The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of -- John Anster Fitzgerald (British, 1823-1906), 1858.
The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of — John Anster Fitzgerald (British, 1823-1906), 1858.

Music is the stuff that dreams are made of.
Dreams are the stuff that music is made of.

This week’s At Water’s Edge explores the musical dreams from ambient composers all over the world. Golden, sweet, dark, daytime, dreams are where magic begins.

1. Cleveland Wehle – “Into the Mist” – Dream Diary – 2009 (2:51)

Cleveland Wehle is a Virginia (US) based musician specializing in slow, natural and atmospheric ambient music. His music is calm and serene, reflecting his love and appreciation for the music of Samuel Barber, Ralph Vaughn Williams, Erik Satie, Vangelis, David Lynch and Brian Eno.

Dream Diary is a beautiful album, worth listening to all the way through!

2. Juta Takahashi – “Daydream” – Remembrance – 2008 (18:39)

Japanese composer Juta (Jutaro) Takahashi was born in Miyagi, Japan in 1959, and then spent his childhood through his teenage years in Aomori. While a teenager, he was introduced to and became strongly influenced by progressive rock and synthesizer music that was considered to be avant-garde at that time. He went to Tokyo for school, and that’s where his music career started.

Although he was originally a guitarist and played rock music along the lines of King Crimson, which valued improvisation, he gradually devoted himself to electronic music. He now lives in Sendai, Miyagi and produces music using synthesizers and computers as an independent musician. Most of his inspiration comes from electronic/ambient musicians such as Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Vangelis and Pete Namlook. Though his music is largely beautiful, calm, emotional and melodious, every so often we can hear a suggestion of the aggressive sounds of his original musical background. He prefers analog instruments to digital ones, and his music composition mainly consists not of programming but improvisation. His first commercial album was released in August, 2007, and he has since released nine more.

Remembrance is his third album, and of this track, “Daydream”, he writes: “What is the reality, and what is non-reality?”

3. Na-Koja-Abad – “Traversing the Dusk” – Dreamfall ~ Veils and Visions – 2007 (24:59)

Hailing from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Muamer started to use the alias Na-Koja-Abad in 2002. Translated it means Land of Nowhere, which is a term coined by the twelfth-century Persian mystic Sohrawardi to describe a place that is everywhere, and yet nowhere, a realm of spirituality where existence is solemnly suspended, not reflected on anything but itself.

The reason he choose this name was out of his interest in Sufism and shamanism, which also led him to the kind of music he makes today: trancey, tribal ambient.

Instrumentation: Frame drums, hand drums, shakers, rattles, and rainsticks, pebbles, sand and shells, Digeridoo, vocals, soundscapes, textures, drones, natural ambience, samples (guitar from Spectrasonics Bizarre Guitar, flutes, additional vocals), treatment.

4. Altus – “Amid Dreams” – Excursion Two – 2009 (37:56)

Be gentle, O hands of a child;
Be true: like a shadowy sea
In the starry darkness of night
Are your eyes to me.

But words are shallow, and soon
Dreams fade that the heart once knew;
And youth fades out in the mind,
In the dark eyes too.

What can a tired heart say,
Which the wise of the world have made dumb?
Save to the lonely dreams of a child,
“Return again, come!”

Walter de la Mare

Altus is Canadian ambient artist Mike Carss, based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

5. Disturbed Earth – “Dreamswept” – Dreamswept – 2007 (29:59)

Disturbed Earth (aka Dean Richards) has been creating his own, intensely personal music since 1976. A veteran with 80 releases to his name, Dean has worked with many artists including Steve Brand, Vir Unis, Peter James, Igneous Flame, Savo, pixyblink and Louis Webb.

Says Dean, “Since leaving High School in 1976, I have always worked in this music world, pursued and realized things that some call dreams, and I live with the consequences of choices I’ve made.

“Daily, the thought of living the day to day can appear quite trying at best.

“I reckon it’s a great idea to talk the time of day, and to help each other’s dreams come to fruition.”

This track was written, as Dean describes it, after surviving two hurricanes and a breakup, and in between home ownership, rescuing and restoring recording and production equipment, and learning to live differently.

6. Doc and Lena Selyanina – “An Island of Joy (In a Sea of Electronic Dreams)” – An Island of Joy (In a Sea of Electronic Dreams) – 2005 (30:01)

This is the second album from the Finnish ambient producer Doc and the Russian pianist Lena Selyanina. The album contains three long meditative ambient pieces inspired by Claude Debussy’s ‘Water Music’. The original works of Debussy that inspired this album are: Danseuses de Delphes (Dancers in Mist), Voiles (Behind the Veils) and L’isle joyeuse (The Island of Joy).

7. Satori – “Aurora” – Golden Dreams – 2005 (16:55)

Is this what I feel?
Love as madness?
When dreams all peace steal,
and torment is gladness?
I move through day,
phantom breath on my skin,
dark eyes meeting mine,
guarded heart in hand,
in outflung realm where ends one heart and another begin,
or in undiscovered country on God’s sacred land
where soul must meet soul, mingle, become one,
the winds of heaven for song and bless’d river run.
Then open the gates,
let loose the stream,
let madness take hold,
let dreamer dream,
for never have hands held so great a treasure
as the heart of beloved and Beloved in one time,
learning true joy,
distressing false pleasure,
knowing at last the truth in full measure:
Love is madness, madness is love
My heart is yours, and love at last is mine.

-Rebekkah Hilgraves
from Love the Haven of Peace

Anjey Satori creates music for meditation and relaxation. This album uses as its basis the rustle of waves and surf, the sounds of whale and dolphin song, and adds quiet melodic music to it, creating a peaceful musical space, well suited to dreaming.

8. Lucette Bourdin – “Raven’s Dream” – Raven’s Dream – 2006 (27:38)

The late Lucette Bourdin was a visual and music artist who was a native of France, having grown up in the villages and towns near the Doubs River in the eastern part of the country. The childhood phase of scribbling and coloring never ended for Lucette nor could several years of law school diminish her desire to become an artist. So, when she married an American and moved to the United States she felt her life was going to start over and her art would begin. Always an independent and self-disciplined individual, and feeling that the art programs available would only limit her expression, Lucette embarked upon a rigorous study of artists, color and design which eventually resulted in her own unique style.

Using watercolor/gouache as her media, Lucette developed a painting style which both expresses and evokes the subtlety of the soul. The outer landscape is a metaphor for the spirit that seeks expression as the light of transformation and redemption.

As accomplished at visual art as she was, Lucette was also a master of the ambient music genre, producing a wide ranging collection of albums that can only be described as masterworks. Lucette saw an interesting duality between the two forms of art, where the practice of one reinforces the practice of the other.

Lucette once said: “The closest analogy to how I experience both the act of painting and a finished work of art is music. While I am painting I feel like music is streaming through me on to the paper. It is difficult to say whether I am playing the music or the instrument being played. My experience is the reverse of music however, because the performance is done privately in my studio while the completed score in its entirety is what I show the public. There is another interesting distinction between the two mediums for me as well. Music is played in a line, it is linear, but it creates an atmosphere that continues after it has been played. A painting is a whole piece of music sounding all at once and which the viewer replays by looking at it. As the eye wanders around a painting the colors, forms, textures and their relationships are “sounding” within the viewer creating an experience or mood or atmosphere.”

Lucette passed away in February of 2011, but her unique perspective on music and art lives on. With the blessing of her loved ones, her self-released albums have been uploaded to the Internet Archive to ensure safekeeping for posterity, so that Lucette’s music can live on, hopefully forever.

9. Dan Pound – “Hummingbird’s Dream” – In A Hummingbird’s Dream – 2005 (21:27)

Dan was classically trained on piano, guitar and double bass at an early age and started writing songs soon after. He went on to be in the local honor orchestra and was soon writing pieces for the entire ensemble. Besides performing and composing, Dan has earned degrees in recording engineering and electronic music technology, and has received credits as 1st engineer and mixer for an indie jazz release, “Crusin’ Some Grooves” by the Steve Wolfe Quartet.

Over several years, Dan has pieced together a home studio where he does most of his work now recording and producing his music independently. He specializes in music for film and multi-media, as well as recording and producing his own albums on his label, Pound Sounds.

10. Alexey V – “Calm” – Dreamology – 2007 (2:59)


(Image: The Stuff that Dreams are made of by John Anster Fitzgerald (British, 1823-1906), 1858).

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