In the Northern Hemisphere, the year is winding down and the Sun is going to his winter bed. Now three hours, and at a new time, this week’s At Water’s Edge features works by Elve, Altus (Canada), Eremos, Lucette Bourdin, Dennis Moser, Language of Landscape, Har, Twilight Illusions, Janne Hanhisuanto, Caul, Peter James and Disturbed Earth, and Jason. Sloan.
“Autumn Leaves” – Elve – Infinite Garden (2006)
“November Rain” – Altus – Autumn Breeze (2005)
Altus is the ambient music moniker of Mike Carss, based in Ottawa, Canada. He’s a prolific composer and producer, steadily releasing about two albums a year since he started. Autumn Breeze is one of many time-based or seasonal-based works of his (the most recent being his year-long Sidereal Cycle, released during the major season changes in 2012-13).
“Autumn” – Eremos – Ubi Caritas (2006)
This short collection of contemplative ambient soundscapes crafted with electric guitar is Mike Farley’s netlabel debut. Both as a personal exercise in communion with the numinous and an expression of insight, they successfully convey a sense of the spiritual life.
“The First Call of Autumn” – Lucette Bourdin – Nordic Waves, Vol. 4: Autumn
Similar to Altus’ Sidereal Cycle, Nordic Waves is Lucette’s 8th release on Dark Duck Records, and is a large environmental exploration.
Lucette Bourdin is a native of France and grew 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 has 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.
Oh and by the way, she also is an extremely talented musician who creates stunningly beatiful music, floating melodies, and wonderful textural ambience. This is her 2nd release on Dark Duck Records and continues in her “beautiful floating drones” style that can also be heard on all of her Dark Duck Records releases. More of her music can also be found on her website, and released on the Earth Mantra netlabel.
“And the Rain Embraced our Closing Words” – Language of Landscape – Memories Fade Under a Shallow Autumn Snow (2009)
Language of Landscape is the ambient duo of Chris Tenz (piano/keys) and Cory Zaradur (guitar/samples/field recordings), and with this album, they bring together the austere ambience of Stars of the Lid with the similar austerity that can be heard in works by Arvo Pärt and Max Richter. The result is music that slowly envelopes the listener with gentle guitar drones and sparse-yet-evocative piano arrangements, that slowly drifts down around you like, well, a shallow autumn snow.
“Leaf Shadowing” – Conni St. Pierre – Forest Spirits (2013)
Scheduled for release tomorrow (the day after this broadcast), Forest Spirits is inspired by the deep forest, full of light and shadow, ancient trees, breezes and mysteries. From meditative shakuhachi tracks to harp, flute, and ambience, this album explores the forest of the listener’s imagination. The solo Native American flute played on “Roots Breathing Down” was made from a huge ash tree that blew down on Conni’s 103 acres of wild woods in the mountains of Maine. Using the techniques she has learned playing shakuhachi, the ash flute takes on deeper resonance, with feedback-like overtones not commonly heard in Native American instruments.
In collaboration with Pat Malia, Phil Poirier, and Ted St.Pierre on this album, Conni explores more ambient resonances with guitars, sitar, and Tibetan throat-singing.
“Autumn Nuptials (for Janis”) – Dennis Moser – Mandorla Autumn Tunes Net-Collection (2006)
Prepared for the Mandorla Autumn Tunes compilation, “Autumn Nuptials (for Janis)” was written about the time of their wedding anniversary — they were married on the Autumnal Equinox and on their honeymoon, camped along the Lake Superior in Michigan and Wisconsin. This was written several years later, and was partly inspired by the seascapes around Rhode Island coast.
“LIVE: Autumnal Nightscape 1 – September 24, 2011” – Har – LIVE (2011)
See if you can spot the MST3K reference at the beginning. This was performed live on the air for the Electro-Music Autumnal Equinox show in 2011; a live solo long-form dark ambient 8-string guitar improv set, as part of the all-day Electro-Music Autumnal Equinox concert on September 24th, 2011.
Imagine an Autumn neighborhood scene at dusk, of low-angle red sunlight through trees as the atmosphere turns colder and alternately serene and tense as the darkness settles in with a rhythm of its own…
This is largely processed/looped guitar played in real-time with no synths, MIDI pickups etc used, along with night-time field recordings made in Har’s front yard.
“Wanderer in Autumn” – Twilight Illusions – Wanderer in Autumn (2008)
“Autumn” – Janne Hanhisuanto – Padmospheres (2007)
Finnish composer Janne Hanhisuanto’s Padmospheres series started with the idea that few and simple elements could create large and relaxing atmosphere. Afterwards he noticed that Padmospheres, like Altus’ and Lucette’s seasonal releases, could express his point of view around a very classic idea, the four seasons of the year.
“Just one autumn for ripe songs” – Caul – Let the Stars Assume the Whole of Night
Caul is American ambient artist Brett Smith. Let the Stars Assume the Whole of Night is a mix of sounds and atmospheres: dark without being spooky, melodic but not pretty, listenable, but too nervous and somber to ever become predictable. These pieces are more composed and structured than most ambient music, more akin to the soundtrack for some dark and moody piece of cinema. Imagine the score to an undiscovered work by David Lynch or Andrei Tarkovsky and you have the idea.
“Autumnal Nights” – Peter James and Disturbed Earth – Remains (2007)
Disturbed Earth is Dean Richards, a talented musician who–lucky b****rd–has worked in the music industry all his life. He moved back to Australia 5 years ago to look after his parents, after having lived and worked in the U.S. for 20 years. Remains was written and produced by Peter James in 2000, and then re-worked and re-processed in 2007 by Disturbed Earth. In his inimitable Disturbed Earth fashion, he “reel to reel taped it”, and then sent it back to Peter, who was living in Cumbria UK; Dean was living in Florida at the time.
“Breath of White Autumn” – Jason. Sloan – Still (2003)
Still is Jason. Sloan’s second release from slo bor media, almost a year in the making. This critically acclaimed release picks up where the space between beginnings left off. Deep ambient sound currents take the listener into a warm electronic space. Sloan’s sound has been compared to that of mid-80s-era Steve Roach (think Structures from Silence) and William Linton mixed with the analog warmth of Brian Eno’s early works.
“An Eventful Day (Autumn)” – Cousin Silas – (2011)
When I mentioned to Cousin Silas that I would be playing this track, he asked, “where on earth did you find it?” (or words to that effect–he uses colorful language, to my great delight).