Back by popular demand, we have another “Rhythm” program on this week’s edition of At Water’s Edge.
We hear many subtle rhythms today from the creative minds of Steve Roach/Brian Parnham, Robert Rich/Steve Roach, Altus, Altus+trx, Cousin Silas, Loren Nerell, Adam Kittle, Michael Brückner, Na-Koja-Abad and Lucette Bourdin.
“Serpent Gulch” – Steve Roach and Brian Parnham – The Desert Inbetween (2011)
On The Desert Inbetween, Steve Roach teams up with fellow synthesist/percussionist/didgeridoo player Brian Parnham to explore a hybrid electronic acoustic world of sound. The release is a unique blending of highly-altered organic sounds and instruments (voices, bells, didgeridoo & percussion, Waterphone), electric guitar and a vast array of analog and digital instruments, drawing inspiration from the stark and magnificent expanses of the desert southwest.
“Such Fleeting Advancement” – Altus – ECOTONE (2011)
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.
A collaborative effort between Altus and trx, this release is a little bit of a departure from much of Altus’ other work, which often has a large and symphonic feel to it. Heaven forfend ambient music should actually have a beat to it! Trx is an IDM/Experimental producer from Bulgaria (known also as TeeRexX), releasing music for independent labels such as Jisatsuken.org and Stretching-spaces.net.
“Galungan Ceremony” – Loren Nerell – Indonesian Soundscapes (1999)
Indonesian Soundscapes is an audio journey composed from field recordings, but it’s more than any mere academic presentation of sounds. It was recorded in Bali and Java by Loren Nerell and Dale Strumpell, between June 1992 and September 1997. It was mixed and assembled by Loren Nerell in December 1997 at Earthbound. Loren writes: “This recording came about as a byproduct to fieldwork I was conducting in Bali for my masters thesis in ethnomusicology. When I first arrived in Bali I came armed with a portable DAT recorder and microphones to record the music of my study (temple ceremonial music called lelambatan), but almost immediately I found myself attracted to other sounds, what one might call environment or ‘ambient’ sounds, the sounds of everyday life. I began to record these and other sounds that I found to be interesting, more for my own edification and enjoyment then for anything else.” Indonesian Soundscapes is the result of these recordings.
Galungan marks the beginning of the most important recurring religious ceremonies. The spirits of deceased relatives who have died and been cremated return to visit their former homes, and the current inhabitants have a responsibility to be hospitable through prayers and offerings.
“Magnetic Rain” – Adam Kittle – (unreleased, 2008)
Adam Kittle is a professional musician and composer, and has been playing and creating music more than three decades. He started playing piano in 1973 at the age of five; he participated in several public piano recitals, guild competitions, and composing contests during the period of his formal training. He was a music business major at the University of Texas at San Antonio and has played in several bands since his early teenage years. He has received radio airplay for various works done both with bands and as a sole entity since 1988, has keyboard credits on several different albums, and has written more than 600 original compositions in the last 19 years. Adam is also into TV/Film productions, and scored the music soundtrack for an industrial film depicting Southwest Research Institute, a large international research corporation. Currently he is involved in audio mixing and mastering for music CD projects. Adam is based in San Antonio, TX and is a licensed amateur radio operator, and spends his spare time indulging in other hobbies that include meteorology, writing, surfing the Internet and computer applications.
The word soma appears over 3000 years ago in the Indian Vedic scriptures as the divine nectara drug/food with powerful physical, mental, and spiritual properties. According to one commentator, Soma is “…the principle of bliss…the essence, in sense-objects and sense-experiences, in the plants and growths of the earth-nature. The mystic Soma-plant symbolizes that element behind all sense-activities and their enjoyments which yields the divine essence.” For the classical Greeks, soma meant ‘body’ and is the root of English words like somatic. (Soma also appeared infamously in Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World as the quasi-narcotic pleasure drug which kept the masses quiescent.)
“We wanted this music to feel primordial, not technological,” says Robert Rich, “…to stimulate the body as means of joining the physical, mental, and spiritual in a journey of almost psychedelic intensity.”
“Rauka – Disciplined Mix” – Michael Brückner – Naura EP (2013)
This is a fascinating experimental project by German composer and artist Michael Brückner. He writes,
“In March 2013 I was approached by the label “Klangwirkstoff”, who release music based on (or tuned to) natural, or “cosmic” frequencies (…going back on the ancient idea of a “music of the spheres”), for a contribution to one of their various artists compilations.
Triggered by this request, I started working on a track using a.) binaural effects and b.) tuned to the earth’s magnetic field’s basic resonance at 7.83 Hertz.
The result of my efforts is this little EP, containing two variations of the main tune, and two other tracks, which are based on the same material.
“Invocations in the Bowels of the Wind” – Na-Koja-Abad – Fleeting Glimpses (2006)
Na-Koja-Abad is the artist project name of Sarajevo-based Muamer Musić. He started using 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. He chose the name based on his interest in Sufism and shamanism, which also lead him to the kind of music he makes today, trancey, tribal ambient.
“Lord Ganesha is Nada Brahman, Lord of music. He is the repository of knowledge and a mine of virtues from whom emanates illimitable erudition, and cosmic music and rhythm.”
Thus is the artist’s description of this superb release by the immortal Lucette Bourdin. Entitled Seeking Ganesha, this is a tremendous collection of exotic ambient pieces, all performed by visual and musical artist Lucette Bourdin, and all simply wonderful pieces of ambient artistry. The music is at times deeply spiritual in nature and yet is also very open and inviting for meditation, quiet contemplation, or straightforward casual listening.
(Image: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Traditional_indonesian_drums.jpg, taken by Flagstaffotos http://www.flagstaffotos.com.au/gallery23/main.php)