Take an ambient aural journey with us on today’s episode of At Water’s Edge on Stillstream.com. From contemplating departure and considering the journey, through the journey itself to arrival, we survey a wide variety of musical impressions from the universe of ambient sounds.
Language of Landscape – “Contemplating Departure In Wake of Clear Light” – Memories Fade Under a Shallow Autumn Snow – 2009 (16:22)
Language of Landscape is an ambient duo based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Chris Tenz plays piano/keys and Cory Zaradur contributes guitar, samples and field recording. Cory is also a photographer (you should see his work at http://www.coryzaradur.com!). This duo began life as a very interesting concept: On the last day of every month for three months, they would release an improvised minimal piece on a 3″ CD-R. These tracks were limited to 5 copies each. Though all hard copies are long since sold out, the entire series, called “memories fade under a shallow autumn snow”, is now available for download on Bandcamp.
The first piece, “and the rain embraced our closing words”, was released July 31st, 2009. “contemplating departure in the wake of clear light” was released August 31st, 2009. Finally, “speaking between truth and denial” was released September 30th, 2009.
Kevin Fletcher Tweedy – “Reflections Before a Journey” – Explorations – 2007 (2:15)
Megatone – “Before Departure” – Tales of Knights and Magic – 2010 (1:19)
This album is a collection of original orchestral compositions inspired by Japanese fantasy RPG games. The album also includes a fragment from Marcel Gherman’s new fantasy novel “Prince Indra’s Space Quest”. The music will lead you on an adventure across forests and seas, towards ancient cities and forgotten temples.
Marcel Gherman alias Megatone is a musician, radio DJ and journalist from Moldova. Born in 1978. Starting at age 15, between 1994 and 2003, he hosted and produced programs on electronic music on the national radio station of Moldova, and also wrote numerous articles and essays for a number of publications. Currently he works for magazine Sud-Est Cultural and is a regular columnist for Contrafort magazine.
Philip Wilkerson is an ambient artist hailing from Florida, who has has been making a big splash in the ambient music scene since 2006, through spacious, swirling atmospheres and challenging electronic compositions. Sometimes dark and moody and other times light and ethereal, Wilkerson’s atmospheric and minimalist-inspired approach weaves a soundscape around the listener’s ears, creating an evolving, submersive sonic experience.
Sylvie Walder is a French sound recordist and experimental musician who has been creating evocative works of sound sculpture for the netlabel community for some time. Her solo music is lovely, but she also participates in several collaborative efforts, including one with The Darkening Scale called The Tapeworm Vessel. Her collaboration with Phillip Wilkerson has produced a lovely synergy of ambient music and field recordings, available on Earth Mantra.
Shane Morris – “Train Departs [Field Rec]” – Train.to.knowhere – 2010 (4:28)
Shane Morris is an ambient electronic musician residing in the Ozark Mountains outside of Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA, who most often creates atmospheric polyrhythms and ethereal soundscapes in the ambient / tribal / space music domains. Inspired by trance-inducing rhythms, deep textural harmonies, and the juxtapositions of the natural and urban worlds, his music is a dynamic sojourn through textural sound-fields that glide across dark glacial valleys and soar along transforming hyper-groove peaks.
Shane’s compositions are a balance of both structured and improvised explorations that evolve rhythmically and harmonically through a continual immersive mix. His sound comes from a blend of analog and digital synthesizers, acoustic and electronic percussion, vibraphone, winds, samplers, field recordings, and effects processing.
Shane received a BS in Anthropology and Music from the University of Missouri with an emphasis on the phenomenon of “trance”. He is an avid live musician and improviser, having played at several Electro-Music festivals, City Skies 2009, among other venues locally and regionally, as well as numerous online streaming concerts. Shane also hosts a weekly net radio program called Space Port Zero Nine.
Team Metlay – “To Depart, At Last” – Beneath Stars – 2002 (6:20)
Mike Metlay is the founder and coordinator of the annual Different Skies festival, launched in 2003. Mike’s first experiments in collaborative space music resulted the trilogy of CDs by Team Metlay; his efforts now are concentrated both at Different Skies and in his small-group collaborations under the mindSpiral banner.
Mike holds a doctorate in nuclear physics; he left science in 1996 and combined his dual passions—music and writing—by joining Recording’s Editorial staff. He became Associate Editor in 2002. Mike has been recording and producing music since 1979. Nowadays he’s most interested in new avenues for musical collaboration, whether in person (e.g. the Different Skies Music Festival in Arizona and his mindSpiral “pickup band” projects) or over the Internet. He lives near Boulder with his wife and daughters.
Mika Bjorklund – “Departure” – Gunkanjima – Webbed Hand Records, 2005 (8:55)
This fascinating project by Mika Björklund is a journey by evocation to the abandoned island city of Gunkanjima, which for a while during the 20th Century contained a heavily populated mining settlement. This desolate place still has its apartment towers, factories, schools and other building intact but crumbling.
Ishq – “Departure” – Timelapse in Mercury – 2008 (13:54)
Open Canvas – “Haj (Sacred Journey)” – Nomadic Impressions – 1997 (6:31)
Open Canvas is Gregory Kyryluk (who also creates as Alpha Wave Movement on other occasions). Here he infuses contemporary synth-based electronics with flavors from ancient desert cultures.
Andrew Lahiff – “Journey to the Distant Lands” – Unreleased – 2002 (5:52)
Gregg Plummer – “Another Journey” – Many Souls – 2003 (4:55)
Gregg Plummer’s music crosses several genres, among them atmospheric, ambient soundscapes, eclectic experimental tracks, relaxation and easy listening offerings, and contemplative drones and space music. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been creating my own soundscapes, plinking out mysterious chords on the piano or strumming odd patterns of sound on the guitar or keyboard. Since childhood, I’ve dreamed of creating unsusual, inviting symphonies, mixing harmony with cacaphony, juxtaposing bright beautiful sound with dark haunting drones.
“Though I’ve learned much along the way regarding music theory and “right vs. wrong” techniques to creating music, I tend to ignore these basic principles and just allow my fingers to transcribe and deceipher the thoughts and inspiration that comes to me as gifts from my muses.”
Experimental Psychology – “The Journey” – Tracks Through My Mind – Dark Duck Records, 2005 (15:15)
Experimental Psychology or Ex.P. as they have become to be known, is essentially Ben Summers (with Stephen Philips appearing occasionally along with other assorted studio guests including Peter Bolander and Harold Raucous). Ex.P. was essentially the project that founded Dark Duck Records, a group of friends getting together to create some crazy garage-band psychedelic noise rock. This project began as experimental psychedelic rock and electronic noodling (very much in the Tangerine Dream / Klaus Schulze vein) and has evolved through techno and ambient and settled into the straight aheah ambient spacemusic (more like Pete Namlook). Throughout the journey they have remained true to electronica and most of all, experimentalism. The “Cosmic Overture” series launched them into a new dimension, a focus on multiple part albums focusing on one concept.
Knowledge is an album by a Lagowski pseudonym, S.E.T.I., and is very different, ditching the user-friendly rhythms in favour of more electronic soundtracks. The recording seems to do its best to obscure anything that might be intelligible, distorting the vocal samples used and using an almost unreadable typeface on the inlay card. The music combines suitably reverberant ‘space’ ambience with electronic signals and the aforesaid samples (all of people talking about the international S.E.T.I. programme) to create ambient music with more of a purpose and theme than most such music can boast. The combination of radio signals, electronics, NASA recordings and ambience is impressive, and certainly an evocation of the mystery of space that’s far superior to most space music.
Dan Pound – “The Journey Continues” – Reflections – 2005 (4:24)
Reflections is Dan Pounds 6th release. Using intricate layers of synth arrangements and poly-rhythms, he also brings in the organic with didgeridoo, Native American flute, hand drums, rain stick and voice and other various ethnic instruments.
Marconi Union – “We Travel” – A Lost Connection – (7:02)
Since the release of their first album in 2003 Marconi Union have stealthily developed an international reputation for their unique fusion of ambient electronica and organic instrumentation. In 2010 founder members, Richard Talbot and Jamie Crossley invited Duncan Meadows to join them and they continue to explore new ideas and sounds.
Originally released in 2008 as a download exclusively available from the MU website A Lost Connection was remastered and released on CD 2010. Thematically it continues on from an earlier release, Distance, but is more inspired by ideas about personal space and isolation in a busy world.
Graham Dean Satterthwaite – “Lonely” (1:02)
Graham Dean Satterthwaite – “Lost”
– Life is a Journey – 2008 (2:02)
Graham Dean Satterthwaite was born in Manchester, UK. For the past 25 years he’s worked his way around half the world including Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, playing and recording music of one form or another including a little jazz, blues, lots of ethnic stuff from the various continents, new age, classical and some pop.
His career has been quite varied, playing keyboards in various bands, composing for African choirs, studio and live sound for “whoever walks in the door” or creatively producing artists from Arabia to Cape Town to Amsterdam.
Music is a gift and a whole way of life. — Graham Dean Satterthwaite
Dan Pound – “Secret Journey” – Medicine Bag – 2006 (12:48)
Samsa – “Journey Beyond” – A Forest Without Trees – 2006 (5:04)
Duluth-Minnesota native Nathan Larson has been creating various forms of electronic and experimental music for over 12 years under the names Samsa, Bunk Data, and Royal Obtuse. Nathan was one of the co-founders of the Green House Music label that released a wide variety of atmospheric and ambient music on CD from 1999-2002. In late 2002 Nathan created theDark Winter net.label with a focus on dark ambient music. Besides his work with Dark Winter, Nathan is co-curating the Wandering Ear net.label with Mike Hallenbeck, the Rotten Crabnet.label with Cordell Klier, and running the Endless Ascent net.label.
Darkened Soul was started in 2002 as a creative outlet for the darker tones and textures of ambient music. So far three full lengths have been released: Dreamscapes in 2002 and Seasons of Dark and Light in 2005 (self released and on Italian ambient label Umbra) and Bathys on Hypnos Secret Sounds in 2008. He’s contributed numerous tracks to the Drone Download Project at Dark Duck Records and has been on a number of compilations. He continues working on material for Darkened Soul as well as a new project called Mired In Twilight.
Hollower – “A Journey Beneath” – Zero Mirror 7″ Single – 2007 (10:23)
Hollower is a solo music project of an artist whose name I wasn’t able to find. He has been making music since 2006 and started releasing in 2007. His influences include horror games, instrumental music, metal music and psychology, among other things.
He writes about Zero Mirror:
People build their self image through other people, reflecting on each other’s actions and behaviour, becoming what they are in the eyes of everyone else. Would you become your true self without reflecting off others? Or would you lose a part of your humanity?
Andrew Lahiff – “Journey Under a Cloudless Sky” – Unreleased – 2009 (10:22)
The Inventors of Aircraft are a London based music project helmed by Phil Tomsett.
Llewellyn – “The Journey’s End (Aura Cleansing and Grounding)” – Reiki Gold – 2005 (5:02)
Working with experienced Reiki Masters, the music onReiki Gold is specifically timed for treatments, allowing healers and listeners to discover the power and benefits of Reiki healing with a clear and relaxed mind and body.
Ambient Ashand – “Arrival” – The Journey Towards Ashand – 2005 (13:53)
Ambient Ashand is John Sherwood – Korg TR-Rack synth, Oberheim Matrix synth, Roland SH-32 synth, TC Electronic effects, and Steve Munslow – Washburn W124 guitar, Zoom guitar effects, microKorg synth, Computer manipulations. The collection comprises four long improvised tracks presented as a continuous mix.
Brian Vassallo – “The Arrival” – The Film Music of Brian Vassallo – 2008 (5:18)
Maltese composer, musician and sound engineer Brian Vassallo has been influenced by Jean Michel Jarré, Art of Noise, Jan Hammer and other pioneers of ambient and electronic music.
Dan Pound – “Arrival” – Door Beyond Time – 2006 (6:07)