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Topics - drone on

Have you unearthed from your mountain of CD's lately something you forgot about or never gave a really good listen to?  I've been on this kick lately of primarily listening to stuff I never play, with surprising results.  So far here's what I got:

Ian Boddy--- the DiN label download series.  Man, much of this material should have been on CD and is even better than the regular releases.

Cell--Live at Kumharas 2006.  This is simply a psy trance masterpiece,from this Ultimae artist.  Can't believe I let this one gather dust for so long.

What are your dug up treasures?
Only 150 pressed on each, both released on ...txt label, been sold out for awhile.  I am selling them for $15 each, plus shipping.  If you want both and you live in the US I will ship for free.  Let me know if interested.
All $7 each, plus applicable shipping.  PM me if interested.

Steve Roach--At the edge of everything
Steve Roach--Spiral Meditations
Mathias Grassow--Tamanoshima
Rapoon--Psi transient
Stormloop--Arctic Conditions
Guess this was announced last September.  Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto back in the band (see my other post about Stick Men).  I thought Fripp said a couple years back he was retiring from music.  Hmmmm.  Well that's what Harold Budd said too and he's still releasing music.
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Stick Men 2014 tour
January 13, 2014, 01:02:48 PM
Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto, and Markus Reuter (whoaaaa!!) Playing together in San Francisco on January 23.  Must check this out.  This is a rare chance to see these masters in person.  Years ago when I went to see Karn, Torn and Bozzio as Polytown it was an amazing experience.  This looks to be the same.
Apparently this just came out about 10 days ago.  Available from Gterma (label) or Databloem.  Leans toward the "dark ambient" side. 
No new album since Stories from the Forest, which was at least several years ago.......
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Best of 2013
November 02, 2013, 11:39:43 PM
Not anticipating much more in the way of last minute releases, I offer my favorite albums of 2013:

Ken Camden- Space Mirror (Kranky)
Steve Moore- Light Echoes (Cuneiform) Technically a 2012 release, but I didn't discover it until recently.
Bvdub/Loscil- Erebus (Glacial Movements)
ASC- Time Heals All (Silent Season)
Adam Michalak- Returning to Essence (Silent Season)
Segue- Pacifica (Silent Season)
Closing the Eternity- Superstring Paradigma (Infinite Fog)
Enh- Body of Blue (Gterma)
Hakobune- If it were to Fade (Gterma)
Ashtoreths Gate (Gterma)
Alexander Saykov- Mistral (Gterma)
Autumn of Communion 3 (txt)
Oophoi- I Hear the Woods Whispering (Practising Nature)
Oophoi- I Hear the Wind Singing (Practising Nature)
Steve Roach- Live Transmission (Projekt)
Aglaia- Centurion (Hic Sunt Leones)
Richard Formby- Sine (Preserved Sound)
Solar Fields- Origin #02 (Ultimae)
Because I should not have to count down myself to find a track title.  One of my biggest peeves related to music.
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Closing the Eternity
September 21, 2013, 09:48:24 AM
I don't know much about this Russian artist, but my growing collection of his work is really impressing me.  I just got "Nearby Being" with Ad Lux Tenebrae.   Their previous release Skywards the Infinity will cost around $65 if I order it.  Is this worth it?  I cannot find any sound samples.  The label is Infinite Fog Productions, the 2cd was limited to under 100 copies...
Everything and Nothing / My coworker stopped talking to me
September 07, 2013, 02:28:20 AM
Hey all,

Have you ever experienced a coworker who suddenly stops talking to you or stops being friendly, for no apparent reason?  This woman used to go out of her way to say hello and now ignores me while speaking to everyone else.  She will walk by my workgroup and greet the others yet act like I'm not there.  A couple weeks ago I asked her about it and she said she had been "depressed" lately.  Yet she was still cheerful with everyone else.  Despite assuring me there was nothing wrong, she continues to ignore me.  Any ideas?  I googled this and the usual answers are that she heard some gossip about me, or is jealous for some reason, or was offended by something I did or said.  How would you deal with this situation? 
Other Ambient (and related) Music / New Lycia
August 20, 2013, 03:33:26 PM
Their first in 13 years called Quiet Moments, ltd to 1000 copies.  Really looking forward to this one!!!
I watched this tonight on YouTube, and while I found some of the information very interesting, the guy came off as an arrogant wanker.  He kept saying so and so is "the greatest ambient musician since Eno" (he said this about Biosphere!! Come on, really???) and such and such is "the greatest ____ in the history of this planet."  He spent the first hour talking about classical music and early synthesizers, which was a bit much.  The most interesting part was the end where audience members got to ask questions.  The first person asked why Klaus Schulze was merely mentioned once.  He said he didn't have time.  Well why the hell did you waste an hour on Debussy and Satie and early dinosaur electronic instruments like the trautonium and theremin???  But the BEST question was by Mr. Loren Nerell, who so eloquently nailed Mr. Prendergast with his glaring omission of the Southern California (and Northern as well) ambient giants like STEVE ROACH, ROBERT RICH, MICHAEL STEARNS, both in his "comprehensive" book and in the lecture.  He said he "wasn't familiar with all ambient artists."  WHAT?? He mentioned a San Francisco DJ named DJ Shadow, and called Geir Jenssen the greatest ambient musician since Eno, but had never heard of Roach and Rich???  He talked about the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix and wasted 10-15 minutes playing their music, yet couldn't even mention the above.  What an IDIOT!  God, I'm glad I didn't attend that lecture, I would've had a fit.  No Tangerine Dream???  At least he paid tribute to Pete Namlook, but the glaring omissions were just unforgiveable.
Listening to some classic Fax albums tonight, I decided to do some research to find out the latest.  All I found was a blog by Phonaut asking the same thing, about a year ago.  He was concerned he's either dead or just being a recluse, as all his emails went unanswered and cards/letters never got a reply.  He was running tetsus website the last several years.  The man is a ghost.  Anyone know anything???
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Remastering
July 28, 2013, 01:55:16 AM
Have you ever bought a remaster that had no discernible improvement over the original recording?  I've bought recently a rock album where the original could have used some significant bass and volume tweaking, and the remaster is totally useless.  This is a small independent label so I don't think they were just trying to extort more money out of the fans like the major labels are notorious for doing.   Any thoughts?
Marketplace / New batch of CD's for Sale Most $6
July 21, 2013, 01:31:36 PM
Buyer pays shipping.  PM me if interested:

Lovesliescrushing--Ghost colored halo (Projekt)
36--Shadow Play
36--Hypersona (sealed)
Harold Budd-- Jane 1-11 (Darla)
Robert Rich--Nest (Soundscape)
Yagya--Inescapable Decay of my Heart (Kilk)
Robin Guthrie--Fortune (Soleil apres minuit)
Robin Guthrie--Emeralds (Darla)
Parsick and Reuter--Lament (Gterma)
Steve Hauschildt--Sequitur (Kranky)
Thomas Koner--Novaya Zemlya (Touch)
Parallel Worlds and Dave Bessell--Morphogenic
Autumn of Communion 2 (Anodize/Periphery)
Bvdub--All is Forgiven (N5md)
Bvdub--a Careful Ecstasy (Darla)
Bvdub--Serenity (Darla)

All cds above $6 each.  More to be added...
D for DUMB.  I wasted several hours and $10.75 on Brad Pitts zombie movie.  Awful film, not scary or even suspenseful.  People in the theatre were laughing at the zombies and the stupid dialogue.  Save your money...
Just released on Databloem, two companion albums to "I Hear the Water Dreaming.". Haven't checked the soundclips yet.
I much prefer physical CD's over downloads, but sometimes it seems the BS you have to go through with flaky or unprofessional sellers is not worth it.  In mid May I emailed a seller as I wanted to buy a new release they had listed.  After four days of no response, I write again.  I'm told they'll be ready at months end.  Fine.  A week later I receive a mailing list announcement of all the new releases, including the disc I want.  "Email to preorder" it says.  I do so.  I get a response--"when discs arrive next week ill let you know".  Never received followup that week.  Wouldn't it be so much EASIER to take my payment as a "pre-order" the way 99.9% of labels do, and just ship it out when product is available???  Though there's no obvious reason why, it seems this guy doesn't want to sell me any CD's. 

Had another issue with a seller who every time I order something I have to inquire why it has not arrived yet and they're always apologizing, making excuses, and sending me something extra free "for my troubles".  The date they say they sent it never matches the postmarked date. 

Downloads are starting to look more attractive...
Great recording, scorching performance!
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?
Marketplace / Great CD titles for sale only $7!!
April 07, 2013, 05:52:24 PM
All discs in excellent condition.  Buyer pays shipping.  If interested contact me at

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)
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
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. 
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. 
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
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!!
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. 
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?   
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.