For this week’s edition of At Water’s Edge, we celebrate motherhood in several forms. Not all women are mothers, so we thought we’d expand the scope to include our Great Mother as well.
We feature the release “Birth” by Phrozenlight as well as a number of other mother- and birth-related tracks. Here’s what it looks like:
“Because You’re Like My Mother” – Stephen Phillips – The Sobbing Stone Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2007)
Prolific composer and multi-instrumentalist Stephen Philips has been a musician for more than 30 years. He founded Dark Duck Records in the late 80’s as a way to expose his musical endeavors to the general public.
To obtain his trademark sound, Stephen Philips uses a variety of synthesizers, samplers, and effects as well as a vast array of electronic and acoustic percussion instruments.
In the past he has rarely recorded under his own name rather choosing to record alongside other artists under the names of Experimental Psychology, Excelsior, and Deep Chill Network. Most of Stephen’s solo releases are very ambient, deep chill, and/or experimental. Some of his recordings are live performances, experimental soundscapes, and other ambient noodling. Some of them even started out as practice sessions & jams that were so good we just had to release them.
Cathart (pronounced Cath-art, as in cathartic) is the stage name for Jason Myers, an American electronic solo artist.
He produces an ambient mix of piano and electronic instruments, self described as “music for sleepers, readers, writers, programmers, and relaxers.”
He has released three albums, and is working on a fourth as of 2008. His official homepage is http://www.acathart.com/
“Gaia. Mother. Earth.” – Musical Nature – Forgotten Textures (1998)
Released as a cassette (remember those?) back in 1998, the collection Forgotten Textures from Musical Nature include heavily manipulated drum loops over haunting drones and noise. “gaia.mother.earth” is a remarkable track that could easily be, as one online reviewer described it, “…the soundtrack for a journey to the center of the third rock.” This track embodies the idea that we’ve been exploring on “At Water’s Edge” that music is all around us, and doesn’t always have to be “pretty” to be “beautiful”.
“Birth of a Planet” begins with primeval deep rumblings, though this soon gives way to flutes, synths, random electronic sounds and gentle percussion. The many layers seem like they shouldn’t fit but they do. Now that we have a living planet we need to populate it, so “Dawn of Man” is next on this album, released in 2009.
Guided Relaxation for Birth is a lovely collection of music and meditations for, as you can imagine, the birth process. Much of it is narrated by “Mama Bamba”, and the music is provided by Indiginous.
Indidginus is Michael Martin, based in South Africa, and self-described as a “purveyor of quality riddims since 1996 [who] specializes in dubstep, dub, dancehall and global bass music.”
Musical project involvements have included Koru, Impact, Squeeker, Unconscious Collective, White Star and Open System (3). He has played extensively both in the UK and abroad, at everything from small indoor parties to large outdoor festivals. He has written soundtracks for TV commercials, series & documentaries and continues to write/produce his own music as well. The self-released debut “Align” appeared in 2007 while his 2011 “Sofa Surfer” album includes a host of well-known collaborators, all the while gaining increasing support and airplay.
Michael makes extensive use of the slide didgeridoo in his unique live performances.
“Phrozenlight” is Dutch composer Bert Hülshoff. Since 1995, he has been crafting imaginary musical travels into the darkness with his electronic space-scapes. He’s among my personal favorites, using a combination of analog, Berlin School techniques and his own unique experimental sounds.
“The Smell of Being Born” – Palancar – Momerath (2003)
Originally released commercially on Blue Water Records, this album is now re-released and available freely under Creative Commons via Earth Mantra.
Greg Bear is one of Palancar’s favorite authors, and his novel Anvil of Stars left such an impact on him that this two-disc album is Palancar’s tribute to this spectacular novel, essentially an unofficial book soundtrack. A collection of very diverse instrumental pieces, the release is an exploration of dark ambience, twisted abtract textures, progressive electronica, polyrhythmic post-rock, and exotic world fusion, with more than two hours of music.
Palancar, aka Darrell Burgan, is a prolific artist hailing from Texas who releases electronic ambient music under the project name Palancar. He is also the founder and owner of internet radio station StillStream, commercial record label Blue Water Records, electronic soundware vendor Spirit Canyon Audio, and is a member of ambient groups Copal River, Cluster Balm, Labrathisattva, and Flute of the Fallen Tiger. He has also recorded and performed with mindSpiral, and with Different Skies. Finally, he is also the founder and owner of Earth Mantra Netlabel.
“Birth” – z1r0 – Audio Atavisms Revisited (1997)
Originally released as part of the Atomic City canon in 1997, information about this album is, frankly, difficult to uncover! Here’s what we have: http://homepages.bw.edu/~jcurtis/UNIT/discography.html and search for the title, because z1r0 contributed to many releases on that list.