Touch the Sky

touch the skyLots of new music, and collaborations at that, on this week’s edition of At Water’s Edge. We’ll hear the entire new release “Menagerie of Clouds” from Christopher Alvarado and Ari Porki, and a track from Cousin Silas and Kuutana called “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”. Both of these releases are first-time collaborations, and both are very successful!

We’ll also hear tracks from IXOHOXI, Richard Lainhart, Bing Satellites, Carl Sagan’s Ghost and Mystified.

(no podcast this week due to technical difficulties–my apologies!!)

Christopher Alvarado and Ari Porki: Menagerie of Clouds (2013)

  1. The Grey Deluge
  2. Valley of Souls
  3. Secret Winds
  4. Land of Nothing
  5. Inception of Stillness
  6. Cap Isthmus
  7. Mesas
  8. New Beginning

Ari Porki and Christopher Alvarado met through Jack Hertz, specifically his Sounds 4 Good label, on a compilation called The Human Condition. Ari Contacted Christopher through Relaxed Machinery (a website based for artists) to say that he enjoyed Christopher’s track and Christopher responded in kind. Both artists felt they had a similar approach for an ambient themed composition, and decided to create a track. Both Ari and Christopher were pleased with the end result, and decided to expand their project to a full length album, which became Menagerie of Clouds, an album of diversified ambience, is released through Aural Films. Christopher and Ari are Slated to work on a new album early in 2014.

Ari Porki: My music is inspired by northern nature and four extreme seasons. This closeness of the nature obligatory comes through my music even it’s only through simple synthesizer sound, field-recording or sample. As music has been part of my life for decades, there would be some kind of highlights of my past, evolving from my sub-consciousness. The feedbacks from my electronic trials long ago was encouraging, enough to give birth to the project called ”Old Man Motel” (2006-2011). The name was inspired by an old photograph but it also described well the overall project. Under this project name I published on project web pages music that moved in the borderland of ambient and experimental, spiced up with ethnic tones. Music included elements and inspirations from the fourty years of experience as a musician and as a music listener, mixing different styles, without paying attention to scales. In the last few years I have become more interested in the production of ambient music under my own name.

Christopher Alvarado: With a diverse musical background spanning more than two decades, Chris Alvarado continues to create music that pushes new sounds and captures audiences located near his Salt Lake City-based studio to listeners around the world. Alvarado’s career began in 1985 when his musical passion was ignited by the SLC punk scene. He started playing bass guitar, joining his first band, Harsh Reality (S.L.C.), a band that started new trends towards the mid 80’s. Today, Alvarado plays classical/electric guitar, bass, drums, percussion and keyboards, creating music that crosses over many genres, including ambient, acoustic, noise and atmosphere. More recently, Alvarado’s projects capture new sounds of electro-acoustics and computer-generated noise. Though involved in a multitude of projects over the years, Alvarado’s most popular projects include 23 Extacy, synthetically generated aggressive and dark hardcore industrial music; Roses & Exile, featuring guest vocalists with lyrics written by Alvarado; and Twilight Transmissions, purely instrumental music with ambient noise manipulation. Each project has its own sound, but also exudes Alvarado’s unique musical personality. With years of experience working with more than 150 artists, releasing 17 disks,12 compilations and guest artist on 4 others. Bands include Little Sap Dungeon, Audio Varianscision, Harsh Reality (S.L.C.), B.F.D., Shiv, Beat Iron Blue, Genocidal Existence and Void, to name a few. Alvarado continues to explore new musical frontiers, breaking traditional music models and paving the way for the next generation of musicians.

They also have these out as well for new releases:

Christopher also goes by Twilight Transmissions for his dark ambient/experimental work.

“Amorphous Electron Clouds” – IXOHOXI – Micronicom (2004)

Taking its name from that of a mathematical magic square, IXOHOXI was the ambient project of Dan Russo, who passed away on the 15th of January, 2007.

There is a mathematical magic square known as the IXOHOXI magic square. It looks the same in all four rotations. It is pan- diagonal so that the 4 rows, 4 columns, 2 main diagonals, 6 complementary diagonal pairs and 16 2 x 2 squares all sum to 19998. In a mirror, all of the numbers in the reflection will read the same because both the one and the eight are symmetric about both the horizontal and the vertical axis. The name IXOHOXI has the same characteristics.

8818 1111 8188 1881
1181 1888 8811 1118
1811 8118 1181 8888
1188 8881 1818 8111

1881 8818 1111 8188
8111 1188 8881 1818
8888 1811 8118 1181
1118 8181 1888 8811

1188 8881 1818 8111
1811 8118 1181 8888
8181 1888 8811 1118
8818 1111 8188 1881

1118 8181 1888 8811
8888 1811 8118 1181
8111 1188 8881 1818
1881 8818 1111 8188

The first IXOHOXI atmospheric and ambient music CDs were released in 1999/8 and further added weight to the idea that the artist’s project name should be IXOHOXI. Read more at and

“A Bell Above the Clouds” – Richard Lainhart Cranes Fly West (2010)

Richard Lainhart is an award-winning composer, filmmaker, and author – a digital artisan who works with sonic and visual data. Since childhood, he’s been interested in natural processes such as waves, flames and clouds, in harmonics and harmony, and in creative interactions with machines, using them as compositional methods to present sounds and images that are as beautiful as he can make them.

Lainhart studied composition and electronic music at the State University of New York at Albany. He has composed music for film, television, CD-ROMs, interactive applications, and the Web. His compositions have been performed in the US, England, Sweden, Germany, Australia, and Japan. Recordings of his music have appeared on the Periodic Music, Vacant Lot, XI Records, Airglow Music, Tobira Records, Infrequency, VICMOD, and ExOvo labels. As an active performer, Lainhart has appeared in public approximately 2500 times. Besides performing his own work, he has worked and performed with John Cage, David Tudor, Steve Reich, Phill Niblock, David Berhman, Rhys Chatham, Harley Gaber, and Jordan Rudess, among many others. He has composed over 150 electronic and acoustic works. In 2008, he was commissioned by the Electronic Music Foundation to contribute a work to New York Soundscape.

“Above the Clouds” – Bing SatellitesTwilight Sessions Volume Two (2010)

Bing Satellites (known as Brin Coleman in real life) is a prolific ambient shoegaze musician and producer from Manchester, UK. He also makes music under the guises of The Lovely Moon, The Ambient Visitor and Blocker. He has collaborated with several artists including OnSpiderPark, Tange, Cousin Silas, Getzel, piper_ben and Who Invented Double Tap. Currently, he is playing keyboards in Daniel Land’s new band.

He has been experimenting with music for as long as he can remember, and become a fan of Brian Eno as a teenager–which had a profound affect on him. He had been in bands in his teens and early 20s but was never particularly happy; and then in the early 2000s, computers had evolved enough to make it possible for one person to make music relatively easily. With some software and the loan of a sequencer and synth from his brother, Bing Satellites began.

The Twilight Sessions is a series of long-form ambient works, so far totaling 11 sessions over three years. This particular session is a series of long, drawn-out ambient tracks that evolve slowly, creating quite an emotive and evocative sound, but with a dub edge.

You can watch the video that goes along with Above the Clouds on Vimeo.

“Behind Clouds Part 1” – Carl Sagan’s GhostBehind Clouds (2009)

Carl Sagan’s Ghost is Daniel J. Davis, a Seattle based artist (recently he decided to ditch the band/project name, and record and release music under his own name). Thus far he has released over 20 albums under a number of names – most recently as Carl Sagan’s Ghost – in a number of different genres, and has no plans to stop.

“For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”Cousin Silas and Kuutana – unreleased (2013)

Two great musicians, great together. As with Christopher Alvarado and Ari Porki, this is the first collaboration between these two artists. The theme is based on an episode of the original Star Trek series. Here is one of the wonders of modern technology: Kuutana, who is based in Ottowa, Ontario, Canada, created the base track and sent it to Cousin Silas, who lives in Yorkshire in the UK. Cousin Silas then added his own distinctive style to it, and a new team was born!

The initial foundation for the track was composed by Kuutana and was inspired by the works of Brian Eno, in particular albums Fourth World Vol. 1, Possible Musics and Apollo. The style was specifically chosen by Kuutana in light of the space that it provided for Cousin Silas to contribute his amazing skills at composing sonic landscapes and silky pads that permeate the final song. Cousin Silas also provided his signature lavish guitar passages, which punctuate the environment at important points during the composition. The overall appreciation of the sonic environment gave this impression of a “controlled space” mysterious and uncertain, expanding and contracting. The track was given a name by Kuutana, who found that the name of a first series episode of Star Trek with the same name as the track, provided the overall visual and story-based imagery that might stir up the same feeling with listeners. In this episode, Dr. McCoy is trapped in a man-made hollow asteroid, where its people, kept in the dark about their existence, believe that they are on a real world, but by law are forbidden to go beyond a given perimeter. The illusion is shattered when McCoy shows the people of this world that he can “touch the sky”.

“Bell Cloud” – MystifiedAltered Signals (2008)

Mystified is Thomas Park, who creates music under a number of different project names, depending on the style of music. He has been actively recording since 2002. Rapoon, aka Robin Storey, and Nigel Ayers of Nocturnal Emissions, were nice enough to collaborate with mystified, and mystified’s composition and dj-ing skills landed Thomas in “Spin” Magazine (11/2000, as “DJ PanMuse”).

The truth about the music of Mystified is that it is very diverse, and has spanned musics such as ambient, industrial, phonography, drone, and noise, among others. Mystified is for listeners with an ear for the experimental, and often dark or minimal.

Altered Signals, released on the Dark Winter netlabel, is a series of pieces based on the alteration of a relatively simple original sound or set of sounds. Most sounds treated for this release involve some form of broadcast, such as radio. The tracks are much more ambient than most of mystified’s work, but they do call on his studies of noise. The centerpiece of the album is a 30-minute piece called “The Science Of Change”– a longform piece that moves back and forth but never repeats, sounding a bit like one of Steve Roach’s “Immersion” pieces.

2 thoughts on “Touch the Sky

  1. Many thanks to Rebekkah for playing the new collaboration track with Cousin Silas. Much enjoyed the show and thank you for recording this for we in the “underprivileged time zones” 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll Up
%d bloggers like this: