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Topics - drone on

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41
Great recording, scorching performance!

42
I have noticed on some recent purchases the practice of printing inner booklet liner notes in German.  Two that come to mind are Mathias Grassow "Wisdom of Fate" on Swedish Gterma label and Klaus Schulze "Shadowlands" on SPV.  Any theories on why the text wouldn't be translated into English?

43
Marketplace / Great CD titles for sale only $7!!
« on: April 07, 2013, 05:52:24 PM »
All discs in excellent condition.  Buyer pays shipping.  If interested contact me at spacerokr1@gmail.com

Sylvian/Mathieu--Wandermude
Sylvian/Bang/Honore--Uncommon Deities
Sylvian/Torn/Budd--Marco Polo
Celer--Without Retrospect the Morning (Glacial Movements)
Pleq and Hakobune--Adrift (Nomadic Kids Republic)
Parallel Worlds/Dave Bessell--Morphogenic (DiN)
Dolphins into the Future--On Seafaring Isolation (Fonal)
Bill Nelson--Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights 2cd
Shrine--Somnia (Cyclic Law)
Julien Demoulin and IA--The Bay (Basses Frequences)
Future Sound of London--From the Archives Vol. 7
Durutti Column--L.C.  2cd 2012 edition (Factory Benelux)
My Bloody Valentine--MBV
My bloody Valentine--Loveless 2cd reissue
My Bloody Valentine--1988 to 1991 e.p's 2cd
Chameleons--Strange Times 2cd UK version
Steve Roach--Soul Tones
Pop Ambient 2012 (Kompakt)
Pop Ambient 2013 (Kompakt)

44
Everything and Nothing / Toasted sandwich fee at Subway?!
« on: March 27, 2013, 01:04:53 PM »
The Subway by my office is charging 20 cents extra if your sub is toasted.  WTF??!  Never heard of anything so stupid in my life. :P

45
I just bought the Blade Runner Collector's Edition 4-DVD set (used for $10, yeah!!)  So this has the "Final" cut (think it was 1997), the 1992 "Director's Cut," and the 1982 US and Intl. "theatrical cuts." 

The theatrical release has the voice-over by Harrison Ford and the "happy" ending where Deckard and Rachael drive off into the sunset together.  Well I watched the final and the theatrical back to back and I think the voice-overs added an intimacy and some helpful explanations that to me make the theatrical the best version.  Harrison Ford hated the voiceovers and Ridley Scott preferred them left out.  Any opinions on this?

The other stuff on this box was pretty interesting, especially the feature about Phillip K. Dick.  I'm not much of a reader but it has me intrigued to seek out his books.  Plus the extras cover just about every technical aspect you could want. 

46
American composer Steve Brand has been quietly and steadily releasing a strong body of work since the early 90's, first as the ritual/industrial/drone project Augur, then under his own name around 2003, where his style switched from the more experimental to classic ambient.  His often magical soundscapes celebrate the psychedelic intensity of nature's soul, much the same way as European kindred spirits like Alio Die, Vidna Obmana, and Oophoi, and American ambient masters Steve Roach and Robert Rich. 

"Sunprints" was originally released on Atmoworks in 2010 but got somewhat "lost in the shuffle" during that label's closure.  It now reappears on Brand's own Pioneer Light label, in association with Relaxed Machinery, with a bonus track included for this reissue, and it is unquestionably among his best works to date.  Strikingly processed photo of Steve's black cat graces the cover art on this album of five long, quiet, intimate pieces which plays like the soundtrack to a moonlit garden under a gentle rain.  15 minute "Return of the Masters" begins with the cry of a conch shell, giving way to layers of nature sounds, gongs, shakers, shadowy even gloomy synth drones, spacious processing, and even a sample of his cat's vocalizations.  17 minute "Honoring the Beautiful Spirit (for Stefano)" I assume is dedicated to Stefano Musso (Alio Die).  This piece effectively merges rain sounds with reverb-drenched gentle vocal chants, like a conjured up spirit of the late Jorge Reyes, strummed and plucked strings via zither and kora, and ethereal electronics.  A very ritual-like track.  The excellent "Scent of Olibanum" is a stunningly mesmeric piece for flutes and electronics with a flowing water soundscape that is haunting in its quiet intensity.  A gorgeous track and my favorite of the whole album.  The longest track, at 23 minutes, "The Sun is the Mother of the Moon," with its swells of airy electronics, feels like you're levitating out of this shadowy garden into the clouds for the first several minutes, morphing serenely into an Eno-like hymnal with beautifully emotive flute playing a la Rich, OYC, and TUU.  Then about 15 minutes in Steve lays down some absolutely surreal processed didgeridoo that is just perfection!  Another brilliant track!!  The closer is the previously mentioned bonus track "Sunprints (The space where you used to be)", which is a logical continuation of themes explored on the previous track.  A perfect ending to a flawless album. 

Relaxed Machinery has also released Steve's companion album to "Sunprints," called "Our True Nature."  This work is comprised of two 35-minute pieces exploring similar intimate terrain found on "Sunprints."  Meditatively breathing electronic washes, nature sounds, bells, rainsticks and shakers form the first track, "True Nature," which is much less shadowy and dense overall than anything on "Sunprints," although some darker shades to appear towards the end.  It's a nice enough track, but didn't do much for me.  The second track, "Genuine Nature," however, has some amazing electronic textures and reminded me of David Sylvian's "Words With the Shaman" album (particularly the track "Preparations for a Journey") in conjuring up images of hidden rainforests and sacred sites.  This piece is simply top-notch soundscaping, and even the black cat makes another cameo!

All in all, I can highly recommend these two fine works of Steve Brand to both the uninitiated and followers of his continuing high-quality ambient work.  On a personal note, in my opinion there aren't many these days doing this kind of quiet, contemplative "nature music," and I think Steve Brand should be treasured in this regard as it is so needed in today's information overload/hi-tech world, where the simple beauty of life can be overlooked. 

47
Other Ambient (and related) Music / What's happened to Depeche Mode?
« on: February 21, 2013, 04:06:48 PM »
I just watched the video for "Heaven," from the forthcoming DM album.  What an awful song.  They don't even sound like DM anymore.  Dave Gahan is trying to sing like Bono now.  Yuk.  ;D

48
My first introduction to Blake Gibson's music was his 2011 masterwork "Gramophone Transmissions," one of the most unique space ambient albums I've experienced in my almost quarter century of exploring electronic music, which consisted exclusively of processed samples and loops, forming a fascinating collage-like tapestry of layered ghostly harmonics, drones, old vinyl, mellotron, choral and piano soundscapes.  The follow-up to "Gramophone Transmissions", released in 2012 on Relaxed Machinery (a limited number of CDR's in nice digipak were printed; it is also available digitally), takes a much more minimal and "classically" electronic road than its predecessor, seemingly derived from a couple choice synthesizers without much in the way of reverb and echo, giving the soundscapes a monochromatic timbre.  This isn't a negative in my book; in fact, the synth sounds are quite impressive in that the sounds from these minimal sources don't smack of factory presets at all, but a decidedly meticulously hand-carved approach.  Considering Gibson's interest in science fiction and space travel, it's no surprise this album celebrates the physics of the great black void once again, specifically the concept of superluminal (faster than light) communication, or even travel.  The awe and wonder of vast astronomical distances is captured in tracks like the excellent opener "Superluminal," a quiet droner which approximates an interstellar spacecraft hurtling silently at breakneck speeds through the darkness.  Things start to get spooky by the second piece, "The Geometry of Shadows."  There are probably some strange physics going on way out there, which this piece describes with cosmic whooshes, bass-heavy pulses, and mysterious crackling sounds.  "Between the Darkness and the Light" begins ominously with unsettling sonorities, but morphs beautifully into an almost ecstatic meditation of soothing light flowing infinitely.  "Luminosity" follows with a mesmerizing drone that Mathias Grassow would kill for (!) and builds in quiet intensity with layers of high-pitched harmonics before returning to the original gorgeous drone and fading out.  Closing track "Ansible" (defined as "a fictitious machine capable of superluminal communication, typically found in science fiction literature") continues in the style of "Luminosity."  I think this piece was the only weak spot here:  doubling the length of "Luminosity" and extending the fadeout drone would have made a more effective closer.

I have to admit I found "The Geometry of Shadows" difficult to get into at first.  It is in many ways vastly different than "Gramophone Transmissions," and its minimal nature demands nothing short of the listener's full and undivided attention (and headphones are an absolute must here).  It's a work that, like much of the best electronic music, or even films, reveals more and more with repeated exposure.  Fans of abstract deep space masters like Tau Ceti, Oophoi, and Seren Ffordd will find much to savor here.  Well done Blake!!

49
I just saw the film "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" on DVD, it starred Emma Watson from the "Harry Potter" films.  It was critically well received and was supposed to be a very realistic portrait of high school.  In some ways it was but in too many ways it was "Hollywooded" like so many other feature films. 

Anyways, as a major COCTEAU TWINS fan, I was delighted to hear Watson's character mention the Cocteau Twins song "Pearly Dewdrops' Drops" and the song was played at the end of the film.  Nice! THE SMITHS song "Asleep" from "Louder than Bombs" was also mentioned and played a few times. 

Too bad the film wasn't near as great as the movie. 

50
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Eighteen bucks for a download?
« on: February 12, 2013, 04:12:40 PM »
An artist in the "rock" category I greatly admire has a Bandcamp store now and is charging USD $18.00 for a single-album download.  If you want to order a CD it is $20 plus $10 shipping to the US.  $30 for one CD is quite steep, IMO. 

Some fans are grumbling over this, not just me. 

Even though as just a listener it's not up to me to decide how much an artwork is "worth," considering the wide range of available downloads averaging at the $10 price, do you think $18 is a bit excessive?  At this point I don't really want to pay that much for a "file" and also don't want to pay $30 for one CD.  BTW, the newest release (in fact the last few) are only available on the artist's Bandcamp site, not iTunes or other platforms. 

Any thoughts?   

51
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Dead Can Dance tour second leg
« on: February 11, 2013, 11:34:15 AM »
DCD are coming back to San Francisco in April, playing at Davies Symphony Hall (!)  Wow, ummm, that's pretty fancy dancy.  Of course I'd love to go but I've a feeling these tix will be steep, and I don't really want to sit up in a balcony.  I saw Brendan Perry solo a couple years ago in a small club in San Francisco and he did lots of DCD songs and that to me was about as good as you could get, so I think I'm good on the live DCD front for awhile. 

52
Everything and Nothing / CD's and Paper Sleeves Do NOT Mix
« on: February 07, 2013, 11:21:40 AM »
I recently bought the Fleetwood Mac "Rumours" 3-disc set.  This had the same goofy packaging I've seen on other big name bands/record companies reissues, by groups such as U2, Led Zeppelin, etc., wherein the CD's slide in and out of very thin cardboard/paper holders from the top of the packaging.  The problem is the CD's get scratched by the paper packaging; and even if you remove the disc(s) carefully, often they are already badly scratched when removing them from the packaging for the first time, from when they were assembled at the factory.  I looked at all three Rumours discs under the light yesterday and they looked like they had been put under someone's shoe and scraped along the floor, and they're only about 2 days old!   

Can't these record companies design better packaging to protect the discs?  I like fancy packaging as much as the next guy, but to me the discs are the most important thing and should be secured properly to avoid damage. 

I've noticed this is a problem more in the pop music world rather than the ambient world.  Some ambient labels, like Darla, have been issuing CD's in the thin cardboard sleeve packaging, but if you remove them carefully enough you can avoid scratches.  Often what I'll do though is just put them in my own "safe sheets" so they don't slide around and get scratched. 

53
Other Ambient (and related) Music / My Bloody Valentine new CD 2013
« on: February 04, 2013, 11:26:24 AM »
"MBV" it's out digitally now and later this month on LP/CD.  Only heard parts of it once, sounds like they haven't really skipped a beat in the 20-plus years since "Loveless" came out. 

I would like to see this band live again; the last 10 minutes of their show when I saw them in the 90's sounded like you were in an airplane hangar with no earmuffs.   ;D

54
Other Ambient (and related) Music / New Amir Baghiri album on Databloem
« on: February 02, 2013, 05:22:16 PM »
It's called "Serenity".  Samples are up, sounds good.

55
Everything and Nothing / I Hate My Job
« on: January 30, 2013, 02:08:40 PM »
I hate my job.  8 hrs. every weekday having to share a small space with mostly people I don't like.  Can you please make me feel better by giving me examples of how much you hate your job, too?  PS: I don't want to hear "get another job," only whiners are complainers on this thread LOL  ;D

56
Stephen Parsick returned in 2011 after his debut as the lone musician of the ['ramp] project in 2009, with the "Debris" album.  "Debris" showed his prowess in combining classic analog sequencer music with more experimental, even industrial timbres, making for a fascinating, if coldly clinical at times, recording.  The follow-up, "Steel and Steam," released in July 2011, again on his own Doombient label, was the first in a "trilogy" of sorts where the music took on a decidedly more cosmic tone, full of thick, warm analog instrumentation, sometimes delicate sometimes bombastic sequencing, and ghostly drones, while still maintaining shades of the experimental and industrial.  "Steel and Steam" contains the heaviest sequencing of the trilogy.  Leadoff track "Zeppelin" (sorry, no Jimmy Page here, haha) catapults the listener into analog heaven with throbbing, battle-cry sequencers while majestic lead lines and angelic choirs give the whole thing an ethereal air.  What a track!  And believe me, it gets even better.  The hypnotically aggressive two-part "Node" is an in-your-face menacing sequencer suite that sounds like a pissed off locomotive going right for your jugular.  "Solenoid," a definite favorite for me, layers some exquisitely gentle melodic Vangelis-like flourishes over echoing rhythmics, followed by "[led]", using more excellent sequencing and haunting lead lines like a lost track to the "Blade Runner" film.  Phenomenal.  For the album's second half, Stephen is joined by one of the true giants of EM, Mark Shreeve from Redshift.  Their first piece together "Puppets" is a heady brew of ominous, eerie atmospherics for its first 10 minutes, like an unseen monster rising out of the depths, then morphs into a slow-burning sequencer meditation.  The title track, in four parts, finds Stephen and Mark jamming in very Redshift fashion, with moods ranging from lonely piano notes, to heavenly choirs, spacy effects, to very loud distorted sequencer lines.  Just a phenomenal album from start to finish!

"Return," also released in 2011, is divided into two parts.  Part One, "Astral Disaster," effectively imparts a feeling of dread and impending doom (helped by titles like "122112" and "Unholy Messiahs").  Whatever is coming, it sounds like something you DON'T want to mess with.  This feeling is achieved with haunted spectral choirs, brooding drones, eerie effects, and sometimes subtle, sometimes pounding funereal bass drum soundscapes.  By the fourth track, "Infernal Machines," the sequencers are in full swing, and for some reason I'm reminded of the remake of "War of the Worlds," with the alien machines roaming the Earth and killing everything in their path.  Talk about doombient!!!  I joke here, but seriously, this is some of the darkest music you will ever hear (if you dare).  "A New Dawn" and "122212" offer some repose from the storm with dark strings and mellotrons, although they aren't exactly sweetness and light, reminding you you just got your ass kicked.  The second half, "Return," replaces the feeling of dread with awe and mystery--there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel.  The soundscapes here are more cosmic and ethereal, not claustrophobic as on the first half.  On "Beacon," for example, a spiralling solo floats above infinitely sustained chords to beautiful effect.  "Radiocarbon Part Two" brings back the bombastic sequencing, but this time imparting a sense of strength rather than destruction.  The album closes with "Lighthouse," a sublimely melancholic space hymn, one of my favorite styles in all of EM, a style which previously has been perfected by Redshift most notably, and Stephen really nails it here.  Overall, "Return" plays like a concept album, going from dread to hope in a series of vignettes.  I don't know if this is what Stephen intended, but whatever the case, this is a real magnum opus of dramatic EM. 

This "trilogy" concludes with the jaw-dropping, pure cosmic live album "Astral Disaster," recorded July 2012 at Bochum Planetarium, and broken into two sets.  First set "Flatten Them!" is like the best Redshift album you've never heard.  And I mean this as the highest compliment!  This YOUNG man (only 40 years old) has really achieved a level of greatness other masters of the genre (Roach, Shreeve, Boddy) have who are well into their 50's.  Just listen to "Halo Inductor" and try not to weep at the pure electronic perfection on offer here.  This is how it is DONE.  This is timeless, moving music that seems to have been captured rather than merely composed.  When Archie Patterson writes in the liner notes, "You will hear the sound of tomorrow, today," I believe him.  Set two, "Doomsday is Family Time" (ha! my favorite title of 2012, and possibly, ever), channels the spirits of Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann, and Chris Franke circa 1974 on "The Nameless is the Origin" and "Oscillator Planet" with their dark-cloud-like abstract soundscapes.  The title track "Astral Disaster" then arrives dramatically with bludgeoning slabs of bass heavy sequencers.  The album winds down with "Jericho," sequencers still firing like cannons, but here comes (again) an absolutely gorgeous hommage to another master, Vangelis, with a delicately haunting piano motif being layered in, which ultimately takes over and fades out into the ether. 

On a final note, I should point out the classy way these albums were released and made available.  Each one is a limited edition of 300 pressed CD's, with high quality booklets/artwork, each hand-numbered and signed by Stephen Parsick.  My copies included personal notes along with the signature; nice!  The albums are not available as downloads, and have been available direct from Stephen primarily (stephen@parsick.com is the email address).  They are still available! (though "Steel and Steam" may be very nearly gone at this point).  The prices are extremely reasonable, at just under $20 which includes worldwide shipping.  As a fan and collector, these were three of the most satisfying purchases I have made.  And I cannot recommend all three of these discs highly enough!!

57
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Terje Rypdal Odyssey box set on ECM
« on: January 19, 2013, 10:40:09 AM »
Reviews seem very mixed on Amazon of the original Odyssey album.  After the Rain is my fave of his.  Is music on this box similar in style? 

58
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Mark Dwane
« on: January 16, 2013, 11:29:18 AM »
I noticed on Backroads' (known now as Lloyd Barde Productions) Best of 2012 list an album by Mark Dwane called "Archive 2."  I really like Dwane 90's music like "Angels, Aliens and Archetypes" so I went to his website to check this release out. 

Mark Dwane sells his CDR releases (including Archive 2) for $25.  I was also surprised to find this album is "limited to 1,000 hand-numbered signed copies."  I'm not so sure he will sell even 100 at that price, let alone 1,000.  His 1997 limited edition CD album "The Nephilim" is STILL available--15 years later, and I think it was limited to 1,000.

Never heard of CDR's limited to 1,000.  Why even bother with the "limited" tag at all when it would probably take 20 years to sell these, and probably won't get even close to selling out? 

I'm not totally opposed to spending $25 on an artist's work.  If you bought a painting or other art object it would cost much more.  But in this economy and focus on downloads, I can't see this practice being too successful for releasing music.   8)     

59
Everything and Nothing / "Make Offer" option for sellers on Discogs
« on: January 15, 2013, 04:32:42 PM »
If you use Discogs, you know that sellers set a price for their item and in addition can also take offers from prospective buyers.  The buyer, instead of paying the set price, can make an offer.  The seller can either accept, decline, or do nothing and the offer expires after 4 days (I think it's 4 days). 

The last two times I made offers (which both were only like $3 less than the set price), I never heard anything from the seller at all and it just expired. 

My question is: if you are that cheap you won't basically just pay the shipping for the buyer and sell the item, why bother "accepting offers" on it in the first place?? 

I swear, some of the sellers on Discogs play some dumb games, including setting unrealistically high prices nobody will ever pay.  If I really want to sell something, I would never inflate the price to an unreachable level. 

Any opinions?  :)

60
Everything and Nothing / Dear Ann Landers...
« on: January 09, 2013, 02:08:18 PM »
Hi, I have a situation I was hoping to get some opinions on, without having to write to a newspaper column (haha).  Here is my situation:

I have a female cousin who I barely knew growing up (they live far away) and would only see every four or five years.  I had never had any problems or "incidents" with this cousin.  15 years ago, when my grandmother died, we both attended the funeral.  She was very unfriendly and downright rude during the funeral trip and I couldn't figure out what her problem was.  I had no contact with her after that.  Ten years later, when my father died, we (my mother and I) never received any condolence card, email, or phone call from her.  Her mother (my aunt) was with us, however, as was another male cousin.  This was very hurtful to me, not necessarily just to me, but I was upset that not even my mother heard anything.  After that it was clear she was not a true "family member."  Several years later, my aunt sent me a wedding invitation for this cousin, and I declined, and explained my reasons to my aunt.  I made it clear I was not happy with the cousin's behavior in the past. 

This year, I requested my aunt discontinue mailing me X-mas presents.  Instead, I requested she make a donation to charity in my name.  She did this; however, the organization she chose was run and co-founded by this cousin!  A couple weeks after X-mas I received a form letter, hand-signed by the cousin and hand-addressed to me, thanking me for the donation in my name.  There was no personal note or acknowledgement of my existence as her cousin. 

I was not happy my aunt chose this organization knowing my feelings about her daughter, and wasn't happy getting the "form letter" on top of that. 

Am I making too big a deal about this or do I have a right to be upset/offended?       

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