I’ve featured Off Land before on the Ambient Soundbath, but I’ve never dedicated an entire program to Off Land, the work of Tim Dwyer. This program features the tracks from the first two of, an ever-growing collection, known as, the (Drone Variations). I struggle to write about these tracks, not from a lack of feeling, but because they’ve been such constant companions for the last couple years, especially during my sonic meditation practices. Their essence, like being, isn’t something that can be sold or conveyed, but rather, must be experienced. So rather than trying to put down some lines about what I’ve experienced or what you should experience, I’ll dispense with all that, stop right here and let you enjoy the work of Tim Dwyer and Off Land.
This episode of the Ambient Soundbath Podcast features the work of my favorite living composer, Harold Budd.
I have listened to, meditated with and analyzed no music more (save, maybe, Claude Debussy) than I have the work of Harold Budd. His music is like being a hugged by an old friend after a long journey. The music, when it comes on, embraces you, holds you in its warmth and everything else melts away. It’s not that Harold Budd is a virtuoso, or a sound maker who’s primary instrument is the piano, rather he’s somewhere in between, a visionary, bringing together deep sounds and resonant timbres all for the purpose of creating interesting, evocative, thoughtful, spacious (I better stop before I run out of adjectives) compositions that are, on some level, the sonic embodiment of well-being and inner peace.
Please enjoy this episode of the Soundbath and if you’re not familiar with Harold Budd, get ready, because this will be a soundbath of the highest degree. Now, it’s my pleasure, to give you this program featuring the exceptional music of Harold Budd.
00:00 – 11:00 – Bell Tower – La Bella Vista
11:00 – 34:00 – Abandoned Cities – Abandoned Cities
34:00 – 37:00 – A Child in a Sylvan Field – By the Dawn’s Early Light
37:00 – 44:00 – The Room of Mirrors – The Room
44:00 – 50:30 – The Child With A Lion – The White Arcades
50:30 – 56:30 – The Room of Ancillary Dreams – The Room
56:30 – 61:00 – The Room of Oracles – The Room
61:00 – END – Agua – Agua
I first stumbled upon Moby’s Long Ambients after they were released in early summer of 2016. As a long-time fan of Moby’s ambient work I was excited by this free release, which is still available here: http://moby.com/la1/ – The complete 4-hour collection instantly became a meditational and relaxation go-to recording for me, as it’s calming and easy to immerse yourself in, and as I sometimes like to say, from a listening standpoint, there are no sharp edges, just smooth contours.
Moby wrote this about the release, and I think that it parallels the mission of the Ambient Soundbath Podcast nicely:
“it’s really quiet: no drums, no vocals, just very slow calm pretty chords and sounds and things for sleeping and yoga and etc.”
1.) 00:00 – 27:00 – LA 9 – Moby – Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.
2.) 27:00 – 38:00 – LA 4 – Moby – Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.
3.) 38:00 – 60:00 – LA 3 – Moby – Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.
4.) 60:00 – 75:00 – LA 7 – Moby – Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.
p.s. If you’re enjoying the podcast, please leave positive reviews on iTunes, Stitcher, and wherever else you might be listening.
Manitou‘s All Points North was a project that I initially created in 2006 to feature a series of works that focused on memory points in and around Detroit, Michigan; ideas, sentiments, impressions, etc… At the time, this work didn’t fit with a lot of the work I was doing, so I created this pseudonym. For a time, when this initially launched on MySpace.com (remember that!) I even created a little back story to support the work; that was fun. Much to my surprise, years later, as I kept working and kind of forgot about the release, I learned that the 2006 Manitou recording, All Points North was one of my most popular recordings; apparently this became a touchstone for folks, as fan mail around it also started to increase. That’s nice when that happens, one of the best things an artist can hope is that there works goes and grows beyond them.
Ten years later, in 2016, I created another Manitou recording that painted a different kind of picture, of a different kind of city. A lot happened in Detroit between 2006 and 2015. This recording, Landscape, Histories and Sentimentattempted to capture sonic impressions of a bygone, 19th Century period in Detroit’s history that was slowly fading from view.
In 2017, I released another Manitou recording, perhaps, the final one, Shadows of a Detroit Winter Sun. This recording, for me, is a farewell, a love letter to the Detroit my grand-parents and parents knew, the Detroit that my great-grandfather came to from Italy, the Detroit that my Appalachian kin migrated to for work, a farewell to the desolate Detroit of the 1970s and 80s that I called home. The city is changing and so, too, is the landscape and the history. It’s bittersweet, really, as that old city that we all came to know so well, is disappearing. There’s preservation in spots, but we Americans don’t love history, nor do we love reminders of a past we struggle to reconcile with, so out with the old, in with the new, that’s the Capitalist way – Bigger, better, faster, more!Shadows of a Detroit Winter Sun uses, as reference points, buildings and structures that are mostly gone – Raised, burned or just long-forgotten, this recording attempts to paint impressionistic memories of the forgotten that lingered in the long shadows of Detroit’s low winter sun.
I’ve given these recordings a slightly different treatment from their original album releases so that they fit together better here for a unified listen. I don’t know if these recordings will provide the impressionistic poetics of Detroit that I’ve strived for, but for an Ambient Soundbath, this episode features some of my best work as I attempted to embody the symphonic textures of Claude Debussy’s La Mer and Nocturnes, as well as Ralph Vaughan-William’s Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, Norfolk Rhapsody and The Lark Ascending.
This episode of the Ambient Soundbath features an original work called Parallax Drone. It’s a work that I created after spending time listening back to previous episodes of the Soundbath, something that I’ve never really done before. For some, I imagine, the track might be a little too noisy, or droney or abstract, maybe even atonal… However, for me, this work is a quintessentially a soundbath.
In the creation of this piece I’ve worked to create a texture or sonic fabric that’s labyrinthine, a place where one’s mind’s eye, and one’s mind’s ear could get lost following the shifting and juxtaposing sonic symmetries, like a musical mandala. I often thought of Philip Glass’ (now, apparently out of print, but you can hear it here) Early Works when working on this piece. I wanted to create something with a textural depth that the listener could retreat ‘into’. It’s not airy or spacey, but is quite dense, thick even, in its use of frequencies as sonic color and the equalization of those frequencies.
I would love to hear any feedback that you may have on this piece, good or bad. Please enjoy.
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.”
This episode of the Ambient Soundbath is comprised exclusively of the work of Altus (aka Mike Carss). Altus has put out many recordings (nearly 30+ recordings in fifteens years) of lush, well-crafted and superiorly composed music. All of which are free to listen to and download on his website. I once tweeted that ‘Altus is the music that I imagine when I’m creating music for the Ambient Soundbath’… It’s as true now, as ever… This program, likely the first of many Altus programs, is pulled from two recordings, Innerspace (2016) and Komorebi (2015). While I thought the first program would be dedicated to his Sleep series (1, 2), a set of personal favorites and desert island picks, I went with these two beauties instead.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and might even get some angry email for this statement, but, for me, Altus is the only artist I’ve found that comes closes to the Quiet Music-era of Steve Roach both in timbral lushness and sonic beauty… a musical high-water mark that many artists have endeavored towards (myself included), but only Steve Roach had achieved…until now.
I think you’ll agree, that the Altus tracks from Innerspace and Komorebi are perfect for an Ambient Soundbath and just the right sounds to set the perfect sonic mood for thinking and being… Enjoy.