As Summer draws to a close in the Northern Hemisphere, we celebrate some of its music on this week’s edition of At Water’s Edge with a variety of ambient works from all over the world.
1. Softspace – Summer Longings (2:37)
(Experiments at the Edge of Time, Musictrade, 2006)
Softspace is the artist project name of Peter Travers, an electronica artist from Northfleet, Kent, in the United Kingdom. He published his debut in November 2005 on netlabel Musictrade’s New Orleans tribute album Requiems for a Submerged City (MT005). In March 2006 he released his first full album Experiments at the Edge of Time (MT007), followed by album Mahler’s Cat (MT009) in April 2006. In January 2007 he contributed two tracks to compilation album Ice Mustard (MT010). In 2007 Softspace released two albums on Musictrade: Room With A View (MT012) in April and Evening Shadows (MT014) in November 2007.
2. Andrew Weathers – Dusty Summer Ghost
(A Great Southern City, Full Spectrum, 2010
Andrew Weathers is a young American composer and improviser originally from Chapel Hill, NC currently based in Oakland, CA. His music exists in a space between improvisation and composition – equally influenced by the 20th century American minimalists and underground noise. He has a BM in Music Composition from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Electronic Music at Mills College.
Andrew performs rigorously in a variety of contexts, both composed and improvised. In addition to solo performances, he heads up the Andrew Weathers Ensemble. He also performs and records regularly with Kirtan Choir, Weathers/Glover, Tethers, and Parties. In the past, he has performed with Acid of All Ruins, Bicameral Mind, Northern Valentine, Tatsuya Nakatani, Laurent Estoppey, and Hal McGee, among others.
In addition to his busy performing schedule, Weathers helps run Full Spectrum Records, a label dedicated to releasing works by young musicians in unique forms and limited editions.
Find more about Andrew Weathers’ music at http://www.andrewweathers.com/
3. Stream69 – Pinewood, Summer Breeze, Sprawling Sea (6:39)
(Ministries and Thieves, Just Not Normal, 2010)
Ministries and Thieves is Stream69’s second release on the Just Not Normal netlabel. Stream69 is based in France…somewhere (there is not much information to be found on this artist!)
4. Darkened Soul – Sublime Summer (10:08)
(Seasons of Dark and Light, Earth Mantra, 2009)
5. Janne Hanhisuanto – Summer (10:59)
(Padmospheres, Dharmasound, 2007)
Janne Hanhisuanto is an accomplished ambient artist hailing from Finland.
Music has always played an important role throughout Janne’s life, both as a listener and as a composer. He started experimenting with music using Scream Tracker somewhere in 1996, greatly encouraged by his brother, focusing on keyboards, guitar, and sequential composition. For Janne, music is simply his preferred means of personal expression, saying: “I always try to find new ways to express myself, but music seems to be correct way to me”.
6. Jacob Newman – Sunrest (5:36)
(Ambient from Spring and Summer, Jacob Newman, 2009)
Jacob Newman, also known as “Captured Space”, is based in Colorado.
7. Musical Nature – Points Past Summer Sunsets (23:38)
(Bipolar, Musical Nature, 2007)
8. Sensitive Chaos – Lazy Summer Evening (37:37)
(Live unreleased, Sensitive Chaos, 2009)
Sensitive Chaos CDs have been in constant rotation on Space Station SOMA FM and cliqhop IDM since 2006. Sensitive Chaos music has also received airplay on several major market stations around the world, winning top placement on many stations and programs.
Sensitive Chaos is also Jim Combs, who was voted “Best Local Electronic Act” for 2007 and 2005 and Runner-up for 2009, by readers of Atlanta’s Creative Loafing. Radio station KKUP 91.5 FM in Cupertino, CA selected his albums as the “Best Visionary Music of 2009 & 2007. The first song played on January 1, 2010 on NPR/XM Radio syndicated Hearts of Space radio program was an excerpt from Jim’s Sensitive Chaos song Fifty Light Years From Home. And New Age Reporter awarded his first album as one of the “Top 12 Best Ambient/Spacemusic/Electronica Recordings of 2006”. His ambient, down-tempo music is consistently played on radio stations around the world and has most recently been heard on Hearts of Space, Echoes, Space Station Soma FM and cliqhop IDM, and Stillstream.com. Jim is also the founder and coordinator for the City Skies Electronic Music events held monthly in Decatur, Georgia.
9. Bing Satellites – Summer Night (3:40)
(Summer Night, BFW Recordings, 2009)
Bing Satellites is known in real life as Brin. He creates lots and lots of mostly ambient music under the name Bing Satellites, most of which is available as free/name-your-price downloads. He also makes more ambient music as The Ambient Visitor, The Lovely Moon and harder electronic music as Blocker, and plays as part of the live version of riverrun. All The Lost Souls is an ongoing collaboration between Brin, piper_ben (Germany), and Getzel (Mexico).
Brin been experimenting with music for as long as he can remember. Becoming a fan of Brian Eno as a teenager had a profound effect on him; he had been in bands in his teens and early 20s but was never particularly happy with those efforts. In the early 2000s, computers had evolved enough to make it possible for one person to make music relatively easily. With some software and the loan of a sequencer and synth from his brother, Bing Satellites began.
The name came from the start of one of his songs, which with bleep noises which sounded to him like satellite signals. Not a ping, it was softer, more like a bing. He thought the name was good – enough space and enough silliness to keep him happy. It turns out that there were Chinese military satellites called Jian Bing already orbitting the Earth – Bing Satellites already existed!
10. Bubblegone – Sometimes I Lay In Fields At Night (4:01)
(Somewhere Between Summer and Winter, Kikapu, 2006)
Bubblegone, based in the Midwestern United States, began as an experiment in a new medium for an artist who had not yet found a voice. The medium of experimental ambient noise allowed him to create something that flowed and had the same color and texture as his thoughts and feelings. Bubblegone is one artist who performs solo and often collaborates with other musicians.
Artistically, bubblegone’s main focus in audio experimentation is to put thoughts and feelings into an audio context. His performances and recorded pieces are reflections of our internal dialogues and processes we hold inside of ourselves. Pieces are performed in a stream of consciousness style where the searching and the finding of feelings can be heard. This search sometimes crescendos into great epiphanies and sometimes into personal realizations.
Much of the sound bubblegone works with is from the environment around him. Sampled sound is recorded, manipulated, heard, and sampled again to cycle back into the performance. This process is a reflection of humans as living beings taking in stimuli, processing it, and re-experiencing it throughout their lives.
Additionally, throughout the performed pieces there is an underlying bed of noise. The constant ever changing sound becomes the focus and at other times is barely noticeable. Noise is the continuous stimuli around us and in us. It can distract, calm, or simply be.
Bubblegone has been performing since 2000. Most performances are accompanied by visual components.
11. Olifaunt – Dance Gently, Spin Brightly This Summer Night (21:53)
(Dance Gently, Spin Brightly This Summer Night, Martian Chalk, 2009)
Olifaunt is an ambient/drone musical project of Jaime Marschalk, based in Atlanta, Georgia. He relies on organic sounds, field recordings and electronics with a minimalist ethic. He also creates post-progressive rock music under the pseudonym “Rigel Kent” (http://www.rigelkentmusic.com)
12. Mrcien – Morning After Midsummer Night (6:21)
(Sometimes When I Watch Trees Sway, Two Left Hands On Two Right Arms, 2007)
Markus Åberg a.k.a Mrcien is based in Sweden, and is the founder of the netlabel “Two Left Hands On Two Right Arms”. Music on this EP is mostly based on field recordings from Gävle and Västerås and contain crackles and pops, birds, dandelion trumpets, melodies barely audible, grandfather clock and other personal and nostalgic sounds. The idea behind the release is to arouse feelings from a cold summer morning.
Some of the music from the EP was played live at a local event that took place late at night in the Boulogner forest, 26 October 2007.
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone
– Robert Frost.
13. Mystahr – Summertime (9:13)
(Forrae, Blue Water Records, 2005)
For as long as Mystahr can remember music has been a fascination to him, starting as a young kid playing with a tape-deck, cutting and mixing tunes and being glued to the radio when Soulshow (Dutch radio show from the 80’s) would be on. This all progressed into becoming a professional (house-)DJ during the nineties. After hanging up the needles in the 21st century, he embarked upon a journey through the realms of ambient, electronic, and experimental music, the fruits of which we can now enjoy through his album releases.
Forrae was dedicated to a very dear friend of the artist who suffered from cancer. The music on this album was created at the time she was first hospitalized for this disease. For Mystahr, personally creating this album meant a way to express his deepest feelings of love and care for his friend.
Most of the tracks on this album are performed live, and because of that they hold the essence of the moment. Despite the live nature of much of the material, it took nearly a year and a half to finalize this album – truly a labor of love. Mystahr is proud to see the launch of this precious cargo and hopes it will be received with the same love and care with which it was made.
Forrae is a deep and intimate portrait of the relationship between two close friends, a relationship both threatened by the advent of serious illness and strengthened by it. It is a grand achievement in the world of minimal electronic ambience by an artist at the top of his game.
All proceeds of this album will be donated to the Dutch Cancer Foundation.
14. Streamline – Abandon Summer (17:57)
(Abandon Summer, Streamline, 2009)
Streamline is New Jersey based artist David Mulford. His works have received airplay not only on Stillstream, but also on SOMA FM, SKY FM, and many other stations and programs around the world.
15. Brian Grainger and David Tagg – Summer’s Parting Ways (15:22)
(Sawdust Aromatics, Rope Swing Cities, 2008)
Brian Grainger was born in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 1983, and since 1997 he has amassed hundreds of recordings under various monikers and in collaboration with others. His most prominent projects have been Milieu, Coppice Halifax and works produced simply as Brian Grainger. In 2004 he began a small mailing list that eventually grew into the Milieu Music mailorder label that he maintains today. In 2006 he found a business partner and collaborator in David Tagg and the two founded Second Sun Recordings together. During this time Brian also assisted David with his already established Expanding Electronic Diversity label, until operations were moved to the newer Install imprint in 2007 and by 2009, EED closed its doors. Today Brian continues to release a steady stream of his own works via Milieu Music and coordinates both SSR and Install with David Tagg. He currently resides in Columbia, SC with his wife Sophia and their pets.
David Tagg is an experimental musician, designer and photographer residing in New York. He owns and operates the Expanding Electronic Diversity label, and jointly runs Second Sun Recordings with Brian Grainger. His main instrument is the guitar, however David also employs a variety of other instruments and equipment, such as reel-to-reels, altered tape recorders and contact microphones, for his recording.
16. Edge of October – Summer’s Last Breath (3:20)
Edge of October is based in Minnesota. The project emerged after a devastating mental breakdown, and the episodes of depression that followed.
17. usr sbin – As Summer Slides To Fall (17:03)
(The Dying Light of November Days disc 1, usr sbin Music, 2007)
“usr sbin“, aka Dennis Moser, is based in Laramie, Wyoming. Dennis is a Stillstream favorite; an experimental soundscape/ambient musician and visual artist, trained as a classical musician (guitar, trombone, recorder, Renaissance lute). He is now working with various permutations of guitars, synthesizer, and computer-based compositions, as well as other audio/aural odds and ends (yes, including the kitchen sink…not to be confused with one of his favorite wind instruments, the zink).
18. Mathieu Ruhlmann – Summerfall (5:23)
(The Calm of the Suns, Entity, 2005)
19. Dweller at the Threshold – In the Summer of Dreams (8:20)
(Nocturnal Vision, Dweller at the Threshold, 2008)