Friday, December 27, 2013

Late Night Encounters Vol. 1

The title of this mix pretty much says it all.  This is a collection of tunes that works well at night.

I didn't want the mix to be dark & depressing or dark and scary, just something that feels more at home at night.  It's sort of the opposite of the Sunday morning mixes.  Although a few tunes could go either way.

I didn't start out making a "night" mix, it just sort of happened on it's own after the first few cuts.  The mix opens with a fantastic remix of Bowie's Sound & Vision.  This cut isn't necessarily a "night" tune but I just had to use it.  The next three cuts are what took the mix in the nightside direction.

I labeled the mix "Vol. 1" because I'd like to turn this into a series just like the Sunday morning mixes.  So look for more in 2014.  But there's still one more mix on it's way in 2013.


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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    David Bowie - Sound and Vision(Sonjay Prabhakar remix)
  • 02:50    Arve Henriksen - Shelter From The Storm
  • 06:00    Mark Kozelek & Jimmy LaValle - By The Time That I Awoke
  • 10:00    Moritz von Oswald & Nils Petter Molvaer - Step by Step
  • 15:45    Justin Walter - The Way Of Five
  • 20:10    A.A. Bondy - Mightiest Of Guns
  • 23:22    Loren Connors - Shadows
  • 26:30    Labradford - By Chris Johnston, Craig Markva, Jamie Evans
  • 31:00    Public Service Broadcasting - Late Night Final
  • 36:30    Jon Hassell - Amsterdam Blue
  • 44:30    The National - Hard To Find
  • 48:25    Jonathan Boulet - Cent Voix
  • 52:55    Ghosting Season - Lie
  • 56:00    Mirroring - Mirror Of Our Sleeping
  • 59:30    Loren Connors - Night In Vain
  • 1:01:45    Grace Cathedral Park - Hey Pretty, Could You Stay Awhile
  • 1:11:28    end

Best of 2013

Another year, another best of list.

This is my list of my favorite "normal" music of the year.  Indie, alternative, rock, Americana, whatever you want to call it - this is not the ambient music which goes into most of my mixes.

Over the last 3 or 4 years I've been listening to more and more "normal" music.  It's hard to keep up with the pace of new releases, new bands, new artists.  One can develop a sort of obsessive disorder where you consume more and more music, ever worried that you'll miss something.

My Spotify playlist of 2013 music has nearly 3000 tracks and that doesn't really include much of  the ambient stuff I listen to.  That's a lot of music to wade through in a year.  Spotify and other streaming services are changing the way we consume music and the way we think about music.  It's difficult to say whether that change is for the better.  

I do know that I love having so much music available all the time.  I love sampling new stuff, testing it out to see if it will have the staying power to make to the end of the year.  I like having a friend send me recommendations, being able to listen to the entire album instantly and sending a reaction or new suggestion back the other way.

At this time of year, with all the best of lists, I have added about 20 albums to that Spotify playlist just in the last week or so.  Which of course just puts me further behind.  But I LOVE IT!

And now here they are, my favorite albums of 2013.  What are yours?

1. Blaudzun - Heavy Flowers

2. John Vanderslice- Dagger Beach 

3. Volcano Choir - Repave

4. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City

5. Phosphorescent - Muchacho 

6. Kacey Musgraves - Same Trailer Different Park

7. The National - Trouble Will Find Me

8. John Vanderslice - Diamond Dogs
"A Better Whirlpool"

9. Mikal Cronin - MCII

10. Darkside - Psychic

11. Jon Hopkins - Immunity

12. Vic & Gab - Love of Mine

13. Elvis Costello & The Roots - Wise Up Ghost

14. Boards of Canada - tomorrow's harvest

15. The Flaming Lips - Peace Sword ep

16. Wavves - Afraid of Heights

17. Rhye - Woman

18. Daughter - If You Leave

19. Public Service Broadcasting - inform - educate - entertain

20. San Fermin - San Fermin

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best of 2013 - Instrumental version

It is strange that for someone who runs an ambient mix blog, I've been listening to less and less ambient music over the last two years.  I still love ambient but I no longer feel the need to accumulate huge amounts of it.  Maybe because I have so much already that it all starts to blend together and I don't feel I need another 70 minute drone album.

This year's "Best of" list is mostly ambient but contains some other instrumental albums as well.  Some of my favorite albums of the year in any genre were albums from artists like Esmerine, Arve Henriksen, Moritz von Oswald & Nils Petter Molvaer and Jon Hopkins.  There are other odd non-ambient albums, like Paris DJs Soundsystem & Calibro 35, which just stuck with me for some reason & got a lot of play this year.

Of course there was some straight forward ambient which was in heavy rotation all year.  Albums like The Seaman and The Tattered Sail - Light FoldsNobuto Suda - Transitorinessinfinite_coil - transmit, and Spheruleus - The Possibility Of Loss really hit the spot for a beautiful ambient listening experience.

I listened to a lot of ambient dub this year.  Only three actually made it to the list - Coppice Halifax, Deepchord and Optical Frameworks but there were many more dub recordings in this year's regular rotation.  A few other favs not on the list include
  Lars Leonhard - Stella Nova  Adam Michalak - Returning To Essence  Vytis - Deepchord Avenue
  VA - Mountain-Stream
  Nikosf. - Silence Speaks When The Words End
  krill.minima - Sekundenschlaf
  Miktek - elsewhere
  Blamstrain - Sunday Dub

Two great albums from 2013 both combine electronics with trumpet.  Moritz von Oswald & Nils Petter Molvaer - 1/1  and  Saffronkeira + Mario Massa - Cause and Effect are wonderful collaborations that gave a jolt to end of the year releases.

Here's my list of 2013 favs.  What are some of your favorites from 2013?

Best of 2013:
  1. The Seaman and The Tattered Sail - Light Folds
  2. infinite_coil - transmit
  3. Arve Henriksen - Places Of Worship
  4. Esmerine - Dalmak
  5. Moritz von Oswald & Nils Petter Molvaer - 1/1
  6. Optical Frameworks - Little Piece Of Perseverance
  7. Justin Walter - lullabies and nightmares
  8. Jon Hopkins - Immunity
  9. Boards of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
  10. Marsen Jules Trio - Présence Acousmatique
  11. Saffronkeira + Mario Massa - Cause and Effect
  12. The Green Kingdom - Dustloops - Memory Fragments 
  13. Field Rotation - Fatalist: The Repetition of History
  14. Roedelius - Stunden
  15. Marconi Union & Jah Wobble - Anomic
  16. Tessellate Recordings - Earthtones
  17. Deepchord - Electrostatic Soundfields
  18. Maps and Diagrams - Timbre
  19. Coppice Halifax - Inland By Night
  20. Spheruleus - The Possibility Of Loss
  21. Paris DJs Soundsystem - Rise of the Troubadour Warriors - tropical grooves & afrofunk international vol.3
  22. Nobuto Suda - Transitoriness
  23. CALIBRO 35 - said
  24. Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument: Shemonmuanaye
  25. Icebreaker & BJ Cole - Apollo

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Winter's Dub

I love dubby ambient.  I think this is my third dub mix this year.  I'm sure I'll grow tired of this style of music but for now I'm soaking it in.  It was snowing while I made this mix & the music just seemed to fit the winter mood.  Hence the name "A Winter's Dub."

Many of the tracks in this mix came from Bandcamp.  As a matter of fact, all the links in the tracklist are to Bandcamp pages.  I love Bandcamp.  So easy & convenient.  And great for discovering new music.  I bought a bunch of stuff this year by following other folks & sampling we they buy.

Here is my Bandcamp collection for anyone that's interested.

Enjoy the dub!

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Friday, December 06, 2013

Deep Sky Time - music for stargazing 2013

I know this is not the best time of year for sitting out side and stargazing.  At least not here in Wisconsin.  But I haven't done a stargazing mix in a long time so i thought I'd throw this out there.

The piece that got me started on this mix isn't an actual song.  It's NASA's Voyager spacecraft recording the sound of interstellar space.  Voyager's plasma wave instrument detected the vibrations of dense interstellar plasma, or ionized gas, from October to November 2012 and April to May 2013.  You can find the recording here... Voyager

I couldn't resist using that sound as a launch pad for this mix.  The rest is pretty straight forward ambient/space music.  For some strange reason I felt compelled to make this mix nearly 2 hours long.  If you want to lay outside for two hours & gaze at the night sky in the middle of December, better bring some scotch & an electric blanket. ;)


[ 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    NASA Voyager recording of interstellar space
  • 00:40    Loscil - Second Narrows Specta Ciera Version
  • 03:30    Ishq - Globular Cluster
  • 07:30    Harmony & Decay - Hypnotic Sequence
  • 12:40    Eluder - The Event Horizon
  • 14:50    Marsen Jules - A Room Full of History
  • 19:15    Marconi Union - Always Numb
  • 23:40    Porzellan - Floating Reception
  • 24:30    Sonmi451 - Omicron Ceti
  • 29:30    Loscil - ss1.2 unit circle
  • 32:50    Wouter Veldhuis - Blue Forest I
  • 36:00    Variant - Thru the Cosmos(ison + spica)
  • 43:33    Brian Eno - Surf Birds
  • 46:10    Mark Rownd - Place of Grace
  • 52:20    Kissy Suzuki - rubbish & Beauties part 1
  • 56:30    Altus - Floating Free
  • 1:00:40    Diatonis - Whiring Above Our Heads
  • 1:04:15    A Produce - Inner Sanctum
  • 1:12:00    Aglaia - Dust Across the Border
  • 1:15:30    Christopher Short - Unknown Constellation #2
  • 1:22:30    Fripp & Eno - Meissa
  • 1:29:10    Ithaca Trio - Catching Monkeys
  • 1:34:00    Steve Roach - Deep Sky Time
  • 1:41:10    Sylken - Sleepless
  • 1:50:10    Deepchord - Driftwood
  • 1:51:10    Vidna Obmana - Night Blooming
  • 1:57:49    end 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

favorite ambient albums

About a year ago I did a mix of my favorite ambient artists of all time.  I have been meaning to do a mix of my favorite ambient albums ever since.  And now here it is.

I did not go back and look at my favorite artist list.  I sorted through my ambient collection and came up with my fav albums.  Then I compared the two lists and not surprisingly they are almost identical.  Basically I substituted Scott Solter for Alio Die when I made the fav album list.  At least I didn't repeat any tunes from one mix to the next.

Choosing a favorite album from some of these artists was difficult.  Steve Roach has some many recordings that it was tough to know where to start but I kept coming back to the one that gets the most play and that is "The Dream Circle."  I wonder how many other folks like this album as much as I do.  I'm not e really sure why I like it more than his other releases, it definitely sounds similar to a lot of his other output.  I guess over the years it's become like a comfy sweatshirt.

Stars of the Lid & Eno were both hard to choose a favorite as well.  With SOTL I ended up going with the album that I first discovered them with.  In choosing "On Land" from Eno I really could have just flipped a coin to choose between it and "Music for Airports," "Apollo" and "Music for Films."  

The one favorite that probably doesn't make a lot of lists is "One River" by Scott Solter.  Using mostly processed guitars this album ebbs & flows beautifully from one tracks to the next.  I was happy to see that it's available on Bandcamp, although it's one long track instead of separate tracks like the original.  You can find it HERE.  


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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Scott Solter - Cypress Road from One River
  • 04:38    Stars of the Lid - Dust Breeding from Avec Laudenum
  • 11:45    Maps & Diagrams - Honeycomb Archipelago from Get Lost
  • 14:45    Brian Eno - Unfamiliar Wind(leeks hills) from On Land
  • 19:25    Loscil - Lucy Dub from First Narrows
  • 25:25    Sonmi451 - Orange from Spectrum
  • 31:00    Steve Roach - The Dream Circle from The Dream Circle
  • 40:45    Kyle Bobby Dunn - Empty Gazing from A Young Person's Guide to
  • 46:35    Harold Budd & Brian Eno - Against the Sky from The Pearl
  • 50:00    William Basinski - 1.2 from The Disintegration Loops
  • 1:01:00    end

Thursday, October 17, 2013

distant crossroads

As I have said many times before on this blog, a new mix is very often born when a track or two inspires me to create something new.  In this case it was the new album by Esmerine called "Dalmak."

The group recorded the new tracks in Instanbul and the whole album definitely has the texture and feel that one would associate with Turkish music.  The Constellation Records website describes it perfectly... 

"As a title for Esmerine's new album, "dalmak" refers in a literal sense to immersion in the culture and music of Istanbul but also appropriately evokes the range of music that emerged from this immersion: a collection of songs that shift between meditative pulsing and enveloping restraint to headlong flights into rhythm and groove."

With Esmerine as I starting point I went to some familiar sources.  One being the wonderful recordings of Myke Dodge Weiskopf. I excerpted part of his Field Recordings & Global Ambience mix and also used a cut from his latest release - "The Muezzins of Mali."

I also worked in some Byrne & Eno early mixes from the "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" sessions.  As well as some early mixes and extracts from Peter Gabriel's "Passion."

I enjoy these musical treks, I hope you do too.

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 T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00    Esmerine - Lost River Blues I
  • 07:30    Isnaj Dui - Quarter Wave
  • 11:55    David Byrne & Brian Eno - Breathing Once a Minute
  • 15:00    Myke Dodge Weiskopf - Evening Call to Prayer 11 August 2010 - Draginovo, Bulgaria
  • 15:25    Peter Gabriel - Passion extras #3
  • 17:15    Saltland - But It Was All of Us
  • 21:30    Penjaga Insaf - Keinsafan
  • 24:20    The Guo Brothers & Shung Tıan - Soldiers of the Long March
  • 26:15    Rapoon - Dream Dance
  • 28:55    Huren - The Shroud
  • 30:30    Chronomad - se
  • 34:00    Bielka Nemirovski - Akh Ti Notchenka
  • 39:00    The Rustavi Choir - Orovela(with Peter Gabriel mixed under)
  • 43:55    Rapoon - Hey...Drifting
  • 48:30    David Bryne & Brian Eno - Shaking With My Voice
  • 50:50    Jon Hassel - Map of Dusk
  • 52:30    Myke Dodge Weiskopf - The Muezzins of Mali - San - Adhan al-Fajr
  • 55:25    Ry Cooder & Ronu Majumbar - Hollow Bamboo
  • 1:00:20    Peter Gabriel - Unlocking the Door
  • 1:02:22    end

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Low Light Mixes now has a Tumblr blog.  You can find it here...

low light on Tumblr

I plan on using for more frequent posts.  The main blog here on blogspot will remain for posting mixes & the occasional shout out to good music.  But with the Tumblr blog I'd like to post random msuic clips, some video, some pix, basically anything that interests me.  That way I don't pollute the main Low Light blog with a bunch of other random stuff.

So head on over to the Tumblr site & hang out, comment, reblog, tell me to take a hike.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Morning Music vol. 7 - The Sun King

I found a cool clip on YouTube from the Beatles Abbey Road album.  It is the 16 minute medley that closes the album but it's only the vocals.  It's fascinating to listen to familiar vocals in a new way.  Here's a link to the YouTube clip... Abbey Road vocals.

The vocals for "The Sun King" caught my attention and I thought they'd make a nice start to a new Sunday morning mix.  I couldn't resist messing with the track a little bit so I slowed it down and mixed part of that slowed down track under the normal one  I like the way the sowed track fills the space between vocals.  Then I brought the slow track up full to finish off The Sun King.  It's really kind of amazing how beautiful the track still sounds even when slowed way down.

As I was adding tracks to the mix I stumbled upon the Sun Kil Moon song "Sunshine in Chicago" and it hit me that the mix should revolve around the sun.  So every song on the tracklist has "sun" in the title.

I love using a keyword to narrow a musical search because it always turns up cuts I had completely forgotten about.  In this case I was very excited to have dug up "Eternity's Sunrise" from the "Children of Men" score.  I'm pretty happy with how this "sunny" mix turned out.


[ 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    The Beatles - The Sun King(vocals only)
  • 01:51    Lights Out Asia - Birds Sing Sun-Rising Hymns
  • 04:55    Jon Hopkins - Sun Harmonics
  • 12:10    Phosphorescent - Sun, Arise
  • 15:05    Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - Painted Sun in Abstract
  • 18:00    Boards of Canada - Turquoise Hexagon Sun
  • 23:00    Popol Vuh - Morning Sun
  • 26:17    Alexi Murdoch - Towards the Sun
  • 30:25    Ben Howard - Under the Same Sun
  • 32:45    M. Ostermeier - Sunlight on My Desk
  • 35:15    Underworld - capa meets the sun
  • 37:00    Max Richter - Sunlight
  • 42:28    Jon Hopkins - The Wider Sun
  • 44:48    John Tavener - Eternity's Sunrise
  • 47:10    Vir Unis - Infinite Sun
  • 50:20    David Sylvian - Sunlight seen through towering trees
  • 52:55    The Seven Fields Of Aphelion - Sunburst Chemicals
  • 55:33    Sun Kil Moon - Sunshine in Chicago
  • 57:55    The Beatles - The Sun King
  • 1:00:20    end

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

dub transmissions

I happened to come across a new tune from Moritz Von Oswald Trio.  The song, Blue Dub, has this great, slow, sparse dub thing going on that I love.  I knew as soon as I heard it that I'd have to make a new mix of dub related tunes.

So, "dub transmissions" is, duh, is mix of dub tunes.  I've done them before & this one is similar to the others.  I think the previous ones have had parts that are a little noisier & spacier than this mix.  Most of these tunes have a beat, although that beat can be very laid back and muffled.  


[ 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    Moritz Von Oswald Trio - Blue Dub
  • 05:30    The Black Dog - Sleep Deprivation 1
  • 09:30    krill.minima - Kalypso
  • 12:50    Holger Flinsch - Navigator
  • 19:10    Massive Attack - Cool Monsoon
  • 23:00    Deepcord - Theme From Silent World
  • 32:20    Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement - The Spirit Wore the Shoes of the Boy
  • 37:10    Iminazole - Sunny
  • 41:20    The Green Kingdom - dustloop4
  • 44:05    Deadbeat - Portable Memory
  • 47:30    As If - Crumble to Dust
  • 54:30    Pablo Bolivar - Walk Man Fever
  • 05:05    As If - To Be Ground
  • 09:30    Bjorn Rohde - Forest of Forgotten Hearts
  • 15:35    end

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A glitch in time

Sometime around 2001 I discovered the album Tides by Arovane.  I'm not sure if it qualifies as "post-digital" or "blip hop" or "micro" music but it was through that album that I began a brief love affair with the style of music known as "glitch."

I have always loved electronic & ambient music but at the end of the 1990s I had lost interest in berlin style electronics and mostly listened to straight ambient.  But with the emergence of glitch, and it's use of complicated beats, noise and samples, I found a new rhythmic electronic music to dive into.

The biggest purveyor of glitch music back then was the Mille Plateaux label.  With their Click & Cuts series they introduced me to a whole new range of sound in music.  There is definitely a lot of music from that time period that, while interesting, could become annoying as well.  I'm not a fan of loud and aggressive glitch.  I definitely am more in tune with the sort of stuff put out by 12k.

Over time I grew tired of much of the glitch scene and the never ending little pops & clicks & wee little sounds intruding on the music.  Although I still enjoy much of 12k music.

Recently I was organizing some of my collection & revisited some old glitch material.  I found that I am still very fond of some of it.  I started collecting tracks for this mix and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

So this mix is a little step back in time to the early 2000s.  A small glitch in the passing of time to when glitch ruled, for me anyway.

Btw, I made the clock gif myself!  Woo hoo!  Can't wait to try more.


[ 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    Arovane - Tides (2000)
  • 04:45    Carpet Musics - Phone Lines (2001)
  • 08:24    Clickits - No Clickedy (2003)
  • 11:35    Xela - Impulsive Behavior (2002)
  • 15:30    offthesky - Down the Stream (2005)
  • 20:50    Shuttle358 - I'm Not Afraid (2003)
  • 25:05    Twerk - From Brown to Green (2003)
  • 29:55    Jan Jelinek - Facelift (2003)
  • 34:55    Bexar Bexar - Kt (2002)
  • 38:30    Christopher Willits - The Seaweed Machine (2003)
  • 40:45    Christian Kleine - Several (2002)
  • 47:15    Arovane - Ambelio (1999)
  • 52:20    Shuttle358 - Calty (2000)
  • 57:11    end

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Movement & Location - music for biking

This mix is completely different from anything that I've posted here.  It's not ambient, or electronic or Sunday morning jazz.  This is music for motion.

This is a mix I made last summer to listen to while biking.  I liked it so much that I added some new tunes this year and made it longer.  All of the songs have a propulsive, forward-moving feel to them.  There are some oddball choices in there but generally most of the music would fall under the heading of indie rock.  Artists include Yacht, Vampire Weekend, Japandroids, Lord Huron, Rural Alberta Advantage, Jonathan Boulet, Underworld, Shearwater, Givers, etc.

I like the fact that it's 2 hours long so I can go out on an hour long ride and still have enough left for the next ride.  The mix also works well on a treadmill.  I wanted to post this before now so anyone who downloads it hopefully can make good use of it before summer disappears.


[ d o w n l o a d ]

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Patrick Watson - Blackwind
  • 03:45    Punch Brothers - Movement & Location
  • 06:45    Willy Porter - Breathe
  • 10:15    Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man
  • 14:09    Givers - Up up up
  • 18:30    Jinja Safari - Mermaids
  • 22:22    Benny Goodman - Sing, Sing, Sing
  • 27:20    Mother Falcon - Dirt Summer
  • 30:35    The Killers - Human
  • 34:30    Yacht - Utopia
  • 37:30    Shearwater - Animal Life
  • 40:55    The Rural Alberta Advantage - Tornado '87
  • 44:32    Matt & Kim - Don't Slow Down
  • 47:33    The Boxer Rebellion - Organ Song
  • 50:50    Lord Huron - Time to Run
  • 55:20    Underworld - Dark & Long
  • 1:02:15    Tilly And The Wall - Heavy Mood
  • 1:05:20    Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Can't Hold Us
  • 1:09:35    Vampire Weekend - Unbelievers
  • 01:12:55    Jonathan Boulet - You're a Animal
  • 01:16:20    Underworld - Downpipe
  • 01:23:30    Jens Lekman - An Argument With Myself
  • 01:27:10    Kate Bush - Cloudbusting
  • 01:32:10    Jon Hopkins - Open Eye Signal
  • 01:39:52    Avett Brothers - Kick Drum Heart
  • 01:42:30    Jonathan Boulet - Mangle Trang
  • 01:45: 55   Japandroids - The House that Heaven Built
  • 01:50:35    The Rural Alberta Advantage - Barnes' Yard
  • 01:52:48    Vampire Weekend - A Punk
  • 01:55:00    Andrew Bird - Fitz and the Dizzyspells
  • 01:58:20    faltyDL - She Sleeps
  • 02:02:38    Talking Heads - This Must Be The Place
  • 02:07:31  end