The Dragons

Sigurd and Fafnir (1906)Creatures of mystery and great power (and often fragile tempers), dragons have been an integral part of our lore for millennia. Friends, enemies, saviors, mystics, strangers: they embody all that is mysterious about our existence. Join us today as we visit the dragons in their myriad forms. Today’s music features an album from Kuutana, and works by Juta Takahashi, Vir Unis, Saluki Regicide, Byron Metcalf and Steve Roach, EL Heath, A Produce and Rose Red.

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We start with a Kuutana’s recent release, Waking Sun, and in its journey we approach the lair of sleeping guardian dragons slowly…

  1. Flow 05:49
  2. Broken Clouds 04:48
  3. Equinox 03:44
  4. One 06:36
  5. April Snow 04:16
  6. Emerald Path 05:32
  7. Magellan 04:40
  8. Moonlight Reflections 05:32
  9. Sleeping Dragons 04:00
  10. A New Morning 09:15

The Flow of energy from the Sun is what gives us life. Broken Clouds, reveal infinite shades and colors as the Sun breaks through. During Spring Equinox, a new season, days grow longer and life is anew. One with the Universe, taking in the breath of life. As the Sun grows stronger, the April Snow melts away, light reflects and refracts through the melting ice and snow. The Emerald Path, the Universe’s intent, creates a diversity of life. Memories of Magellan guide the spirit of discovery, of new lands, and new worlds. As day and night meet, the Sun and the Moon cross over the quiet waters. Moonlight Reflections twinkle like countless diamonds into the twilight. Not far, Sleeping Dragons breathe gently, guarding the children of this Earth. A New Morning, gives promise, hope, and peace, for those who will embrace its sweet caress.

“The Azure Dragon” – Juta TakahashiQuiet Rain (2009)

Juta Takahashi was born in Miyagi, Japan and then spent his childhood through his teen years in Aomori. Early on, he was heavily influenced by progressive rock and synthesizer music that was considered quite avant-garde for its time. He went to Tokyo for school, and began his music career after graduation. A guitarist digging into rock music that relied on improv, such as King Crimson, he gradually devoted himself to electronic music. He now lives in Sendai, Miyagi and produces music using synthesizers and computers.

This track describes the azure dragon flying deep into the evening sky in springtime.

Juta Takahashi is September’s Artist of the Month on Stillstream.

“Chasing Down the Dragon (Live)” – Vir Unis – Dreamers at the Edge of Decaying Light (2001)

Vir Unis is the ambient project of artist John Strate-Hootman, an American ambient-music composer and performer. He is a co-founder of the AtmoWorks label with James Johnson.

“Fishermen and Dragons” – Saluki RegicideMirage Emigrants (2004)

Saluki Regicide is one of the projects of C.P. McDill. The sounds of Saluki Regicide are an attempt to create haunted textures by use of electroacoustic recording techniques, layered with vintage samples, often heavily effected, and some bits of electronica.

The roots of Saluki Regicide may date as far back as 1988 when C.P. McDill made some sound art experiments with tape recorders, radios, and assorted improvised instruments. But the first recordings actually bearing the name Saluki Regicide emerged in early 2003. In terms of pinpointing exactly what Saluki Regicide is, or what genre to assign it to, I am at somewhat of a loss. It represents an intersection of traditionalism and the avant-garde, of nostalgia and science fiction, perhaps of music and noise.

Saluki Regicide has at present a total of 7 releases on Webbed Hand Records, three of them conventional albums with approximately a dozen tracks on each, and three are long-form ambient recordings for Webbed Hand Records’ “Rain” series. Additionally there are collaborations and compilation appearances. For a more complete list of C.P. McDill’s work, visit his discography page.

“Return of the Dragon Bone Tribe” – Byron Metcalf and Steve Roach – Tales from the Ultra Tribe (2012)

This atmospheric collaboration between Steve Roach and Byron Metcalf evokes the primordial caverns and aeon-blasted landscapes of their groundbreaking The Serpent’s Lair (Projekt, 2000). Released in January of this year, the eight pieces on Tales From the Ultra Tribe are intended to be heard as a single 74-minute deep-journey experience. We extract a single track here, and encourage you to download and experience the entire release!

Tales from the Ultra Tribe is September’s featured release on Stillstream.

“Dragons Chasing Their Tails” – EL Heath – Reflecting (Ambient and Loop Tracks, Autumn 2006) [Reprise] – (2009)

‘Reflecting…’ is the ghostly Ondes Martenot sounds of Shropshire’s EL Heath (aka Eric Heath). He finds beauty all around him; in the country side, around his home, in childhood memories, in early morning light and in dreams.

He is an honourary member of Epic45 and part of madcap Welsh Krautrockers Strap The Button.

Based around the unique howl of the Martenot (one of the scarcest instruments on the planet) and his choice of recording equipment – namely a 20 year old tape recorder, ‘Reflecting’ was once described as Basinksi’s decomposing symphonies laced with the expansive nature of Vangelis’ ‘Bladerunner’ score.

Also included in the full release is a series of photographs taken by EL Heath, which inspired the sounds you can hear on the record.

“Dragon’s Breath” – A ProduceWhite Sands (1995)

A Produce is Barry Craig, a prolific trance music artist, who was active in the California scene of electronic music since early ’80s, until he died in 2011 at the all-too-young age of 59.

“Opium Den (Chasing the Dragon remix)” – Rose Red – Opium Den (2007)

Holly Maggio, of Turmoil, released Opium Den under the project name Rose Red. The release comprises two different tracks, one a remix of the other. The dragon in this case is not as benign as some of the others we’ve heard; “Chasing the dragon” is a slang phrase of Cantonese origin from Hong Kong, referring to the inhalation of vapor from heated morphine, heroin, oxycodone or opium that has been placed on a piece of foil. The ‘chasing’ occurs as the user gingerly keeps the liquid moving in order to keep it from coalescing into a single, unmanageable mass. Another use of the term refers to the pursuit of the elusive ultimate high. Not so kind, this dragon.

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