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Topics - drone on

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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?       

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.  :)

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.

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.  ;)

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.     

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.

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???!  ::)   

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...)

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. 

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....

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!

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.   

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)

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!)
Pop Ambient 2012

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

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!

Raveonettes: duo from Denmark who produce gorgeous ambient rock, sounding at turns like Jesus and Mary Chain, Lush, MBV, with lots of 60's rock influences, but still having their own unique sound.   They just played in SF and I wish I'd known about these guys.  Their new album "Observator" is excellent.

First Aid Kit: 2 sisters from Sweden, ages 19 and 21, who make folky Americana/country/rock.  Their latest album, "The Lion's Roar" is a little masterpiece of strong songwriting, singing (these girls can SING! Check out their harmonizing!!), and pure emotion.  If you like Emmylou Harris you will like this group (and they are big fans of her). 

Any fans or either/both??

Excuse my whining, but I've noticed recently a trend towards really crappy packaging of CD shipments, both foreign and domestic.  First off, let me say, Hypnos does shipping right!  I always get my CD's covered in protective bubble wrap and packaged carefully.  I really appreciate this as a buyer. 

Recently I received a digipak cd from overseas where the artist/label had just thrown the digipak in a very thin "jiffy" mailer.  The inner tray was cracked in three places and the cover had numerous deep dings and dents.  Would it have been too much trouble to use a piece of cardboard in the package to prevent this??

Just the other day I ordered 3 discs with jewel cases.  I paid $8.00 for Priority Mail (which is high to begin with, but the cd's were cheap so it didn't bother me as much).  I got 'em quick, alright, but the shipper crammed the three cd's in a bubble mailer (the packaging was too small), with no padding or protection.  All the jewel cases were badly cracked.

To make matters worse, when I've emailed some sellers and politely pointed this out, and suggested some alternative shipping practices, they didn't bother to respond. 

This pisses me off!!  Anybody else??  8)

Everything and Nothing / Happy Satanic Pagan Blood Ritual aka Halloween
« on: October 31, 2012, 10:07:56 AM »
I'm going to "be" myself this year.  8)

"Sublunar" is some very listenable experimental electronic sound art from the hit-and-miss 12k label, and luckily this disc is definitively a hit.  Kane Ikin is one half of the Australian duo Solo Andata, who have a full-length on 12k, and have also appeared on various artist 12k releases in the last few years.  Solo Andata utilize mostly acoustic sources, employing extensive processing.  On "Sublunar," composed of 16 relatively brief tracks, Ikin continues this working process but heads into more overtly electronic territory.  Often it's difficult to ascertain what the sources are, adding to the mysterious nature of this frequently haunting music.  He also adds really interesting IDM-like drum beats to some pieces, often with a futuristic jazzy feel.  The result is very close to what label mates Pjusk achieved on their two outstanding 12 releases, which is a kind of fourth-world organic drone IDM, chock full of inventive atmospheric processing.  "Sublunar" is an apt title for this release as many tracks are named after moons of the solar system (Europa, Rhea, Titan, Oberon, Hyperion) and paint vivid images of alien worlds unfathomable distances away.  You could call it "minimalist space music." 

"Sublunar" is a most impressive album that avoids the experimental noodling vibe of many of its counterparts on 12k and other similar sound art labels.  A fascinating listen, and most recommended. 

U.S. label Malignant has released another stunning ambient album, the most notable since False Mirror's epic "Derelict World" from a couple years back.  Sphare Sechs is a German duo consisting of Martin Sturtzer, better known as Phelios (with a previous release on Malignant), and Christian Stritzel.  Recorded live during a "sleep concert" at the Phobos Festival in Germany in September 2011 (how I'd love to go to one of these!), "Tiefschlaf" joins the ranks among the finest deep space ambient ("spacebient"?) this reviewer has had the pleasure of experiencing since past milestones like Namlook/Inoue's "Shades of Orion 2" (1995), Roach's "Magnificent Void" (1996), and Oophoi/Tau Ceti's "Celestial Geometries" (2000).  This is no cold dark ambient affair with rumbling and clanking metal, but instead a serene, expansive, fully immersive set of warm, highly atmospheric drift that takes you on a cosmic journey for 55 minutes.  Really one long track broken into six sections, the album manages to set itself high above the usual trappings of space music with very high quality synth sounds that are original and gently visceral, demanding your attention every second of this sublime journey.  As with "Derelict World," I think those wary of the dark ambient genre will be more than pleasantly surprised by the depth and meditational quality of this recording.  The album is released in a 6-panel digisleeve with some really gorgeous cover art, fitting the music perfectly, and limited to just 500 copies.  I try to avoid using ejaculatory adjectives like "amazing" in my reviews, but this disc is deserving of such praise.  I would say if you buy only two discs in the deep space ambient/spacebient subgenre this year, you can't go wrong with Phobos' recent "Live on Earth" and this one.  I cannot recommend "Tiefschlaf" highly enough.  Great work Martin and Christian!!!

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