Long Form

Komehakubutsukan passage
Image: By As6673 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
On today’s edition of At Water’s Edge, we celebrate long form ambient music.

The ambient genre is particularly well suited to long form–many works in the Stillstream library are over four hours long! We won’t be playing any of those this week, but we will be listening to some works 30 minutes and longer. We’ll feature Palancar, Mystified, Disturbed Earth, usr sbin, Altus, Bing Satellites, and a special treat: an advance listen to the title track from Magnetic Wind’s newest release, Discovery, scheduled for release on 1 October.

Tune in today at 9pm Pacific for “Long Form”:

1. Palancar v. mystified – Diaphanous Oscillations (29:51)
(Tenuous Vibrations, Earth Mantra, 2007)

Chance … life tells you to have little to do with it. But those familiar with art and culture know that chance can play a large role in creation. Someone goes to sleep, and dreams of a shape or form that guides them through their work the next day. Components are placed randomly on a table, in hopes that generative patterns will form. A card is drawn from a deck, and that card, randomly chosen, provides artistic direction.

In this piece, chance takes the form of windchimes. A small set of windchimes was recorded, creating chiming noises in a naturally chaotic way. The recording was then run through a series of effects. Some light touches were added, including a triangle and a drone, to complete the composition.

This release contains both mystified’s original track and Palancar’s remix of it.


2. Disturbed Earth – Dreamswept (29:59)
(Dreamswept, AtmoWorks, 2007)

Dean Richards, aka Disturbed Earth, used a minimalist palette of tuned wind, chimes, guitar, pedal harmonium, and bowls to create this release. Dean works with a very organic set up: metallic sounds are looped into the magnetic circle of tape and are transformed on every pass into various sound sculptures.

Dean is one of those rare creators of ambient music who still uses a time-honored analog process: good old fashioned tape delays and loops, creating warm and very personal sounds in a genre of music that has been nearly taken over by digital machines. The work with tape recording and looping is the actual mechanical process that digital samplers work hard to accurately emulate. This type of analog work, embodied very nicely in the 1970’s by Robert Fripp & Brian Eno, has a long tradition of creating new musical forms out of stale corporate music, and creating entire new genres of expression.

The title track of Dreamswept was recorded live in one take. Dreamswept was part of a pair of albums that Dean released on AtmoWorks; the second album is Watercolour, which is one long-form track that cross-fades these songs with an underlying bed of sections of the songs looped through the same two tape recorders.


3. usr sbin – Siva Sits Contemplating the Last Full Moon of Summer (54:50)
(Chandrasekhara, Just Not Normal, 2010)

The last full moon of summer and we are two thirds of the way into a year of full moon concert series. Another single track that comes close to the hour mark. Dennis Moser certainly treats us with the splendor of his musical talent. Besides the usual guitar and bassguitar improvs on this occasion Dennis introduces the wonderful sounds of the sitar (or dulcimer).

This was originally created as part of a series “A year with Luna: 12 monthly meditations on the Full moon” from the Just Not Normal netlabel.

Volume eight: Chandrasâekhara: Having the moon as his crest
Music performed by Dennis Moser (aka “usr sbin”)

Live in Second Life on August 24th 2010
for the Full Moon Lunacy Concert series, 2010


4. Magnetic Wind – Discovery (Extended Play) (28:05)
(Discovery, Divine Alchemy, 2012)

Discovery. The act of seeing, to get knowledge or learn of, to find or find out; gain sight, insight, knowledge, to notice or realize. As with all of Magnetic Wind’s albums, Discovery is part of her autobiography. It is the paradoxical release to the haunting EP Drown, that encapsulated becoming lost after trauma and doubting everything that exists and that does not. Discovery embraces rising from the depths of the waters of Drown and taking a look at one’s life in long reflection and through those long periods of reflective healing, to find the realness of healing and love of all types.

Magnetic Wind is originally from Kansas City, Missouri. After spending 14 years in Denver creating her own sound and visual art, in 2009 she created Magnetic Wind, which focuses on predominantly ethereal ambient, new age and experimental music with and without vocals. She works in both electronic and organic instrumentation and is conservatory trained. She has collaborated around the globe with various musicians and can be heard on KCUR’s Night Tides, Astreaux World, Nightscaping with Har, here on Stillstream.com of course, Soma FM and Hearts of Space.

Physical CDs will be available at Reverbnation and Bandcamp starting 1 October 2012 (http://www.magneticwind.bandcamp.com and http://www.reverbnation.com/magneticwind)

Price: 3.00 for mp3 cd. Physical CD 9.99. All proceeds go to the Hospice Foundation.

Find out more about Magnetic Wind at http://www.magneticwind.com

5. Altus – The Long Way Back (30:06)
(Excursion One, Earth Mantra, 2007)

An ambient and electronic artist hailing from Ottawa Canada, Mike Carss has been releasing ambient music under the Altus name since 2004.

His ambient music covers a tremendous amount of ground, ranging from pure light ambient to symphonic ambient to some very powerful dark and experimental ambient music as well. But despite the breadth of his work, the quality of his music is world class. If that weren’t enough, Altus makes nearly all of his music available for free under Creative Commons.

Be sure to check out www.altusmusic.ca for more free music. This release is available at http://www.earthmantra.com/release-detail.php?id=16

6. Bing Satellites – Molasses (30:50)
(Accidental Music, Volume One, BFW Recordings, 2010)

Bing Satellites’ release, Accidental Music, was his most experimental work to date at its release in 2010. Volume one is a collection of three ambient soundscapes – each about half an hour long and each made up of three separate loops mixed together. They create a sound which varies little but never quite repeats itself.

Bing Satellites is a prolific ambient shoegaze musician and producer from Manchester, UK. Bing has released many EPs and albums on BFW recordings, Free Floating Music and Treetrunk Records including collaborations with OnSpiderPark, Tange, as well as All The Lost Souls (a collaboration between himself, Getzel and piper_ben), a collection of remixes and an ever-growing collection of live, improvised ambient music entitled Twilight Sessions.

Bing Satellites also makes music under the names the lovely moon, the ambient visitor and Blocker.

Bing Satellites on the web:


This release is available at http://www.bfwrecordings.com/releases/BingSatellites/AccidentalMusicVol1/

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