Sunday, March 11, 2018

Apollo Vermouth

When researching artists or labels that might be interested in doing a guest mix I came across a label that is based very close to me here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I'd never really thought that there might be an ambient community here. 

I decided to do a search for "ambient" and "Milwaukee." And what do ya know, I got an interesting result right away. In an article about the essential Milwaukee albums of 2017 was a blurb about Apollo Vermouth and her album "Crashing into Nowhere." I immediately headed over to Bandcamp and was so excited to find that it's an excellent album.

Apollo Vermouth is Alisa Rodriguez, based right here in Milwaukee. So I asked her to do a mix and she was nice enough to curate some tunes.  Here's what she had to say about these tracks:

"This mix is a collection of ambient tracks that have hit me in a certain way. It’s hard for me to put into words of what they mean to me. I spend a lot of time by myself, always looking for something that makes me feel less lonely. Somehow, these tracks sort of saved my sanity. It’s funny how music can be like your best friend. They’ll never leave you in the dust."

That pretty much describes my relationship with ambient music too - or all music actually.  Go visit her page, buy some music and listen to this mix.


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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Gas - Narkopop 1 
  • 04:20    Belong - Late Night 
  • 07:35    Steve Roach - Left Perfectly Alone 
  • 09:30    Grouper - She Loves Me That Way 
  • 17:34    Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - Appearances 
  • 20:22    Harold Budd and Brian Eno - Among Fields of Crystal 
  • 23:27    Wretched Excess - Suburban Decay 
  • 26:35    Benoit Pioulard - IV
  • 30:15    M. Sage - Gulls Over Landfill Caldera 
  • 42:52    Jeffrey Cantu-Ledesma - Blue Nudes 
  • 50:05    Boards of Canada - Macquarie Ridge
  • 54:42    end

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Shimmer - An alternative soundtrack to the film Annihilation

I saw the film Annihilation on opening weekend and really liked it. It is directed by the same guy that directed Ex Machina and has the same crew doing the score. While I didn't like it quite as much as my favorite sci-fi film of the last few years, Arrival, I did like it quite a bit. And I especially loved the score. It goes seamlessly from acoustic guitar to synthetic noises to creepy choral sounds. It's great.

So of course I had to make my own interpretation of the soundtrack, just like I did for Blade Runner 2049. I liked how that one turned out so much that I knew immediately after seeing Annihilation that I'd soon be making a mix.

I started collecting a few tunes for the mix but it wasn't until I found "Elemental Shimmer" by Robert Davies that the project really took off.  The music from Davies' album is perfect for setting the scene and it's even more appropriate because it's got the word "Shimmer" in the title.  The Shimmer is the anomaly enveloping "area x" that the scientists enter to try and figure what the heck is going on.

Making these alternative soundtracks is a lot of fun and I'm sure I'll be doing more in the future. I hope you like this one.


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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Robert Davies - Honeysuckle Vapour
  • 04:18    Moon Wiring Club - Marshlight No. 2
  • 05:00    Ryuichi Sakamoto - Walker
  • 07:05    Chris Watson - Vatnajokull
  • 07:30    Martin Grech - Ashes Over Embers
  • 09:00    Peter Gabriel - Slow Water
  • 11:05    Moon Wiring Club - A New Face On An Old Friend (Blazing)
  • 13:20    Recondite - Der Steinmetz
  • 15:45    Isorinne - b2 5-00
  • 19:50    Stockholm Radio Choir - Lux Aeterna
  • 21:17    Penguin Cafe - Control 1(interlude)
  • 25:30    A.R.C. Soundtracks - Ruins-Ritual
  • 28:57    Biosphere - Sphere Of No Form
  • 30:12    Murcof - Sangre
  • 31:45    Leyland Kirby - Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was
  • 32:18    Somei Satoh - Mantra/Stabat Mater from The Arts at St. Ann's
  • 33:30    Emptyset - Augur
  • 35:06    Morton Feldman - Rothko Chapel 3
  • 35:45    From the Mouth of the Sun - A Breath to Retrieve Your Body
  • 39:20    Ryuichi Sakamoto - Solari(Johann Johannsson rework)
  • 44:44    Robert Davies - Of Foxglove & Nettle Leaves
  • 50:42    Western Skies Motel - Leaving Behind
  • 53:45    Thomas Köner - Tiento de la Luz 4
  • 55:43    Biosphere - Green Reflections
  • 58:45    end

Sunday, February 25, 2018


I wanted to get a snow themed mix in before winter starts to wane. So here it is.  

Most of the tracks have the word snow in the title.  Anytime I can use a tune from Yagya's "Rhythm of Snow" I'll gladly take it.

Looking forward to a new guest mix in the coming weeks and a mix featuring delicate micro-sounds from 10 years ago.


T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00    Blamstrain - Tundra V
  • 06:00    Parks - Snowblind
  • 09:20    Yagya - Snowflake 10
  • 12:50    Panoptique Electrical - Falling Snow
  • 15:12    Locust - Snowblind
  • 17:02    Halo - Winter Lullaby I
  • 18:05    Andrew Lahiff - Snow
  • 21:00    The Green Kingdom - Sleep, Snow
  • 25:23    Taylor Deupree & Marcus Fischer - Snow Slowed
  • 28:35    Endless Melancholy - A Song for Watching Snowfalls
  • 31:44    Ocean in a Bottle - Bordering the Snow
  • 34:05    Akira Kosemura - Snowy Sky
  • 35:37    From the Mouth of the Sun - Snow Burial(while blue skies gather)
  • 38:35    Fuzzy Lights - Snowstorm in a Snow Globe
  • 41:10    Stormloop - Snowdrift
  • 52:10    Autistici - Hidden in Snow
  • 54:20    Motionfield - The Sound of Snow
  • 56:15    Chihei Hatakeyama - Heavy Snow III
  • 61:37    end

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Sun's Gone Dim - A Tribute to Johann Johannsson

Johann Johannsson died on Friday, February 9, 2018.


I absolutely adored his compositions.

I am at a complete loss for what to say about his music. So rather than try I made this mix.

Because I cross post all these mixes over on Mixcloud I am not able to make a mix with nothing but Johannsson music. Mixcloud has a policy of only 4 tracks from a single artist per mix. So I used 4 Johannsson cuts, some of my favs, and music from other artists that I have always grouped together with Johann.

I hope you will listen to this mix and also go seek out Johannsson's awesome library of music that is keeping his memory alive in this world.

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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Johann Johannsson - The Sun's Gone Dim and The Sky's Turned Black
  • 05:33    Henryk Gorecki - Symphony No. 3 Lento(exerpt)
  • 08:30    Johann Johannsson - Flight from the City
  • 14:35    Max Richter - On The Nature Of Daylight
  • 20:43    Johann Johannsson - Kangaru
  • 23:22    Craig Armstrong - Choral Ending
  • 25:54    Just a Human - Johann
  • 28:15    Olafur Arnalds - Öldurót
  • 32:22    Clint Mansell - Together We Will Live Forever
  • 37:05    Johann Johannsson - IBM 1403 Printer
  • 44:05    Christopher Spelman - The Final Journey
  • 51:27    Hildur Gudnadottir - Unveiled
  • 54:48    Olafur Arnalds - Dalur
  • 58:31    lowlight - Memories of JJ
  • 62:07    end

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Rusted Tone Recordings

I have decided to reach out to a few folks in the ambient community about doing some guest mixes.  Basically I'm just lazy & want content without much work. ;-) 

Actually I thought it would be nice to come at these mixes from some new perspectives. And at the same time promote some artists and labels both here and on Mixcloud.

This first guest mix is exactly what I was looking for. It is a bit darker than I normally produce and that's why it's great to bring a new mindset to these mixes, it opens new doors and explores new sounds. There are definitely some awesome sounds in this mix.

This music comes to us from James Armstrong, the man behind Rusted Tone Recordings.  Check out their first sampler release here...

Here's what James has to say about the mix...

"This mix was created to showcase the unreleased work of artists scheduled for solo releases on Rusted Tone Recordings throughout 2018 and into 2019. Ranging from the guitar-based melancholy of Wil Bolton, Spheruleus, and Darren Harper, to the abstract ambient manipulations of James Osland, Kepier Widow, and Red On Maroon, the mix promotes the diversity and creative dedication of the musicians on the RTR Roster. 

A majority of the tracks included were contributed by the artists themselves for the label’s initial sampler (see link below), with the exceptions of James Osland (White Label Recs. - forthcoming), BCOM (slef-release), and Red On Maroon (Quietest Records - The Tape Works #1). All tracks written and recorded by the respective artist, mastered by James Edward Armstrong."


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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    James Osland - Just Fell Me Dear Human
  • 04:58    Wil Bolton - Nerine 
  • 08:42    Spheruleus - Dimly Lit 
  • 13:04    Building Castles Out Of Matchsticks - Shifting Insomnia And The Dream Incubator 
  • 17:04    SALTINGS - Sotto Voice
  • 21:18    Net - Hidden Pheasant 
  • 24:08    Darren Harper - A Thousand Tiny Heartbreaks
  • 29:30    A Home For Ghosts - Cadence
  • 36:20    Kepier Widow - Congestion
  • 41:26    Gallery Six & Oblivia - Like a Winter Lake
  • 44:54    Red On Maroon - #2
  • 54:59    The Green Kingdom – Luminous

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Frontiers of Space

I recently stumbled upon an album by The National Pool called "Relaxation Tape for Solo Space Travel."

First of all, what a great title!  And second, what fantastic cover art!

When I heard the song "Simpler Times" I knew that I had to buy the album and I knew that I had to make a mix with an retro, analog, space sound.  So I set about collecting tunes that sound like they could have come from an old space science filmstrip.  Some of the music is from current artists like Boards of Canada, Air, The Belbury Circle, Panabrite, Cafe Kaput, Moon Wiring Club, Schengen and Lunar Testing Lab.  But mixed in there is also old electronic music from Eric Vann, Paul Hart, Alan Hawkshaw and Frank Comstock. Much of the old music has a sort of cheesy, retro vibe that I love in a mix like this.

Grab some Tang and kick back for this journey to the moon and beyond.


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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Alan Hawkshaw - Probe 2
  • 01:06    Vector Lovers - Long Wave
  • 01:40    Boards of Canada - Wildlife Analysis
  • 02:01    The National Pool - Simpler Times
  • 08:42    Solvent - wig $1.00
  • 11:07    Eric Vann - Space Face
  • 11:55    Frank Comstock - Stairway to the Stars
  • 14:25    Panabrite - Departing
  • 17:28    The Belbury Circle - Light Industry
  • 21:42    Lunar Testing Lab - The Cosmic Unknown
  • 23:36    Café Kaput - Maranyl Is Chosen
  • 26:05    Paul Hart - Superfine
  • 26:41    Schengen - Me n'U
  • 27:22    Moon Wiring Club - Between  Two Worlds
  • 28:40    Alan Hawkshaw - Terrestrial Fanfare
  • 30:52    Air - Cosmic Trip
  • 34:51    Lunar Testing Lab - Lunar Radio Control(with Russian Conet voice added)
  • 36:25    Alan Hawkshaw - Saturn Rings
  • 40:15    Boards of Canada - Come to Dust
  • 43:36    Café Kaput - Ergonomo
  • 49:05    Orgasmo Sonore - Space Team
  • 50:52    Eric Vann - Astroport
  • 53:00    The National Pool - Through the Breach
  • 60:01    end

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Mystical Ambience

image by Siobhan Allen

I am starting the year off right with another fantastic mix from my friend Paul Asbury Seaman.  You may remember his previous collections posted here - The Memory of Trains, Floating Through Moonlight, and Icelight.

This mix does a wonderful job of creating a mystical vibe, like the title says, but without being too new agey.  I love the nice long track from Louigi Verona in the middle of the mix.  Here's what Paul has to say about it...

“From the beginning, ambient-electronic music has been almost synonymous with “space music” as well as inward journeys. Whether through post-tribal rhythms or the meditative drones of long-form compositions, this is music designed to facilitate an altered consciousness, or maybe something much less talked about: a sense of reverence. Featuring three of the genre’s “tribal elders,” as well as some more recent masters, this is a mix for gentle meanderings into a space of grounded bliss."

I hope you enjoy Paul's excellent collection of Mystical Ambience."


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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    John Serrie - Valley of the Nacoochee(Spirit Keepers 1998)
  • 05:55    Max Corbacho - Transparent Phenomena(Source of Presnt 2017)
  • 09:10    Robert Rich & Markus Reuter - Twining Branches Make A Path(Lift a Feather to the Flood 2017)
  • 18:08    Hollan Holmes - That Ephemeral Spark(Prayer to the Energy 2017)
  • 24:45    Craig Padilla & Zero Ohms - When the Earth is Far Away(When the Earth is Far Away 2012)
  • 29:10    Louigi Verona - Ocean of Seashells(Ocean of Seashells 2017)
  • 50:00    Steve Roach - Within the Mystic(Mystic Chords and Sacred Spaces 2003)
  • 64:53    end

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

JAZZ 2017

This mix is less of a best jazz recordings of 2017 and more of a mix of jazz that I enjoyed in 2017.  I don't listen to nearly as much jazz as I do ambient and indie music. But I liked enough releases to come up with an end of the year jazz mix. So here it is.

The year was anchored by two spectacular recordings - Aytche by Joseph Shabason and All This I Do For Glory by Colin Stetson.  I saw Stetson at a small club and was blown away by his sound and technique.  If you get the chance to see him up close definitely go.

There are two albums that I discovered while compiling tracks for my mix, Rhythm of the Rails. Those two are Eternal Stories by Michel Portal & Quator Ebene and Simultonality by Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society. Both excellent recordings.

Another highlight of 2017 was ECM records putting their entire catalog up on Spotify. I listened to nothing by ECM for a few weeks this fall.

This will probably be my last mix for 2017. I've already started on a guest mix for that will be fun to put together.  Music definitely helped me get through a messed up 2017. Here's to a great 2018.


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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Joseph Shabason - Aytche(Aytche)
  • 03:40    Vijay Iyer Sextet - Wake(Far From Over)
  • 08:03    Ben Allison - Magic Number(Layers of the City)
  • 14:38    Bjorn Meyer - Provenance(Provenance)
  • 20:30    Quatuor Ebene - City Birds(Eternal Stories)
  • 27:55    Colin Stetson - Spindrift(All This I Do For Glory)
  • 33:36    Portico Quartet - Endless(Art in the Age of Automation)
  • 37:46    Kamasi Washington - Desire(Harmony Of Difference)
  • 42:07    Phronesis - Ok Chorale(The Behemoth)
  • 45:50    Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society - Maroon Dune(Simultonality)
  • 54:48    Dorothy Ashby - Pawky(Hip Harp/In A Minor Groove)
  • 51:55    end

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Best of 2017

It's that time of the year again - end of the year Best Of list time!  It's always a difficult task to pick albums for one of these lists.  But it's also fun because I get to sort through a bunch of music and it's definitely cool to have a look at other lists and discover a ton of things I missed.

There is no way these lists are close to being definitive.  A lot of ambient releases can tend to blur from one into the next and the difference between making the list and not making it can boil down to what mood I was in when I first heard the album.  There's so much excellent music being released on a weekly basis it's impossible to keep up so this list and mix is just a bunch of stuff that I liked this past year.

Here are a few other good year in review lists:

My best of list is more of a best instrumental music list than just straight ambient.  The mix is mostly ambient but the list contains jazz, instrumental & ambient.  According to my Spotify data I played a lot of 36 last year so it's appropriate that he's got two albums in the top ten. I guess I'm too lazy to write up comments about all the music except to say that there's a lot of good stuff there. So take some time and hunt down these releases, you won't be disappointed. 

1. 36 - Tomorrow’s Explorers
2. Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society - Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society
3. Colin Stetson - All This I Do For Glory
4. Bing and Ruth - No Home of the Mind
5. Joseph Shabason - Aytche
6. Ruven Nunez - Altar of Sunlight
7. Benoit Pioulard - Lingnin Poise and Slow Spark, Soft Spoke
8. Chuck Johnson - Balsams
9. 36 - Black Soma
10. Bibio - Phantom Brickworks
11. Dungen - Haxan(versions by Prins Thomas)
12. Vijay Iyer Sextet - Far From Over
13. Penguin Cafe - The Imperfect Sea
14. Arovane & Hior Chronic - Into My Own
15. Christopher Willits - The Art of Listening
16. Vermont - II
17. High Plains - Cinderland
18. Roedelius and Arnold Kaspar - Einfluss
19. Tonepoet - N/E/W/S
20. Halftribe - Daydreams in Low Fidelity
21. Taylor Dupree - Somi
22. Kamasi Washington - Harmony of Difference
23. Loess - Pocosin
24. Hior Chronic - Our of the Dust
25. Tale of Use - Endless
26. Saltland - A Common Truth
27. Quatuor Ebene - Eternal Stories
28. Aware - The Book of Wind
29. Grails - Chalace Hymnal
30. The Prairie Lines - Eyes Down Slowdown

If you have a list of your own feel free to leave it in the comments. Or if you just have a favorite or two that you want to recommend please let us know in the comments.

Here's to a, musically, great 2017 & a better 2018.  Cheers!

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T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00    36 - Poekhali(Tomorrow's Explorers)
  • 06:33    Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society - Cloudface(Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society)
  • 10:25    Bing & Ruth - Scrapes(No Home Of The Mind)
  • 15:10    Bibio - Capel Celyn(phantom brickworks)
  • 20:50    Benoit Pioulard Same Time Next Year(Lignin Poise)
  • 25:10    Tonepoet - The Moment You Were Swept From My Memory(N.E.W.S.)
  • 30:00    The Prairie Lines - Calm Landing(eyes down slowdown)
  • 36:00    Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Arnold Kasar - Asco(Einfluss)
  • 40:30    Dungen - Aladdin och lampan(Haxan (versions by Prins Thomas)
  • 47:10    Vermont - Langholmen(Vermont II)
  • 50:35    Island People - Ember(Island People)
  • 55:10    Saltland - To Allow Us All To Breathe(A Common Truth)
  • 59:10    Penguin Cafe - Cantorum(The Imperfect Sea)
  • 1:06:10    High Plains - Ten Sleep(Cinderland)
  • 1:09:05   Arovane & Hior Chronik - The Return(Into My Own)
  • 1:11:35    Chuck Johnson - Labradorite(Balsams)
  • 1:16:30    Ruven Nunez - As Above, So Below(Altar of Sunlight)
  • 1:26:00    Taylor Deupree - Autumn(Somi)
  • 1:31:40    Loess - Striae(Pocosin)
  • 1:37:00    Halftribe - Aphotic(Daydreams in Low Fidelity)
  • 1:40:55    Christopher Willits - Ama(The Art of Listening)
  • 1:44:10    Aware - But God Was Not in the Storm(The Book of Wind)
  • 1:47:10    Justin Walter - 1001(Unseen Forces)
  • 1:51:45    Tale of Us - Distante(Endless)
  • 1:59:13    Hior Chronik - Cosmos(Out Of The Dust)
  • 2:02:37    36 - Black Sun(Black Soma)
  • 2:07:40    end

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Alternative Blade Runner 2049 Soundtrack

Being a science fiction & electronic music geek, it's no surprise that I'm a big fan of the soundtrack for the original Blade Runner film.  When I heard that they'd tabbed Johann Johannsson to do the score for the 2049 film I was very excited.  But then he was pulled from the project & replaced with Hans Zimmer.  While I've actually liked a few of Zimmer's recent scores, I wasn't overly impressed with his music for 2049.  It wasn't that I disliked it.  I think I was just disappointed that it wasn't Johannsson.

My son, however, liked the soundtrack much more than I did.  So much in fact that he went home after seeing the film, created his own track in the 2049 style and sent it to me the next day.  I was impressed with the track and immediately made plans for a Blade Runner mix.

The music here is a collection of tunes that sounds like it fit perfectly in Blade Runner 2049.  In searching for music I was happy to have rediscovered Xerrox, Vol. 2 by Alva Noto, such a great album.  I was also excited to find music and artists I'd not heard before like Ital Tek, Floating Machine & Island People.

Here's a link to my son's track which appears in the mix as track #3 - "Blade Running" by just a human.


[ s t r e a m ]    [ d o w n l o a d ]    [ i t u n e s ]

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Alva Noto - Xerrox Moonphaser 2
  • 05:00    Ital Tek - Jenova
  • 10:10    just a human - Blade Running(unreleased)
  • 12:18    36 - Black Future
  • 16:05    Ryuichi Sakamoto - life, life
  • 20:00    Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Same Dream
  • 23:51    Floating Machine - Nowhere
  • 30:40    Island People - vogelsang
  • 35:25    Andreas Tilliander - Syncussion Discussion
  • 40:10    Boards of Canada - Transmisiones Ferox
  • 41:35    Arovane & Hior Chronik - Into My Own
  • 45:35    Ryuichi Sakamoto - Fullmoon
  • 47:30    Island People - from the sky
  • 54:35    Alva Noto - Xerrox Moonphaser 1
  • 61:40    end