Sunday, December 27, 2020

Stillness Within Motion


by Sven Geier -

We end the year as we began - with a mix from Paul Asbury Seaman. And a fine way to end the year it is. All of the music in this set is from 2020, making it an appropriate way to say goodbye to this tumultuous year.

Here's what Paul says about the mix:

“Stillness within motion is a concept that comes from Zen Buddhism and the martial arts. It always seemed to me a good way to try to live ordinary life as well. This program is an effort to expressing that concept musically: slow sequencers mixed with Sufi-infused sax, tabla and harp and electric guitar. Mixing genres a little, while still within ambient sensibilities.”

I'm not sure what 2021 will bring but I'm sure there will be plenty of music to help us get through it. And I'll continue to crank out mixes that will keep us centered while also taking us on inner and outer journeys.


[ 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    Kirsten Agresta Copely - Surya (Around the Sun 2020)
  • 05:44    The Rosen Corporation - Stasis (Tales From Earth 2020)
  • 09:22    Ariel Kalma - Dancing Goddess (My sax, my love 2020)
  • 12:51    Sam Rosenthalk & Jarguna - Evening market of the petal fields pt 3 (Sunwashed Evening Fire 2020)
  • 17:03    Vaast - Coma Berenices (Afterlife 2020)
  • 19:20    Hibernation ft. Jello Vibes - Jello & Jaice Ambient Jazz'n'Glitch Mix (Jello and Jaice EP 2020)
  • 23:44    Fritz Mayr - Winter Silence (Winter Tales)
  • 28:25    Christel Veraart - Asterope (Pleiades 2020)
  • 33:17    Thom Brennan - Night Lights Part One (Night Lights 2020)
  • 41:15    Sequentia Legenda - Beyond from the Beyond (Beyond the Stars 2020)
  • 62:07    end

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Best Ambient of 2020


I always label these lists and mixes as "Best Ambient," but with so much music released each year, coming up with a true best list is almost impossible. So this is really more of a list and mix of my favorite ambient albums of the year. Best of 2020 just sounds better.

I don't about you but I bought a lot of ambient music this year thanks to Bandcamp Fridays. Through regular purchases and special deals, where one could get a whole discography for like $10, I think I bought about 250 ambient albums this year. Yikes! Then add in releases that labels and artists send my way and it amounts to one hell of a lot of music. 

Thanks goodness for all that music though. I've been stuck working from home for almost 10 months and would have lost my mind without music to get me through it. One of the treats that got me through the year was Whitelabrecs excellent Home Diaries series. It featured music recorded and released during quarantine. I couldn't pick just one release so I cheated and put the whole series in my top 15 list.

It's hard to narrow down that much music into 30 or 40 favorites. I know I will miss things. But this list has a bunch of styles so it gives a nice representation of what I listened to this year. My favorite album this year was actually an easy choice, it's Mindful Movement by Clariloops.

Clariloops is Australian clarinetist, Ruby Lulham. She experiments with looping and pedals to to produce beautiful music that takes my breathe away every time I hear it. The folks at The Slow Music Movement put it best when they said, "producing music with a purity & simplicity that is both charming & striking." Please go check it out.

Here is the full list of my favorite ambient albums of 2020. I came up with a top 15 releases and then the next 30 favs are listed alphabetically.

  1. Clariloops - Mindful Movement [self-released]
  2. 36 & zakè - Stasis Sounds For Long-Distance Space Travel [Past Inside the Present]
  3. Echoflex - Echoflex I - III [SeeHear Recordings]
  4. Alva Noto - Xerrox Vol. 4 [Noton]
  5. Vieo Abiungo - At Once- There Was No Horizon [Lost Tribe Sound]
  6. The Chi Factory - AI-18 - Travel in Peace [Astral Industries]
  7. Tapes and Topographies - Inoculations [Dronarivm]
  8. Night Sea - Still [Silent Season]
  9. Mary Lattimore - Silver Ladders [Ghostly International]
  10. Mute Forest - Riderstorm [Lost Tribe Sound]
  11. Andrew Heath - The Alchemist’s Muse [Discogecko]
  12. Christopher Bissonnette - The Wine Dark Sea [Dronarivum]
  13. Anthéne and Andrew Tasselmyer - Progressions [Constellation Tatsu]
  14. Moss Covered Technology - Quiet Loops [Dewtone]
  15. Whitelabrecs Home Diaries series 

Andrew Heath - A Trace of Phosphor [Discogecko]
Ben Salisbury- The Insects- Geoff Barrow - Devs Soundtrack [Invada]
Christopher Bissonnette - Wayfinding [12k]
Ecovillage - Arrived [Dronarivum]
Evan Caminiti - Varispeed Hydra
Flexagon - 7 Nocturnes East
Fluxion - Perspectives [Vibrant Music]
glåsbird - norskfjǫrðr [whitelabrecs]
Halftribe - Archipelago [sound in silence]
Heavenchord & Infinity Dots - light, water and silence [secret domain]
Innesti - Parenthetical
Jogging House - Be [Seil]
Johann Johannsson & Yair Elazar Glotman - Last And First Men [Deutsche Grammophon]
Loneward - Moongate
Luke Carbon - Brightest Threads [Made Now Music]
Mathieu Karsenti - bygones [Slowcraft]
Michael Grigoni + Stephen Vitiello - slow machines [12k]
Michael Scott Dawson Nowhere, Middle of [We Are Busy Bodies]
MNO - Ambient Marimba - MNO Sleeps
Mount Shrine - Shortwave Ruins [Cryo Chamber]
North Americans - Roped In [Third Man Records]
Olafur Arnalds - some kind of peace [Mercury KX]
Raymond Richards - The Lost Art Of Wandering [ESP Institute]
Roméo Poirier - Hotel Nota [sferic 2020]
Sibling & Heavenchord - Sounds Of Silence [greyscale]
SUSS - Promise [Northern Spy Records]
Thom Brennan - Night Lights
William Ryan Fritch - Sodium [lost tribe sound]
William Ryan Fritch - The Letdown [lost tribe sound]
Yagya - Old Dreams And Memories [Small Plastic Animals]


T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00    Clariloops - Mindful Movement [Mindful Movement]
  • 05:50    Vieo Abiungo - At Once, There Was No Horizon [At Once, There Was No Horizon on Lost Tribe Sound]
  • 09:36    The Chi Factory - Travel in Peace Part 1 [Astral Industries]
  • 14:45    Mary Lattimore - Sometimes He's in My Dreams [Silver Ladders on Ghostly International]
  • 17:55    Mute Forest - Return [Riderstorm on Lost Tribe Sound]
  • 21:22    Ecovillage - She Walks In Beauty [Arrived on Dronarivum]
  • 24:24   Andrew Heath - The Alchemist’s Muse [The Alchemist’s Muse on Discogecko]
  • 31:36    Moss Covered Technology - Untitled Quiet Loop #1 [Quiet Loops on Dewtone]
  • 34:23    Tapes and Topographies - Always The Last Time(SineRider Remix) [Inoculations on Dronarivum]
  • 37:28    Anthéne and Andrew Tasselmyer - Progressions, Pt 1 [Progressions on Constellation Tatsu]
  • 41:48    36 & zakè - Stasis Sounds for Long-Distance Space Travel Stage 2 [Stasis Sounds for Long-Distance Space Travel on Past Inside the Present]
  • 47:30    Night Sea - Manila [Still on Silent Season]
  • 54:00    Evan Caminiti - Radio Rome [Varispeed Hydra on Dust Editions]
  • 56:21    Sibling & Heavenchord - Spacechord [Sounds Of Silence on Greyscale]
  • 1:05:20    Alva Noto - Xerrox Voyage [Xerrox Vol. 4 on Noton]
  • 1:08:33    Echoflex - 50°20'17"N 4°11'50"W Veering NW [Echoflex 1 on SeeHear Recordings]
  • 1:12:55    Christopher Bissonnette - See With Eyes Closed [The Wine Dark Sea on Dronarivum]
  • 1:17:31    Mathieu Karsenti - Upwards [bygones on Slowcraft]
  • 1:21:38    Adrian Lane - We Glance Outside [Home Diaries 23 on Whitelabrecs]
  • 1:23:57    Mount Shrine - Subtotem [Shortwave Ruins on Cryp Chamber]
  • 1:30:24    Flexagon - La Crocq Pier 5am [7 Nocturnes East]
  • 1:38:22    Jogging House - Yours [Be on Seil]
  • 1:42:09    Halftribe - We Are Dust [Archipelago on Sound in Silence]
  • 1:45:35    William Ryan Fritch - Movement XVIII [Sodium on Lost Tribe Sound]
  • 1:49:58    end

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Quiet Indie Songs of 2020

I listen to as much indie music as I do ambient music. I always keep a list of favorite albums and favorite songs of the year. As I was looking at some of my favorite songs I noticed that several of them were quiet tunes that would be appropriate for an LLM mix. So I grabbed those and a few more favs and came up with "Quiet Indie Songs of 2020."

Squirrel Flower was my big discovery this year. I'd never heard of the artist before and a few of her songs turned out to be some of my most played tunes of the year. Phoebe Bridgers had one of the best albums of the year but my two fav songs on it were a bit loud for this mix so I went with the beautiful "Moon Song." 

Devendra Banhart - Franklin's Tower just showed up in my Spotify Release Radar playlist a few days ago but I immediately knew when I heard it that it would have to be included in this mix. It's slow, spacey with a languid guitar that I love.

Also be sure to listen closely at 43:28 for the tune "The President Sang Amazing Grace" by Kronos Quartet and Meklit. It pays homage to the moment President Obama sang Amazing Grace during the funeral of state senator and pastor Clementa Pinckney on June 26, 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina. It is absolutely one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded.

I also want to give a shout out to a local band that made my top ten list this year - Field Report. Their album, "Brake Light Red Tide," has a great sound and beautiful production. The song "Puget Sound" appears on this mix because I listened the heck out of it this year.

There's not much else to say other than enjoy this diversion from the usual LLM fair and an ambient 2020 mix is coming soon.


[ 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    Squirrel Flower - Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • 03:33    Field Report - Puget Sound
  • 07:54    Devendra Banhart - Franklin's Tower
  • 16:19    Phoebe Bridgers - Moon Song
  • 20:48    Clem Snide - Roger Ebert
  • 23:36    Bonny Light Horseman - Bonny Light Horseman
  • 27:58    Kevin Morby - Sundowner
  • 32:56    Sarah Jarosz - Hometown
  • 35:48    North Americans - Rivers That You Cannot See
  • 39:28    Mute Forest - Crater Laugh
  • 43:28    Kronos Quartet with Meklit - The President Sang Amazing Grace
  • 47:15    Alexandra Savior - Soft Currents
  • 50:20    S. Carey - Take It With Me
  • 55:06    Tresspassers William - Winterstorms
  • 58:18    H.C. McEntire - Hands for Harvest
  • 62:28    Squirrel Flower - Headlights
  • 64:55    Bedouine, Waxahatchee, Hurray for the Riff Raff - Thirteen
  • 67:51    M. Ward - Migration of Souls
  • 71:19    end

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Wind In Lonely Fences - A Farewell to Harold Budd


2020, you unrelenting bastard. Now you've taken Harold Budd from us. An icon in ambient music.

There's not much I can say right now except that I love his music. I have about 25 albums by Harold Budd. His music has been with me for more than 40 years. When I heard the news I knew the only proper tribute I could do was a mix. So here it is an hour-long mix that barely scratches the surface of his output.

Godspeed Harold, your music remains in our ears and on the wind.

[ 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    Harold Budd & Brian Eno - Wind In Lonely Fences
  • 03:39    Harold Budd - Ice Floes In Eden
  • 06:51    Harold Budd & Brian Eno - An Echo Of Night
  • 08:53    Harold Budd & John Foxx - Coming Into Focus
  • 13:15    Harold Budd - As Long As I Can Hold My Breath
  • 20:07    Harold Budd & Zeitgeist - Emboldened-My Dreams Perish
  • 22:16    Harold Budd - Tong War
  • 27:40    Harold Budd - The Serpent in Quicksilver
  • 31:00    Harold Budd - The Radiant Bride
  • 34:33    Harold Budd - Sandtreader
  • 39:32    Harold Budd - Down the Slopes to the Meadow
  • 46:54    Harold Budd - Bismillahi 'Rrahman 'Rrahim
  • 56:40    Harold Budd - Mars And The Artist
  • 58:10    Harold Budd - The Pearl
  • 61:04    Harold Budd - Olancha Farewell
  • 63:20    end

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Melancholy Soundtracks: A Requiem for 2020


A perfect mix for the end of 2020 comes to us from Paul Asbury Seaman. All soundtrack cuts, all with varying degrees of melancholy, all forming an ideal coda for 2020.

Here's what Paul says about the mix:

“I’ve been sitting on this playlist for more than three years. Never got around to firming it up for a Low Lights mix. It dawned on me just the other day that the eight movies from which these pieces are drawn are all meditations on death and loss. So now seems like a good time to share it. Also, all of these movies were released around the turn of the Millennium, except “Battle of Algiers” (1963) which has one of the most sorrowful themes ever put to music—by the great Ennio Morricone, who died this year.”

Thanks Paul for another excellent mix!

Up next - it's best of the year list time!


[ 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    Clint Mansell - The Last Man (The Fountain 2006)
  • 05:42    Ennio Morricone - Sorrow in the Casbah (Battle of Algiers 1963)
  • 06:33    Ennio Morricone - Ali's Theme (Battle of Algiers 1963)
  • 09:38    Mark Isham - Flames (Crash 2005)
  • 17:06    Philip Glass - The Hours (The Hours 2002)
  • 24:37    Zbigniew Preisner - Van Den Budenmayer Funeral Music (Trois couleurs - Bleu 1993)
  • 26:32    Zbigniew Preisner - Reprise First Appearance (Trois couleurs - Bleu 1993)
  • 27:02    Javier Navarrette  - A Tale (Pan's Labyrinth 2006)
  • 28:50    Richard Thompson - Parents (Grizzly Man 2005)
  • 32:10    Zbigniew Preisner - Julie in Her New Apartment (Trois couleurs - Bleu 1993)
  • 33:48    Zbigniew Preisner - Reprise Flute (Trois couleurs - Bleu 1993)
  • 35:50    Mark Isham - Negligence (Crash 2005)
  • 38:23    Philip Glass - The Poet Acts (The Hours 2002)
  • 42:00    Richard Thompson - Main Title Revisited (Grizzly Man 2005)
  • 45:42    Javier Navarrette  - Lullaby (Pan's Labyrinth 2006)
  • 47:20    Alexandre Desplat - Death Convoy (The Painted Veil 2006)
  • 50:00    Alexandre Desplat - Kitty's Theme (The Painted Veil 2006)
  • 53:00    Clint Mansell - Xibalba (The Fountain 2006)
  • 58:09    end