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Messages - Robert Logan

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61
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach, "Landmass"
« on: July 26, 2008, 09:44:31 AM »
Just listened to this.

At the moment, it could be one of my favorite Steve Roach discs ever. Absolutely magnificent and "wide-screen" sounding (in a good way) and full of life and movement. Beautiful.

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Lustmord - Other
« on: July 16, 2008, 12:52:58 PM »
I like a lot of his output, but I found Metavoid very irritating. I think it was those dated synthesized choir "aaah" sounds and the "orchestral" sounds that crept into lots of the tracks. It sounded like a lot of the gothic stuff already out on the Projekt label.

I hope this one doesn't sound like that.

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Lustmord - Other
« on: July 13, 2008, 04:19:59 PM »
Wow, it's been a while! I certainly am.

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach, "Landmass"
« on: July 09, 2008, 08:26:46 AM »
Someone ordered this for me, but I haven't got it yet (and I'm off to America tomorrow....)

Thanks for starting this thread; I'm eager to hear impressions of this disc. How do you find it compares to Arc of Passion? I'm glad to be getting a Roach album that isn't meant to be played quietly - the last few Roach discs I got were the Immersions and A Deeper Silence. Can I look forward to something a bit more..."full"? Active? (Not that I dislike the Immersion-style projects, it's just that I've overindulged on the lovely low-volume-playing-all-day-and-night-on-a-loop thing recently.)

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: July 01, 2008, 01:08:13 AM »
Samples sound nice, especially the last one.

As much as I love Steve Roach' music, I have to say that I would like to see more variation in his sound.
I don't mind when he uses similar sounds and patterns across various albums, as long as it's not too much and too obvious....but the overall sound character is very much the same on most albums after 2001 or so.
It's that highly polished, reverb-laden, glimmering sound of his. You could say that's simply his style, but it would be very interesting if he could make something a bit more dry, gritty, noisy, low-fi sounding some time... to create different moods and atmospheres....something you wouldn't instantly recognize as that Steve Roach sound.


I sometimes think that...

It's not only because I think his take on a different kind of sound, like the type you mentioned, would be very interesting, but because his use of those wonderful glimmering eventide-reverby sounds across all these newer albums sometimes renders earlier releases (like Mystic Chords and Sacred Spaces) a little less special. Do you know what I mean? When I first heard those four discs, they sounded like a wonderful culmination of Steve Roach's work - totally transporting and magical - but now I've heard the same sounds off that release on others since, those discs can sometimes loose a little of their magic for me. 

I'm all for an artist sticking to a core sound (and Steve Roach's is a sound a can't get enough of!), but I think I recognized sequencer patterns off the new samples from Arc of Passion and Proof Positive, and the more droney/chordal elements from many post 2000 albums too. I've still bought the new one and will probably grow to love it, but it'd be nice to see a whole new perspective on things. Robert Rich, for example, always reverts to his flutes and lap steel guitar, but each album seems to be a unique thing unto itself beyond that core sound. Apart from React, which is a live disc anyway, I don't think I've ever heard or will ever hear Robert Rich repeating musical sequences quite so clearly from album to album. But I believe Steve is refining, rather than repeating....

66
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: June 30, 2008, 12:53:15 PM »
http://steveroach.com/Music/discography.php?albumID=403

New Steve Roach album!

What do people make of the samples? Sounds very, very 'Arc of Passion' to me, which is no bad thing I guess. I like the samples.

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: June 12, 2008, 09:14:37 PM »
Vine- Bark & Spore is indeed a beautiful one, Joe R. I like the production on this disc especially; it seems very detailed and carefully layered. Every sound seems liked it's been carefully worked at to perfection. InnerZone is another collaboration that has a similarly inspiring level of polish.

Since I'm in a very critical mood, I'll say that one disc I've never got is Light Fantastic. Some of it just sounds a bit dull to my ears, though the last two tracks are pretty fabulous. Though I tend to prefer his beatless works, I have thoroughly enjoyed parts of the Fever Dreams series and Blood Machine; there just seems to be something lacking in Light Fantastic. Perhaps I just don't find the atmospheric/droney/paddy elements in a lot of it quite fantastic enough.

Another one I've never got my head around is Midnight Moon. Although I try and enjoy Roach discs on an instinctual level, and though that normally works a treat, I can't get it out of my head that it just sounds like someone noodling on a guitar for the first time through a chain of reverby-pitch-delayed effects. ;) If I hadn't found out about the context of its creation, I think I'd be able to enjoy it more.

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: April 23, 2008, 04:24:07 AM »
There's a sample of 'A Deeper Silence' up now. Sounds quite nice, though obviously with a two minute sample it's impossible to tell...

69
I also think 'sublime' doesn't mean quite the same thing to people anymore, so the sense of opposition between beauty and 'the sublime' wouldn't necessarily be apparent (unless somebody was already familiar with the content of Burke's essay.)


I haven't read this essay by Burke, but Robert have you ever read Nietzche's "On Those who are Sublime"?  It's a chapter from Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and I've always found it a wonderful read.  A link here with a translation not too familiar to me:  http://nietzsche.thefreelibrary.com/Thus-Spake-Zarathustra/37-1


Thank you very much for this! I was indeed a great (and challenging!) read. The only Nietzsche I'd read until now was 'Beyond Good and Evil', which I really enjoyed.

70
Thanks for the kind words Lena and Leech! It makes the obsessive hours put in all the more worthwhile.

I changed the title of the album for quite a boring reason really - it was shorter and sounded a bit less bombastic! The Edmund Burke essay is still referenced by a quote from him on the album sleeve. I also think 'sublime' doesn't mean quite the same thing to people anymore, so the sense of opposition between beauty and 'the sublime' wouldn't necessarily be apparent (unless somebody was already familiar with the content of Burke's essay.)

By the way, leech, I showed your description of 'Garden' to Sarah Sarhandi. She seemed very happy that the music had such an effect on you. :)

Thank you Mike for all your help and for getting this project out there!

(ps - I'm twenty years old. :P Not that that's relevant, anyway. It's just the music that matters. :))
 

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: March 29, 2008, 06:59:49 AM »
[...] Check this dude's (from ambientmusicguide.com, 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.[...]

I’d say that this 'ambientguide' is a very poor guide, failing to properly represent the nature of the music while smearing the representing of the tastes of the ‘guide’ all over it. For a start, it departs from the premiss that the 80s Roach albums are some kind of benchmark of ‘quality’ against which what follows is somehow degenerate. This is a value judgment presented as simple fact. The ‘ambientguide’ sets up a kind of opposition between the early period Roach (= ‘quality’), against which later period Roach is assessed (= ‘difficult’). The question of ‘difficult for whom’ is begged. Personally, I find more Roach works from the pre-90s period ‘difficult’ – this is entirely subjective admittedly, but the guide somehow smuggles his value judgments in under the guise of analysis or description.
And it is simply wrong to state that the later works mentioned are characterised by ‘dissonance’, and that ‘melody and harmony are virtually outlawed’. This is based on a simplistic assessment that’s clearly  made by a non-musician. I can state - from my knowledge as a (non-practising) musician - that there is plenty of consonance, melody and harmony in these works, albeit much of it not of the dully conventional kind that must have been deployed by our cloth-eared ‘ambientguide’ as part of his inadequate assessment scheme. The last parts of this ‘review’ consist of lazy journalistic tropes and facile dismissals. I can think of any number of newcomers who would respond to e.g. Mystic Chords... or Early Man far more positively than, say, Now Traveler or Stormwarning, for the sake of example.
This piece is just garbage, basically, dressed up in well-turned prose, through which it gets through, masquerading as authoritative. I don’t know how any authority can become attached to such toss. If this guy were my ambientguide, I’d soon lose interest in the journey.



Very well said. I too find his 80s stuff far harder to listen to, simply because I've been spoiled by the more adventurous music he released from the 90s to this day. When I go back to his earlier stuff, I can appreciate it in context and can hear that it was doing something special, but it somehow just doesn't move me like later works do. I think the presence of dissonance and the moments of suffocatingly dense sound design in his later pieces really take them somewhere very special.

That article really irritated me! :)

72
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: March 28, 2008, 12:06:40 PM »
I love Steve's music, and his website is great for listening to clips and easily finding releases and press information - but does anyone else find that the descriptions and imagery surrounding his music can make it hard to get other people into his stuff? I mean people who normally like to explore the more unusual areas of music; people who most likely would love the musical content of Steve's discs. I know it's stupid to dismiss anything as "newage" before even giving it a try, but that does seem to sometimes happen to me when I tell people to explore the Roach catalog.

I'm not too bothered by it, and often the covers and names of his albums actually help rather than hinder my listening experiences of his music. Sometimes, though, the write-ups and names can seem a bit bombastic, while the music is actually potent in a very subtle way...



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Thanks for the thread mgriffin!

What do you think of it yourself, leech? ;)

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Steve Roach discussion
« on: March 26, 2008, 02:13:32 PM »
That's funny - 'InnerZone' has become my favorite Steve Roach collaboration disc recently too. It's just epic, dense, and incredibly potent.

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« on: February 02, 2008, 07:33:46 PM »
Yeah, I see what you mean after checking out the YouTube vids. Their later stuff is not easy to listen to. Kind of sounds like avant-garde noodling as opposed to their old music which is songs.

Mike S.





That is a perfectly valid opinion, but the quality of the audio in those youtube videos is so appalling that it is rather unfair to judge the tracks based on them. It would be unfair to judge any piece of music at that level of quality. I don't like the Draft one as much, but the CD-quality version of Ipacial Section is quite brilliant. imho.

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« on: February 01, 2008, 05:53:22 PM »
-

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« on: February 01, 2008, 05:55:49 AM »
Ipacial Section is great fun! Especially loud in the car - some really satisfying drum thwwwaccks to get pummled by. It's not serious or deeply moving, but it sure is enjoyable to blast it out (and possibly dance to, if you're feeling strange). I really like all the different movements and variations within the track and that ridiculous circus-melody that suddenly pops up half way through. I'm honestly not "trying" to like it, and I can see why people into "deeper" music wouldn't enjoy it too much, but I just find it very catchy and immense fun to listen to once in a while. It was immediately likeable to me.   

If I'm feeling introspective or in need of something moving, I'll put on Arvo Part, John Adams, Robert Rich, Vaughan Williams, Stravinsky, Eric Satie - lots of others. If I need some slightly abstracted, bizarre dance music, Ipacial Section fits the bill quite nicely...(Although, a lot of Untilted is very disappointing, and that youtube version of Ipacial Section sounds terrible compared to the CD-quality version.)

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« on: January 31, 2008, 05:08:37 PM »
I'd be curious to hear that! It could well end up sounding rubbish - but that'd be no different to a classically trained composer/musician having a first attempt at Max/MSP! I think you're right in suggesting that a competent combination of these two worlds is what would be very interesting - and I have yet to find that, though I'd love to. Often, I find one side or the other lacking; either the orchestrated/acoustic elements are too obvious and overly predictable in terms of harmony, or the programming is not terribly engaging.

I find what you said about acoustic vs synthetic sounds interesting, as I've heard a lot of people say that, and it does make sense. I do get moved by instrumental and orchestral works, but for me, personally, electronically created sounds can be just as moving, if not more moving. A deep, expansive sound world by Steve Roach really opens me up in ways only my favorite instrumental works can (although I'm aware a lot of his source material is acoustic), and I'm just as moved when I improvise on the piano as I am with a synthesizer and a rig of effects. I guess it just depends on who you are and what your ears like!

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Autechre - is it worth it?
« on: January 31, 2008, 10:43:58 AM »
I have to respectfully disagree (although I'm listening to Quaristice and it's pretty disappointing at the moment, to be honest...)

I mean, I know it's subjective thing, but I do find their music emotional - but not in the same way more traditional music might make me emotional. Confield especially sets my imagination on fire in places in a very unusual way; even if I can't state whether it makes me "happy" or "sad" or "nostalgic", or whatever, it does make me feeling something - something quite new and strange and very pleasurable in all its dark, organic, weirdness.

And I don't think they're simply lead by technology - they're pushing it in very interesting ways and it allows them do things that normal instruments could never do. I wish more artists explored software and synthesis in as much depth and with as much daring as they often do! Granted, what they do is very composed and often based on programmed processes and is not at all "live" sounding, but that's just them; if you want live music, stay away! As someone who has looked into max/msp quite a bit and also used some of the same live equipment they use, I can see that they're doing some very interesting things (apart from on the new album, which has some pretty lazy max programming in one track and also pretty obvious use of the monomachine, but never mind...) That's not the main reason I like them, though; I like them because all that experimenting leads to tasty, bizarre sounds that do provoke an emotional response in me.

Chiastic Slide is still my favorite of theirs, though, in spite of my appreciation of their new material. Cipater is just such an awesome track, especially the way it shifts into the second section half way through and changes time signature. That whole album has such a beautiful, dark, emotionally-charged atmosphere and it was also demonstrating  some really innovative programming techniques.

Ok, enough Autecre defending for one day.  ;) I don't even like their new stuff THAT much anyway, and I wouldn't want to make music like theirs. I just think they deserve more credit than they're getting; they could have easily gone on making Tri Repeataes for the rest of their careers, but I guess they didn't want to do that. I respect that.

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Looking good. Hypnos marches on, tall and strong. Roaaarrr.

I'm watching Planet Earth. Those deep sea creatures would make an amazing cover.

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