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Messages - 9dragons

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Wonderful World of Gamelan
« on: April 04, 2008, 09:51:55 AM »
I'm enjoying the clips you posted, Loren. A few questions: Is this Balinese style? Why is are the musicians divided across the room? I notice there are also women playing, in Gamelan are women traditionally allowed to play? Is Javanese Gamelan strictly Muslim (would these kinds of dancers be allowed to perform, etc...) How did Gamelan adjust to Indonesia becoming Muslim, was there an attempt made to eradicate it? I am assuming it was just too ingrained in Indonesian life for that to ever happen. Do some Middle Eastern music forms or influences play a role in the Javanese Gamelan...for that matter, have any outside musics been influential on Gamelan in history, because Gamelan strikes me as a wholly insular and completely native type of music - there is just nothing out there that sounds like it at is as if aliens came down to ancient Indonesia and left this music behind...

Sorry for all the questions!

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 / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: April 02, 2008, 04:01:21 PM »
Have to agree. Never could get into that one and always wondered why people thought it was one of his best. Looks like the opcoming album 'Deeper Silence' (as seen in the link a few posts up) will be an updated, or more mature version...could be interesting...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Alio Die
« on: April 02, 2008, 03:56:22 PM »
Damnit, you guys are driving me crazy now! Must get hold of new Alio Die! Thought I was done buying cds for a long never ends...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: April 02, 2008, 03:42:04 PM »
Listening to Spirit Dome right now...that pounding imminent sacrifice epic tiki drum sound is so great...this album truly conjures up some powerful and terrible beauty...for some reason puts me in mind of a sonic interpretation of the Egyptian book of the Dead...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: New Music From Italy
« on: April 02, 2008, 03:38:57 PM »
Wow, these Zeit samples are sounding mighty to my ears. Amazing how the Italians capture such an ancient light in their ambient. Could it be due to the mystical nature of their artifacts and architectural surroundings, the soil? It does seem that place plays a big part in Alio Die and Oophoi, in terms of the places they make their music, the energies they draw on.

With this terrible Euro-USD conversion situation, I wish Alio could offer a special sad US ambient fan price. So pitiful! Mike, is there any chance you will be getting the new Zeit or Alio Die? To order from Alio, does one just write to him and pay with paypal?

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: April 02, 2008, 11:01:50 AM »
Streams and Currents got traded in...I had always wanted to use it as a sleep cd but the out-of-place blast of drumming in the middle of the album made it unusable for that. Not sure why I never got into it, did keep it for a while though before trading.

Listened to the second disc of World's Edge last night...a great piece that one. Going to give Magnificent Void a solid listen today; had it for years and have never quite given it its due. As for Spirit Dome, I consider it part of the canon - all the Vidna collaborations are gold in my book. I had to go and count up my Roach collection and find that I have 30, 16 of which are collaborations. All of these are albums I am deep into, or know I want to get deeper into in future. I'm big into the recent solo stuff like the Immersions and Fever Dreams (noticing some Roach fans differ on this), but would welcome more collaborations. Terraform, being the most recent example, is a great example of how Roach's sound evolves and becomes enhanced and enlivened in contact with an outside force. Rapoon, who has a more murky, industrial/experimental edge, who makes some very interesting moves, but doesn't seem to sustain interest over an entire album or long track, would be a great artist to set loose in the fields of Roach's soundworld.

On the subject of Wives Who Hate Ambient: one night, as I was deep in the zone being blown away by the weirdness of Possible Planet, the wife comes in unceremoniously to burst the bubble by saying 'it sounds like a frog'...some people (don't get pissed Bill!) truly don't 'get it'...or maybe (the horrible possiblity) she gets it way too much, and can see through this strange world, cut through it like a knife. I spend hours in my work room listening to froggy noises (actually, come to think of it, that would be damn cool...see what this music does to people?!)

As far as Mantram and Trance Spirits: Mantram just seemed like a good chillout album, but with Roach, I like his deeper stuff - for sublime chill Alio Die is the man. Trance Spirits seemed wrong to me; the drums were too pronounced to mesh with the ambient mix, but the drumming itself was not powerful or interesting or furious enough to really stand up as fully intense tribal drumming. So it was kind of in malaise ground for me...

And some more good news (or fodder for the haters), an announcement of some new works:

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: April 01, 2008, 04:33:59 PM »
The reason I personally like emitting praise of Steve Roach's music is because I really like Steve Roach's music. This forum is the only place I can talk about it. You think my wife cares about how much I like 'Spirit Dome'? Hell no. So I'm stuck in this world where I love ambient music, have great experiences listening to it (using it while drawing and painting), but can't really see how other people feel about it. The nature of this music is that it is difficult to get into without a lot of patience, and it can be very personal and ephemeral with personal taste, so it is fun to see how others react to it. I am only into certain sides of Roach's work, and Bill, I can sympathize with you in your dislike of the music. I can see how some of Roach's music/musical image can be perceived as pretentious. For me, I judge the music on its own merits. If I don't like something, it gets sold, and if an artist sucks over time, I of course refrain from buying their work.  But certain Steve Roach albums stay over time. Such as Joe mentioning 'Spirit Dome' and getting into it after not listening to it for a long time, that is the kind of thing that endears me about Roach's music. It holds up over time. Some albums were lame like Trance Spirits or Mantram (and I don't own most of his output such as the sequencer stuff which I never got into) but a lot of his work is unique in the world of ambient/dark ambient. I would say, rip away, choose an album that you dislike and take it apart and show how it is pretentious and weak. I would certainly listen to and enjoy reading that. That's what I would like to hear, a specific review of an album, or an overall review of the music. Personally, I am able to separate the man from the music. I don't care that he doesn't really say anything or drop in to express his opinions or defend himself. Time better spent making more music...

Maybe there should be an anti-Steve Roach thread alongside the pro-thread...I think it'd be funny...

Now Playing / Re: You Must Listen to Joe Frank Radio
« on: March 28, 2008, 02:48:27 PM »
It's great to see another fan here! A very useful resource for finding those favorite old shows is the Joe Frank Wiki:

It lists a detailed description and also the source of the musical accompaniment. It was very intersting to see this aspect, as I remember very vividly the weird and wonderful drones and sounds. I was happy to see a lot of Eno (which I got into years after listening to Joe in the mid-eighties, and wondered why those magical drones clicked with me so much and sounded so nostalgically familiar) and even Jon Hassell (the show Cocktails Before Dinner features the album Power Spot). I agree that these drones mixed with his voice is otherworldy, trance-inducing...and of course hearing them again brings me back to the days of being 14, sitting in the kitchen late into the night, just being blown away by this weird stream of profundiy and absurdity coming out of the radio.

Now Playing / Re: You Must Listen to Joe Frank Radio
« on: March 28, 2008, 02:19:04 PM »
Anybody out there checked out the Joe Frank?

I just found another resource for free online streaming of the show, or I guess if you live near University of Massachusetts Amherst you could listen to it on the radio, 'Strange Bedfellows' with Jeff Wagenheim: An hour of Joe Frank's surreal radio collage, followed by a real eye-opener; dharma and diatribe, poetry, and comedy, music from way out there and deep inside. Appears to be running Tuesday nights 10pm-12am (I believe that would be Eastern time):

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: March 28, 2008, 02:00:23 PM »
It's kind of fun to rant about music. I can understand someone ripping on Roach's music, but with all due respect to Drone On, it seemed more like he was saying Roach was personally bs-ing the public about the 80 cds. It seems kind of petty that Roach would do that, and even though I know nothing of the man, I just don't feel he needs to 'cover up' bad sales by lying. I would feel differently if 'Ascension' were a crappy, lame release that I got tricked into buying, but it's actually an epically good work of music. Ultimately, though, I don't care about any personal foibles an artist displays in the 'business' end of their work...where it counts is in the final product, and Roach almost always delivers in spades...

As for the 'New Age' or not 'New Age', I think I would agree that sometimes the Roach titles and tracks and descriptions could be a little more subtle, but then again, most of the ambient big players have this same problem. But again, I think he names the songs after he makes the songs, and I imagine it is a bit difficult to give a name to some amorphous musical thought-form. I used to kind of deride whatever I thought 'New Age' was, and that was something I had to get over when I first got into Hearts of Space and Roach/Rich. But when I realized that the slightly cheesy covers/descriptions/track titles of an album like Strata actually hid a very intense, exploratory, and unclassifiable music, I started to loosen up about it. I really can appreciate as well Roach's dedication to the idea/practice/whatever of Shamanism. Though some might dismiss shamanism as a scam, the more you study into ancient cultures and their systems of logic and interior exploration, it reveals itself as a technology just like any other, which actually taps in and works with forces that are real, but perhaps beyond our normal understanding. But aside from that, it is not just a pose with Roach, he has really shown his dedication to it over the years.

Another funny aspect of this is that at root, Roach's music is quite dark and intense. If the average (what we might think) cheesy, shallow new age person bought one of his releases expecting a shower of shimmering, ineffectual spirit-pap, they might be in for a dark surprise. Roach really does get pretty outlandish, dark, and scary, and is not afraid to explore the concept to its fullest. Check this dude's (from, which dubs itself 'a guide to essential ambient and downtempo albums) review out:

During the 1980's Steve Roach albums were modest in number but consistent in quality. The 1990's and beyond are a different story. Literally dozens of solo and collaborative works have appeared since Sound Of The Earth and their appeal varies enormously. The most difficult of these tend to be works centred around the themes of palaeontology, shamanism and the primordial mind. The dominance of these themes marks a shift in focus from the outer worlds of his middle period music (eg. the impressionism of Western Spaces) to exploring the evolution of our own inner worlds. Unfortunately albums like Origins (1993), Artifacts (1994), The Magnificent Void (1996) and Early Man (2001) retreat into dark worlds of dissonance and strangeness where melody and harmony are virtually outlawed. The sound is one or a combination of rhythmic tribal elements, atonal soundscaping and grim atmospheres. It's fine in moderate doses, certainly, and some hardcore Roach fans swear by such works. But like most dark ambient they are an acquired taste and if you're a newcomer to his music, forget it.

So our man is now accused of being a filthy practitioner of the feared 'dark ambient'! What a joke! Seems one can't win if trying to please everyone. Happily, Roach plows forward, carving out his own sonic domain, seemingly oblivious to people calling him too dark or too new age...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: New Music From Italy
« on: March 26, 2008, 11:23:08 PM »
Definitely one to watch for! Can anyone fill me in on Aglaia, what their albums are like, which one might be a favorite, or where is a good place to start?

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Alio Die
« on: March 26, 2008, 11:19:55 PM »
Getting deep in to the 5000 Spirits...The two albums I got are now some of my favorite...They are truly quite amazing and most definitely live up to the quip on the booklet claiming to blow your reality apart (or something like that)...Cosmic ambient with beats and a wealth of challenging, intriguing, gorgeous sounds and juxtapositions. I think it is an epic move for Alio Die, similar to Steve Roach teaming up with Vir Unis for Body Electric and Blood Machine...

Wow, the venue sounds amazing! Growing vines and invisible speakers nested in trees...This sounds like it is going to be a great show. Wish I were in Chicago for this one...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: March 26, 2008, 04:52:38 PM »
Spirit Dome is a classic...epically murky, an absolute levitational journey through vast underworlds...and those mighty drums that pound. Gotta listen to it tonight... And speaking of Innerzone, it was the first tuly ambient music I heard, before knowing anything of any of these guys. I remember buying it wondering if it was going to be 'cheesy new age' but also struck by the wonderful cover art and intriguing track titles...and when I threw it on later that night...I remember just being blown away and realizing that a whole new world of music was opening up. That beginning track is insane with those bursting fractal thought-forms.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: March 26, 2008, 12:23:47 PM »
Seems strange to me that Somewere Else and Innerzone would be particularly unpopular releases. These are two of my all time Roach/Vidna favorites. Been listening to Somewhere Else for the past couple weeks, and it has given me much serene late night reading/hypnagogic pleasure. It's funny, but the other night while listening to it the last thing I thought as I was going to sleep was about the remaining Ascension reissues. Where were they? The next morn I happened to check Roach's website and when I saw the 'found' Ascensions I ordered it without hesitation. I'm glad I got one of the 80. I did think it was kind of strange (and the finding of only discs 2 and 3 didn't make sense), but maybe the reason given is true. Maybe Roach decided that with the massive Immersion series (which according to the Roach website turned out to be much bigger than originally planned with the last 3 disc set) he strategically decided to hold back on the rest of Ascension because it was too similar in style. I did wonder if Vidna didn't want aymore Vidna-related releases coming out, and leaving all out of print discs out of print, as I believe was mentioned in an earlier Hypnos thread. That is definitely his perogative as well, in order to focus on new projects, and I would respect that artistic decision. But I do think the reason given seems plausible. Yet it is curious that both Innerzone and Somewhere Else are on sale. Is it just a random thing that Soleilmoon and Projekt do? Are these releases just not 'mainstream' enough for Roach fans? Weird...Though whatever the reason for this, the music itself blows away any is epic work...

My first thought upon seeing the preview was that I have to go see this alone because I don't want my wife to see the tears of bliss and morbid joy glimmering on my face in the theater darkness as my eight-year-old boy self comes flooding back to me with memories of my life changed forever back in '81 upon first view of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Seems to me that the wry humor existed in the first one, but was well balanced by the darkness and suffering aspect. No actor can display physical misery and beat-downedness like Harrison Ford. So hopefully the stupid jokey aspect won't take over, but I am prepared for it. As has been said above, when the balance tips in favor of silliness, the movie loses all sense of bearing and just goes stupid. Am very excited about hearing the music on the big screen, and just digging what will probably be tons of crazy and interesting effects (read that most of the effects will not be digital, in keeping with the older flicks, which intrigues me...)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Infraction, Some Great Music
« on: February 14, 2008, 01:55:34 PM »
Aloof Proof, Piano Text: breathtaking - primordial majesty. Northern, Drawn:  psychoactive, genius structures, alive. Haven't given a full listen to Pacione's From Stills to Motion yet, but am looking forward to it. Still considering getting Northing, is it as highly recommended as the above releases?

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Alio Die
« on: February 14, 2008, 01:49:29 PM »
What is the opinion on the new vocal album Eleusian Lullaby? I really like Apsaras, and disliked Meijyu. This new one looks really good, but I am short on cash, and am wondering, is it really good, as in different enough from the others (and from other Alio Die) to be a necessary purchase? How do you feel about it?

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Looking for Krautrock
« on: February 11, 2008, 05:59:45 PM »
I'm not sure what it could be categorized as, but as far as the most amazing '70-'76 psych-sci-fi-cosmic-space-proto-punk-fantasy-cosmic-rock, Hawkwind has to take the crown. I may be contested by many out there on this, but I will just bow my be-headphoned head and go back to the magical and electronically girdled yet upliftingly rocking strangeness of albums like Space Ritual, Doremi Fasol Latido, In Search of Space, and Hall of the Mountain Grill...

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