Under Water

Toad under water
By Gilles San Martin from Namur, Belgium [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
In the news this week, we’ve seen amazing and heartbreaking images of the staggering rainfall and epic flooding in and around Boulder, Colorado.

Today’s edition of At Water’s Edge is dedicated to the people of that area, especially the emergency crews risking their lives to save the lives of others.

If you’re interested in helping, here’s how: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/colorado-flooding-how-you-can-help-red-cross-salvation-army-others-taking-donations

So today’s program is all about water, above and below.

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“Ocean” – Quosp – Blue EP (2007)

Quosp is the very young Colin Kay (not even 20 when his first albums were released), whose music falls somewhere between Brian Eno’s Music for Airports and Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Vol II.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ0_C6cYBd0

“Rivulet” – Conni St. Pierre – Mountain Spirits (2009)

Conni sent a message after we announced this show, telling us that she had just returned home on Tuesday from near where the flooding is happening, narrowly missing being stranded at her remote family cabin! Her parents are in Estes Park, on high ground, but cut off from roads, phone, and cell. “Incredibly devastating overall! Check out some photos and links on my page – I’m still working through the images of places where I was only days ago…”

Her Mountain Spirits CD was inspired by the beautiful, sparse, rugged, and ultimately unforgiving landscape of those mountains. The cover art is a collage of images from Longs and Meeker in the Front Range and the Never Summer Range across the Continental Divide.

“Air and Water Laps” – Jazzcomputer.org – Life~Unfolding (2009)

 Jazzcomputer.org is the ambient/electronic/improv music project of Yves Potin. He has played guitar since he was 15, and listened to a lot of guitar-driven music at that time: Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Rolling Stones among many others.

Jazz was a kind of revelation, then, especially the fusion styles. Inspired by groups such as the Chick Corea Elecktric Band, with Scott Henderson playing guitar, Yves was heavily influenced by the fusion styles happening in the 80s and 90s: Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock, Allan Holdsworth and Weather Report among many others. He finally took Jazz classes at the CIM. Fascinated by computer science early on, as computers became more and more accessible, he integrated computers and synthesizers into his music.

Using synths extensively, with no samples or loops, the jazz elements of Life~Unfolding are to be found in the harmonics and chords used, and the way Yves plays guitar improvisations.

“Ocean’s Chant” – Paradiso – Shaman’s Trance (2006)

Nominated for “Best Electronic Album” in the New Age Reporter Lifestyle Awards in 2006, Shaman’s Trance is a blend of acoustic and electronic instruments and multiple styles featuring Paradiso Turturici on Didjeridoo and drums, Tibetan bowls & bells, vocals, and percussion. Although certainly great for everyday casual listening, this recording is specifically designed to accompany a full yoga class or a massage session.

“Beneath Still Water” – Thom Brennan – Strange Paradise (2001)

Recorded during the fall of 2001, at the Raingarden, Seattle, Strange Paradise is an apt musical depiction of the richness of Seattle and the Northwest US. Considered the only temperate rainforest region in the world, Seattle is well known for its gloomy weather–but the effect of all the rain is a wealth of greenery. Nature is abundant, and one finds green growth in the unlikeliest of places. If one were to turn one’s back for a moment, there, the green world would take over in a blink.

“The Colour of Water” – MotionfieldMusic for Pictures (2005)

Motionfield is Swedish musician and sound designer Petter Friberg. He has produced electronic music since the late 80’s and released several techo/house EPs as well. The Motionfield project is concentrated on ambient/electronica.

“Along the Shattered Waterfront” – Har and AltusShadow District (2012)

Particularly appropriate for this week’s program, “Along the Shattered Waterfront” is from a collaboration between two truly great ambient artists, Har and Altus. Falling somewhere in the netherworld between dark ambience, melodic ambience, and pure electronic space music, the album is one of the best of its kind. As one would expect from these two, the compositions themselves are near peerless, with point, counterpoint, interlude, and response all easily identifiable to those listening closely.

“Dark Path from Rays in Water” – AdaptcoreSunset After Wind (2006)

Adaptcore is ambient artist Alexey Rodin, part of the electronic/experimental underground music scene in Russia. He’s been experimenting with environmental, electronic and musique concrète for many years, using things like homemade percussion (iron sticks on a metal sheet, for example), analog tape loops and other “noise”. Sunset After Wind is devoted to a sense of “dark positive”, where both dark and light elements come together as one. While the Adaptcore project is no more (Alexey renamed the project “Human Terminal”, and then moved on to “Hydrocore Wise” and “Sinexoid”), the Dark Winter netlabel continues to carry his previous releases.

“Chant of the Sea” – Frank HarperI (2010)

German sound artist Frank Harper is a guitarist, singer, songwriter and composer. As a kid he had brief encounters with violin, keyboard and drums, but focused on playing classical and fingerstyle guitar at the age of 16. Songwriting and several years of playing in a prog rock cover band ensued. After a long break he turned back to music in 2007. Contrary to his former approach making music now became a very intuitive, improvisatory process–rather than demonstrating virtuosic skills within the bounds of a single musical style, improv for him meant to translate musical inspirations of various styles spontaneously.

“Deep in the Water” – WMRIOcean Heart (2009)

Ocean Heart is the fifth EP in series of six published by WMRI. This one is “a short story of ocean and waves”. While first two tracks are ambient in nature, the one we hear today, “Deep in the Water” is sequence-based.

WMRI is Mike Winchester, based in Moscow, Russia. Since 2003 he has been creating electronic music of different styles, mostly traditional electronics, including the Berlin school, ambient, dark ambient and space music. Originally conceived to write music simply for his own pleasure, entirely without attention to current music fashions, he began publishing the music and continued to adhere to this basic principle. His music has been created over a long period of time, constantly transformed, and changing genres, yet he maintained a recognizable style. Starting out melodic and relatively simple, the project gradually moved into the more experimental territories of dark music and minimalism.

Mike is also the founder of the label USC.

Dark Water” – ZednoughtMysterious Island (2010)

Zednought is (as near as we can find) Matthew R. Gayton. Like the name of this release, his identity is otherwise veiled in mystery.

“Deep Turmoil, Calm Waters” – Copal RiverAncara (2008)

Copal River is the collaborative music project of Scott Turner and Darrell Burgan.

Some years ago, these two artists decided to take a weekend off, travel to a lovely retreat by the water, and spend a few days immersing themselves as deeply as possible in some live ambient improvisation. They called this their first “ambient weekend”. While they had worked on projects together before, such as with ambient trio Cluster Balm, this face to face improvisation struck a chord deep within each of them. The music that came from these sessions seemed to them to be the embodiment of what their ambient music was meant to be.

In the months and years that followed, Darrell and Scott enjoyed several other such ambient weekends with each traveling to the others home state and studio. Naturally, they made a point to record these sessions, and with encouragement from family and friends decided to release them. This album is the second release from those weekends.

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