Sunday, December 28, 2014

Overtones & Nocturnes

I've mentioned many times that a mix often starts with a single track that interests me and takes off from there.  In the case of this classical mix, the track is "In Spe" by Arvo Part.

I first heard the piece via YouTube & loved it right from the start.  As far as I can tell it has not been recorded for official release so the version in this mix is the performance I heard on YouTube.  You can find the original ten minute track here... In Spe, Arvo Pärt, Georgian Sinfonietta

Creating a classical mix right now works nicely because I just bought the excellent new piece by John Luther Adams - Become Ocean.  It's basically an orchestral drone piece & it's beautiful.

One of my favorite recordings of 2014, Atmos by A Winged Victory for the Sullen, makes two appearances in the mix.  It's a gorgeous record that fits perfectly in this mix.

A couple of other tracks that I was happy to squeeze into the mix are "Odi Et Amo" by Jóhann Jóhannsson and The Dublin Guitar Quartet's version of Philip Glass' "String Quartet No. 3 Mishima V."  I've always loved the Philip Glass soundtrack "Mishima" and this guitar quartet version is sublime.

I guess this will be my last mix for 2014.  I'll start a new mix right off the bat in 2015.  

I'd like to thank everyone who has been following this blog for almost 9 years now.  I've always said that I'd make mixes just for my own amusement, even if nobody else ever heard them.  But when other folks get some enjoyment out of them it makes it more fun and meaningful.  Plus it's just plain cool to have connected to people all over the world through these mixes.  Thanks!

Enjoy & Happy New Year!

T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00    Jonny Greenwood - Overtones(The Master OST)
  • 02:00    Arvo Part - In Spe(Georgian Sinfonietta recording)
  • 07:20    A Winged Victory for the Sullen - Atmos XII
  • 10:45    Valentin Silvestrov - Symphony No. 5(excerpt)
  • 14:18    Christina Vantzou - vhs
  • 18:46    Islands of Light - Goerde
  • 21:55    Ólafur Arnalds - Highway
  • 24:10    Jóhann Jóhannsson - Odi Et Amo
  • 27:10    Hildur Gudnadottir - Unveiled
  • 30:33    Vieo Abiungo - Insincerity Peeked Through Cloudlessly(Upward Arrows Remix)
  • 33:55    John Luther Adams - Become Ocean(excerpt)
  • 44:00    Nest - Far From Land
  • 48:40    A Winged Victory for the Sullen - Atmos VIII
  • 52:10    Dublin Guitar Quartet - String Quartet No. 3 Mishima V
  • 55:30    Steve Reich - Electric Counterpoint I Fast
  • 1:02:30    John Luther Adams - Become Ocean(end)
  • 1:07:09    end

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Best ambient/instrumental albums of 2014

Even though I don't listen to quite as much electronic & ambient music as I used to, I still listen to an awful lot of it.  And just like many other genres, it's difficult to keep up with all the new music.  I'm sure I missed some good releases but here is my attempt at a best of 2104 ambient/instrumental list.

It's no surprise that Loscil, Kyle Bobby Dunn and 36 are on the list.  They've all made lists in the past.  The Dirk Serries and tonepoet albums made the list because they are great examples of guitar ambient and I'm a total sucker for that style.

Full Circle by The Circular Ruins was a late season discovery thanks to the good folks at the Hypnos forum.  The first cut is a killer track.  The Janek Schaefer album, Lay-by Lullaby, is a gentle combo of road noise, field recordings, minimal music and found sounds.  

Two records here approach new age territory but manage to be engaging without being cheesy or too sweet.  One is eternell - Kalimba Ambience which uses improvisations on kalimba as the sole source material.  It's very peaceful & relaxing.  The other recording is Jordan De La Sierra - Gymnosphere: Song of the Rose.  It's a re-issue of an album originally released in 1977 at the dawn of the new age movement.  The music uses alternate piano tunings to create long, hypnotic pieces.  It's quite good.

Speaking of quite good...a unique album on the list is Dylan Howe - Subterranean - New Designs on Bowie's Berlin.  It is a collection of jazz versions of Bowie instrumentals form his Berlin period.  Freakin' excellent music!

Definitely check out the rest of the list as well, some very good stuff in there.

Another year and another hard drive full of great music.  Cheers!


1. Loscil - Sea Island
2. Dylan Howe - Subterranean - New Designs on Bowie's Berlin
3. Janek Schaefer - Lay-by Lullaby
4. tonepoet - Headspace
5. A Winged Victory For The Sullen - Atomos
6. Dirk Serries - The Origin Reversal
7. The Circular Ruins - Full Circle
8. Kyle Bobby Dunn - Kyle Bobby Dunn and the Infinite Sadness
9. Jordan De La Sierra - Gymnosphere: Song of the Rose
10. Benoît Pioulard - Hymnal Remixes
11. 36 - Dream Tempest
12. Locust - After the Rain
13. Thomas Koner - LA BARCA complete edition
14. Steve Roach - The Delicate Forever
15. ASC - Truth Be Told
16. eternell - Kalimba Ambience
17. Christopher Willits - opening
18. Brian Reitzell - Auto Music
19. Dirty Beaches - Stateless
20. Tangerine Dream - Sorcerer(Cinematographic Score)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Best albums of 2014

2014 was another year where I continued to listen to more "normal" music than ambient or electronic music.  

Part of the shift in my tastes can be directly attributed to Spotify.  I listen to Spotify at work a lot and I have used it more and more to discover new music.  I keep a playlist called "2014 albums worth listening to" that now has 3874 tracks in it.  Not all the albums in there are great or even good, really.  The playlist is just a collection of things in my wheelhouse.  I'm constantly on the prowl for new things to add to it.

On Tuesday when new music is released, I go here...  to find out what's new and if it looks interesting I sample it on Spotify & maybe add it to a playlist.  Finding new music has become close to an obsession over the past couple of years and with so much stuff out there and ease of access, it's a great time for music lovers.

Most of the albums on this list you can probably find on lots of other indie lists like NPR, Consequence of Sound, Pitchfork, etc.  A couple records not on the national lists are from Wisconsin bands, Phox & Field Report.  Both record for the fine label, Partisan Records, as does Sylvan Esso which came in at #9 on my list.  Another album with a Wisconsin tie is Paradise Outlaw by Pieta Brown.  A beautiful, ethereal album recorded at Justin Vernon's studio in Wisconsin.

Another odd ball selection is the awesome album by Dylan Howe - Subterranean - New Designs on Bowie's Berlin.  It is a collection of jazz versions of Bowie instrumentals from his Berlin period.  I love this record!  Find it & buy it here...

I included Loscil - Sea Island on this list, even though it's electronic not indie, because it's very, very good and deserved to be on both lists.

The only other album that doesn't fit under the indie umbrella is Piers Faccini & Vincent Segal - Songs of Time Lost.  It's a subtle record of soft vocals, guitar and cello.  If you like Nick Drake you will love this record.

The rest of the list is all variations of indie music, some loud, some soft, some electric, some acoustic, some straight forward and some a bit more odd - all of it good stuff worth the effort of seeking out.

What were your most played albums this year?  Please post any favorites in the comments.  I'll also be posting a list of ambient/electronic favs.

BEST OF 2014:

  1. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream
  2. Damien Jurado - Brothers & Sisters of the Eternal Son
  3. Field Report - Marigolden
  4. The Rural Alberta Advantage - Mended with Gold
  5. Phox - Phox
  6. Strand of Oaks - HEAL
  7. Dylan Howe - Subterranean - New Designs on Bowie's Berlin
  8. Pieta Brown - Paradise Outlaw
  9. Sylvan Esso - Sylvan Esso
 10. Phantogram - Voices
 11. The Antlers - Familiars
 12. Saintseneca - Dark Arc
 13. Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy
 14. The Barr Brothers - Sleeping Operator
 15. Real Estate - Atlas
 16. St. Vincent - St. Vincent
 17. Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots
 18. Eno & Hyde - Someday World
 19. Blaudzun - Promises of No Man's Land
 20. Bill Callahan - Have Fun With God
 21. Loscil - Sea Island
 22. Warpaint - Warpaint
 23. Piers Faccini & Vincent Segal - Songs of Time Lost
 24. Gem Club - In Roses
 25. alt-J - This Is All Yours

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Cartridge - an ambient 8-bit adventure

I am very excited about this mix.  It comes from Josh Furey, the man the excellent indie label Nocturne Records.

The mix consists of ambient and slower vintage 8-bit video game music.  It starts off with a cut from Disasterpeace from the album FEZ.  I had just recently bought the album and was thinking about doing an 8-bit type of mix myself when Josh sent me his Cartridge mix.  Wow, am I glad I didn't bother with my mix because Josh's blend of 8-bit music and video game sounds and tunes is perfect.

Thanks to Josh for his work on this fantastic mix.  Check out is excellent latest album PETALS.

[ 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 • Disasterpeace - Beacon [FEZ]
  • 02:34 • Pixel - Balcony [Cave Story]
  • 04:03 • Martin Galway - Green Beret [Green Beret]
  • 06:08 • Magyari András, Brian Coburn, Spencer Nilsen - Medusa Bay [Ecco The Dolphin]
  • 08:03 • Brain Wash - Stage Four [Pulseman]
  • 10:04 • Motoi Sakuraba - Map [Arcus Odyssey]
  • 11:29 • Koji Kondo - Forest Temple [Ledgend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time]
  • 11:29 • Rob Hubbard & Ben Daglish - Auf Wiedersehen Monty [Auf Wiedersehen Monty]
  • 15:48 • Tim Follin - Ghouls n Ghosts [Ghouls n Ghosts]
  • 16:39 • David Wise, Eveline Ascher & Robin Beanland - Aquatic Ambience [Donkey Kong Country]
  • 19:57 • Kenji Yamamoto & Minako Hamano - Lower Brinstar [Super Metroid]
  • 22:56 • David M. Hanlon - Druid II Enlightenment [Druid II Enlightenment]
  • 25:47 • Michael Land - Goodsoup Family Crypt [Curse Of Monkey Island]
  • 27:28 • David Wise, Eveline Ascher & Robin Beanland - Misty Menace [Donkey Kong Country]
  • 29:43 • Hiroki Kikuta - Innocent Sea [Seiken Densetsu 3]
  • 30:56 • Martin Galway - Wizball [Wizball]
  • 34:29 • Wally Beben - Darkside [Darkside]
  • 37:09 • Disasterpeace - Spirit [FEZ]
  • 38:58 • Kev Bruce - Stage Atlantis Ruins [Porky Pigs Haunted Holliday]
  • 41:14 • Kazunaka Yamane - Doppelganger [Double Dragon II]
  • 42:58 • Junko Tamiya - Ichirou's Death [Sweet Home]
  • 44:32 • Neil Brennan - Way of the Exploding Fist [Way of the Exploding Fist]
  • 45:13 • Masami Ueda - The Second Floor [Resident Evil II]
  • 48:04 • Masaki Hashimoto - Title Screen [Kabuki Quantum Fighter]
  • 49:56 • Naoki Kadaka - Mothership Defeated (Game Clear) [Fester's Quest]
  • 50:24 • Masaki Hashimoto - Opening [Kabuki Quantum Fighter]
  • 50:56 • Mitsuhiko Takano - File Select Screen [Ledgend of Zelda: Minish Cap]