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Messages - 9dragons

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Everything and Nothing / Re: TV: Lost
« on: February 01, 2008, 08:12:18 PM »
Just finished watching season 3 on the computer last night. Absolutely amazing! I'm already feeling the withdrawals, and as I don't own a TV, will have to wait for season 4 on dvd. Does anyone know when this will come out? How long does it usually take for the show dvd to come out after the season has finished?

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« on: January 30, 2008, 06:24:48 PM »
It's okay to hate when one once loved so deeply...and that is the case here, I think. It's true, the early catalogue of Autechre was so impressive that it led me (and many others, judging by this thread) to keep slogging forward with their newer releases, wasting a chunk of change in the process, just to get that one drop of nectar amongst the ruins. I suppose it serves us right - that kind of obsession with recapturing nostalgia is in general doomed. But if Autechre had started out their career with Confield, they would at this point, with the few releases since then, be considered some completely minor goof-off band with maybe a bit too much technical geekery for their own good. It is purely on the strength of their early releases that they have coasted this far. It was the wonder and beauty of early Autechre that really initiated me into electronica - yet I am not in any way scorning them for being too experimental or avante-garde. I wouldn't expect them to make variations on the same record over and over again, milking past glories. I welcome exploration, innovation, but the main problem is is that it has no heart, no soul, no real inspiration. Now this might seem a funny thing to say about a software obsessed, dehumanized style of electronica like Autechre make, but that was the hallmark of their beauty; it was so cold and inhuman, so alien, yet it expressed an ineffable sadness, as if humanity had vacated the earth, leaving the machines as the only sign of life, and through some process of accretion those machines gained a vestige of soul, and the sounds they make begin to take on meaning, even a delicious melancholy. Truly a ghost in the machine effect that in my opinion is the result of great electronica. But they lost or disregarded this core of their music, and got so wrapped up in getting farther, in pushing it beyond, that it becomes a joke. I long for the beauty of the sad toaster, humming to itself sweetly in the blackness of space, or the dreaming refrigerator, whispering in the mechanized void of things no one can know...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« on: January 30, 2008, 03:40:42 PM »
I feel the sadness...I made it up to Untilted (purchased in a moment of direly nostalgic weakness) but I knew it had been going wrong for years. I really did try to enjoy Draft 7.30, but Untilted finally proved that these guys were not inscrutable and deep, just covering up a total lack of vital ideas under a pile a technoid jibberish. This finally poisoned their whole back catalogue for me, and it all, inlcuding Tri-Repetae, went straight to the trade-in stalls, along with most of my other Warp indiscretions. Not to mention their totally suck, dish-watery pretentious cover art (or lack thereof). Saying that, some deep part of my musical curiosity just cried out for me to hear the new one. Don't do it!

Everything and Nothing / Re: TV: Lost
« on: January 29, 2008, 01:56:08 PM »
I'm afraid to even read the posts above, in case of any spoilers. Am halfway done with season 3, after a mighty marathon of watching this amazing show for the past couple weeks. It has disrupted my work schedule, as I'll end up watching four or more episodes at a time, with headphones on...completely immersing myself on the island. It feels strange to say it, and maybe I'm just infatuated with the show, but it is a life-changing, perhaps even spiritually cleansing experience to watch this. I come out of this show as if I've lived it. I never watch TV, don't even own one, but I am grateful that this show is out there.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Alio Die
« on: January 29, 2008, 01:46:25 PM »
I never got into Mesmeric Revelation. Wish I still had it, as my taste in music is perhaps more perceptive than that time. Quantum Consciousness is enjoyable on the headphones, with some strange sounds and juxtapozitions that merit further listening. Still have that newly bought cd need to not give up on Schwarzschild Radius, but I have trouble getting into music that intentionally tries to antagonize the mind with abusive sounds. The quote on the back "PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR REALITY SHATTERED" is kind of a bold statement to make...but maybe this explains why the album is so unnerving. Again, though, sometimes music is just plain annoying, and no amount of theorizing can change that.

As far as Incantamento, how similar is the material on it to the double disc collaboration Expanding Horizon?

Everything and Nothing / Re: Kombucha tea
« on: January 29, 2008, 01:33:26 PM »
I have a cake of the pu-er in my cupboard. I like it, but don't drink it often. It's main function, at least according to my wife, is to aid in digestion. It's a nice dark tea and has a pleasing tang to it, almost like beer. I too have been converted to the beauty of tea, away from the long-beloved espresso. I have to say that drinking green tea every day feels much better than coffee, after a few months you really notice the difference. I usually drink the organic sencha - which is just the standard Japanese green tea - and it is rich and fulfilling (I make it strong). Tried macha recently, the powdered green tea mixture used in Japanese tea ceremony, and its power was mightily impressive. Like a blast of alpine air; it may have given me that fine immediate sensation of awareness that used to be granted by espresso...

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...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Alio Die
« on: January 29, 2008, 03:24:54 AM »
Really enjoyed a late night/sleep listen of Raag Drone Theory; on first listen it seems a fitting sequel to Sunja. Kind of feeling strange about the 5000 Spirits releases though. They are intriguing and require some more listens. Got quite annoyed with Schwarzchild Radius on the first listen though. This could be a good sign, or, as will be revealed with further listening, a bad one. Hard to tell. I usally dislike what will turn out to be my favorite releases. The 5000 Spirits could just be straight up annoying, though had a very good listen to Quantuum Consciousness. This is unfamiliar territory for Alio Die. He is branching out here, really getting weird. Is it overly abrasive and poorly put together, or is it alchemical genius? I have yet to find out.

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.

Just out of curiosity, Mike, but did you get inspired to use the name Hypnos by the title of the wonderful H.P. Lovecraft story, or the Greek god of slumber and father of the gods of dreams?

Glad to hear of the Path of White Clouds re-release. Genesis is an epic release...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Favorite ECM releases
« on: January 23, 2008, 09:10:26 PM »
The Hilliard Ensemble, Perotin, a stunning work of early polyphony...interesting to see Hassell's Power Spot mentioned. I heard his music for the first time only recently, and it's definitely one of those times wondering how I could have overlooked it. Sounds like a major inspiration to early Steve Roach. Been searching down any Hassell I can find now, but Power Spot is eluding me. Didn't know it was on ECM, makes me want to buy it all the more. Keep seeing really pricey ($20 or more) on Amazon, but have to check which edition (if not all) is on ECM. Can anyone clarify?

I once had Garbarek's Officium, but sold it. Wish I had it again...think I ended up judging it too harshly at the time I had it, maybe afraid that I was getting into 'New Age'. No such distinctions or hang-ups for me now though...

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now reading
« on: January 23, 2008, 12:47:40 AM »
Anybody (especially Brian) know anything about Altered Carbon and the rest of that series by Richard Morgan?  It sounds interesting to me, and while it's filed in "science fiction" it sounds almost like a suspense/thriller story with sci-fi elements.

Richard K. Morgan is a very enjoyable writer. I'm not usually of fan of hard sci-fi, but his writing, when dealing with the tech aspect, is wonderful. It strikes a balance between well researched believability and intriguing fantasy. His writing can be beautiful, psychedelic - the combat is well-described, seeming to be from someone with martial training, he indulges in way over the top and cheesy yet surprisingly well done sex scenes, something I think most other sci-fi writers can't manage. Altered Carbon has a cool noir edge, interesting locations like future San Francisco, and is a great read. The second in the series, Broken Angels, is more space ship and military oriented; I found it to be quite flat, poorly paced, anti-climactic, and barely finishable. The third in the series, Woken Furies, has to be the finest; it combines all the best elements of his writing with just an amazing flow with travelogue amounts of movement, lushly described. His most recent book Thirteen I couldn't even finish. Lame cop procedural, weak free-falling plot, no character flow. So check out Altered Carbon, and if you like that, skip over Woken Furies (I don't think there is anything significant in the way of story development that you will miss out on by not reading Broken Angels, though I'm not entirely sure.)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Alio Die
« on: January 22, 2008, 08:22:54 PM »
I hope Raag Drone Theory is as masterful as Sunja, though I use the latter primarily as sleep or ultra-chill accompaniment. Never got around to getting Under An Holy Ritual, is it considered one the best? Speaking of annoying noises, I particulary don't like that hyper whistling sound of the burning log that Alio Die is so fond of using (heard in Il Tempo Magico di Saturnia Pavonia, and it seems like in another track somewhere else). It seems that AD reuses certain field recordings on different albums (or maybe I am imagining it), which I don't object to outright, just find that it detracts from the uniqueness and mystery if it is not disguised well enough, and sounds identical to another track. One of the masterful things of AD is that he gets such alien and vibrant field recordings, and puts them to work for his music like no other artist out there. Come to think of it, I'm not sure if I even like Saturnia all the way through. Got it mainly cause I liked the title, but haven't been drawn to it much. Fissures is definitely due for a listen tonight though. Got to play some 'catch up' before the new shipment of albums comes in and I cast aside the old stuff like a spoiled kid with too many toys for that beloved first time listening experience. It is interesting to note how many people seem to enjoy the headphone listening. I had denied it for a long time, as the phones seemed too claustrophobic. For a time I lived in a room with hardwood floors, and the acoustics seemed to be really nice, the sounds crisp and very present. After moving to an apartment with carpet, the sound is dampened and seems flat. This is what has slowly led me to the headphone world.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now reading
« on: January 20, 2008, 12:58:44 AM »

9Dragons, have you ever tried out William Hope Hodgson?  Judging by your enjoyment of Dunsany and the rest, I'm sure you'd like him also.  I have been picking up the new volumes of Clark Ashton Smith's work, finally a complete edition of his fantasies.  I have always thought he was underrated so it's nice to see him get first class treatment.

I've been wanting to pick up some William Hope Hodgson recently, as the urge to read weird fantasy continues apace. What do you recommend as a good starter? Also, have to compliment your good taste in picking up those new Smith volumes. I really want to pick up volume three: Vintage From Atlantis I think it's called, mainly in order to read Demon of the Flower and The Double Shadow in definitive form (as many of Smith's tales were cut down or dumbed down for publication in Weird Tales). I really like the fact that CAS is getting the fine editing treatment he deserves. Though I find his work uneven, when it is good it is sooooo mind blowingly weird and great (like Garden of Adompha, or Voyage to Sfanomoe).

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Alio Die
« on: January 20, 2008, 12:43:50 AM »
9 Dragons-

Oddly, Mother Sunrise had the same effect on me- couldn't get into it, couldn't get into it, and then suddenly, "Click"! Now I consider it one of Stefano's finest.

Next step: you simply MUST get Apsaras! Drop-dead gorgeous drones & watery sound samples, along with Amelia Cuni's wordless vocals. I put off ordering this at first, because I had misgivings about vocals on an ambient disc, but her voice adds to the ambience rather than distracting. Perhaps Stefano's finest.

Another highlight for me is Password for Entheogenic Experience- deep, intense, trippy & hypnotic. Smoke a joint and wear headphones for this one, if you're so inclined... (no, forget it, that would be against the law. ;))

Listened to Apsaras this evening, and it is as gorgeous as ever. I tend to save it for special occasions, but it sounds so luxuriant and soothing that it is tempting to listen to every day. Speaking of headphones, I think in part it is due to some really nice headphones that were gifted to me recently that I have been getting back into some neglected music. Having a nice pair of headphones seems to make all the music as if heard for the first time. This is especially great for Oophoi and Alio Die, where it is so layered and so rich with subtle detail. Finally was able to blow my mind to Distance to Zero, which took quite a while to finally crack, but is now one of my favorites. I've owned Password for some time now; I think it is one of the first Alio Die albums I got hold of, and probably one of the first truly 'Ambient' albums I bought, and it quite blew me away when I first heard it! It is due for the headphone treatement soon...

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 / Re: Kombucha tea
« on: January 17, 2008, 11:41:46 AM »
Kombucha is great! I assume there are health benefits to it, but I also really like the bubbliness of it, texture and taste are exciting and seems to help with digestion.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: December 13, 2007, 08:51:37 PM »
One other thing I've been meaning to write is about Steve and Robert's work together. I just wanted to point to whoever it was that wished their was more colboration work from these two, that the compilation CD "Dali: The Endless Enigma" has two tracks from them as a duo, plus one from Steve and a lot of other interesting tracks from various other artists (including myself to be upfront). So, if you don't have that disc you'll have to track that one down too.  ;D I think you can still order it via the Projekt website.

This one looks very interesting, thanks for the tip. The urge for more Roach/Rich collaboration came up last night, while listening to recently aquired copy of World's Edge (thanks to Judd for the recommendation). Had disc two on late last night, looking at art books and winding down. It is one longform track, and I was fully drifting off to it, when I suddenly felt something change in the air. And I realized that what was floating in the mix was the signature lap steel sound of Robert Rich. I hadn't read the liner notes, so it caught me unawares, which perhaps made it all the more wonderful. The music at that time took on a complete sense of the beyond, of a dramatic alienness. This illustrates to me just what a great combo Roach and Rich are. I can't claim to know anything about their individual personalities, but I feel that musically, perhaps Roach is more 'warm' or earthly while Rich is more philosophical, geometric. Both are of course sublime musicians in their own right, and have an amazing range in their respective solo efforts, but somehow their work together creates this dynamic. Just speculation of course...

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!

Everything and Nothing / Re: Ancient Gugin Music
« on: December 13, 2007, 03:29:32 PM »
Many thanks for reviving this one, Harry. I kept thinking about doing it, but only had the links from the most recent post. I guess it's as good a place to start as any, and actually a great resource for exploring the Guqin:

The above site led me to this list of videos:

Scroll down a bit and check out Li Xiangting playing Xiao Xiang Shui Yun (Mist and Cloud Over the Xiao and Xiang Rivers). Wonderful! Improves the air, sets a relaxed yet powerful mood for the day... 

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