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Topics - drone on

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61
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

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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!!

63
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? 

64
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)     

65
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?  :)

66
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?       

67
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Taylor Deupree "Faint" Box Set
« on: January 07, 2013, 01:47:45 PM »
Anyone have this? Is it worth the extra $16 for the extra CD included in this and art prints, compared to the regular single disc version?  Thanks in advance for any comments.  :)

68
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Mark McGuire leaves Emeralds
« on: January 04, 2013, 04:40:44 PM »
Just read about this, announced I think yesterday:

Founding member Mark McGuire (guitarist) of Emeralds has left the band.  Damn!!

The other two, John Elliott and Steve Hauschildt, will continue on. 

There will be a US tour this year.  Looking forward to this, although still saddened by this news.  He was such an integral member with his wonderful guitarscapes and emotive playing.  I wonder if they will have a replacement guitarist.

69
Everything and Nothing / Who has to work on Christmas eve?
« on: December 24, 2012, 01:41:13 PM »
I do.  It sucks.  At least it's halfway over.  ;)

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I use a portable CD player at work and at home in bed.  It's an Insignia, which is the Best Buy brand. 

This player will play all my home-burned/blank CDR's without labels.  It will NOT play any sticky-label type CDR's, or most commercially manufactured CDR's with the "silk screen/solid enamel" type label surface, which is really surprising.  Almost all CDR's made by Kunaki will not play on it. 

This morning I tried playing the new AWM disc (which has the silk screen/solid enamel type surface) and it wouldn't play, but it WOULD play my Thom Brennan "Mountains" CDR, which seems to have the exact same type of surface.

By the way, all these CDR's play perfectly on my Sony 5-disc changer for my home system, and in my car's CD player. 

Any idea what could cause these not to play on the portable?  I'm probably going to get another portable, but I am curious nonetheless.     

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Brian Eno "Lux"
« on: December 04, 2012, 12:38:10 AM »
Any first impressions?  I keep reading "return to form" in reviews.  This would be nice if true.

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Everything and Nothing / Fun with foreign orders on Discogs
« on: November 27, 2012, 04:30:35 PM »
I've had a Discogs account for maybe 5 years now, sold quite a few cd's there.  Sometimes I sell stuff way below the inflated prices of others because I ACTUALLY want to get money for it, instead of just putting it up as a museum piece and dangling an astronomical sum that nobody would ever pay, or showing off that I have something 500 users want.  I did this recently for a 3-CD box that retails for $40 new. Ltd. to 500 copies.  Like new. $17.50 I think is pretty damn good price.   

To my dismay, a buyer from Russia with ZERO feedback and their name and address all written in RUSSIAN characters decided to buy it.  When I wrote to them explaining I do not read Russian and that I need this information in English, they wrote back something which was barely any better than the Russian characters ("sity Leningrad, house 485"), which I really don't feel comfortable sending anything to.  I sent them an invoice with their total, including shipping charges.  They write back saying something like : "I pay for 1 vinyl, 2 CD? or? 2 vinyl one CD?? pls check."  WTF???  I do not even sell vinyl.  It's on my clearly stated shipping information.  After a couple days of this time wasting/stalling, they finally write back: "Only way to pay for the account is bank transfer."  My seller information clearly stated PAYPAL only accepted and nothing about any bank transfers. 

I have experienced similar situations over the years.  Is this a form of spam, where this person picks a random item on Discogs or eBay and then just tries to annoy the shit out of the seller, with no intention of buying??  Are they trying to hack into my computer or steal my identity?  Any ideas?

Over the last two days, I've had two others like this.  One guy on eBay kept asking questions but never bought anything (and everything about the item was perfect and to their benefit).  Another on Discogs asked "does this CD have any scratches" when I listed the item as NEAR MINT, which is defined on Discogs clearly as "like new."  They also asked "how much to ship to the UK?" when it is clearly in my payment and shipping information, spelled out to the letter.  Then they write back about they're "waiting for some funds from their grandmother to clear the bank" (ok the grandmother part I made up).  You know they're gonna flake out after wasting all my precious time. 

According to Discogs reply to my inquiry, users can register with foreign characters like Russian.  Does this make any sense?  Isn't English the universal language?  I have shipped lots of stuff to Japan and those orders weren't in Kanji.  How does Discogs expect sellers to conduct business if they cannot read the orders???!  ::)   

73
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Sending Orbs label return
« on: November 20, 2012, 04:27:57 PM »
Sending Orbs label is back after 2 year "hiatus" (I thought the label had officially folded).  There is a new CD coming out, a collab. between Kettel and Secede.  (Thanks to the Darla website, where I learned some things today...)

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Yagya Rhythm of Snow CD reissue out now
« on: November 20, 2012, 01:49:03 PM »
Just saw this at the Darla website.  Finally!  It's a Spanish label, I believe they also reissued the album on vinyl some months earlier. 

75
Marketplace / CD's for sale all $10
« on: November 18, 2012, 10:53:29 PM »
I'm selling these for $10 each (plus shipping).  Send me a PM if interested:

This Mortal Coil-limited edition Japan remasters (it'll end in tears, filligree and shadow, blood)
Bill Nelson-Sounding the ritual echo, catalogue of obsessions, pavillions of the heart and soul, summer of gods piano, chamber of dreams
Durutti Column-Short stories for Pauline 2cd

More to come....

76
Everything and Nothing / Whats with all the forum spam??
« on: November 12, 2012, 03:41:49 AM »
Look at the Hypnos news section--about five nonsense topics!

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Altera Orbe is a new label from Spain run by ambient musicians Ran Kirlian and Landru, and is a sister label of Max Corbacho and Bruno Sanfillippo's Ad21 Music.  Actually since AD21 website only sells physical products now, Altera Orbe handles the downloads for AD21 and its own releases.  Altera Orbe's releases are mostly digital, although selected albums have been made available as CDR's in very limited quantities (for example, my first exposure to the label was Ran Kirlian's very good "Dissolution" CDR, limited to 25 numbered copies, which Richard Gurtler previously reviewed here on the forum.  By the way, it is still available).  Mostly the Altera Orbe imprint is a vehicle for Kirlian and Landru's own music, but some other artists have been given a chance as well recently. 

Most notable of these is Joxan Ruiz, whose impressive debut "Gaze" will really prick up the ears of any aficionados of Steve Roach and Max Corbacho's floating tribalesque landscapes.  Mastered by Max Corbacho (immediate bonus points!), this is big, immersive, panoramic music that should be experienced on a good loudspeaker system (although it sounds great on headphones, too).  Ruiz here finds his own voice amongst the warm digital synthscapes he produces, never getting bogged down by drowning everything in reverb as some are prone to do, and keeping the album interesting by subtly changing styles from track to track, making for a quite varied recording over the 12 tracks presented here.  Expansive, float-zone pieces are interspersed with more minimal electronic experiments and subtle percussive effects.  The final piece, "Gone From Here" is comprised solely of piano (with some nice reverb of course), making an effective closer.  The great German duo Temps Perdu (remember them?) come to mind when experiencing this album in the way Joxan combines many elements to make a strong, heady sonic brew.  It is also apparent he is not trying to copy Roach and Corbacho, but he definitely revolves around the same planet.  My only criticisms would be that "Gaze" plays more like a collection of separate tracks than a flowing album.  Perhaps it could have been more effective if pieces morphed into each other instead of stopped and started.  Also on the third track "Afterglow" the recording quality isn't that great, sounding more like a rough demo than a finished track.  Altogether, though, I thoroughly enjoyed "Gaze," and look forward to more from this artist. 

Whereas Joxan Ruiz' album seems planted firmly on this planet (when not high above the clouds), Ran Kirlian's darker affair "Formations" (based on live improvisations between 2009-2011) evokes lonely, windswept vistas on the desert plains of Mars, with ghostly echoes of a once-inhabited surface teeming with life, now fossilized and forgotten.  Much more overtly tribal than "Gaze," Ran combines his numerous racks of electronic instruments with acoustic sources such as overtone voices, wind chimes, bells, flutes, rocks, found sounds, and various percussion, and does so extremely well.  Oophoi and Alio Die fans will be in heaven here with the subtle organics going on.  The longest track "Crimson Trees" (14:05) is a personal favorite, with its haunting synth drones and strange animal cries.  Totally surreal and essential EM here!!  There is a really special vibe to this album that I can only compare to Oophoi/Tau Ceti's masterwork "Celestial Geometries" in the feelings it evokes, which is deeply enigmatic and mysterious.  "Formations" is quite a bit more active, though, with passages of sometimes thick, thunderous percussion a la Roach's classic "Origins," or even gentle sequencing, as on "Forgotten Survivor."  Like those albums as well, this music flows beautifully over the course of its nearly 71 minutes.  To me, "Formations" is a revelation in the tribal spacemusic genre, and one of the best albums of 2012.   

78
Just got an email about a new Ishq release.  Considering I just spent $20 on a new Ishq disc which came out last week (on his own label, Virtual), in addition to a boatload of other music, my wallet hasn't had time to recover.  This release is called "Lyght" and is a 100-copies CDR, which does not get released until 12-21-2012. 

I have two issues with this one: why only 100? you know it's gonna sell out in about 3 days...

Plus, why would I pay for something nearly 2 MONTHS in advance??

Verdict: I HATE 'em (limited edition pre-orders)

79
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Kompakt label: Recommendations?
« on: November 07, 2012, 01:57:05 PM »
I have arrived "late" to the Kompakt Germany label (and related labels) party.  I only have a few of them right now:

Loops of Your Heart-And Never Ending Nights (excellent!)
Mohn
Pop Ambient 2012

What are the essentials I should seek out (preferably still available on CD)?  Thanks for any info.!!

80
Everything and Nothing / Kunaki quality problems
« on: November 06, 2012, 12:54:53 AM »
My experience with cdrs from Kunaki has not been good.  First one I bought couple years ago had clicks pops throughout.  I recently bought 3 items (different label), none of them will play in my portable player.  Goddammit I am done with this company!

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