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Sleeping Dogs Lie 30jul10: Brian Eno

Music for Civic Recovery Centre is an ambient Installation album from British musician Brian Eno, released in 2000. An Opal release, with no catalogue number, this title is only available from EnoShop.

The music on the album is taken from an Installation – a show featuring music and visuals – that took place at the Sonic Boom exhibition of the Hayward Gallery, London, in April-June 2000. The event, featuring over 30 other artists, was curated by David Toop.

Part of Eno’s Quiet Club series of Installations, it combined 12 audio elements with 10 visual light-sculpture generative elements, which was, itself, part of a series of multi-dimensional generative music pieces using asynchronous CD players, carousel projectors and video monitors used in other Installation pieces.

In a conversation with Toop, Eno’s view is of a quiet “recovery area” situated within a city area, a theory which he has spoken of since the mid eighties; a “critically-functioning public space”, a (preferably) darkened room containing large-format screens, lots of CD players and sculptures.

Eno has said of his Installations “I want to make places that feel like music. I want to make things which are like music for the eyes. I want to extend music out into space, into the three dimensions of space, and into colour”.

The album contains only one track, which is based upon, and essentially an extended remix / melding of the tracks Ikebukuro, from his 1992 album The Shutov Assembly and Kites II & Kites III from his 1999 album Kite Stories. The heavily-treated, slowed-down vocals of the Kite Stories part are based on a Japanese ghost-story, Onmyo-Ji, by Reiko Otano and was read by Kyoko Inatome, a waitress from his favorite sushi restaurant. Eno calls this process “composting”: “so many processings and reprocessings – it’s a bit like making soup from the leftovers of the day before, which in turn was made from leftovers…”, “some earlier pieces I worked on became digested by later ones, which in turn became digested again. The technique is like composting: converting what would otherwise have been waste into nourishment”.

01 Brian Eno: “The Quiet Club” (from “Music for the Civic Recovery Centre”, 2000)

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Atlantic Waves 09mar10: foot-stompin', brass-blarin' and rip snortin' high energy folk(ish) beats made in the UK

Show of Hands is an English acoustic roots and folk duo comprising singer-songwriter Steve Knightley and multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer. Their appeal is based on the combined power of Knightley’s original songs, the quality of their vocals and harmonies, and their multi-instrumental virtuosity. Their performances feature guitars, mandolin, mandocello, fiddle, cuatro, viola and concertina.

Ska Cubano is a London-based group which combines ska and Cuban music such as son and mambo, with elements of other genres including cumbia and calypso.

Inspired by the great brass band traditions of Eastern Europe, Orkestra del Sol’s music exudes energy and spirit: the swagger of a Balkan wedding band, the vibrancy of a Caribbean festival and the flair of a Latin ballroom. Welcome to the irresistible world of Orkestra Del Sol, brass troubadours with an uncanny ability to win over audiences with their captivating presence, slapstick antics and infectious energy. Globally inspired, but distilled in Scotland.

The Destroyers are a 15-headed conflagration of instrumentalists, vocalists and composers, specialising in turbo-folk mélanges of Gypsy, Balkan, Klesmer and beat poetry. They put on a riotous uplifting show, and get audiences really going– jumping around and that sort of thing.

Dynamo’s Rhythm Aces particular brand of deja voodoo spin is not only Sublimely refreshing, but their neon cocktail of vision and sound hands over its visa at the borders of genius. This sharp suited super slick trio take modern and contemporary Hits, from Frankie goes to Hollywood’s ‘Relax’ to Motorhead ‘Ace of spades’ via The Spice Girls, The Smiths and Ian Dury. And serve them up skillet hot, in 40s/50s western swing and boogie-woogie style.

Mukka‘s extraordinarily charismatic Romanian singer Dana Codorean-Berciu brings the deepest melancholy in Transylvanian ballads of loss and yearning, only to swoop to the other extreme with a frenetic dance tune with wild instrumentals. Her songs spring from the heart of Transylvanian village life and yet convey such depth of feeling and humour that they transcend boundaries of place and language.

Since their formation in late 2002, Los Albertos have been creating a frenzy upon the dance floors and grassy fields of Europe with their inimitable foot-stompin’, brass-blarin’, and rip snortin’ high energy blend of ska, punk, funk, dub and original beats. Drawing upon a peculiarly twisted English humour (where The Comic Strip meets League of Gentlemen) this six-piece throw in some dynamite horn, guitar and drum action and invariably you end up with a band firing on all cylinders and on top of their game.

Wild and infectious mix of Balkan brass, Middle Eastern flavours, Ska and Dance. Each member of the quintet is absurdly accomplished – and they all sing too, sometimes all at once. A Baghdaddies gig promotes a healthy increase in heart rate, inducing an irresistible urge to dance uncontrollably and smile benignly on your fellow man (and woman). Fusion of rhythms and melodies plucked from around the world are guaranteed to raise your spirits! Festival favourites, The Baghdaddies play Balkan gypsy with Middle Eastern flavours, shades of klezmer and tango, jazz and reggae plus a touch of ska – all laced with funky dance grooves and blistering eastern brass harmonies.

Originally formed in Spring 2001 by founding members Dan Clark and Michael Simmonds (guitar and violin respectively), The Magic Number specialise in Gipsy Jazz Swing based songs. With variants of Instrumentation of Double Bass/Tuba, violin, 2x guitars, trumpet, drums and four part harmonies, they perform regularly around the country as everything from a duo up to a full six/seven piece band.

Pronghorn: a more motley collection of bad shirts, prison tattoos, greasy comb-overs, mullets and broken teeth you’d be hard pushed to find outside of a Dale Winton home video.

Often imitated but never quite equalled, the Tofu Love Frogs took the Celtic punk of the Pogues, dipped it in Special Brew, dusted it with speed, smothered it in mud and took the festival scene by storm. After their formation in 1989 things would never be the same. They tore up festivals, parties, fields and squats for nine boozed up drug-fuelled years then promptly exploded in 1998 never to be seen again. Well, until 2007. Yes, they are back and they ain’t lost any of that bite; they are still as hardcore as ever.

Tragic Roundabout: “Five musicians and a drummer”. Clarinet, accordion, banjo, guitar, bass and drums with the occasional trombone or trumpet make sure that the music stays on the more robust side of the acoustic spectrum. The sound is a kind of raucous and celebratory eastern European flavoured acoustic punk, heavily influenced by their busking roots. The music has a sometimes comedic, sometimes surreal quality but their outlandish world of lino men and camel herders is certainly infectious.

The Max Pashm sound is a unique blend of traditional Greek/Balkan/Gypsy & Klezmer music, fused with high energy electronic beats & digitally manipulated fx.

A infectious infusion of eastern melodies and sultry London beats. Forty Thieves Orkestar influences range from Balkan Gypsy music, Klezmer, and Belly dancing music, to Hip Hop, King Tubby style Reggae and the laid back bar grooves of Kruder and Dorfmeister. Brass, clarinet, violins, accordion, oud, cymbalom and percussion interweave with earthy samples, crisp beats, evocative atmospheric sounds, and studio trickery.

GhettoPlotz is a live klezmer-house dancefloor mashup project featuring Mark White live on laptop and keyboards, Tanya Winston on decks and Miki Shaw on visuals. Described by Kiss FM as ‘the Prodigy with violins’, think the sounds of old-time Russia stirred up with fat and funky beats a la Basement Jaxx and you’ll get an idea of the GhettoPlotz experience.

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Atlantic Waves 27oct09: LIFEM 09

The very first London International Festival of Exploratory Music (LIFEM) unites the myspace generation of musical explorers from the four corners of the globe.

Produced by Red Orange and presented in the perfect acoustics of Kings Place, LIFEM has truly exploited the incredible potential of the world-wide-web to seek the most exciting finds from the far East, the middle East, the Arctic Circle, south America and East and West Europe. LIFEM shows just what the internet can do for world music.

LIFEM has curated evenings which bring together a selection of artists from shared continents to reveal the commonality and differences between them.

The night of Gypsy, Klezmer and Ceilidh is bound to be extremely rich and diverse as the music of Les Yeux Noirs (France); Cukunft (Poland) and Monster Ceilidh Band (UK) represent three old traditions of social dance and party music culture. Kings Place’s Hall 2 presents dancefloor fillers from Brazil, where the well-loved rhythms of samba have mutated via musical technology to create exotic electronica. Daniel Peixoto brings it bang up to date with dirty, DIY electro pop with more than his slashed neon t-shirts in common with German electro-trash.

Alongside this whirlwind tour of global music, LIFEM also presents a free programme of award-winning short films making their UK debut.

www.lifem.org.uk

88 Atlantic Waves 27oct09

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Atlantic Waves 06oct09: LIFEM 09

The very first London International Festival of Exploratory Music unites the myspace generation of musical explorers from the four corners of the globe.

Produced by Red Orange and presented in the perfect acoustics of Kings Place, LIFEM has truly exploited the incredible potential of the world-wide-web to seek the most exciting finds from the far East, the middle East, the Arctic Circle, south America and East and West Europe. LIFEM shows just what the internet can do for world music.

LIFEM has curated evenings which bring together a selection of artists from shared continents to reveal the commonality and differences between them.

The Festival opens with a look at our very own island and a night of classically influenced ‘minimalist avant chamber pop’. Jenni Roditi has garnered rave reviews of her passionate and absorbing work. Unbound by traditional limits, she explores her voice’s potential to create captivating performances. Andrew Poppy is renowned for his minimalist electro and compositions for opera, orchestra, films and contemporary dance. Sometimes compared to Cabaret Voltaire and Philip Glass, this concert sees Poppy performing on piano and his own downtempo electronics.

Songs and singers from the Arctic Circle brings together two Inuk singers; Goldfrapp-like Nive Nielsen from Greenland and guttural throat-singer Tanya Tagaq. Nive has emerged from the stark isolation of the Greenland geography with an originality and of-the-moment sound created by her stunning voice and little red ukulele. Her debut album is being produced by PJ Harvey’s musical partner John Parish and promises great things. Tanya Tagaq has appeared several times in the UK, each visit bringing exciting new developments in her sound. Worldwide her extraordinary voice and quirky manner has led to collaborations with Björk, Kronos Quartet and Mike Patton. She learnt the rhythmic throat singing of the women Inuk as a child, but through evolving relationships with new collaborators, she continues to explore the sonic potential of her powerful voice.

Wednesday, 04 November 09

UK minimalist avant chamber pop
19:45 – 20:30 Jenni Roditi (UK) Kings Place – Hall 1 Buy Tickets Here
21:00 – 21:45 Andrew Poppy (UK) Kings Place – Hall 1 Buy Tickets Here

Thursday, 05 November 09

Inuk snow songs, ice folk and throat singing
19:45 – 20:30 Nive Nielsen (Greenland) Kings Place – Hall 1 Buy Tickets Here
21:00 – 21:45 Tanya Tagaq (Canada) Kings Place – Hall 1 Buy Tickets Here

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85 Atlantic Waves 06oct09

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Atlantic Waves 11aug09: Planetary Assault Systems

Planetary-Assault-SystemsWhen it was announced that Luke Slater was going to release his latest Planetary Assault Systems album on Ostgut Ton, it hardly came as a surprise. After all, he’d already given them an epic ambient cut for their Shut Up and Dance! Updated ballet soundtrack, and he’s been a semi-regular fixture behind the decks at Berghain since late 2006. But even given his previous record for raw techno and acid as Planetary Assault Systems, it does seem as if Temporary Suspension is Luke Slater’s “Berghain album”—a distillation of his adventures at the club, both in the DJ booth and whilst getting sweaty amongst the muscle marys and party animals. Even the introduction of the record draws direct comparisons to the Berghain experience, with the slow fade in to an already driving beat mirroring the walk up the first set of stairs to an already bulging dance floor.

After the maelstrom of murkiness that is the album’s opening gambit, Slater lures the listener into a false sense of calm with ambient noise and a rumbling bass drum, before slowly unleashing the hissing breaks of “Whoodoo.” It was Slater’s synergy of Detroit techno and breakbeats that first marked him out as a producer to watch in the early ’90s, but this time around he’s opted for a much more Teutonic set of influences, matching up vicious industrial cacophony with Flügel-esque whirring synths.

Things really kick off with the full-bodied bassline of “Om the Def,” a gruff but bouncy roller which is sure to demolish techno audiences across the globe later this year, but some of the album’s most interesting moments come with some of Slater’s more unorthodox experiments. “Hold It” sees the producer combine the Planetary Assault Systems sound palette with a jacking Chi-house template a la Paul Johnson, whilst the face melting bass onslaught of “Attack of the Mutant Camels” has a futuristic grimey feel that should slot right in next to more punishing dubstep and techno workouts. The only relief from Slater’s tenebrous beats comes in the form of penultimate track “Gateway to Minia,” and even that reeks of atmospheric eeriness with its tense triplets and twitching micro-percussion. This definitely isn’t a record for the more faint-hearted techno fans out there, but that’s just one of the reasons that it should be embraced in the current landscape of lighter textures and sounds, especially when it comes to the full-length format.

That said, Temporary Suspension isn’t without its faults: album centrepiece “Enter Action” feels relatively stale with its pedestrian gallop and stereotypical buzzes, and the sequencing could’ve done with a little bit of tightening—especially with album closer “Sticker Men”—which almost seems like an afterthought as its relentlessly charging rhythm appears out of nowhere. However, both of these complaints seem incredibly minor when you think of how this record will be consumed. Techno DJs will get use out of most of these tracks in both peak time and after hours situations, while fans of harder four-to-the-floor sounds will inevitably lap up an entire album of Slater’s hypnotic and engaging austerity. Sit back, press play and get ready to enter the dark side. (Richard Carnes, Resident Advisor)

80 Atlantic Waves 11aug09

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 77: Harold Budd, Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois

pearlHearing Budd’s piano slowly fade in with the start of “Late October” is just one of those perfect moments — it’s something very distinctly him, made even more so with Eno’s touches and slight echo, and it signals the start of a fine album indeed. Acting in some respects as the understandable counterpart to Ambient 2, with the same sense of hushed, ethereal beauty the partnership brought forth on that album, The Pearl is so ridiculously good it instantly shows up much of the mainstream new age as the gloopy schlock that it often is. Eno himself is sensed as a performer on the album, if not by his absence then by his very understated presence. The merest hints of synth and whisper play around Budd’s performances, ensuring the latter takes center stage. Eno and Daniel Lanois handle the production side of things, their teamwork once again overseeing a winner. When they bring themselves a little more to the fore, it still always is in the subtlest of ways, as with the artificially higher-pitched notes from Budd on “Lost in the Humming Air.” Part of the distinct charm of the album is how the song titles perfectly capture what the music sounds like — “A Stream With Bright Fish” is almost self-defining. Another key point is how Budd truly captures what ambience in general can and does mean. “Against the Sky” is a strong example — it can be totally concentrated upon or left to play as atmospherics and is also at once both truly beautiful and not a little haunting in a disturbing sense. Other highlight tracks include the deceptively simple title track, as serene a piece of music as was ever recorded, and the closing “Still Return,” bringing The Pearl to a last peak of beauty. ~ Ned Raggett, AMG

glitterbugA clue as to the origins of Music For Glitterbug was finally gleaned in June of 1998 when Eno was interviewed in Mojo magazine: “Spinner wasn’t really a collaboration [with Jah Wobble]. I had done the soundtrack to the Derek Jarman film, Glitterbug, but didn’t think it stood up on its own as an album, without the film.”

Jarman’s last completed film while he was still alive was 1993’s Blue. Blue consists of a single shot of saturated blue colour filling the screen, as background to a soundtrack composed by Simon Fisher Turner featuring original music by Coil and other artists, where Jarman describes his life and vision.

The concept of Glitterbug was to use super 8 mm films Jarman had taken throughout his life and splice them together to tell his story. In the end, he managed to edit about an hour’s worth. This is how All Movie Guide described the hurriedly-made documentary: “It is considered to be the companion piece to Jarman’s film Blue. Without a traditional plot, the film chronicles Jarman’s life before AIDS with a series of free-flowing images gleaned from over 15 hours of Jarman’s home movies taken between the years 1970-1985. London provides the central image, but other places seen include Italy, Spain, and rural England. The glittering parties filled with drag queens, drugs, and interesting people before the onset of AIDS are also chronicled.”

Here is the original stereo mix of that soundtrack that was eventually worked over by Jah Wobble and released as Spinner after much changes – Wobble added rhythms, bass parts, and orchestra.

01 Harold Budd/Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois: “Late October” (04:44) from “The Pearl” (1984)
02 Harold Budd/Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois: “A Stream With Bright Fish” (03:57) from “The Pearl” (1984)
03 Harold Budd/Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois: “The Silver Ball” (03:31) from “The Pearl” (1984)
04 Harold Budd/Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois: “Against The Sky” (04:52) from “The Pearl” (1984)
05 Harold Budd/Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois: “Lost In The Humming Air” (04:21) from “The Pearl” (1984)
06 Harold Budd/Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois: “Dark-Eyed Sister” (04:42) from “The Pearl” (1984)
07 Harold Budd/Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois: “Their Memories” (02:58) from “The Pearl” (1984)
08 Harold Budd/Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois: “The Pearl” (03:14) from “The Pearl” (1984)
09 Harold Budd/Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois: “Foreshadowed” (03:52) from “The Pearl” (1984)
10 Harold Budd/Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois: “An Echo Of Night” (02:28) from “The Pearl” (1984)
11 Harold Budd/Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois: “Still Return” (04:12) from “The Pearl” (1984)
12 Brian Eno: “Glitterbug 08” (03:10) from “Music For Glitterbug” (1994)
13 Brian Eno: “Glitterbug 10” (03:00) from “Music For Glitterbug” (1994)
14 Brian Eno: “Glitterbug 11” (03:19) from “Music For Glitterbug” (1994)
15 Brian Eno: “Glitterbug 17” (02:05) from “Music For Glitterbug” (1994)
16 Brian Eno: “Glitterbug 18” (04:22) from “Music For Glitterbug” (1994)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 76: Brian Eno

Music for Civic Recovery Centre is an ambient Installation album from British musician Brian Eno, released in 2000. An Opal release, with no catalogue number, this title is only available from EnoShop.

The music on the album is taken from an Installation – a show featuring music and visuals – that took place at the Sonic Boom exhibition of the Hayward Gallery, London, in April-June 2000. The event, featuring over 30 other artists, was curated by David Toop.

Part of Eno’s Quiet Club series of Installations, it combined 12 audio elements with 10 visual light-sculpture generative elements, which was, itself, part of a series of multi-dimensional generative music pieces using asynchronous CD players, carousel projectors and video monitors used in other Installation pieces.

In a conversation with Toop, Eno’s view is of a quiet “recovery area” situated within a city area, a theory which he has spoken of since the mid eighties; a “critically-functioning public space”, a (preferably) darkened room containing large-format screens, lots of CD players and sculptures.

Eno has said of his Installations “I want to make places that feel like music. I want to make things which are like music for the eyes. I want to extend music out into space, into the three dimensions of space, and into colour”.

The album contains only one track, which is based upon, and essentially an extended remix / melding of the tracks Ikebukuro, from his 1992 album The Shutov Assembly and Kites II & Kites III from his 1999 album Kite Stories. The heavily-treated, slowed-down vocals of the Kite Stories part are based on a Japanese ghost-story, Onmyo-Ji, by Reiko Otano and was read by Kyoko Inatome, a waitress from his favorite sushi restaurant. Eno calls this process “composting”: “so many processings and reprocessings – it’s a bit like making soup from the leftovers of the day before, which in turn was made from leftovers…”, “some earlier pieces I worked on became digested by later ones, which in turn became digested again. The technique is like composting: converting what would otherwise have been waste into nourishment”.

A clue as to the origins of Music For Glitterbug was finally gleaned in June of 1998 when Eno was interviewed in Mojo magazine: “Spinner wasn’t really a collaboration [with Jah Wobble]. I had done the soundtrack to the Derek Jarman film, Glitterbug, but didn’t think it stood up on its own as an album, without the film.”

Jarman’s last completed film while he was still alive was 1993’s Blue. Blue consists of a single shot of saturated blue colour filling the screen, as background to a soundtrack composed by Simon Fisher Turner featuring original music by Coil and other artists, where Jarman describes his life and vision.

The concept of Glitterbug was to use super 8 mm films Jarman had taken throughout his life and splice them together to tell his story. In the end, he managed to edit about an hour’s worth. This is how All Movie Guide described the hurriedly-made documentary: “It is considered to be the companion piece to Jarman’s film Blue. Without a traditional plot, the film chronicles Jarman’s life before AIDS with a series of free-flowing images gleaned from over 15 hours of Jarman’s home movies taken between the years 1970-1985. London provides the central image, but other places seen include Italy, Spain, and rural England. The glittering parties filled with drag queens, drugs, and interesting people before the onset of AIDS are also chronicled.”

Here is the original stereo mix of that soundtrack that was eventually worked over by Jah Wobble and released as Spinner after much changes – Wobble added rhythms, bass parts, and orchestra.

01 Brian Eno: “The Quiet Club” (20:52) from “Music for The Civic Recovery Centre” (2000)
02 Brian Eno: “Glitterbug 01” (01:13) from “Music For Glitterbug” (1994)
03 Brian Eno: “Glitterbug 02” (03:15) from “Music For Glitterbug” (1994)
04 Brian Eno: “Glitterbug 04” (04:28) from “Music For Glitterbug” (1994)
05 Brian Eno: “Glitterbug 06” (04:52) from “Music For Glitterbug” (1994)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 75: Brian Eno

The music of this CD is a 1 hour section of a hypothetically endless piece composed and recorded by Brian Eno for his installation at the Marbe Palace, The State Russian Museum, St Petersburg, in November 1997.

The two tracks of this album, “Atmospheric Lightness” and “Chamber Lightness” are made with slowly evolving electronic layers, using the generative capabilities of the Koan Pro software. The result is a very quiet and minimal music, with beautiful harmonics created by the randomly driven polyphony. In the large room where this installation was displayed, computer-programmed projectors created randomized and colourful patterns on a series of screens, while another part of the room was dark.

This is a quiet music for a quiet times in a quiet place…

01 Brian Eno: “Atmospheric Lightness” (30:40) from “Lightness: Music for the Marble Palace” (1997)
02 Brian Eno: “Chamber Lightness” (25:00) from “Lightness: Music for the Marble Palace” (1997)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 74: Brian Eno

This is an extremely rare album Brian Eno did (together with Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno) for library music company “Standard Music Library” for licensing music in television programs and films. Meaning, the album was purely intended for “business to business” and never commercially released for the public.

01 Brian Eno: “Soft Dawn” (2:17) from “Textures” (1989)
02 Brian Eno: “The Water Garden” (02:49) from “Textures” (1989)
03 Brian Eno: “Shaded Water” (03:15) from “Textures” (1989)
04 Brian Eno: “Suspicions” (04:10) from “Textures” (1989)
05 Brian Eno: “Ozone” (01:40) from “Textures” (1989)
06 Brian Eno: “Landscape With Haze” (04:03) from “Textures” (1989)
07 Brian Eno: “Mirage” (03:17) from “Textures” (1989)
08 Brian Eno: “River Mist” (04:32) from “Textures” (1989)
09 Brian Eno: “Constant Dreams” (03:53) from “Textures” (1989)
10 Brian Eno: “Dark Dreams” (03:05) from “Textures” (1989)
11 Brian Eno: “Black Planet” (02:50) from “Textures” (1989)
12 Brian Eno: “Night Thoughts” (03:35) from “Textures” (1989)
13 Brian Eno: “Travelers” (03:48) from “Textures” (1989)
14 Brian Eno: “Menace” (01:44) from “Textures” (1989)
15 Brian Eno: “Suspended Motion” (03:40) from “Textures” (1989)
16 Brian Eno: “The Wild” (04:21) from “Textures” (1989)
17 Brian Eno: “River Journey” (11:11) from “Textures” (1989)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 69: Paul Panhuysen, Stephan Mathieu, si-cut.db

For many years curator of Eindhoven’s exemplary sound art venue Het Apollohuis, Paul Panhuysen trained as a visual artist during the 1950s. In 1968, inspired by Fluxus activities, he formed the experimental music group The Maciunas Ensemble. His multifarious activities since then have often resembled a kind of dada structuralism: reason at work in the absence of a master plan, delineations of pattern in fields of random occurance. He has found music in such varied sources as long string vibrations, the collective warbling of canaries, the noise of dot matrix printers and agitated Mexican jumping beans.?His latest CD documents the audio transposition of a magic square of five, made for installation that also represnted the visual transposition – a floor design – which can be sampled on the cover art. A magic square is an arrangement of numbers within a square grid where the sum of integers in any row, including diagonals, gives the same total. From the orderliness of such Pythagorean numerical regularity Panhuysen has generated an attractive music of sweeping tones, overlapped and interlocking to create a snese of almost animate pulsation acroos the space of 29 minutes and 15 seconds. The sixth century philosopher Boethius suggested that music is number made audible, Panhuysen presents us with an unusually pure embodiment of that idea. His explanatory notes may have a forensic quality, but the sounds he has used are engagingly rich.

The Macintosh iBooks and iMacs at Aquarius are getting old in digital years, and they’re gradually showing their age. So, let’s hope and prey that neither the “sad mac” icon nor the “chimes of death” start to haunt our aged computing system. For those Windows operators out there, these are the Mac equivalent of the “blue screen of death,” calling attention that something quite dreadful has happened to the computer. Such anxiety producing indicators of a malfunctioning computer are the subject matter for this album from German sound artist Stephan Mathieu. Despite the nail-biting angst that such dilemmas can cause, The Sad Mac is a benevolently tranquil recording in which a variety of sounds have been smeared into melancholic ambience, perhaps composed more as a balm of having to deal with those computer problems. Having established himself as one of premier digital composers with the Full Swing album Edits as well as his collaborative Heroin album with Ekkehard Ehlers, Mathieu makes a profound shift in methodology as he eschews the “DSP-Magic” of his earlier albums in favor of a much simpler arrangement with a few digital programs applied as pixelated flourishes upon field recordings and minimalist compositions for violin, pump organ, and harpsichord. Even without all of the pixel pushing from his Max-MSP patches of yonder year, Mathieu still manages to construct beautifully sustained drones, seamlessly combining all of the elements as the flicker, echo, dissolve, blur, and expand with his signature fluidity.

London-based SI-CUT.DB (pronounced ‘Sye Kut Dee Bee’) aka Douglas Benford has had many recorded releases under many guises: mainly as SI-CUT.DB, but also Radial Blend, Phoenix Jig, Pantunes Music & Media Form (via Douglas’s own imprint Suburbs Of Hell), covering electronica/drum n’ bass/ambient, and then into microsound, glitch and dub…as SI-CUT.DB Douglas also runs and plays at the SPRAWL club, based in London, and it’s label SPRAWL IMPRINT. The first SI-CUT.DB release was in 1991, as SIDE>>CUT.DB (with later off-shoots as LOVE>>CUT.DB).

For over 10 years Douglas has also run and DJed at the London-based electronic music Sprawl Club and label with Iris Garrelfs AKA BIt Tonic, which besides its regular spots in Soho and Farringdon, London, have also held specials such as the Interplay series (Spitz), Sprawl Compass, GroundSwell at the ICA, Watermans (SonicRecycler) & Colchester Art Centres, Tate Modern, plus Sprawl events in Brighton and Leeds. Monthly Sprawls currently resides at various venues in central London, and are linked to the Sprawl Resonance FM Small Pieces radio show (in rota with Slow Sound System, HighPoint LowLife & Dfuse).

Aside from appearing on BBC TV’s News 24, SKY TV’s “The Lounge”, KISS FM and other radio stations, Douglas has turned up with his opinions in interviews on internet clubbing and remixes in national newspapers The Independent and Guardian.

01 Paul Panhuysen: “A Magic Square Of 5 To Listen To” (30:51) from “A Magic Square Of 5 To Look At / A Magic Square Of 5 To Listen To” (2004)
02 Stephan Mathieu: “1745” (16:00) from “The Sad Mac Live At Mutek 2002” (2004)
03 si-cut.db: “mirror’d” (17:02) from “term.07” (2003)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 67: FM3, Robin Guthrie

On Hou Guan Yin, the team that brought you the now seminal Buddha Machine have expanded upon the looping microsound aesthetic that established their name internationally and have made a welcome return to a more conventional format. The group’s founding members, Zhang Jian and Christiaan Virant are joined by Chinese experimental artist, Yan Jun and the rock singer/musician, Dou Wei, who provide additional electronics and drums, respectively. The idea of FM3 incorporating drums into their sound might sound entirely at odds with the ambient minimalism the Buddha Machine is associated with, but while that contraption’s technology made economy and reduction a necessity – constricting FM3’s sound palette into thirty-second loops – the CD facilitates a conceptually very different side of their work, allowing for an altogether freer, more ornate music. The eleven sound pieces that make up Hou Guan Yin function as a series of heavily layered vignettes composed from environmental sound materials, treated live instruments and digital synthesis. FM3 have produced an album that not only follows up on the Buddha Machine’s promise as a calling card for an innovative sound design team, but successfully marries Western pop structures with Eastern harmony and ambience. Brian Eno would do well to buy eight of these too.

Limited edition of 3000 in digipak. 3:19 is the title of the original soundtrack recording by Robin Guthrie for the acclaimed Spanish film of the same name. This is the former Cocteau Twins Guitarist’s second soundtrack following Mysterious Skin and it features all the trademark Guthrie, ethereal soundscape you’d expect. This time, however, Robin has added piano, just a bit a strings and a few sound effects that nicely communicate the film’s mood.

01 FM3: “?” (2:25) from “Hou Guan Yin” (2006)
02 FM3: “? ?” (5:23) from “Hou Guan Yin” (2006)
03 FM3: “?: (4:37) from “Hou Guan Yin” (2006)
04 FM3: “?” (2:05) from “Hou Guan Yin” (2006)
05 FM3: “? ?” (2:53) from “Hou Guan Yin” (2006)
06 FM3: “?” (3:47) from “Hou Guan Yin” (2006)
07 FM3: “?” (3:36) from “Hou Guan Yin” (2006)
08 FM3: “?” (2:32) from “Hou Guan Yin” (2006)
09 FM3: “? ?” (3:15) from “Hou Guan Yin” (2006)
10 FM3: “?” (3:26) from “Hou Guan Yin” (2006)
11 FM3: “?? ?” (2:23) from “Hou Guan Yin” (2006)
12 Robin Guthrie: “3:19 Intro” (03:34) from “3:19 Bande Originale Du Film” (2008)
13 Robin Guthrie: “Comprensión” (03:14) from “3:19 Bande Originale Du Film” (2008)
14 Robin Guthrie: “Cuanto Tiempo?” (03:44) from “3:19 Bande Originale Du Film” (2008)
15 Robin Guthrie: “Lisa@Dixo.Com” (04:14) from “3:19 Bande Originale Du Film” (2008)
16 Robin Guthrie: “Lucia’s Lament” (03:31) from “3:19 Bande Originale Du Film” (2008)
17 Robin Guthrie: “A La Eternidad….” (02:53) from “3:19 Bande Originale Du Film” (2008)
18 Robin Guthrie: “3:19 Outro” (04:47) from “3:19 Bande Originale Du Film” (2008)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 52: Pete Namlook & Mixmaster Morris

Swim with the music, let the deep sea ambient float out of your speakers and enjoy the waves in your room. Join Pete and Morris at their trip under the ocean following the path of the Dreamfish.

01 Pete Namlook & Mixmaster Morris: “Dreamfish” (1993)
02 Pete Namlook & Mixmaster Morris: “Dreamfish 2” (1994)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 42: Brian Eno

A collection of 18 pieces, some intended for specific films, some evidentally not, Eno’s “Music For Films” is one of his most difficult ambient records. The music contained within this disc is moody and cinematic, but its also fractured. With most the tracks less than two minutes long, ideas often do not get the chance to develop to their fullness. In “More Music For Films” most of the tracks sound very familiar, being either remixes of earlier instrumental tracks or tracks that were already released on the “Instrumentals” boxed set.

01. Brian Eno: “Aragon” (from “Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1978)
02. Brian Eno: “From The Same Hill” (from “Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1978)
03. Brian Eno: “Inland Sea” (from “Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1978)
04. Brian Eno: “Two Rapid Formations” (from “Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1978)
05. Brian Eno: “Slow Water” (from “Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1978)
06. Brian Eno: “Sparrowfall (1)” (from “Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1978)
07. Brian Eno: “Sparrowfall (2)” (from “Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1978)
08. Brian Eno: “Sparrowfall (3)” (from “Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1978)
09. Brian Eno: “Alternative 3” (from “Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1978)
10. Brian Eno: “Quartz” (from “Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1978)
11. Brian Eno: “Events In Dense Fog” (from “Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1978)
12. Brian Eno: “Strange Light” (from “Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1978)
13. Brian Eno: “Final Sunset” (from “Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1978)
14. Brian Eno: “The Last Door” (from “More Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1983)
15. Brian Eno: “Fuseli” (from “More Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1983)
16. Brian Eno: “Melancholy Waltz” (from “More Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1983)
17. Brian Eno: “Northern Lights” (from “More Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1983)
18. Brian Eno: “From The Coast” (from “More Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1983)
19. Brian Eno: “Shell” (from “More Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1983)
20. Brian Eno: “Empty Landscape” (from “More Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1983)
21. Brian Eno: “The Dove” (from “More Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1983)
22. Brian Eno: “Roman Twilight” (from “More Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1983)
23. Brian Eno: “Dawn, Marshland” (from “More Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1983)
24. Brian Eno: “Climate Study” (from “More Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1983)
25. Brian Eno: “Drift Study” (from “More Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1983)
26. Brian Eno: “Approaching Taidu” (from “More Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1983)
27. Brian Eno: “Always Returning (II)” (from “More Music For Films”, Astralwerks, 1983)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 37: Hildegard Westerkamp, Max Richter

Hildegard Westerkamp is famous for her soundwalks — audio recordings documenting a particular place at a particular time of day. Found material — out of which, using studio-based manipulations, she fashions a unique sonic event. Thus, the environment is reshaped, subjectivised, revealed anew. This extraordinary CD contains several examples of her work. Kits Beach Soundwalk begins with a description of what we can already hear: waves lapping in the foreground, bird calls, background city roar. Then Westerkamp demonstrates some of her filtering and equalising techniques. By employing several ellipses, literal description is transformed into one dream narrative affer another, each illustrated with variations on the multiple, random clicking noises made by barnacles. Eventually, the city is allowed to return (in the guise of a flapping, flailing, playful rnonster).

Richter’s pieces are so evocative they warrant the appellation ‘cinematic’ (his CV includes production work for Future Sound of London and Vashti Bunyan, plus scores for film projects like Stanislaw Mucha’s Hope and Darren Almond’s Siberia ). How fitting, then, to discover that Richter’s The Art of Mirrors (issued by downloads-only label Seven Things) is musical accompaniment for never-before-seen films from the Derek Jarman archive (around sixty 8mm film works produced between 1970 and 1983). Interestingly, while Songs From Before is comprised of short compositions threaded into a whole, The Art of Mirrors is a single-movement, 52-minute piece; however, it’s a rather misleading detail—more a matter of CD indexing—since the two works are equally episodic in nature. It’s not an unrelated composition either, as The Art of Mirrors opens with the sparse organ chords of “Song” and gentle vibes of “Harmonium,” and “Sunlight” surfaces too. The longer work is a live recording though there’s little that sonically identifies it as such beyond modest stage noise and the closing applause. One thing that recommends the live presentation is that it builds to a ravishing climax whereas the studio set ends less dramatically with a piano coda (“From the Rue Vilin”). Obviously The Art of Mirrors is less concise than Songs From Before yet still provides a natural companion to it. In a perfect world, the release would be available in a DVD format too so that we might view Jarman’s visuals alongside Richter’s music.

01. Hildegard Westerkamp: “Kits Beach Soundwalk” (from “Transformations”, empreintes DIGITALes, 1996)
02. Max Richter: “The Art of Mirrors” (7hings, 2006)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 30: Robert Rich, Ian Boddy

“Propagation” is an expression of Rich’s interest in biology and is a tribute to the proliferation of organic life in all its forms. It features a complex range of world music influences, just tunings and guest performers.

“Bestiary” showcases the musical concept that Rich has long referred to as “glurp”. It evokes a frenetic and surreal landscape inhabited by a wide variety of bizarre organisms. Work on this album began while Rich was working to create a library of Acid Loops for the Sonic Foundry company. He had previously created an Acid Loop library in 1999 called Liquid Planet. In this project Rich began creating a library of unusual sounds with his new MOTM modular synthesizer. As the synthesizer grew, Rich became increasingly impressed by its potential and decided to abandon the Acid Loop project in favor of creating a new album. MIDI played an extremely limited role in this album as most of its material was recorded live to hard disc with the audio feature of the Cubase program. It was then assembled into a continuous 53 minute audio file.

“Electric Ladder” returns to a more active and sequenced style that Rich explored in “Geometry” and “Gaudí” (both from 1991).

“Lithosphere” is a collaborative album by electronic musicians Robert Rich and Ian Boddy. Like their previous collaboration “Outpost”, this album was released as a limited edition of 2000 copies.

01. Robert Rich: “Whispers of Eden” (from “Propagation”, Hearts of Space, 1994)
02. Robert Rich: “Luminous Horizon” (from “Propagation”, Hearts of Space, 1994)
03. Robert Rich: “Guilin” (from” Propagation”, Hearts of Space, 1994)
04. Robert Rich: “Aquifer” (from “Electric Ladder”, Soundscape, 2006)
05. Robert Rich: “Never Alone” (from “Electric Ladder”, Soundscape, 2006)
06. Robert Rich: “Folded Space” (from”Bestiary”, Relapse, 2001)
07. Robert Rich: “Premonition of Circular Clouds” (from”Bestiary”, Relapse, 2001)
08. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Glass” (from “Lithosphere”, DiN, 2005)
09. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Subduction” (from “Lithosphere”, DiN, 2005)
10. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Stone” (from “Lithosphere”, DiN, 2005)
11. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Metamorphic” (from “Lithosphere”, DiN, 2005)
12. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Melt” (from “Lithosphere”, DiN, 2005)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 29: Imaginary Landscapes (Ambient Volume 2)

This was the second in Virgin Records’ four-volume ‘Brief History of Ambient’ series (its proper title is ‘A Brief History of Ambient, Volume Two: Imaginary Landscapes’). The first compilation had been critically and commercially successful, and this was released only a few months later; Virgin were re-releasing a lot of their back catalogue at the time, perhaps to help pay for Janet Jackson.

The compilation is restricted to releases from Virgin and its sub-labels, although this isn’t really a handicap, especially as the CDs were assembled with loving care. Whereas the first had taken a broad approach to ambient – it had Hawkwind – this is more hardcore, although the overall mood is again upbeat and mysterious. The individual tracks are, as before, interesting, and again fortunately not overlong. The booklet gives sources.

The album is essentially a re-run of the first, but purer; even the track listing is much the same (starting off with Brian Eno, Amorphous Androgynous and Tangerine Dream as before). Between them the Eno family and members of Tangerine Dream account for only six tracks this time, instead of eight (‘Mountain of Needles’, credited here to David Byrne, is from ‘My Life in the Bush of Ghosts’, a collaboration with Brian Eno). Track nine on disc two, credited to ‘The Verve’, is in fact the Verve of ‘A Northern Soul’ and latter-day hero-rock fame, although this sounds nothing like rock. Amorphous Androgynous are of course the Future Sound of London under another name. This compilation corrects a fault with the original, in that it has proper dub music.

If the compilation has a flaw, its that it has no real standout tracks, and blends into one mass. After all this time I barely remember it; the inclusion of The Grid and Bass-o-matic was a mistake, but generally its inoffensive and a little dull. The third installment in the series was a bit more leftfield, and the fourth was much darker and moodier, and is thought highly of today. This is much less essential unless you have the first and last.

01. David Sylvain: “The Healing Place” (from “Imaginary Landscapes (Ambient Volume 2)”, Virgin Records, 1993)
02. David Sylvian & Holgar Czukay: “Premonition” (from “Imaginary Landscapes (Ambient Volume 2)”, Virgin Records, 1993)
03. David Sylvian & Robert Fripp: “Bringing Down The Light” (from “Imaginary Landscapes (Ambient Volume 2)”, Virgin Records, 1993)
04. Robert Fripp: “Water Music” (from “Imaginary Landscapes (Ambient Volume 2)”, Virgin Records, 1993)
05. Robert Fripp & Brian Eno: “Wind On Water” (from “Imaginary Landscapes (Ambient Volume 2)”, Virgin Records, 1993)
06. Brian Eno: “Tal Coat” (from “Imaginary Landscapes (Ambient Volume 2)”, Virgin Records, 1993)
07. Laraaji: “The Dance, 3” (from “Imaginary Landscapes (Ambient Volume 2)”, Virgin Records, 1993)
08. Penguin Cafe Orchestra: “Wildlife” (from “Imaginary Landscapes (Ambient Volume 2)”, Virgin Records, 1993)
09. Voyager: “Arrival (Edit)” (from “Imaginary Landscapes (Ambient Volume 2)”, Virgin Records, 1993)
10. The Verve: “Endless Life” (from “Imaginary Landscapes (Ambient Volume 2)”, Virgin Records, 1993)
11. Rain Tree Crow: “New Moon at Red Deer Wallow” (from “Imaginary Landscapes (Ambient Volume 2)”, Virgin Records, 1993)
12. The Tsinandeli Choir: “Orovela” (from “Imaginary Landscapes (Ambient Volume 2)”, Virgin Records, 1993)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 27: Annea Lockwood, Gavin Bryars with Tom Waits

Aboriginal didgeridoos, ‘conch shells’ (shells belonging to Hindu musical tradition, often played during religious ceremonies), ‘waterphones’ (water instruments, used in ambient music and derived from Tibetan musical instruments), and (but not only) ‘pod rattles’ (percussion instruments from Zimbabwe). All of this, together with more classic instruments (trombone, oboe) and some unusual ones (clarinet-contrabass), was skillfully organized to articulate the varied frame of this improvisational ensemble, centered around Annea Lockwood’s strong personality. Hypnotic sequences, rarefied and full of mysticism, dream-like atmospheres and breaths. When the contemporary nature of sounds is mixed with ancient energies, the results can be very interesting: it’s enough to shy away from new age excesses and pretentious spiritualities.

“Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet” late minimalist, 74-minute piece for orchestra and tape has had, and continues to have, a near-legendary effect on its audience. It’s the rare work created specifically to tug gently at one’s heartstrings that actually does, and not subtly, either. It starts with a found recording of a homeless man singing a halting, simple melody looped over and over. Then Bryars builds and buttresses this with a full orchestra brought in incrementally, from the first carefully placed short pendulum string sweep to, 10 minutes from the end, the gravelly-voiced singer Tom Waits joins in. It’s an obvious but effective work–appealing to all the basics of our emotional nervous system, but still tragically beautiful.

Jesus’ blood never failed me yet
Never failed me yet
Jesus’ blood never failed me yet
There’s one thing I know
For he loves me so …

01. Annea Lockwood: “Thousand Year Dreaming” (from “Thousand Year Dreaming”, Nonsequitur/What Next Recordings, 1993)
02. Gavin Bryars with Tom Waits: “Tramp And Tom Waits With Full Orchestra” (from “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet”, Point Music, 1993)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 24: Brian Eno

Arguably Eno’s most perfectly realized piece of ambience (“Neroli” certainly can qualify, as well), “Thursday Afternoon” perfectly blends his piano riffs (very similar to what Robert Wyatt did on “1/1” on “Music for Airports”) with just the right amount on synthesizer for texture and base to create a very surreal landscape. If played as Eno intended, the effect is ever greater, with wifts of it reaching your ears like a distant smell of fresh baking done next door and a breeze gently lofting some of it through the open window to your unsuspecting nose – you can subconsciously detect it, you know its there, but it doesn’t permeate your senses fully. To play this cd any other way is fine, but alters the total effect too much for it to be fully realized or enjoyed. A gem on an lp, and among my favorite Eno cds.

01. Brian Eno: “Thursday Afternoon” (from “Thursday Afternoon”, E.G. Records, 1985)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 22: dbkaos, ARC, Robert Rich & Ian Boddy, Tetsu Inoue, Hoffmann-Hoock & Wöstheinrich

“Index02” is a bargain label sampler from DiN, featuring contributions from Reuter/Boddy, arc, Sunsonic Experience and dbkaos. All tickled into a continuous 78 minute mix by Ian Boddy, many people will already be privy to the DiN sound thanks to the “Index01” CD dished out with Wire back in 2001. Acting as an aural cousin to that release, “Index02” inhabits a similar paddock of electronica, serving up hot and creamy solitude in a style reminiscent of The Blue Room. Keeping any mixing shenanigans to a bare minimum, Boddy’s unobtrusive segueing allows the individual tracks to shine independently rather than being trussed up on an over-arching structure which requires your full attention. Beatific throughout and cheap as chips, “Index02” is the sound that dust caught in sunlight would make were nature a bit more conducive to electronica.

“Lithosphere” is the second collaborative release between DiN label boss Ian Boddy & American ambient pioneer Robert Rich. Following on from their debut album “Outpost” (2002) the duo once again decided to eschew the false economy of a purely virtual collaboration and convened at Rich’s Californian Soundscape studio to physically work together over an intense period of 10 days. Following Boddy ‘s departure Rich then honed and fine-tuned the arrangements before finalising the mastering of the project. Whereas “Outpost” was sonically ‘out there’ and was perceived by many to have its heart in the realms of space music, “Lithosphere” has a more earthy, organic quality. Once again the album is centered around Rich ‘s signature lap steel guitar voicings and the deep bass rumblings of his analogue MOTM modular system. However Boddy ‘s input is unexpected in its direction with astonishing sound design elements intermingling with delicate keyboard textures using high quality sampled glass & stone percussion instruments together with haunting string & woodwind loops. One of the binding forces for this album was the duo’s decision to utilise an alternate just intonation tuning. This at times gives the harmonies a piquant flavour whereas at others a glistening quality that just adds to the sonic exotica that Boddy & Rich have concocted on “Lithosphere”. Boddy has always pushed the aspect of collaborations within his DiN catalogue and “Lithosphere” shows the true advantage such a philosophy brings to bear musically on the labels output. The album is a true reflection of the two artists combined efforts and could only have been produced with their joint work ethic. “Outpost” is one of the most popular DiN albums. There ‘s every chance that “Lithosphere”could surpass the high standard that its illustrious predecessor has set.

I first came in contact with Inoue on hearing the sublime “Active/Freeze” collaboration with Taylor Deupree on 12k. Since then I have managed to backtrack through his vast collection of releases including collaborations with such scene luminaries as Bill Laswell and Atom Heart. This new record for the DiN label is possibly the most completely realised record I can bring to mind from Inoue, and he displays a masterful grasp of marrying live instrumentation and digital noise. Each track has a certain crystalline property to it, but it avoids the usual trapping of ‘ambient’ music and never breaches that boundary into the dreaded world of ‘New Age’. Musical comparisons would range from Harold Budd and Shuttle 358 to the thick noisy clouds of Tim Hecker.

Taking a hefty chunk of influence from Tangerine Dream and then blending it with 1990s IDM isn’t a direction you’d expect an artist to take, but then Ian Boddy’s been doing this stuff for quite some time now and has built up something of a reputation. Although it occasionally skates rather close to the new age genre, much of “Elemental” has more in common with Manual, Ulrich Schnauss or at times even US retro-synth dudes Zombi. It’s not that I can’t take synth-prog music (I not-so-secretly love it…) but there’s something about the way Boddy seems to rely on playing it safe that makes “Elemental” a little less than breathtaking.

“Conundrum” marks the musical meeting point of Klaus Hoffman-Hoock and Bernhard Wostheinreich, which integrates the experimental noodlings of the former with the electronic processing techniques of the latter. “Conundrum” is a trance-inducing blend of digital ambience and ethereal, often droning instrumentation. The album’s title track makes an outright foray into Eastern sounds, giving the piece a distinctly new age sensibility which runs through much of the rest of the album, albeit in a less pronounced fashion.

01. dbkaos: “Hydrosphere” (from “Index02”, DIN, 2005)
02. ARC: “Silent White Light” (from “Index02”, DIN, 2005)
03. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Glass” (from “Lithosphere”, DIN, 2005)
04. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Subduction” (from “Lithosphere”, DIN, 2005)
05. Robert Rich & Ian Boddy: “Stone” (from “Lithosphere”, DIN, 2005)
06. Tetsu Inoue: “Remote” (from “Yolo”, DIN, 2005)
07. Tetsu Inoue: “Particular Moments” (from “Yolo”, DIN, 2005)
08. Tetsu Inoue: “Flow” (from “Yolo”, DIN, 2005)
09. Ian Boddy: “Never Forever” (from “Boddy Elemental”, DIN, 2006)
10. Ian Boddy: “If All The World Was Blue” (from “Boddy Elemental”, DIN, 2006)
11. Ian Boddy: “Flux” (from “Boddy Elemental”, DIN, 2006)
12. Hoffmann-Hoock & Wöstheinrich: “Conundrum” (from “Conundrum”, DIN, 2007)
13. Hoffmann-Hoock & Wöstheinrich: “Swarmandel” (from “Conundrum”, DIN, 2007)
14. Hoffmann-Hoock & Wöstheinrich: “Moonlit” (from “Conundrum”, DIN, 2007)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 20: Aphex Twin

British electronics wunderkind Richard James (alias Aphex Twin, AFX, Polygon Window, etc.) claims he heard the compositions on Selected Ambient Works, Volume II in lucid dreams. Like abstract paintings composed of shades of a single color, James’s resonant explorations of specific timbres linger close to a central idea on each cut, incorporating just enough variation to remain disturbing. While its predecessor, Selected Ambient Works ’85-’92 drew on seven years’ worth of material, the uniform quality of these untitled tracks, plus their judicious sequencing, suggests they were assembled over a shorter period. Clocking in at over 150 minutes, the double-disc set (if this is “selected,” how many hours of outtakes remain?) provides an exemplary introduction to the quieter facets of James’s expansive, idiosyncratic aesthetic.

01. Aphex Twin: “Rhubarb” (from “Selected Ambient Works Volume II”, Sire, 1994)
02. Aphex Twin: “Hankie” (from “Selected Ambient Works Volume II”, Sire, 1994)
03. Aphex Twin: “Mold” (from “Selected Ambient Works Volume II”, Sire, 1994)
04. Aphex Twin: “Weathered Stone” (from “Selected Ambient Works Volume II”, Sire, 1994)
05. Aphex Twin: “Tree” (from “Selected Ambient Works Volume II”, Sire, 1994)
06. Aphex Twin: “Blue Calx” (from “Selected Ambient Works Volume II”, Sire, 1994)
07. Aphex Twin: “Parallel Stripes” (from “Selected Ambient Works Volume II”, Sire, 1994)
08. Aphex Twin: “Rusty Metal” (from “Selected Ambient Works Volume II”, Sire, 1994)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 13: Michel Redolfi, Max Eastley, Michael Prime

Michel Redolfi makes real atmospheric music, in this case, on his second volume of underwater music — and his first on CD; this is music to be recorded, played, and listened to underwater. Yep. Redolfi hangs microphones underwater, leaving them there for years at a time, records sound, then records other sounds from near-silent or silent auditory environments above the water, processes them — with the help of Pascal Gobin and Michel Pascal — with synthesizers and then plays them back to an audience, who is sometimes underwater! What does it sound like? Like music made in the deep stillness of time. The keyboards add something, like a very subtle trance-inducing effect while the underwater sounds, such as on “Effractions,” which was played to an audience seated outside, suggested a marriage of sea and sky, evoking the notion of a lost civilization, or the lost traces of some passage. They shimmer and sweep, irregularly wash over, and disappear just as suddenly. On “A Sunny Afternoon at Bird Rock,” sounds from the air are melded and even collaged with the sonic pulses. Water and air joining together, held in mid-space by the synthesizers — so minimal they almost aren’t there — and whistle and wave through each other as well as the listener. The effect is heightened tenfold through headphones as gulls cross from one speaker to the next, and formations of water bubble up from the depths and move in the other direction. Finally, the amazing “Full Scale Ocean,” which has been performed dozens of times in tide pools, oceans, ponds, lakes, and rivers, becomes the overwhelming experience that joins technology and the natural world together as one inseparable universe. Over half-an-hour in length, this is music as atmosphere because that’s what it is. The sheer technical manipulation of those natural sounds that most affect the human mind and body are edited together and mixed into a whole that echoes deep within the human psyche. This is what Brian Eno only dreamed of doing, and what those other environments records wish they could pull off. Truly amazing. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

“when a couple of years ago michael posted a couple of cdrs to listen to couldn’t imagine that i’d ever saw myself issuing a mprime / max eastley CD… or better to return to the story… i listen to the cdrs, the negative entropy one is already history, guess now the enthusiasm (called ‘wet pants’) when michael asked whether i’d love to do the ‘hydrophony for dagon’ as a CD on absurd… how can you say ‘no’ for a release that’s a collaboration between 2 of your all time faves… on one hand max being a legend of england’s 60’s improv scene, already in absurd’s tiny universe, participating in absurd’s beloved records like ‘music for new and rediscovered musical instruments’ on obscure or the epic ‘circadian rhythm’ on incus or the stunning ‘doll creature’ cd with david toop and on the other michael not only for being a cool pal for long but also being a member of my beloved ‘morphogenesis’ combo needless to say ’bout solo works… and for an underwater recording done in 96 in copenhagen crafted with tapes, motors, objects, hydro-arc, fans where slowly a liquid web is woven with sounds coming and going, getting a feeling as if you are not only seeing the spider creating its web but you have the chance not only to listen its creation but also listen it at its slightest detail, of such delicate & adventurous electroacoustics this cd is being made…celebrating the outbreak of absurd’s mark III…”.

01. Michel Redolfi: “Full Scale Ocean” (from “Sonic Waters N. 2 (underwater music) 1983-1989”, Hat Hut, 1990)
02. Max Eastley, Michael Prime: “Hydrophony for Dagon” (from “Hydrophony for Dagon”, Absurd, 2006)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 10: Brian Eno

If you ever wondered what ambient music is all about, you could do worse than listen to the soundtrack by Brian Eno that accompanied the stunning visuals of NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon. Created with an intoxicating mixture of acoustic and electronic, the music makes the now-classic space travel images more magical and memorable, introducing a dreamlike element to scenes of cold reality. “An Ending (Ascent)” is about as close to an actual tune as you’ll get, but, as with every track, a shining example of what ambient music reveals about itself–slowly and carefully. – Paul Clark

On Land represented a significant move away from the strategies Brian Eno had employed in earlier ambient releases such as Discreet Music and Music for Airports. Instead of using a specific process to generate music with minimal interference from the composer, he here opts for a more gestural and intuitive approach, creating dreamy pictures of some specific geographical points or evocative memories of them. It’s quite easy to imagine these works as soundtracks to mysterious footage of imprecisely glimpsed landscapes. On Land is an album that would become highly influential with the rising tide of new age composers, though few if any would capture the chilly beauty or latent romanticism that is part and parcel of Eno. The first piece, “Lizard Point,” includes an early recorded performance of Bill Laswell on bass, and one imagines that his association with Eno was a crucial factor in the ambient directions his later work would sometimes take. On Land remains a landmark event in the genre, as well as one of its high-water marks, and sounds entirely up to date 20 years after its initial release. A superb effort. – Brian Olewnick, All Music Guide

01. Brian Eno: “The Secret Place” (from “Apollo – Atmospheres & Soundtracks”, E.G. Records, 1983)
02. Brian Eno: “Matta” (from “Apollo – Atmospheres & Soundtracks”, E.G. Records, 1983)
03. Brian Eno: “Signals” (from “Apollo – Atmospheres & Soundtracks”, E.G. Records, 1983)
04. Brian Eno: “An Ending (Ascent)” (from “Apollo – Atmospheres & Soundtracks”, E.G. Records, 1983)
05. Brian Eno: “Under Stars II” (from “Apollo – Atmospheres & Soundtracks”, E.G. Records, 1983)
06. Brian Eno: “Drift” (from “Apollo – Atmospheres & Soundtracks”, E.G. Records, 1983)
07. Brian Eno: “Deep Blue Day” (from “Apollo – Atmospheres & Soundtracks”, E.G. Records, 1983)
08. Brian Eno: “Always Returning” (from “Apollo – Atmospheres & Soundtracks”, E.G. Records, 1983)
09. Brian Eno: “Stars” (from “Apollo – Atmospheres & Soundtracks”, E.G. Records, 1983)
10. Brian Eno: “Lizard Point” (from “Ambient 4 – On Land”, E.G. Records, 1982)
11. Brian Eno: “The Lost Day” (from “Ambient 4 – On Land”, E.G. Records, 1982)
12. Brian Eno: “Lantern Marsh” (from “Ambient 4 – On Land”, E.G. Records, 1982)
13. Brian Eno: “Unfamiliar Wind (Leeks Hills)” (from “Ambient 4 – On Land”, E.G. Records, 1982)

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Sleeping Dogs Lie 02: Brian Eno

One of only two major ambient works Brian Eno recorded in the ’90s – “The Shutov Assembly” being the other – “Neroli” is a single composition, 58 minutes long, that combines Eno’s concept of music designed not to be listened too attentively with the vaguely North African feel implied by the piece’s title. Written in the Phrygian mode, with flattened intervals and missing root notes that give the piece a seeming lack of tonality, “Neroli” is even more peculiarly weightless than earlier extended ambient works like “Thursday Afternoon”. Also unlike earlier ambient works, the comparatively substantial melodic content of “Neroli” rewards attentive listening as well as the piece’s intended use as environmental music. In many ways, “Neroli” is a summation of Eno’s theories of ambient music.

01. Brian Eno: “Neroli: Thinking Music Part IV” (from “Neroli”, All Saints, 1993)

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