Saturday, April 30, 2016

Unfurling Forces

As with so many mixes this one started because of a great tune. In this mix that great tune is Existence in the Unfurling by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith from her spectacular new album Ears. The track is a wonderful mixture of analog electronics, fluttering woodwinds and ethereal vocals. It's my favorite song of the year so far and I just had to share it in a mix. 

The other tracks are a combination of electronic tunes & some post-rock.  All the music is new with the exception of the 3rd track.


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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - Existence in the Unfurling
  • 11:05    Mogwai - Ether
  • 15:40    The Maple Mountain Sunburst Triolian Orchestra - Age of Steam
  • 18:40    36 - FIVe Eyes
  • 21:40    Explosions in the Sky - The Wilderness
  • 25:44    Prins Thomas - A2
  • 32:20    Shaded Explorer - When I Decided to Live
  • 40:54    Underworld - Santiago Cuatro
  • 44:15    Brian Eno - The Ship
  • 52:25    Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - Rare Things Grow
  • 55:24    end

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Piano Moments

I had not planned on doing another piano mix so soon after the last one in November 2015.  Then Piano Day happened.  On March 28th of this year a group founded by Nils Frahm celebrated the piano and everything around it. This was the second year for the event.

In addition to music released for Piano Day and live events, the Piano Day website,, has this awesome random note generator.  I highly recommend playing around with it.  You can record your noodlings and play it back on the site.  It works great with a tablet where you can hit several notes simultaneously.  

The website piano player is what got me started on this mix.  I made an audio recording of my random notes and then messed with it by mixing it with a backwards version and a slowed down version and adding a bit of reverb.  The result is very listenable.  Not an exact composition per se with now structure but it works pretty well as an ambient piano track.

That's a long winded way of saying that is where this mix started.  Next I stumbled across an amazing recording on SoundCloud here...

Brendan Landis, recording as Hey Exit, took every recording he could find of Satie's Gymnopedie #1 and played them all at the same time, layered on top of each other, timestretched to the length of the longest recording.  The 60 plus recordings combine to create an ethereal, phasing shifting version the famous Gymnopedie #1.  I knew immediately that I had to include this in any piano mix.

A couple of quick notes on other tracks...
The mix starts of with Fleeting Smile by Roger Eno.  A cut that owes a lot to Satie's Gymnopedies but is still beautiful on it's own.  It had been years since I listened to this track and after hearing it again I immediately added to a playlist I have called The Most Beautiful Recordings Ever.

There is another sort of random notes type of piece in the mix and it's from Akria Rabelais.  The tracks full name is "Every Tone Is the Prism as Words, Any Unexpected Corners Must Be Slipped Away."  It's a 42 minute piece with LOTS of dead air in between notes.  I decided to remix it a bit by layering it to eliminate much of the silence.  I know this goes totally against the original intent of the track but I was just experimenting with the randomness of rearranging the notes and ended up liking how it sounded.

I hope you enjoy these piano moments.  Maybe next year I'll have a piano mix ready on Piano Day.  In the meantime go visit the site...


[ s t r e a m ]   [ d o w n l o a d ]   [ i t u n e s ]

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00 Roger Eno - Fleeting Smile
  • 02:24 Hey Exit - every recording of gymnopedie 1
  • 06:50 Hey Exit - every rec of gymnoedie 1 slowly
  • 08:23 + Low Light - Piano Day web player remix
  • 15:15 Steve Roach & Robert Logan - Moments Notice
  • 20:30 Akira Rabelais - every tone is the prism(layered remix)
  • 28:30 Harold Budd - Templar
  • 37:30 Roedelius - Roedelius plays piano part 11
  • 40:05 Nils Frahm - Mi
  • 43:54 Unknown - random pno
  • 47:27 Mark Lyken & Emma Dove - fishing for rigs pt. 1
  • 49:05 Howard Skempton - piano piece 1969
  • 50:30 Roedelius - Roedelius plays piano part 1
  • 52:33 Chris Walla - Introductions
  • 60:14 Hey Exit - every recording of gymnopedie 1 slowly
  • 62:20 end

Sunday, March 06, 2016


I believe I have professed my love for ambient guitar in previous posts here.  So a mix like this is no surprise.  Just as many of the artists collected in this mix are no surprise. Dirk Serries, Scott Solter, David Tagg, Windy & Carl, Kyle Bobby Dunn, Fripp & Eno - these are all artists that have appeared in many of my mixes over the years.

The music here is fairly straightforward - ambient tunes where the guitar is the most prominent instrument.  Some of the cuts are beautiful, others a bit darker, but all will easily transport the listener to a favorite meditative place.


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T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00    Tonepoet - Headspace
  • 07:00    Chas Smith - False Clarity
  • 10:50    A Lily - Hunter and Sky
  • 13:45    David Tollefson - Pattern of Islands
  • 16:45    Jasper Tx - Embers
  • 21:10    Fripp and Eno - Heavenly Music Corp(half speed)
  • 26:20    Dirk Serries - The Lament Broke
  • 36:40    Kyle Bobby Dunn - The Hungover
  • 46:25    Robin Guthrie - Misty
  • 49:45    Matt Borghi - The Elysian Plain
  • 54:27    Sleep Robot - Prayer Wheel
  • 1:00:37    Windy and Carl - Ode to a Dog
  • 1:04:50    Gareth Hardwick - Five Points
  • 1:14:14    David Tagg - Wolf Suite III
  • 1:17:55    Hakobune - A Distant Loss
  • 1:24:10    Shaula - Sea of Trees
  • 1:27:27    Manual - Always Alone
  • 1:33:36    Brian Siskind - Graham Bell
  • 1:38:00    Koda - Moment on the South Shore
  • 1:42:10    Scott Solter - The Palace Wedding
  • 1:46:10    Dirk Serries - Radiant Down
  • 1:54:36    end

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Cinema Atmospherica

As with so many of these mixes this one grew out of one particular recording.  In this case it was The Revenant soundtrack by Ryuichi Sakamoto with Alva Noto.  It's an absolutely gorgeous film score and I knew I needed to build a mix around it.

This mix, as the title suggests, is fairly atmospheric in feel and sound.  The tracks used are a combo of newer recordings & old ones too, with The Revenant making three appearances.  That soundtrack is definitely going to be on my best of list at the end of 2016.


[ s t r e a m ]   [ d o w n l o a d ]   [ i t u n e s ]

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto - The Revenant Theme(Noto remodel)
  • 03:44    Johann Johannsson - Desert Music(Sicario)
  • 07:50    Tindersticks - Night Time Cigarettes(Les Salauds)
  • 09:50    Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow - Ava(Ex Machina)
  • 11:10    Cliff Martinez - Sonia(The Knick season 2)
  • 11:43    Cliff Martinez - and we're here to listen(Traffic)
  • 13:26    Underworld - Corazon finds the seeding(Sunshine)
  • 14:12    Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - Teacher's Farewell(Loin Des Hommes)
  • 15:58    Arcade Fire - Loneliness #3(Her)
  • 19:10    Nils Frahm - Our Own Roof(Victoria)
  • 24:12    Jon Hopkins - Lost Map(How I live Now)
  • 25:50    Ryuichi Sakamoto - The Revenant Theme Atmospheric
  • 28:23    Harold Budd - Mysterious Skin(Mysterious Skin)
  • 30:35    Cliff Martinez - Speight Lived Here(The Knick season 2)
  • 32:00    Calexico - el escape del circo(Circo)
  • 33:10    Max Richter - Shadow Journal(Waltz With Bachir)
  • 37:27    Ryuichi Sakamoto - Out of Horse(The Revenant)
  • 40:15    Peter Gabriel - On The Map(Rabbit Proof Fence)
  • 41:00    Cliff Martinez - Wrong Floor(Drive)
  • 42:00    Ennio Morricone - Neve(Hateful 8)
  • 43:36    Ólafur Arnalds - Before The Calm(Another Happy Day)
  • 44:44    Clint Mansell - Summer Ghosts Of Things To(Requiem for a Dream)
  • 45:50    Andrey Dergatchev - Georgians(The Return)
  • 48:00    Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - Dead Horse(Loin Des Hommes)
  • 50:45    Johann Johannsson - The Jewish Cemetery on Moellegrade(Copenhagen Dreams)
  • 52:54    Arcade Fire - We're All Leaving(Her)
  • 55:26    end

Sunday, January 10, 2016

a quiet sea

I've done many "sea" mixes over the years and I keep coming back to them because ambient music perfectly captures the impression of an undulating a sea or ocean.


[ s t r e a m ]   [ d o w n l o a d ]   [ i t u n e s ]

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00   Rafael Anton Irisarri - Displacement
  • 03:52   Loscil - Angel of List
  • 10:00   Kane Ikin - Slow Waves
  • 13:30   Budd & Eno - An Echo of Night
  • 15:20   Diatonis - Moving in Silence
  • 19:54   Wave Temples - Under the Crystal Waters
  • 20:25   Wave Temples - Thru the narrow strait...
  • 21:45   Benoit Pioulard - Stanza II, IX
  • 26:36   Spheruleus - Clouds Swarm
  • 30:37   Purl - Havets Sång
  • 36:50   pjusk & sleep orchestra - Daithn
  • 41:12   Intrusion - Under the Ocean
  • 44:50   Porya Hatami - Farewell
  • 52:25   Pan & Me - The Sea Is So Quiet
  • 59:00   Stefan Paulus - Salt Sea Island
  • 63:24   end

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Mixcloud Best of 2015

Here's a little self-promotion for the first post of 2016.  Low Light Mixes made it to #4 on Mixcloud year-end list of the best curators in Ambient for 2015.  It helps that the folks at Mixcloud have been promoting my mixes a lot this year.  Now if only I could figure out a way to make money off of my Mixcloud fame. ;)

Here's a link to the 2015 list...

Thanks to regular blog visitors & downloaders for another fine year.  Cheers!

PS - The first great album of 2016?  Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto & Bryce Dessner - The Revenant OST - even though technically it was released in 2015, I'm counting it as 2016 as the film just opened here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The songs of 2015

According to Spotify I listened to 2378 different artists this year.  That seems like a lot but I don't have anything to compare it to.  Most of my Spotify listening is "normal" music, not ambient/electronic.  I guess my taste in music would be categorized as "indie" with a leaning toward "indie folk."

There was a lot of very good music again this year.  I've said this before and it continues to be true - anybody who says there is no good music anymore just isn't trying.  My favorite quote on that subject is from Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal - "If you still like all of the music that you liked when you were in high school – and nothing else – you probably don't really like music."

This list is a collection of favorite songs from the past year.  Some of the songs cross reference with my favorite albums of the year.  But it also has many tunes that I loved as stand alone cuts.  Tracks like Get to Know by Charlie Belle or That's Love by Oddisee or All You Favorite Bands by Dawes are all great tunes that deserve to be in heavy rotation even if the albums didn't make my final list.

It's available to stream at Mixcloud here...

Here's the download link...

Here's to another great year in 2016.  Cheers!  

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00  The Chemical Brothers - Wide Open
  • 05:41   Public Service Broadcasting - Go!
  • 09:35   Courtney Barnett - Pedestrian at Best
  • 13:22   Beck - Dreams
  • 18:33   Charlie Belle - Get to Know
  • 22:08   Sports - Saturday
  • 23:20   Crushed Beaks - Overgrown
  • 26:00   The Decemberists - Make You Better
  • 31:00   The Wild Reeds - Where I'm Going
  • 34:46   Caitlin Canty - Get Up
  • 38:21   Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield - Fond Farewell
  • 41:13   Howard - Religion
  • 44:33   The Lone Bellow - Telluride
  • 48:31   On An On - Drifting
  • 52:50   Sufjan Stevens - 4th of July
  • 57:20   Aero Flynn - Moonbeams
  • 1:03:33  David Bowie - Blackstar
  • 1:13:15  Ibeyi - River
  • 1:17:18  Oddisee - That's Love
  • 1:21:15  Tame Impala - Let It Happen
  • 1:28:45  Bayonne - Spectrolite
  • 1:31:55  GEMS - Living as a Ghost
  • 1:34:50  Beirut - No No No
  • 1:37:39  The Punch Brothers - I Blew It Off
  • 1:40:40  Dawes - All Your Favorite Bands
  • 1:44:00  Waxahatchee - Summer of Love
  • 1:45:58  SOAK - Sea Creatures
  • 1:48:55  David Wax Museum - Guesthouse
  • 1:53:00  Father John Misty - The Night Josh Tillman came to our apt
  • 1:56:33  Strand of Oaks - Wonderful(my morning jacket cover)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 Jazz

This collection isn't necessarily a "best of 2015" , it's just some of my favorite jazz tunes from the past year.

It begins with one of my favorite albums of the year in any genre - The Thompson fields by The Maria Schneider Orchestra. The title track is remarkable.  The Jaga Jazzist album was a big surprise for me.  I've listen to them on and off for years but had lost interest for some reason.  The track in this mix is strange, futuristic electronic/jazz cut that I have listened to a ton this year.  The other two great discoveries were albums from Kamasi Washington and Kendrick Scott Oracle, definitely worth checking out.

Is there any jazz out there that really engaged you in 2015?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments.


T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00 Maria Schneider Orchestra - The Thompson Fields
  • 09:50 Jaga Jazzist - Oban
  • 15:12 Kamasi Washington - The Magnificent 7
  • 20:57 Andy Sheppard - Tipping Point
  • 26:37 Kendrick Scott Oracle - we are the drum
  • 32:00 food - this is not a miracle
  • 36:00 Hidden Orchestra - the Revival
  • 39:50 Chris Potter Underground Orchestra - Imaginary Cities(part 2)
  • 48:12 Jakob Bro - Copenhagen
  • 52:24 Giovanni Guidi Trio - The might it rained forever
  • 59:10 Vijay Iyer Trio - Geese
  • 63:45 Ben Monder - Zythum
  • 70:10 Maria Schneider Orchestra - Walking by Flashlight
  • 75:10 end

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Best of 2015 - Ambient

These year end lists are always difficult.  But at least the top 3 spots this year were easy selections - 
Alva Noto - Xerrox, Vol. 3
Max Richter - Sleep
Chris Walla - Tape Loops

It doesn't really matter which one grabbed the top spot, I listened to these three over and over in 2015.  Noto is known for his electronic minimalism but Vol. 3 is beautiful and lush. Max Richter's Sleep is a recording of epic proportion - 8 hours long, it amazes me each time I listen.  Tape Loops by Chris Walla(drummer for Death Cab for Cutie) has an old school ambient feel.  It reminds me of Eno's Music for Airports and Music for Films.  As large as the first two albums on the list can sound, Tape Loops is just the opposite - simple and intimate.

A few albums worth mentioning - Brian Eno: Discreet Music by Contact is an orchestral arrangement of Eno's 1970s Discreet Music.  Like Bang On A Can's cover of Music for Airports this one is familiar yet fresh and different.  Worth checking out.  I've used Sine Dust tracks in several mixes and I will probably use them for years because I love the classic, spacey edge to this EP from 36.

I made a few different end of the year lists, which I will post soon.  One is Best Of 2015 - Instrumental, which is a combination of ambient, electronic, classical and jazz.  For this mix I pulled out the 15 ambient albums on the list and mixed them in the order that I ranked them in that list.  The mix flows very well considering I had the order already selected for me.

I'll post full year end lists soon.


T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00   Alva Noto - Isola from Xerrox, Vol. 3
  • 07:20   Max Richter - Return 2 from Sleep
  • 12:35   Chris Walla - Kanta's Theme from Tape Loops
  • 17:05   Benoit Pioulard - Shut-ins on Sunday from Sonnet
  • 19:20   36 - Sunriders part 2 from Sine Dust 
  • 23:40   Olan Mill - Live at the Millenium Barn from Cavade Morlem
  • 29:00   Mikael Delta & Hior Chronik - How to Define Existence from The First Ray
  • 33:00   Bersarin Quartett - Bedingungslos from III
  • 36:06   Contact - Brian Eno: Discreet Music
  • 44:22   Marconi Union - Aftermath from Departures
  • 48:40   Spheruleus - The Railroad from Chronota
  • 55:05   Goldmund - Turncoat from Sometimes
  • 57:57   Nils Frahm - Merry from Solo
  • 61:45   Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie -  The endless battle of the maudlin ballade part 2 from Travels in Constants Vo. 24
  • 64:40   Horizon Fire - Earthlight from Earthlight
  • 67:26   end

Sunday, December 06, 2015

The moon plays the ocean like a violin

As with all mixes this one had a specific starting point or inspiration - the incredible new album from Max Richter - Sleep.  It's 8 hours long!  8 hours!  Here's a link to purchase the full version...

I'm a sucker for high concept projects so I was interested from the start.  Add that to the fact that I am a fan of Richter's music and I knew I'd probably love it.  And yup, I do.  It's the perfect combination of Richter's classical style with an ambient sensibility.  

I knew I had to make a mix with tracks from the Sleep album.  I decided to keep the whole mix in the classical realm.  A lot of the tunes are new like the Besarin Quartet stuff.  Some cuts I've been waiting to use for awhile now, like the John Luther Adams cut.

As much as I like the Max Richter tracks I think my favorite track in the mix is Pie Jesu.  The cut is from The Wine of Silence by Andrew Keeling, David Singleton and Robert Fripp.  The music is based on Fripp's soundscape series, guitar improvisations that use tape loops and echo and reverb.  From there Keeling and Singleton scored the soundscapes for orchestra.  They finally subjected the orchestral recording to further electronic manipulation.  The result is transcendent.  It's a beautiful, beautiful album.

The title of the mix comes from a favorite Andrew Bird song, Night Sky, and I thought it fit somehow.  I really like the way each piece dissolves into the next on this mix.  I hope you like it too.


[ s t r e a m ]   [ d o w n l o a d ]   [ i t u n e s ]

 T R A C K L I S T

    • 00:00 Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - Farwell at Tinguit
    • 02:15 Max Richter - Patterns(cypher)
    • 05:55 David Wingo - Opening(Take Shelter ost)
    • 06:55 John Luther Adams - The Light that Fills the World
    • 11:20 Bersarin Quartet - die nachte sind erfullt...
    • 15:50 Brambles - Such Owls as You
    • 20:25 Metropole Orkest - An Ending
    • 24:30 Fripp, Keeling, Singleton - Pie Jesu
    • 31:35 Max Richter - Nor Earth, Nor Boundless Sea
    • 39:05 Olan Mill - Tallole
    • 42:30 Aphex Twin - Rhubarb orc. 19.53 rev
    • 48:35 Keaton Henson - Elevator Song
    • 51:40 Bersarin Quartet - verflossen ist das gold der tage
    • 54:55 Islands of Light - Gypta