Sunday, November 17, 2019

Mystical Ambience 2: Tactile Ground by Paul Asbury Seaman

Cover art created by and courtesy of Robert Rich,

As regular visitors to this blog have probably figured out, I don't really plan things out here. Sometimes it's a mix a week, sometimes it's a month between mixes. The last Blade Runner mix is the perfect example, I wasn't even thinking about that mix until we hit Nov. 2019 which is the month and year of Blade Runner. So I quickly threw that mix together and boom, there it was. So then other mix ideas get pushed back or forgotten about until some other piece of music catches my ear.

So it's not a big surprise that Paul emailed me the tracklist for this mix back in May. Every time I'd think about starting this set something would distract my social media addled brain and the mix would get pushed back. With the end of the year closing in I finally have laid down all the tracks and Mystical Ambience 2: Tactile Ground is here.

This is what Paul has to say about this mix:

"A listener on Bandcamp described a recent Spotted Peccary label sampler as “Not too sweet, not too dark.” Which is the same balance I try to bring to my selections for Low Light Mixes. This one is another journey concept. I’ve always had a special fondness for artists who can sensitively blend electronic and acoustic instruments to create beautiful juxtapositions of textures, and also offers a metaphor for balancing the ethereal and the concrete. In that spirit, this mix includes some slow- earthy, cross-cultural jazz before ending with cosmic tranquility.” 

Thanks Paul!

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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Remote Vision - The Glittercliff (Into Light 2018)
  • 06:17    Hibernation - Wabi Sabi (Second Nature 2012)
  • 11:35    Hibernation - The Uncarved Block (Second Nature 2012)
  • 16:00    Marion Brown Jazz Cussion - Naima (Echoes of Blue 2006)
  • 22:09    Kaya Project - Forgive(ambient mix) (Ambient Mixes 2 2019)
  • 27:42    Jan Garbarek - Cloud of Unknowing (In Praise of Dreams 2004)
  • 32:49    Massergy - Phenakistoscope (A Novel Sense of Calm 2015)
  • 38:15    Chronotope Project  - A Prayer for Tenderness (Lotus Rising 2018)
  • 43:20    Hollan Holmes - Prayer to the Energy (Prayer to the Energy 2017)
  • 48:45    Northumbria - Sacred Ground (Helluland 2015)
  • 52:35    Robert Rich - The Abiding Wheel (Tactile Ground 2018)
  • 58:55    Meg Bowles - Chalice of Shadows (Evensong: Canticles for the Earth 2018)
  • 63:30    Steve Roach - Spiral Triptych 2 (Texture Maps 2002)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Low Light Spotlight - Max Richter

This is an exclusive mix available only to my subscribers on Mixcloud Select. It's part of an ongoing series of mixes that spotlight one artist for the entire mix. 

Max Richter's music is beautiful, evocative, haunting. He is one of my favorite artists of the 21st century. Although I didn't use it in this mix, On The Nature Of Daylight is one of my favorite pieces of music of all time. 

I had to start the mix with The Blue Notebooks because it is the album that introduced me to Richter's music and remains a huge favorite. My other huge fav in his discography is Sleep, a monumental album of more than 8 hours of modern classical sleep music. There are two tracks from Sleep in this mix.

If you are interested in this and other exclusive mixes go here to subscribe & find out more -

Subscribers also get unlimited plays, fast forward AND rewind, offline listening, and upfront tracklists. The Select program also directly supports low light mixes, plus the music and artists we play.


Sunday, November 03, 2019

Blade Runner Is Now

I wasn't planning on doing this mix. But then on Friday, someone on Twitter posted that we have caught up to the time when the film, Blade Runner supposedly takes place. I knew immediately that I had to make a mix.

This collection is pretty straight forward - all the tracks sound like they fit into the Blade Runner soundtrack universe.


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T R A C K L I S T :
00:00    Pye Corner Audio - Prismatic Gateway (2019)
01:22    Jean Michel Jarre - The Watchers (2018)
04:15    Tale Of Us - Alla Sera (2017)
08:32    SaffronKeira - Aesthetic of Surrealism (2019)
14:15    Ryuichi Sakamoto - Fullmoon SURVIVE version (2017)
17:20    36 - Origin Beach (2018)
20:46    Steve Hauschildt - Cloudloss (2019)
24:00    Johnny Jewel - Candlelight Burns (2015)
26:40    Ben Chatwin - Black Castle(Sevendeaths Remix) (2019)
31:01    Vector Lovers - Long Wave (2007)
33:36    Trevor Jackson - Off World (2018)
35:51    Time Rival - Cambrian Explosion (2019)
39:58    Mac Quayle - 1.0_1-hellofriend.wav (2016)
40:40    Lázaro Pereira - Follow The Leader (2017)
44:41    MUUI - Cinematic Structures (2019)
51:03    Abul Mogard - Half Light Of Dawn (2018)
56:30    Fennesz - In My Room (2019)
67:27    end

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Best Music of the Decade

I love lists. Every year I make a Best Ambient/Instrumental Album list. And a best album list for “normal”/indie music and a list of the best song’s of the year. It’s a good thing I’ve been making those lists because there’s a BIG list out in the horizon - Best of the Decade. 

Over that last week I’ve started to compile my list of the best ambient/instrumental albums of the 2010s. With sooooo much music coming out every week I’d have been lost trying to figure out my favorite recordings from 2012 if I didn’t have a list from that year. So I’m going to those lists and looking through my Spotify playlists and searching online to come up with a list of my 50 favorite ambient/instrumental albums from the past decade. I’m sure I will miss a ton so if you have suggestions I’d love to hear about them in the comments. 

Because I listen to as much or more indie music I’ll be making a decade albums list for that along with a best songs list as well. I already know that my top album of the decade on the indie side will be Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens. 

On the ambient side I’m pretty sure that Sleep by Max Richter will be my top album. I’m sure artists such as 36, Loscil and Johann Johansson will make the final cut. 

I haven’t decided if I’ll make mixes to go along with these lists(probably will). Let me know about your favorite music of the 2010s. It’s a fun exercise combing through a decade’s worth of great music. 


Sunday, October 06, 2019

In Sequencer Euphoria by Paul Asbury Seaman

Cover art by Sven Geier,

I have talked many times here about how a single track or artist can inspire a mix. Well, that seems to have happened with this latest mix from Paul.

He emailed me about a month ago about Kubusschnitt, a group creating berlin school style electronic music. That discovery set him on the course of creating a mix of sequencer tunes.  And we did our usual thing - Paul sends me the tracklist, I twiddle the knobs and a mix is born. All the music used here is fairly new, ranging from 2010 to 2019.

Here's what Paul has to say about this mix:

“Not for the faint of heart, this one’s full-on sequencers front and center, all the way through. Highway driving motorcycle music. Or vacuuming the house, aerobics music. Yet, part of the magic of this type of electronic music is the amazing way it has a soothing effect, even as it’s so propulsive. In any case, here’s a Perfect Seven from five of the current giants in the genre and two of its historic pillars.”

Thanks, Paul!


T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00    Kubusschnitt - Enter Through The Nave(Ex Cathedra 2019)
  • 16:00    Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder - Tea With An Unknown Girl(Eglise de Betzdorf 2013)
  • 28:15    ARC - Rise(Rise 2010)
  • 41:42    Tangerine Dream - Hamlet(Lost In Strings 2013)
  • 49:27    Jeffery Koepper - Belief(Konnektions 2015)
  • 57:30    Chuck Van Zyl - All Souls' Day(Memoryspace 2010)
  • 63:00    Klaus Schulze - Chateaux Faits de Vent(Silhouettes 2018)
  • 76:03    end

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Ambient Twang

I remember the first time I heard the Daniel Lanois tunes From Eno's Apollo album, I didn't really care for them. I didn't like the pedal steel guitar. I absolutely hated country music back then and I associated the sound of pedal steel with country and nothing else. 

Eventually, the tunes grew on me and I've come to love the sound of pedal steel guitar. I also came around on country-tinged music as I fell in love with indie-folk which can make great use of traditional instrumentation minus the pickups trucks, girls & booze of crappy country.

This brings me back around to pedal steel in ambient. There's not a ton of it out there but definitely enough for a good mix. There are four main practitioners of ambient twang - Daniel Lanois, Chuck Johnson, Bruce Kaphan and Chas Smith. I think they all have appeared in earlier Low Light Mixes. All four are in this mix as well as Eno/Lanois tunes, some oddball selections, and some YouTube recordings. Many of the tracks here use an actual pedal steel guitar and some use lap steel.

Up next - synth sequencer heaven.


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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Brian Eno - Weightless
  • 04:15    Bruce Kaphan - Outpost
  • 11:55    Chas Smith - Santa Fe
  • 14:00    Chuck Johnson - Balm of Gilead
  • 21:05    Daniel Lanois - In Crystal
  • 24:22    Will Van Horn - Aphex Twin - Avril 14 on pedal steel
  • 26:18    Joe Carolino - Ambient drone with lap steel & guitar
  • 32:53    Youth - Lotus Rhubarb(Colliding Sky Whale Dub)
  • 34:18    The National Pool - Solace
  • 36:15    Ryan Lutton - Ambient Improv XXIII
  • 39:03    Brian Eno - Deep Blue Day
  • 42:28    Xploding Plastix - Ritalin For Four Pedal Steel Guitars
  • 49:05    Chuck Johnson - Eye on the Sparrow
  • 55:42    Brian Eno - Last Step from the Surface
  • 59:31    end

Friday, September 20, 2019

Almost Home

I'm not sure exactly where this mix started. I heard a few tunes that had a wistful, almost melancholy feel to them and began collecting tracks.

The result is this new mix of mostly modern classical music but with a good dose of electronics and atmospherics. Most of the music is new with 10 of the 15 tracks from 2019. I think this mix would also work well as a soundtrack for fall.


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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Glåsbird - Isbjørnøya(Svalbarð 2019)
  • 04:44    Halftribe - Maybe(Backwater Revisited 2019)
  • 07:40    William Ryan Fritch - Time Curves So Subtly(Deceptive Cadence 2019)
  • 10:56    Slow Meadow - You Felt Like Home(Those Who Rush Across the Sea 2018)
  • 15:12    Caminauta - Almost Home(Fragments 2018)
  • 21:12    Emanuele Errante - Old Summer Afternoons(This World 2019)
  • 25:56    36 - Lahaina Noon(Healing Sounds: A Compilation for Hurricane Recovery 2019)
  • 28:39    Sven Laux - Being Too Optimistic(The Writings 2019)
  • 35:05    Christoph Berg - Coda(Day has Ended 2013)
  • 38:45    Dakota Suite - Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You(What Matters Most 2018)
  • 42:22    Dan Romer & Saul Simon MacWilliams - Goodbye Lizard Island(Chasing Coral 2017)
  • 45:37    James Murray & Mike Lazarev - Living Treasure(2019)
  • 48:57    Loneward - Memories Past(Home 2019)
  • 56:02    Porya Hatami & Aaron Martin & Roberto Attanasio - Xakelewe(Sallaw 2019)
  • 65:33    Mikael Lind - Ending WithThe Beginning(Contingencies 2019)
  • 69:54    end

Sunday, September 08, 2019

A Rhythmic Passage

Two years ago I did a mix called "A Distant Pulse" which featured a lot of tribal ambient sounds. I've been meaning to do a sequel and now it's here with "A Rhythmic Passage."

What finally got the ball rolling for a new mix is a new album from Louigi Verona called "Nocturnal Creatures." Recommended by my ambient collaborator, Paul Asbury Seaman, the album is similar to classic Steve Roach tribal albums. But the drum sound is huge with deep, booming low end to shake your speakers and rattle the windows. Add in some drones and subtle arpeggiated electronics and you've got an excellent album. 

The rest of the mix is a collection of old(Tibbetts, Craig Leon, Biosphere) and new(Spheruleus, Pike, Keszler, Kilchhofer, Selman) tunes. 

Enjoy the rhythms. Cheers!

[ 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    Louigi Verona - Darkening(Nocturnal Creatures 2019)
  • 07:38    Biosphere - Ancient Campfire(Shenzhou 2002)
  • 09:50    Byron Metcalf - A Perfect Place(Inner Rhythm Meditations 2016)
  • 18:18    Dino Sabatini - And It All Ends Here(Omonimo 2016)
  • 22:30    Steve Tibbetts - Full Moon Dogs(The Fall Of Us All 1994)
  • 27:37    William Selman - The Island Before The Internet - Borne's Snail Mail Shimmer(Interpretations Vol II - Musica Enterrada 2018)
  • 36:10    unknown - Cloudless(2007)
  • 41:20    Laurence Pike - Holy Spring(Holy Spring 2019)
  • 44:25    Eli Keszler - Fifty Four To Madrid(Stadium 2018)
  • 47:36    Craig Leon - One Hundred Steps(Early Electronic Works 2014)
  • 51:20    Spheruleus - Intercoastal(Light Through Open Blinds 2019)
  • 53:55    Benjy Wertheimer & John de Kadt - Underwater(One River 2012)
  • 61:01    The Heart Is Awake - Os(Echosphere 2017)
  • 64:25    Kilchhofer - Leng(The Book Room 2018)
  • 71:23    end

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Mostly Flute: Ambient New Age by Paul Asbury Seaman

I've been heckin' busy this summer. First of all, it's summer so beer gardens, baseball games, northwoods vacations, beer gardens, yard work, beer gardens, etc. Plus I've been doing a ton of freelance work. And lastly, my daughter is getting married in a month and I'm editing a video for the reception. I have not been able to get any new mixes going in a while.

So it's Paul Asbury Seaman to the rescue! Thankfully this excellent mix from Paul will fill the void. It's another great collection from my partner in ambient crime. Here's what he has to say about it:

“This is a crossover mix, as the title suggests, and may be the sweetest one I’ve ever done. I’ve kept the emphasis on an atmosphere of tranquility, tailor-made for going-to-sleep music. All of the tracks here are from the fairly-new Heart Dance Records. I discovered this label while looking on Bandcamp for an album recently featured on Hearts of Space. As I dug deeper, and contrary to my stereotypes about “uplifting” (read: new age) music, it became obvious that there was plenty here for space fans to like, or if you’re looking for something calm for meditation. Feel the flow around the stillness. (Cover image for this mix courtesy of Sherry Finzer, from the album LET THERE BE LIGHT.)”

Definitely check out more music from Heart Dance Records here...

Thanks, Paul!

[ 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    Sherry Finzer & Darin Mahoney - White Sky In November(Transformation 2013)
04:32    Tom Moore & Sherry Finzer - Star Trails(Sound Currents 2019)
10:05    Paul Horn - Mumtaz Mahal(Inside 1969)
12:20    Ivan Teixeira - Abundance(ALLAYER Project One 2019)
16:37    Monica Williams - Wandering(Journey Of Tears 2018)
22:43    ANAAMALY - A Peaceful Drift(Fileds Of Light 2018)
29:18    Tom Moore & Sherry Finzer - Midnight Mystique(Sound Currents 2019)
34:48    Monica Williams - Love From A Distance(Journey Of Tears 2018)
38:18    Majestica - Aurora Australis(In the Midst of Stars 2016)
48:26    Sherry Finzer - Breathe(Acceptance 2018)
64:47    end