This week we’re featuring works by women artists, including a couple of new additions to the Stillstream pantheon.
It’s a wildly varied program! While some of it is quite lyrical, don’t expect all sweetness ‘n’ light, because some of these chicas get noisy and dirty–fearless, just the way we like it!
Many people think that ambient music is a bit of a boys’ club, and to some extent it is. Happily, there are more and more women getting into ambient and electronic music. Today’s program is just a tiny sampling of the amazing music available by women artists.
“Cedros Trench (Baja, Mexico)” – The Tunnel Singer – Undercurrents (2011)
The Tunnel Singer finds resonant spaces around her such as caves, highway overpasses and tunnels, and vocalizes–generally improvising with just her voice, or combining it with various drone-generating instruments.
“Orogenesis” – Conni St. Pierre – Mountain Spirits (2009)
Conni St. Pierre is founder of smasheasy and Tourmaline Media, and composer of the critically acclaimed Legends Trilogy and Nature Spirits series.
Her music is a blend of ambient, new age and traditional music using alto flute, keyboard synth and native drums in unique combinations.
Altocumulus is an artist project name for — yes — our own Altocumulus, the person you’ll often find in the Stillstream chat room. She also goes by Pyracantha, and is a talented visual artist as well as being skilled in experimental electronic music, based in the Washington, DC area.
Once upon a time, she was an academic, studying Classics (Greek and Latin) at Brandeis and Harvard. She left academia in 1980 and a few years later became a professional artist and illustrator, as she continues to be even now.
She says she usually dresses in black, orange and blue, and is very fond of things that glow in the dark.
“Conservatoire” – Anne Guthrie – Conservatoire (2006)
Brooklyn-based composer Anne Guthrie creates immersive sonic environments intended to disorient the listener with their dichotomy between expansive space and intimate sonic details. In Conservatoire, Guthrie offers two variations on field recordings she made of the Conservatory at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The first, lengthier piece (the one we hear on this program) develops slowly out of an expansive, bass-heavy sea of humming, gradually revealing the field recordings which compete for dominance with the underlying drones as the piece moves towards its conclusion. The second piece concentrates on higher registers, giving a bit more prominence to the field recordings while the drones mutate with slightly more urgency. Beautifully crafted sonic architecture evoking movement and interaction within a challenging space.
Anne’s sound installations have been exhibited at the International Center in Iowa City. Her acoustic compositions have been performed by the University of Iowa Chamber Orchestra and by the S.E.M. Ensemble. Her poetry has been published in 1913: A Journal of Forms, and by Strange Tractor Publications, a free press she co-founded in 2004. As a French horn improviser, she has performed with Edwin Prevost and Mattin ofSakada in Hackney, London, and with the New York Sound Painting Orchestra led by Walter Thompson at several venues in New York City.
“We Are” – Magnetic Wind – Sounds of Rumi (2011)
Working in original composition, Magnetic Wind (aka Jess Mesawzee Waters) is conservatory trained and presently focuses on organic, electronic blends of ambient with abundant layered female vocals and field textures creating lush soundscaping. She employs synthetic arpeggios, washes and melodies along with pianos, world touches, rich international percussion and soft voice effects to create charming arrangements with a cinematic depth and inviting warmth.
Annette Cantor takes two age-old music traditions from Europe (Gregorian chants and cello performance) and mixes them with ancient Native American musical customs (wooden flute and indigenous percussion) forming a unique sound on her recording Songs To The Earth, an album dedicated to our planet and the divine sacredness of nature.
“Silent Passage” – Michele Ippolito – In the Clouds (2009)
Born and raised in Chicago Il. Michele is classically trained on piano. Her music is influenced by classical, new age and contemporary. Using various keyboard techniques, she composes full time and works on various studio projects with Vince Ippolito, musician/producer at their commercial recording studio in Dixon Il.
“I like offering my listeners a musical Meditative experience filled with Energy and Innovation that uplifts their Spirit,” she says of her work.
Michele’s first CD, “Mystic Moods” was nominated Best Ambient Album 2006 by the New Age Reporter, iTunes top 10 and #1 on Music Choice Soundscapes.
Michele’s 2009 CD release “In The Clouds” is a motif of lyrical melodies incorporating her signature sound.
“In The Clouds” has been nominated for the 2009 Zone Music Reporter Awards in two categories: “Best Ambient Album” and “Best Relaxation/Meditation Album”
Michele’s latest album “Drifting In Dreams” was nominated for Best Electronic album by Zone Music Reporter.
“Bioforce” – VÆRNA – (unreleased) (2010)
VÆRNA is the ambient music project of Helen Mutzner. Following a dream she had since she was was old enough to play a piano at age 4, she describes herself as an old school musician who is always learning something new. Her music is theme based, inspired from many vectors; she also writes, draws and paints.
She tells us,
If I come to a show, a radio show or event, I want to learn and connect with you.
Her ambient tracks can be found on iTunes, at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/skaven-252/id386164727
Celer was formed in 2005 by Danielle Marie Baquet and William Thomas Long. From 2005 to 2009, Celer was the duo of Will Long and Danielle Baquet-Long; in 2009 it became the solo ambient project of Will Long.
Dying Star was recorded in the fall of 2008, using only a vintage analog synthesizer and mixing board. It was completely improvised, with no overdubs or post-processing. The intention was to produce a completely improvised work while remaining completely pure and secluded.
Haemony: H[ae]”mo*ny, n. [L. H[ae]monia a name of Thessaly, the land ofmagic.] A plant described by Milton as “of sovereign use against allenchantments.”
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.
haemony. Dictionary.com. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary. MICRA, Inc.http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/haemony (accessed: May 25, 2013).
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.
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.
“Vapour Trails” – Claire Fitch – Ambiencellist (2004)
Claire Fitch, also known as the Ambiencellist has created a unique concept in live, improvised, electric and acoustic cello that encompasses many styles and genres. The music she has created conjours up sounds of such ephemeral beauty that are in essence both fleeting soundscapes and deep solo meditations.
The Ambiencellist project is currently focusing on performance and improvisation using computers, guitar pedals and midi. Collaborations with poets, dancers, actors, storytellers and other musicians are very much part of the core of ambiencellist live, so she encourages other artists to get in touch.