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Messages - Robert Logan

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Robert Rich Tour Blog
« on: June 03, 2010, 05:13:29 PM »
I have no problem with someone using a laptop and controllers live - if that's what's required to get their sound across and if they're actually re-rendering the material on the fly in some way. Some musicians are doing very interesting things with home made patches and sequencers in a live setting and I've been to lots of beautifully intense gigs involving laptops. In some ways, I find witnessing that just as exciting as great musicians interacting on traditional instruments, because I'm not there to watch some visual demonstration of musical athleticism but instead to listen to fresh sounds.

Obviously, context is important, and these things can be done tastelessly. Miming, for example, is awful, and I find using computers to replace acoustic instruments or things that could be played by other musicians rather despicable. I also think that some live playing by electronic musicians is karaoke-like, but not for the reasons that the author stated. Some electronic musicians, for example, have the laptop playing almost everything, but arbitrarily play one part themselves and occasionally pepper that with a tap on a drum machine here and a squirt from another machine there and plucks on guitar there. I would personally rather they dumped all those bits and bobs that perhaps look more impressive or live to onlookers - and instead explore ways of meaningfully and substantially changing the sounds being spewed out from the computer on the computer itself. Or, as some have been doing, combining that live computer-driven process with more traditional and blatantly live playing on 'proper' instruments.       

This sounds awesome. Just what I've been missing recently, this tribal, Serpent's Lair-esque music.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Robert Rich: Ylang
« on: March 22, 2010, 03:42:57 AM »
It's strange, this album has grown "off" me somewhat, after the initial excitement of getting it in the post and playing it for the first time. Tracks like 'Ambergris', 'Verbena', 'Vetiver' and 'First Rain' are still enjoyable to me - especially that last track. But there are tracks (like 'Kalyani' or 'Charukesi') which simply sound like the average sort of music you'd hear in a competently played, well produced 'World' music album (I don't like the term either!) I've got lots of CDs which document, or are inspired by, the traditional music of various countries, and I was hoping for a little more of Robert's unusual magic in those moments.

Then the others sit in a strange half-way point between ambient music and something more traditionally musical or active, but don't quite hit the sweet spot either way for me. I can neither escape into their infinite depths as can be done on 'Somnium' or the best tribal ambient pieces, nor is there enough going on in the foreground for the brain to appreciate it in the same way you might enjoy your favorite non-ambient records.

I would say I'll listen to it more and see if it grows on me, but since the opposite is happening as I listen to it, I think it'd be best to leave it a while and see how it works in a different mood. 

Other Ambient (and related) Music / If animals!
« on: March 04, 2010, 07:26:44 PM »
If animals made ambient music, it'd be cockroaches that would produce the most unusual sort of ambiences. There's a lot of ambient music out there that sounds like it could have been made by birds - (both the grandiose sort, like eagles, and the twisted sort, like crows, and the pretty and petite sort, like robins and little tropical birdies) - and horses (not ponies, however), and butterflies, and dinosaurs, and tigers, and whales, and dolphins, etc. There is a definite lack of materials within this species of music which sound like they could have been created by cockroaches, however. They should be given a chance; it'd be a fascinating combination of urban squalor, deep, damp city drones, and microscopic hisses and scuttles. The music would smell beautifully rotten, too. It wouldn't be the usual, epic-smelling swirls of sublime animal scents, but something altogether more earthy, rusty, and wet. There isn't enough wet cockroach music. A miniature studio would have to be built, which sounds like a difficult task - but! if horses can manage to do their knob-twiddling with hooves, it shouldn't be impossible for these six legged glories to be provided a means to sound production. 

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 04, 2010, 05:10:32 AM »
I'm currently listening to Dynamic Stillness and the Live at Grace Cathedral album.

I'm really enjoying the live album, even if much of it consists of tracks I already own in studio form, but for some reason Dynamic Stillness isn't clicking with me yet. I really want it to, especially because of the stunning artwork and beautiful digipack layout, but it neither whisks me away like his other releases have done, nor works when I listen more 'closely'. I think I prefer disc 2 to the first one, so maybe I should stick to that one for now (though it does seem to have some weird hissing artifacts on tracks 2 and 3 - has anyone else noticed those? Perhaps they are deliberate). That repeating sequence in the very first 40 minute track ('Birth of Still Places') is really exhausting to get through!

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Robert Rich: Ylang
« on: March 04, 2010, 05:03:15 AM »
Ylang is a bit a short on such moments. I too am yearning for more of that side of Robert Rich.

But, having accepted what Ylang is and what it is not, I think it is a great release. Hopefully his next one will explore those darker, more abstract territories.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: March 03, 2010, 06:48:35 AM »
Robert Rich:


Just had the first listen. 53 minutes of music and it rushed by in what seemed like a few. My first impression is that it's a fusion of different currents of Rich's work...a masterful fusion at that. And the main element itself could be called a fusion of world musics. Inspiring work this is.

Yes - this is an inspiring piece of music, and those 53 minutes did rush by. Often with newer releases, as I've listened I've felt impatient and wondered when the current track would end and the next begin. Then I've been left feeling somewhat exhausted once the album had finished. Not so with Ylang... when I noticed I was on the final track on my first listen, I dreaded it ending. For once in 2010, I was left feeling energized and wanting more.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Robert Rich: Ylang
« on: March 03, 2010, 05:41:35 AM »
This might well be the most beautiful collection of new pieces of music I've heard in a long time. I'm so glad that Robert Rich takes time over each release - it pays off when the results are this distilled and detailed. I've been a bit disappointed in a few new ambient/electronic releases by other artists in the last couple of months, so it's so relieving and exciting to discover that Robert Rich's latest is something of a masterpiece. You can hear there is blood and sweat put into his music, as well as inspiration.    

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Robert Rich New CD and Tour
« on: February 23, 2010, 04:18:10 AM »
The samples sound great. Can't wait till my copy arrives.

This year looks set to be a brilliant year all round for releases. Lots of great new things coming out - including a new Autechre, which I'm sure you're all thrilled about. ;)

Paul Vnuk and Ben Swire - I absolutely agree that knowing how to apply compression, different kinds of EQ, multi-band compression and other studio techniques is important in forming beautiful sonics, and that having an understanding of music theory and at least one 'traditional' instrument can only be a help. I certainly wasn't speaking as an anti traditionalist, and I'm just as bored by people who are opposed to any formal musical training on principle as I am by traditional musicians who dismiss our music as not being 'real music' or old skool rock 'n' roll producers who scoff at any unusual or novel applications of studio techniques. A few folk in more noise-based 'avant garde'  circles (for want of a better word) come across as far more close minded than the traditionalists they oppose, and though they think they are free, I believe real freedom comes when you have worked hard at a form, consistently, over many years.

I wasn't speaking about collaboration, or studying music theory or production in an academic way, or even sitting down with a more knowledgeable producer or mastering engineer to listen through your work and critique it. I'm so thankful I've had those experiences, especially when they've been brutally honest - painful though they can be! No; I was specifically uncomfortable with the idea of ambient music being taught by some 'master', as if the rules of the genre have been established like the rules of harmonizing a Bach chorale. I just don't think it fits the nature of this movement (unless, like I said, we're talking about ambient-ish music for commercial purposes, like a film score or adverts or whatever), and I don't think the idea even honours the genre's traditions. Plus, we've already got too many sound-alikes as it is. ;)   

In this kind of music, though, should there be a blueprint that's just being used natively? I'm wary of setting parameters on movements like these - once a form of expression is totally defined, it can die. I can understand the idea for more popular genres, or for film scoring or whatever, where the entire point of the exercise is to form something using tried and tested methods for a commercial purpose - but something in me is uncomfortable with the idea of 'ambient' music being taught or passed down in stone. Collaboration is of course a totally different thing.

I agree with everything that is being said about production, but if you have a good pair of ears, are self critical enough, and if you are dedicated to the act of refining your sonics till they really breathe and kick and scream, I think over time you will naturally accumulate technical know-how and musical processes - and a knowledge of how to apply these processes - to get professional results. The love of your form will drive you to explore traditional approaches to production in detail, and perhaps, ways beyond those.


Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: My albums
« on: January 20, 2010, 07:32:21 PM »
I know this is very late, but I'd like to thank you for that review!

Here it is, in case anyone else on this wondrous corner of the internet is interested:

I know I said I wouldn't bump this thread, but I listened to Inscape again for the first time in months - and unlike the feelings and disgust and horror that often permeate my brain while listening to much of my new music - I actually thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I believe the album may please other people's ears also.   

The art work/digipak is very nice, either way. ;)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: kraftwerk BBC Interview
« on: January 20, 2010, 06:37:18 AM »
Thanks, I found this on iPlayer. A great program for anyone interested in Krautrock...

Thank you for that. An insightful interview...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Where are they now? another edition
« on: December 12, 2009, 07:54:22 AM »
That's a shame. There's an incredible quality to his music, and I love his production values. I'll probably have to somehow track down another copy of Planetary Unfolding soon, though. My vinyl copy won't play anymore.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Where are they now? another edition
« on: December 11, 2009, 06:15:26 PM »
Is Michael Stearns going to put out another solo album any time soon?

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach News
« on: October 09, 2009, 05:44:39 AM »
This sort of atonal, synths-out-of-tune idea has just run out of steam I'm afraid.  Nice cover design, though.  Looking forward to some new ideas from SR.   

I can see why you would say that. I've enjoyed the technique in past works, but 'Afterlight' doesn't excite me so much - either because I've heard a similar process from him before, so I'm more consciously aware of the technical/musical aspects of it than I should be, or because it isn't as effectively structured to my ears as it could have been. 

Still, to have released so many albums over such a long period and to have maintained this level of quality is a huge achievement. And his new material is still very high quality - I'd just be excited to hear him create something a little more active or detailed again. I know his imagination could surprise us as once more as it has done time and time again.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: upcoming raison d'ętre album
« on: October 09, 2009, 05:33:29 AM »
I didn't know about raison d’ętre's music, but I've been exploring it after reading this thread. It really is great: it's wonderful to hear ambient music with this kind of punch - some of it has got a real visceral energy to it. I suppose I should investigate the rest of the label, too.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach News
« on: September 22, 2009, 01:20:49 PM »
Does Afterlight change and develop substantially over its 74 minute duration (in a way that the Immersions don't)? I understand why they are mostly static, at least on a macro level - and it works for those pieces - but I'm not sure about getting another release of that nature.

The sample does sound very interesting...

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: My albums
« on: April 20, 2009, 05:15:23 AM »
Thanks Undershadow. I hope you enjoy the C.D.

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