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36 (pronounced "three six") is a UK artist who also runs his own small label, 3Six Recordings.  Starting in 2008 he released the first in a trilogy of albums called "Hypersona," followed in 2010 by "Hollow," and culminating in the 2012 release "Lithia."  All have been released in limited editions on pressed/silver discs.  I ordered the trilogy recently based on the strength of sound samples I heard from the "Lithia" release.  I'd have to say overall I was pretty disappointed with the trilogy as a whole.  The first part, "Hypersona," is pleasant enough instrumental electronic music, but of the 12 tracks contained within, nothing impressed me enough to want to listen to it again.  I'd categorize it as pretty ho-hum soundtrack music, and not exactly what I'd term "ambient."  Any by soundtrack, I mean slightly sterile, non-descript background music that isn't of much interest on its own:  think someone trying to sound like Cliff Martinez but not quite getting there.  The second installment, "Hollow," has 13 tracks and only three interested me, as these three tracks were somewhat darker and had an edge to them, bringing them into the ambient realm we all know and love.  The final and latest installment, "Lithia," has more than several phenomenal haunting tracks that define the term "ethereal."  I am reminded of the sort of yearning, melancholy feel achieved by Bvdub, but minus the beats, containing processed samples, grainy waves of cascading synthetics, looped ad infinitum.  So, "Lithia" is a vast improvement over the other two chapters and by far the most interesting musically.  And it is resolutely an "ambient" album, and I hope he will continue in this vein.  All in all, I'd recommend "Lithia" quite highly but can't say the same for the previous two releases.     

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Rapoon "In This World" Box Set
« on: March 29, 2012, 02:05:13 PM »
1 LP, 1 CD (2CD's on the more limited edition), 1 DVD, poster, artcards.  Does anyone have this?  I cannot find any reviews.  Thanks.   8)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Bvdub influences
« on: March 20, 2012, 10:05:21 AM »
Watched a 15 min. interview posted on YouTube with Brock Van Wey (Bvdub) where when asked his influences his #1 was Steve Roach (which was surprising to me in a way), and #2 was "Hypnos label 90's releases."  So at least we know he's got good musical taste. 

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Overrated Ambient
« on: February 14, 2012, 11:09:42 AM »
What do you think are the most overrated ambient albums?  By this I mean albums that are put on a pedestal to near mythical status, but when you actually hear it you wonder what the big deal was about.

Off the top of my head, I'd have to say Wolfgang Voight's Gas releases (individually or the "Nah und Fern" box set).  There are a few excellent tracks but on the whole most of it to me is murky and repetitive. 

Voice of Eye were/are a phenomenal American two-member project (Bonnie McNairn and Jim Wilson) primarily active in the 90's during the heyday of the ambient genre.  They were members of Asianova and later formed VOE.  Self-built instruments which were extensively processed with electronics and McNairn's siren-like processed voice created some of the most surreal and alien sounding soundscapes in ambient history.  This two-CD collection on Germany's Transgredient Records gathers tracks from various experimental/ambient artist compilations and augments them with unreleased material intended for cassettes and an entire live set from 1996 (which is truly spectacular).  VOE's organic tribal experiments put them in the same league as other sonic innovators of the time such as Robert Rich and Steve Roach.  In fact, they shared space with Roach and Rich on the Manifold Records comp. "Endless 2."  Despite their use of strange objects like bicycles , "musical saw," and "'77 Chevy van," their sounds were so processed that the music did not have a grating industrial feel but rather a smooth, highly atmospheric one.  I highly recommend this compilation for all lovers of classic organic space music.  Bon appetit!   

Everything and Nothing / Automobile batteries
« on: January 27, 2012, 04:18:11 PM »
Hello all, I was wondering if someone knowledgeable about cars could answer this question for me.  I've been Googling and researching but still wondering.  My situation was:  my 2010 car was having very weak cranking on a cold start (after engaging the key, the engine wouldn't start up right away, there would be a delay of a couple seconds after the key was fully engaged) that got worse over time.  I suspected it was the battery, based on my research.  The dealer service dept. stated my battery was in "good condition," yet when I took the car to a trusted independent mechanic, they said the battery was bad and to replace it.  The mechanic gave me a printout of the battery test showing the voltage was 12.57v (apparently "normal"); however, a "capacity test" done showed the battery failed and the battery life was 0%.  Recommendation: replace now (which I did). 

My question is, do you think the dealer just didn't check my battery at all, or did they only possibly measure the voltage, and because they didn't do the "capacity test," they couldn't tell the battery was in bad shape or get a complete picture of its health?  In other words, are some methods of battery testing not very comprehensive compared to others?   Please let me know somebody as I'm trying to determine whether to return to the dealer service dept. in the future.  If you think they f'd this up let me know.  Thanks!!!

This album, self-released by Perceptual Defence (aka Italian synthesist Gabriele Quirici) in 2011, is just one part of an 8-disc series inspired by the Hieronymus Bosch painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights."  Quirici produces a brand of electronic music that is decidedly experimental, definitely ambient (headphones listening recommended to get all the details), somewhat "lo-fi" (it's not a huge sound with gigantic reverbs like Steve Roach), and often quirky and playful, yet in a psychedelic way.  Drone passages are interspersed with weird sequencer patterns (this is not Berlin School mind you) to concoct a heady brew.  Quirici has previously released a couple full-length albums previously on Oophoi's Umbra Records, and several solo and collaborative e.p.'s on Penumbra as well.  His Facebook page lists his influences as including Robert Rich, Steve Roach, and Zoviet France.  To me the ZF influence seems most prominent based on its kind of lo-fi experimentalism with more quiet microsounds.  Anways, back to "Hieros Gamos."  The disc is split between two long tracks.  "Hieros Gamos 1" starts off with some really pretty dark atmospheric drone soundscapes and we are in Oophoi territory here.  Heavily reverbed rainsticks echo in the background, followed by what sound like heavily processed didgeridoo samples.  This is spooky and surreal stuff, and very dreamlike.  Some chiming bell sounds then come in, followed by some industrial-tinged whooshes and electronic bleeps.  About halfway through this long 48-minute opus the dark ambient drones fade away and the tracks morphs into a quite upbeat, kaleidoscopic and playful series of dancing sequencers, horn sounds (albeit synthesized), and looped percussion.  The second track, at 20:00 long, follows a similar path;  atmospheric at first, morphing into more active sequencer territory.  I would recommend this album to fans of the Umbra/Penumbra label and Alio Die's sublabel Sempiterna Mutatio, but I don't think it's for everyone.  Sometimes the quirky factor overshadows the more drone based soundscapes and the music can become rather bizarre.  I'm also not sure you need all eight (!) of these albums.  I have a couple others in the series and they seem very similar to this one.     

Steve Roach starts off 2012 with the aptly titled "Back to Life."  The title did give me some hope that musically things would evolve for Steve out of the primordial ooze of his what can now be considered "late period" (I guess) music.  By "ooze" I mean the drifting, sort of formless masses of ambient clouds n' chords, the hovering e-bow guitars, the hushed echoes of tribal percussions, and in general a surrender to the ether.  The problem with this album is that he achieved all that back in 2003 with "Mystic Chords," and to a great extent, the subsequent releases have for the most part been of a similar nature.   The pieces on Disc One of this two-disc set in large part sound like they came right out of the "Mystic" sessions, augmented with other pieces like the lengthy "Tranquility Base" consisting of subtle tribal beats, e-bowed Suspended Memories/Suso Saiz style guitars, and drifting electronics, which he does so well and continues to do well.  "Tranquility Base" would have fit perfectly into the "Fever Dreams" series.  Disc 2 consists of one mammoth track called "Mist of Perception" and this is one of those quietly intense apocalyptic soundscapes that seem to describe some significant cosmic event.  I thought this piece was really good and more interesting than the material on Disc One.  So bottom line, this is another technically superb production from a master doing what he does best (I give it an "A" for production), but perhaps suffering from revisiting  the past too much (gets a C- in the "heard it all before" department).  Total score: B-.  Nice release, but I think it's time for one of the great innovators to innovate once again.  :)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Amir Baghiri/Nimh "Entities" ltd. cdr
« on: January 20, 2012, 01:19:28 AM »
Anyone have this and care to comment? 

Computers, Internet and Technology / MP3 vs. FLAC
« on: January 17, 2012, 11:30:24 AM »
Relunctantly I've started downloading music out of necessity (for albums unavailable on CD) and for economic reasons (can't really afford to keep up with the volume of music I enjoy @ $20 a pop in many cases by the time you pay for CD plus shipping and other fees).  My question:

Is there a huge difference between MP3 files and "lossless" FLAC files?  So far I've only downloaded MP3 tracks off iTunes and they sound fine to me.  Is the MP3/FLAC difference noticeable, or just to people with super sensitive audiophile ears? 

Computers, Internet and Technology / iTunes incomplete downloads problem
« on: January 17, 2012, 12:59:14 AM »
Just started using iTunes.  About half the albums I've downloaded so far had incomplete tracks.  I have to report this to support and they reset for me to download again, which still hasn't always been successful.  Any idea what could cause this??? Thanks.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Yagya Rhythm of Snow
« on: January 12, 2012, 01:35:57 PM »
Why hasn't this been repressed or reissued yet?  Prices on Discogs are outrageous!

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Shoegazers heaven: new band Tamaryn
« on: January 01, 2012, 10:15:01 AM »
I highly recommend Tamaryn's "The Waves" (2010, Mexican Summer) to all fans of the "shoegazer" genre.  This band is comprised of a female vocalist/lyricist and a guitarist/multi-instrumentalist, although there are more people when they play live (similar to the amazing Curve from the 90's).  They manage to wear their influences on their sleeve (Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Curve, Mazzy Star) while still sounding unique.  "The Waves" is one of the strongest debut albums I've heard in awhile!!

I am super stoked about this film, as "Alien" (1979) is in my Top 3 all-time faves.  I guess there a lot of fansites out there posting supposed storylines about the film, some of which have been confirmed fake by 20th Century Fox, but some of these sound really interesting nonetheless.  Considering it's Ridley's first sci-fi project in 30 years my hopes are really high, as he said he'd only revisit the genre if the story was really good.  I also read H.R. Giger's involved again, which is a really good thing IMO.  The lead actors in this are all excellent, too (Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender).   

Marketplace / FS: New Max Corbacho, + Fax label rarity
« on: December 04, 2011, 10:17:05 PM »
Hello, I'm selling the following collectable/limited editions on Discogs if anyone is interested (just do a search for these albums), for very reasonable prices:

Max Corbacho/Bruno Sanfilippo-Bioma CD (ltd.200 hand-numbered copies)
Atom Heart-Live at Sel i/s/c CD (early 90's Fax release)

Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Walking Dead TV series
« on: December 02, 2011, 01:32:10 PM »
I rented season 1 DVD of "Walking Dead," an AMC channel series about zombies (NOTLD plot: dead start coming back to life walking the earth, etc.).  Really impressed.  I've seen my fair share of zombie flicks and really I think this is the best in the genre I've seen since the original Night of the Living Dead.  The zombies are truly scary and horrifying, excellent acting, pacing, and direction.  Makes Romero's last couple zombie attempts look very amateurish by comparison.  One of the producers on Walking Dead is Gale Anne Hurd, from the Alien franchise. 

Just watched Terrance Malick's visually stunning film "Tree of Life".  Klaus Wiese music was noted in the credits, I believe from "Neptun" album.  It was used during a 10 minute sequence showing the creation.  This movie was very ambient, in a visual sense.  Too bad more directors don't use this music in films.

I just saw this amazing independent movie on DVD last night, about a serial killer.  Really creepy and well done film.  The music was some really beautiful but creepy dark ambient and reminded me very much of "The Shining," with haunting drones and eerie female vocals accentuated with tons of reverb.  The music was similar to some of Voice of Eye's work or Asianova.  I didn't recognize the people involved in the music as shown in the credits.  Anyone know anything about the music if you saw this film?  Thanks. 

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Klaus Wiese Zen Room Positive Zero CD
« on: September 20, 2011, 01:36:34 AM »
I am curious about listener reactions to this very limited edition recently offered for sale.  Any reviews or other info?  Thanks

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Whatever happened to Patrick O'Hearn?
« on: September 16, 2011, 03:12:05 PM »

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