul.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Alio Die
« on: January 18, 2008, 06:23:04 PM »
Listened to Mother Sunrise recently, after wrongfully neglecting it for some time, and I guess it was the right moment because it blew me away more than ever before. This prompted me also to bring out another Sola Translatio, Ad Infinitum, which for some vague reasons I could never get into, and which had been languishing in the 'to sell' pile for many months. I listened to it in recumbent position while reading some bizarre literature, and found it to be the perfect accompaniment, clicking for me as it had not done before. This is the kind of music whose realm you really have to 'get' to get into. It is such an enveloping world all its own, where the laws of Ambient (if these can be said to even exist in any solid form) truly do reign. Pure celebration of texture and tone, an unsurpassed (except perhaps by compatriot Oophoi) evocation of place, and a beauty all the more deep and strange for being undefinable, ungraspable. I've always like Stefano Musso's music, but it was kind of in the shadows of my collection, never collected to the level of Rich, Roach, Oophoi, and Vidna. I'm looking forward to an infusion of albums (Khen Introduce Silence, the two most recent 5000 Spirits albums, Raag Drone Theory, Suspended Feathers, and Enigma) to correct this imbalance, and wanted to reopen the discussion of Alio Die's work...

Everything and Nothing / Crazy Indian Video and Laughter Club
« on: December 13, 2007, 03:47:14 PM »
This insanely hilarious video was previously posted by Jesse:

It made me laugh so much that I kept watching it and kept laughing. It's great to find something that is so silly that you can continually force yourself to laugh by looking at it or even just thinking about it at some random time in the day. Being a video of Indian origin, and being so hilarious, it reminded me of a BBC report on an Indian doctor who had started Laughter Therapy Clubs around the world. The way he got people to laugh at these meetings was so goofy that it actually worked. He made some crazy sounds that at first you might have thought was just insane but then it would allow you to trigger maniacal laughter in yourself. And then you can do it any time. But I find just thinking about the moves they make in the Indian video (especially that whack move that happens right between 2:40 and 2:45!) works just as well, if not better.

Here is the official Laughter site of the doctor:

And a random article about it:

Laugh in someone's face today! And feel better for it!

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