Ambient Soundbath #56 features the music of Canadian composers, Mychael Danna and Tim Clement, who, for a time in the 1980s and 1990s created a series of sublime recordings bringing together field recordings and acoustic-electronic sound synthesis. For me their music typified the best that new age music could be combining the natural sounds with a bevy of synthesizer, as well as the occasional acoustic-electric treatment. What I don’t know about the duo is a lot.
I first learned about them during my music journalism days, maybe 2001, or thereabouts, when a ‘best of…‘ showed up in the mail from Mirage Records. I was receiving a lot of music at that time, and couldn’t keep track of it, but something about this recording struck me… I thought it weird that any artist that I was reviewing would have a ‘best of…’ collection and how was it that I didn’t know them. I was immediately struck by an image, inside the jacket of the CD that showed the duo in a marsh with a boom mic recording. It was so poetic and inspiring. I was further reminded of exactly what inspired me about this collection when I found my AllMusic review for this recording from all those years ago…
Danna & Clément spent most of the summers of 1984 and 1985 on a remote farm in the isolation of the Ontario wilderness composing and recording. Situated deep in the woods, Setle, their rural farm, was without electrical power during their stay, so much of their work involved using power from a generator positioned 400 feet away and connected by a series of long extension cords. By taking this unique approach, and by integrating outdoor sounds recorded at these and other remote locations, they were able to create an uplifting form of “natural ambient music that expresses the profound beauty and solitude of the Canadian environment.”
Like so many creative endeavors that happen like a flash and then are gone, I’ve often wondered why the duo split up. Perhaps it was because Mychael Danna went on to become an Academy-award winning composer and musical ‘go-to’ for Hollywood with his brand of electro-acoustic exotica; Assuming he left Canada for Los Angeles and, maybe, Tim decided to stay closer to home… I have no idea… Both of these gentlemen are actively working and Tim Clement’s site does reference a new release with Mychael Danna slated for late-2016, which gives me a lot of hope… though, late-2016 has come and gone.
In any case, without further delay, please enjoy this Ambient Soundbath podcast dedicated to the profoundly beautiful and visionary recording of Mychael Danna and Tim Clement:
00:00 – 12:00 – A Gradual Awakening – A Gradual Awakening (Also on ‘Best of…‘)
12:01 -17:00 – Cootes Paradise – North of Niagara
17:01 – 23:00 – Persia – Another Sun (Also on ‘Best of…‘)
23:01 – 28:00 – Silent Lake – North of Niagara
28:01 – 51:00 – To the Land Beneath the Waves – Summerland (Also on ‘Best of…‘)
51:01 – 60:00 – Stars and Spells –Summerland
60:01 – 69:00 – Summerland –Summerland (Also on ‘Best of…‘)