Just released two weeks ago (22 June 2013), Sleeping with the Window Open from Another Neglected Hobby, aka Mark Cotton, is a tribute to childhood memories of the sounds outside his window during summer nights. It’s a lovely environmental and experimental ambient release that crosses several lines in its execution. A bit on the dark side, it is very well crafted, rich without being overwhelmingly dense. It’s very atmospheric, and is one of my new favorites.
Another Neglected Hobby – Sleeping with the Window Open (2013)
1. Languid Vision 8:36
2. Cadence 5:10
3. REM Sleep 5:50
4. Night Patterns 11:42
5. Starfield 6:59
6. Language of Slumber 16:13
7. They Come By Air 4:51
8. Distant Call 5:55
9. Something I Heard 9:24
10. Starfield 6:59
11. They Come By Air 4:51
When I was growing up, we lived in a little subdivision a few miles outside of town. Our house was on a dirt road that was about a quarter of a mile from a paved road that ran parallel to it. The paved road was maintained by the county and had some county road number assigned to it, which I never learned. As kids we always referred to that paved road as “The County”, as in: “Hey Mom, Steve and I are going to ride our bikes down to the end of The County and back.”
Night was always a lot different living out away from town, especially in the summer. In those days, we didn’t have refrigerated air and where we lived, on what they call the high plains, the air was dry and the temperature would drop sometimes thirty degrees or more from the high during the day. So, there were lots of nights when it was more comfortable to sleep with the window open to take advantage of the cool night air.
Sleeping with the window open brought a whole different world into your room at night. I would wait until my eyes adjusted to the darkness after turning off the light and then go to the window and look at the stars, clouds, moon and whatever else was waiting there to be looked at. Then, lying in bed and drifting off to sleep I would listen to the sounds of the night: crickets and cicadas, dogs barking in the distance, cars being hot-rodded up and down The County, the bleating mufflers of diesel trucks using their “jake brake” to slow to make the turn from The County onto the highway a half a mile away. And then, during quieter hours, the sound of an irrigation motor on a nearby farm might echo across miles of open land if the breeze was just right.
I think those years of sleeping with the window open are what trained my brain to embrace droning, seemingly monotonous tones. I say “seemingly” because I learned that what sounded monotonous was actually always changing, an ever-shifting blend of the low hum of distant traffic and the high droning sounds of insects, punctuated by a repetitive chorus of dog barks or passing vehicles. Even now, decades after those long, sound-enriched summer nights, I still love to step outside at night, when it seems like all is quiet, and let the sound waves of the evening wash over me.
Sleeping With The Window Open was inspired by the return of summer and that rich droning soundscape that lies outside our windows wherever we live.
Now available at Name-Your-Own-Price (or $0) at Bandcamp and coming soon to Amazon.com. Enjoy!
For the rest of the program, we have a sampling of music from the Stillstream library that evokes the feeling of night and open windows.
“The Empty Night” – Vidna Obmana – Subterranean Collective Disc 1 (2001)
Ambient collectors have searched for the missing link for years: a search for the albums that reflect the transition from vidnaObmana’s early minimalist-ambient work to his current tribal-ambient sound. Echoing Delight, Parallel Flaming and The Spiritual Bonding–out of print for most of the 90’s–are that missing link. This is the Subterranean Collective.
This is vidnaObmana’s personal collection of these classic albums, presented as a special re-packaged double CD set. With re-recorded portions and extra layers of drones and ambience, Subterranean Collective displays Obmana’s fusion of pure minimal and repetitive atmospheres with ethnic-influenced soundworlds. The set includes The Spiritual Bonding, the project that led to his first journey to the Sonoran desert to work with Steve Roach in the Timeroom. This is also when the Well of Souls sessions began.
“The Windows Are Open and My Hands Are Cold” – Echion – The Windows Open and My Hands Are Cold (2003)
Ambient music with–heaven forfend!–a beat is part of the musical language of Echion, whose work spans ambient, electronica and trip-hop, with elements that leap across genres regularly in his music. This album was released in 2003 on the Canadian netlabel Camomille. Echion, also known as Matthew Centonze, has created music under several project names, including Blisaed, Mistrial, and Seathasky.
Matthew has been deeply interested in music ever since he was a young boy. He would steal his dad’s records and listen to them whenever he could. He grew up on a wide range of music and loves all music to this day. He learned guitar around the age of 13, started a punk garage band with some of his buddies, played a few shows before they broke up after 2 years, started his own project under the name “Mistrial” making tracked music with Modplug tracker and samples. He then found better software, started playing with Reason and Cubase under the name “Echion”, and after a year started exploring IDM, got really into it so he created “Blisaed” in September of 2003, expanding to use more professional software and hardware.
“Open Window” – Robert Rich – Open Window (2004)
While better known for his electronic textures, Robert Rich often includes piano solos during his live concerts, and Open Window documents his improvisational approach to acoustic piano, with influences ranging from Alan Hovhannes and Erik Satie to Terry Riley and Keith Jarrett. He recorded Open Window on his own 1925 vintage A.B. Chase baby grand, an instrument with a more intimate sound than a full-size concert piano. Over a period of two months, he kept a daily schedule of piano improvisation, with microphones set up to record at all times. The pieces selected for this album reflect special moments during this concentrated period.
“Outside My Window” – Vägskäl – As Summer Comes Creeping (2005)
Vägskäl is the dark ambient music project of Swedish composer Erik Svensson, although this is considerably lighter and more expansive than the term “dark ambient” would suggest. As one reviewer suggests:
‘Outside My Window’ couldn’t be better named. You open this window and float outside to a tropical beach. It’s raining and you can hear the ocean bathing the sand and the docked boats, and the wood crackles, as if they were trying to sing a song. You hear the sweet melancholy pouring out of the sky, and down on you. You feel happy, and you are in love with someone who isn’t there. – Pedro Leitão
“Windows Down, Moon Light On” – Experience. Hold – March Forth (2008)
Along with most of the other tracks on today’s show, “March Forth” is Drew Donavanik’s (under the project name Experience. Hold.) melancholic reconnection to the memories of his past.
Rendered with pixelated synthetic sonics, tarnished melodies and glitching percussions he creates a cohesive bond between wistful nostalgia and present realities. Drew Donavanik reflects upon a broken trail of memories that lead him back through paths of dejection and melancholia into the fonder-spirited times of his past. The melodies of “March Forth” bear brittle edges that have been weathered and chipped away from emotional distress and are rendered by a fever of pixelated digital sonics. Underlying these melodies is the eagerness for reconnecting to a past that has escaped him, and through this album he draws a mass of tenuous bonds that secure this parallel past to his present state of being. Unfolding his thoughts with “Windows Down, Moon Light On”, Drew tailors his melodies with blemished digital swells of tones that produce the aura of lost experiences as though encountered in a recurring dream.
“Nocturnal” – Bassic – Sleepwalker (2000)
Bassic is the moniker of Martin Lindhe, another Swedish electronic artist. He is best known for his route of publication – mainly online through MP3.com. He is the great grandchild of the Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar. He originally uploaded his tracks to MP3.com in the 1990’s as a storage solution while moving from Sweden to the USA. Soon after, he was noticed by electronica lovers and gained a large following on MP3.com. By the time the service had been taken over by the major record labels, his tracks had been downloaded over 7 million times, making him the most popular artist on mp3. com for long periods of time. In 2004, he signed up with DMI and currently distributes his music through online music stores such as iTunes and MSN Music. He names Mike Oldfield and Vangelis as some of his main influences.