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Messages - Brian Bieniowski

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Robert Rich New CD and Tour
« on: February 18, 2010, 02:28:49 PM »
Like everything else, it's just a matter of taste, I guess.  The one I like the best is Trances / Drones—I don't think there's another ambient piece anywhere as immersive and mysterious as "Seascape" on disc two.  I also think Somnium is fucking monumental.  I just wish I could listen to it in more locations. ;)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Robert Rich New CD and Tour
« on: February 18, 2010, 01:57:56 PM »
I have to admit that Seven Veils was one of the few Rich CDs I never took a shine to.  But it's also been a long time since I've heard it, so perhaps I'd feel totally different about it today.

The new disc sounds really excellent from the tracks on his site.  I'll definitely be picking it up at his show in NJ.  Hard to believe the last time I saw him live was when Bestiary came out (awesome show, too).  Nice to see him back with new solo work.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: February 18, 2010, 01:29:08 PM »
Recent purchases and old favorites:

Alio Die—Music Infinity Meets Virtues
Really great live set encompassing a few different Alio Die eras.  Though I have all of the rest of his catalog, the tracks I'm familiar with still seem fresh.  The digipak photography is particularly nice on this one—would have been a great concert to attend.

Aglaia—Reverberant Skies
Some really nice tone float ambient on this one.  I have the other two new Aglaia discs, but no opportunity to play them yet.  I think the mastering discussion on the Forum must be rubbing off on me.  This sounds really flat to me, as with some other ambient releases I have known, and may have benefitted with better production.

O Yuki Conjugate—Undercurrents (In Dark Water)
Definitely one of my favorite OYC discs, and it's been a long time since I've played it.  I was trying to decide if I wanted to shell out the $100 for their new LP retrospective box.  I think I do. :)

Yui Onodera—Le Jardin
Celer—All At Once Is What Eternity Is
I tried these two 3" CDRs on Taalem for the heck of it.  The Celer is really nice (as usual) and the Onodera is pretty good.  I thought the Onodera was a little quiet for my tastes, but the drones are similar to Rhizome, which I like a lot.

Tangerine Dream—Green Desert
I don't care when this was really made.  My favorite T-Dream album after Rubycon.

Moon Wiring Club—An Audience of Art Deco Eyes
Kind of like a mix of Geogaddi era Boards of Canada and the guys on Ghost Box like Belbury Poly.  I'm really enjoying this one.

Lovesliescrushing—Girl. Echo. Suns. Veils.
Awesome box set by this super underrated group.  One disc of rare tracks and demos, and another one of unbelievably good guitar ambient from the mid-nineties.  This latter disc is the gem, standing easily alongside most stuff done these days.  Comes in a nice wooden box stuffed with faux feathers.  Unfortunately, this one sold out rather quickly at the label ...

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: February 11, 2010, 05:07:15 PM »
Adam Pacione - Emulsions - Bee Eater - 3"
(Just got "Regalo Di Tono" and "Candyfloss Evaporates"...are these the new one's for the subscription series?  Or are they the bonus discs to the subscription series?  Droney hazy wonders from Pacione's mind....I think I hear an organ on this one...elegiac)

My understanding is that Regalo is the final disc of the 2009 series, and Candyfloss the first disc of 2010.  I'm loving these discs.

I'm also really enjoying Kyle Bobby Dunn.  Got the two-CD collection on Low Point and it's an excellent set of ambient in the style of many of the Kranky regulars.

Everything and Nothing / Re: One Thousand Pulses home concert series
« on: January 29, 2010, 06:40:08 PM »
Darren, you're way too close in proximity (a quick jaunt up the Parkway) for me to say no to some of these shows.  I'll definitely be at Robert Rich, and I'd like to come to the GoS and Experimedia showcases, too.

Everything and Nothing / Re: RQ008: How old are you?
« on: January 20, 2010, 10:06:12 AM »

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Markus Guentner
« on: January 19, 2010, 06:55:04 AM »
Guentner is great.  Definitely inspired by Voigt's Gas project, but it's done a lot better than most copy-cats of the sound (not that there were that many).  I'd also highly recommend Ulf Lohmann.  Same style of music, but a little less similar to Gas.  He had one great record on Kompakt called Because Before.  If you don't have them, I'd also give my highest recommendation to the Pop Ambient series on Kompakt.  The tenth volume is coming out this week.  I think they're the best ambient compilations of the last decade, but that's just my opinion.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: New William Basinski
« on: January 19, 2010, 06:51:30 AM »
I'm a fan myself.  Many of them are similar, so you might want to listen to a few before you end up buying.  I think the Disintegration Loops set is really great (though a tough listen all the way through because they can be so repetitive) and I also highly recommend El Camino Real.

Stereolab/Mouse on Mars, mid-late nineties, Coffman Union, U of Minnesota.  I had just worked almost 24 hours straight, and was utterly exhausted.  I stood front and center, right by the stage, so I could lean on it.  I was pounding coffee to stay awake.  Mouse on Mars were unknown to most of the crowd, so nobody got too enthused for the first 15 minutes, but by the end of their set, the place was going nuts.  Stereolab put on a stunner of a show, chaotic and hypnotic - for an encore, Mouse on Mars joined them onstage for a massive improv jam.  In my half-awake haze, it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard, truly trance-inducing rhythmic bleeps, gorgeous organ chords, chiming guitars, and squiggly synth lines.  I've seen Stereolab several times since, and they never came close to the energy of this night.  Mouse on Mars left that night with several hundred new fans.

I saw the same tour when it hit NYC (Dots and Loops tour), and Mouse on Mars had the same effect on the crowd.  You could tell it was more of an indie-rock audience and they weren't "into" techno, but by the end everybody was bopping around and having a good time.  They played a great set.

great topic, even if we did it before

Wolfgang Voigt performs GAS, Miller Theater, 2009   :o

Swans farewell tour, final NYC performance, Irving Plaza 1997  (Windsor for the Derby and Low opened)

Kraftwerk US return tour, Hammerstein Ballroom, 1998

Bauhaus reunion tour, Hammerstein Ballroom, 1998 (you can hear my wife screaming on the gotham dvd/cd)

Echo & the Bunnymen perform Ocean Rain at Radio City Music Hall, 2008

Robert Forster & Grant McLennan reform for one show at Maxwell's in Hoboken NJ before official Go-Betweens reunion, 1999

Dead Can Dance at Radio City Music Hall, 2005

Ennio Morricone's 1st US concert, Radio City Music Hall, 2007

The Fall, Coney Island High, 1997, (the one where they got into a fight onstage and "broke up" the same night, thus ending the tour)

Jon Hassell, Carnegie Hall, 2009

Thomas Dolby, Sole Inhabitant tour, Joe's Pub, 2006

Artists I have 15+ releases from:

The Church
Cocteau Twins
Steve Roach
Vidna Obmana
Robert Rich
Namlook (and I'm not even that big a fan of him solo—it's mostly collaborations)
Alio Die
Cluster, Roedelius & related
Milieu/Brian Grainger
Mirror/Andrew Chalk
Popol Vuh
Heldon/Richard Pinhas

Now Playing / Re: Long Term Listening - your ambient classics
« on: January 09, 2010, 11:16:56 AM »
Telomere - all 3 of his albums

I completely neglected to mention these.  What outstanding albums they are (my favorite is probably Zoetosis).  Totally underrated artist.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Adam Pacione 3-inch series
« on: January 09, 2010, 11:08:01 AM »
Personally, I loved this entire series.  More on the droney side of ambient—if you've heard other Pacione, you know what to expect.

Pick up "Ending Titles" (it might be my favorite in the set) and you'll get a good idea of what they're like.

Now Playing / Re: Long Term Listening - your ambient classics
« on: January 07, 2010, 12:02:36 PM »
For my own part, I want to ignore things on my classics list from pre-2000, since I don't want to make a list of all the stuff we already know about and fete already (ie Dreamtime Return, Rubycon, etc.).

So, just off the top of my head, and much of this stuff is still unsung:

any of Kiln's albums
Scott Solter—One River
Much of the recent Alio Die material, especially the work with Zeit
Ashera's albums
the three Exuviae albums, especially Settling Density
Shuttle 358's stuff
Forrest's Gongland
Never Known—On the Edge of Forever
Susumu Yokota—Sakura
the work of Pub
Klaus Wiese—Soma
Sola Translatio
Saul Stokes—Fields
Tim Hecker
Markus Guentner
Jonathan Hughes's Trillium
Yagya's incredible Rhythm of Snow
Basinski's Disintegration Loops
Polmo Polpo—Like Hearts Swelling
Off the Sky—Cold Distances
The first Aglaia album
Jim Cole's Innertones

Gotta go look at my CD collection ...

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 07, 2010, 06:23:58 AM »
Fern, I will definitely be buying some Steve Moore (and Zombi, for that matter), thank you for the mention.


Steve Roach—Structures from Silence
Love this one and I never get tired of it.  Not sure if it's this one or Quiet Music that is my favorite in this vein from Steve.  Always liked the blurb that said it was like watching motes of dust drift in the sunlight.

William Basinski—Vivian and Ondine
Another good one from Basinski, kind of like El Camino Real.  I think I'd prefer albums of shorter works by him, though.  These 40 minute tracks are nice, but I hardly ever get to the end of a disc.

Grouper/Roy Montgomery split 12"
Something of a frustrating release, since it appeared to have sold out even before the release date.  I'm cool with ltd. releases, but don't shut out your fans with that kind of nonsense.  Luckily, I snagged a copy at Forced Exposure this week before they sold out.  Great music by Grouper, and, in my opinion, Roy Montgomery can do no wrong.  Hopefully they'll do a repress.

Oöphoi—Time Fragments 1 – 3
Some of my favorite music by Oöphoi is on these, when he was a little more inspired by Vidna Obmana and Robert Rich.  When his stuff started getting extremely quiet, I lost a lot of interest.  Unfortunately, my original issue CDRs from 2001 appear to have died on me with the usual crackling and skipping.  I have the Skean Dhu CDR reissue of volumes 1 and 2, which work fine and have better mastering.  Going to have to find a replacement for 3.  There was a concrete reason I ditched that media.   :-\

Everything and Nothing / Re: Yet another filmed version of Dune
« on: January 07, 2010, 06:05:03 AM »
I loved Childhood's End—definitely one of my favorite SF novels ever.  So many great moments, and what an ending! 

Of course, things that are unfilmable now may well be filmable some day.  Before I saw Avatar, I never thought that something like Ringworld could ever be adapted to film.  And now ... why not?

I've seen all that great Dune concept art, but, as much as I enjoy Jodorowsky's work, I can't see how that movie could have been anything but a chaotic mess.  It might have been an AWESOME chaotic mess, but I doubt it would have been as clear as even the Lynch version.

Personally, I love the Lynch version.  To me, it's a great mixture of his own vision and the original Frank Herbert material, and, in some instances, the costume and technology designs of the Lynch team are much more interesting and compelling than the vague things Herbert may have seen fit (or been able to do in a literary form) to include in the book.  I have the DVD of the extended version and it has some wonderful scenes in it that should have been in the theatrical release.  Stuff that ties up loose ends (like the fate of Thufir Hawat, for instance) or develops characters (ie Duncan Idaho) who get hardly any screen time in the shorter version.  Plus the opening montage of artwork narrated by Herbert, which explains why spice is such a big deal works a lot better than having the Princess do a simple voiceover and hoping you figure it out as you go along.

At the time, I guess they were looking for briefer films to duplicate the success of Star Wars.  Now I think we've seen that sprawling SF or fantasy epics have a real audience looking for detail and care in adaptation.  Perhaps the time is right to do Dune properly, but it would seem to me that Hollywood is in short supply of talent (or studio heads) capable of the task.

Regarding the opening statement, I think if you don't find anything in ambient and electronic that's "good" these days, you simply aren't listening to music.

To bounce off of some later points made by different posters: I think the trouble is that we have an embarrassment of riches in ambient music, far more than any one human could ever listen to, much less give adequate time for repeated listening.

While I've felt the internet has benefited my own music buying over the last ten years, I think there's a certain point where the massive upswing in the number of artists and labels and releases does a great level of harm.  What I mean by that is that there is never going to be enough word-of-mouth promotion (a big factor in all the long tail theories, as I understand them) to adequately promote the exponential amount of music out there.  So, though there's a ton of great stuff produced every year, it would seem to me that, statistically, the high tide does not raise all boats, because the sea level itself continues to drop each year.

That said, and perhaps this is because of the ease in which electronic music can be made (similar, I guess, to things like indie rock), there's never been so much decent, if not outstanding, work out there.  And while that's wonderful for the consumer on paper, the fact is that so much of this stuff is going to be forgotten or unheard, just because of the way the new marketplace is set up.  And this is ignoring the natural limit each individual has for a type of music.  I'm pretty tired of glitchy techno, for instance.

Mike brought up a wonderful example of a kind of (to me, anyway) paradigm shifting album that was something like a moon shot: that Aphex Twin record.  That album still sounds alien, revelatory, and timeless to me, from the perspective of 2010.  What I'd like to hear, just to get the juices flowing, is what some of the other forum posters think might be albums that possess this level of quality to them.  I think, as fans, we may need to set our sights higher in terms of what we believe in as lifelong worthwhile listening experiences—surely we can all think of stuff that we fell in love with instantly and grew less enamored with after three or six months.  With lengths of time with that, we might as well be talking about pop music!  What's the music you've listened to with regularity over the long term?

For me, it's artists like Wolfgang Voigt, Stars of the Lid, Andrew Chalk, Fennesz, Biosphere, Alio Die.  These guys are masters, sure.  But there are tons of artists who I play almost as regularly without the same level of "popular" esteem.  I think of Kiln and the Heavenly Music Corporation (admittedly the latter is defunct), or one-off brilliant albums like Scott Solter's One River.  Perhaps the short term amelioration for these issues is for the fans to purchase less music, but make sure what they do buy counts, no matter who the record is by?  I have to admit I don't have any concrete solutions for the overarching issues here.

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Now watching...
« on: December 28, 2009, 07:12:56 AM »
Saw it last night in 3D.  I wouldn't go for the plot, but the visuals were incredibly beautiful and innovative.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: TOP 10 OF 2009
« on: December 27, 2009, 03:19:02 PM »
Cheated and picked 15:

Alva Noto—Xerrox, Vol. 2 
Papercuts—You Can Have What You Want
The Church—Untitled #23
Oneohtrix Point Never—Rifts
Animal Collective—Merriweather Post Pavilion
Sleepy Town Manufacture & Unit 21—No Traces
Celer—Engaged Touches
Tim Hecker—An Imaginary Country
The B12 Records Archive; (7 volume, 14 CD set)
Belbury Poly—From an Ancient Star
Black Moth Super Rainbow—Eating Us
Adam Pacione—2009 "Still Life" 3" series
Solo Andata—s/t

Recently got the Guentner, but haven't had much time to listen ...

Everything and Nothing / Re: E-readers, present and future
« on: December 22, 2009, 06:57:19 PM »
My wife owns a Kindle and a Sony e-reader, both for work.  I recently read a book on the Sony (funnily enough, it was a treatise on the limitations of web 2.0 called You Are Not a Gadget), and I found it to be a pleasant, if completely unexceptional, experience.  I did not have an ecstatic religious experience.  I merely read a book on a little screen.

My feeling about e-readers is not strong enough to switch to them, though I should add I am a book collector, so I'm clearly not the best example of their audience.  On the other hand, it seems to me that I read in a linear fashion, which is to say not more than a book or two at a time.  I don't really see the need in having a $300 device to read books I have purchased for $1.  On the other hand, such a device would be handy for work applications, but I'm not going to rush out and get one unless the company's paying. ;)

I wonder how much personal wishful thinking goes into these kinds of gadgets.  How many people will purchase this device in order to e-read their five NYT bestsellers per year?

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