Sunday, April 25, 2021

Ambient Folk & Cosmic Roots


After the craziness of the last mix it's nice to slow down. And what better way to slow down than with a guest mix from James over at The Slow Music Movement. They have a wonderful new album called "Future Folk: Friendly Faces; Different Spaces."

After I heard it I asked James to do a guest mix featuring some tracks from that album along with other cuts that fit the vibe. The result is a unique journey through folk-influenced ambient and ambient-influenced folk.

While this mix only has three tracks from the new album they share a similar vibe and outlook. Here's what James has to say about his new compilation:

     "This compilation came about with my increasing interest in folk music after years of focusing on the 25 year old golden age of musical fusion that is still playing out. Having ridden the industry waves and ripples since the MP3 & digital stones were rudely thrown into the music pond, I am constantly fascinated by 20th century holdouts looking back wistfully to the good old, bad old days of smoky venues, hounding newsagents for music magazines, easily damaged vinyl, ancient instruments, terrible sounding tapes, label dependency, photocopied fanzines and stamp licking.
     So I contacted a few of the artists that had lit my folk flame to see what they had to say? Artists that know their roots, but who are keeping their eyes on the road ahead and the world of possibility they now enjoy. Shortly after, from home studios in spare rooms and internet enabled remote collaborations, wildly processed instruments from hazy late night jam sessions, digitally mutated acapellas and 13th century songs covered in an age that the long dead and sadly forgotten writer could never have imagined, started to drift into my inbox.
     Is an evolutionary leap the key to folk’s survival? Time, the whims of the coronavirus gods, the folk community’s response to today’s existential stresses, adaptation to changing media consumption habits, marketing decisions and ultimately, people’s decisions on what style of music suits them best, will decide."

Interesting side note - James made this mix as a one take live recording. Nice!

Here are some important links:

Slow Folk playlist on Spotify

Future Folk on Streaming Services

Future Folk on Bandcamp


[ 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    El Conejo - Tres Tigres Tristes
  • 05:40    Jörgen Kjellgren - Dulcet
  • 08:32    Adeline Hotel - Reliable Feelings
  • 11:10    Kerry Devine - Vehicle
  • 15:43    John Stammers - Waiting Around
  • 20:00    The Howard Hughes Suite - Smoke from a Future Fire
  • 24:08    Tim Linghaus - You Called it Love
  • 27:07    Boduf Songs - Unseen Forces and How to Use Them
  • 32:40    Roddy Woomble - Everday Sun
  • 36:50    Black Brunswicker - Black Grouse Raag
  • 41:25    M. Grig - Call, (45.50) Lightbath - Insinyur Cahaya
  • 49:00    Ben McElroy - The Silence Has Spoken
  • 52:00    Cynefin - Ffarwel I Aberystwyth
  • 56:00    Burnt Paw - Arthur's Sea
  • 58:40    Andreas Söderström & Rickard Jäverling - Klockan
  • 62:53    end

Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Canterbury Scene

And now for something completely different. This mix is a collection of instrumental tunes from the progressive rock sub-genre known as The Canterbury Scene.

According to Wikipedia:  

The Canterbury scene (or Canterbury sound) was a musical scene centered around the city of Canterbury, Kent, England during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Associated with progressive rock, the term describes a loosely-defined, improvisational style that blended elements of jazz, rock, and psychedelia. The Canterbury scene is largely defined by a set of musicians and bands with intertwined members. "The real essence of 'Canterbury Sound' is the tension between complicated harmonies, extended improvisations, and the sincere desire to write catchy pop songs."  "In the very best Canterbury music...the musically silly and the musically serious are juxtaposed in an amusing and endearing way."

The bands most often associated with this sound are Soft Machine, Caravan, Gong, Hatfield & the North, Egg, & National Health. And some of the artists include Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Hillage, Phil Miller, Hugh Hopper, Richard Sinclair, Fred Frith and Dave Stewart.

I am not a fan of Canterbury tunes that have vocals, which eliminates a lot of stuff by Caravan and some Soft Machine. So that's why this mix sticks with instrumental tracks. Listening to this set it's easy to hear the similarities between the bands.

I discovered the Canterbury Scene when I was in college, listening to Bill Bruford(drummer for Yes & King Crimson) solo material. His keyboardist was Dave Stewart who played with Egg, Hatfield & The North, and National Health. I loved Bruford's solo stuff, especially "One of a Kind" so that lead me to listen to anything that Stewart was involved in. This mix opens and closes with two tracks featuring Dave Stewart and two of my favorites in the genre.

I hope you enjoy this little diversion from the usual ambient mixes. It sure was fun digging up all these 1970s classics.


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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    National Health - The Bryden 2-Step(For Amphibians)Part 1 (Of Queues And Cures 1978)
  • 08:15    Matching Mole - Smoke Signal (Little Red Record 1972)
  • 11:30    Cos - Nog Verder (Viva Boma 1976)
  • 13:40    Supersister - Dreaming Wheelwhile (Present From Nancy 1970)
  • 15:55    Gong - The Isle of Everywhere (you 1974)
  • 23:39    Soft Machine - Song Of Aeolus (Softs 1976)
  • 27:33    Quiet Sun - r.f.d. (Mainstream 1975)
  • 30:37    Gong - Three Blind Mice (Expresso II 1978)
  • 35:23    Egg - Part 2 (The Polite Force 1971)
  • 40:00    Henry Cow - Solemn Music (Unrest 1974)
  • 41:02    Quiet Sun - Trot (Mainstream 1975)
  • 44:29    Caravan - Waffle(Chance of a Lifetime) (For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night 1973)
  • 47:58    Gilgamesh - We Are All / Someone Else's Food / Jamo And Other Boating Disasters - From The Holiday Of The Same Name (Gilgamesh 1975)
  • 55:39    Steve Hillage - Meditation Of The Snake (Fish Rising 1975)
  • 58:32    Bruford - The Sahara Of Snow Parts 1 & 2 (One Of A Kind 1979)
  • 66:03    end

Sunday, April 11, 2021

memories and tides


It's funny how mixes come together sometimes. I started this one only knowing I wanted it to be pretty straightforward ambient. The easiest thing to do was to start with some new music from the last month or two. As I laid down a few tracks I started to get this feeling of the sea, of drifting on the water, of a quiet harbor. So I went with it.

Before long I had an entire mix of new music that hung together with this beautiful ebb & flow. The theme came about organically. The tracks themselves dictated what the mood would be. I've done other sea themed mixes over the years and this one could be the most subtle. I didn't add any field recordings - any wave sounds were already in a track. It's more about feel and vibe than sound fx.

All the cuts are from 2021 except for Bursts of Static by Olga Wojciechowska. I heard that on the BBC the morning after finishing the mix and knew immediately that I had to include it.

This mix might work well as soundtrack for a rainy spring day or for a nap in hammock as you dream of drifting out on the tide.


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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Jeannine Schulz - Riber (Luminous 2021)
  • 04:35    The Green Kingdom - Atmosphere 1 (Solaria 2021)
  • 09:21    Moss Covered Technology - Pressure Change (Seafields 2021)
  • 15:43    Andrew Heath & Anne Chris Bakker - November (How To Breathe Like A Stone 2021)
  • 26:18    Taylor Deupree - murmur (Mur 2021)
  • 29:21    Daar - Waves Your Back Describes (Entire 2021)
  • 34:25    Andrew Tasselmyer - What We Lost (Yesteryear 2021)
  • 37:40    Observatories - Visible Darkness (Flowers Bloom, Butterflies Come 2021)
  • 41:26    Jogging House - Between (Too 2021)
  • 44:08    Olga Wojciechowska - Bursts of Static (Infinite distances 2019)
  • 48:57    Tapes and Topographies - other distant mermaids (A Season of Loss 2021)
  • 52:33    Spheruleus - Danse de Chambre (Canvas Homes + Supplémentaires 2021)
  • 56:47    Masaya Kato & Valotihkuu - Viviante (Swallow 2021)
  • 59:07    halftribe - Fern Moss (Lucent Forms Travelling 2021)
  • 62:16    end

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Ambient Trumpet: A Jazz-Colored Solitude — by Paul Asbury Seaman

Photo by Alex on Unsplash

Back in January Paul emailed me about an album called "Bardo Tank" by Ron Miles playing trumpet in The Tank in Colorado. That email started me off in search of tunes for what became my "Resonant Spaces" mix. Paul went a different direction and sought out tracks for an ambient trumpet mix.

The result is a great collection of tunes that span different styles and old to new, while still maintaining an ambient atmosphere. Here's what Paul says about this mix:

“No musical instrument, at least in the Western world, conveys anguish and melancholy as effectively as the trumpet. One can trace a direct line from Miles Davis’s tender and gut-wrenching solos to the jazz-colored ambience of ECM Records. The signature sound of this European label is both intimate and austere, as reflected in the lonely landscapes of their album covers. There’s a delicate grandeur in the tunes I’ve gathered here. Or sometimes, just the sound of solitude.

For me, the overall effect was surprisingly similar to the tranquil, meditative state evoked by the bell-tone mix I did last December.”

Thanks Paul, for another superb set.


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T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Arve Henriksen - Patient Zero (Towrds Language 2017)
  • 02:02    Paolo Fresu - Se Va La Murga (In Maggiore 2015)
  • 06:47    Alaskan Tapes - Leita(Ft. Ryan Svendsen) (Leita/North 2018)
  • 10:28    Nils Petter Molvaer - Puri Jati (Buoyancy 2016)
  • 14:00    Oystein Sevag - Miles Near (Link 1993)
  • 15:35    Jeff Oster - The Lotus Within (Reach 2018)
  • 22:27    Ron Miles - Pacem (Bardo Tank 2013)
  • 28:49    Miles Davis - The Pan Piper (Sketches of Spain 1960)
  • 32:27    Mark Isham - Tibet part II (Tibet 1989)
  • 36:14    Arve Henriksen - Migration (Cartography 2008)
  • 41:38    Ralph Towner & Paolo Fresu - The Sacred Place(reprise) (Chiaroscuro 2008)
  • 43:27    Matthew Halsall - Canopy & Stars (Salute to the Sun 2020)
  • 51:04    Ambrose Akinmusire - Roy (On the Tender Spot of Every Calloused Moment 2020)
  • 53:26    Jon Hassell - Time And Place (Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street 2009)
  • 56:55    Matthew Halsall - Stories from India (Oneness 2019)
  • 65:09    Tomasz Stanko Quartet - Tale (Lontano 2006)
  • 68:54    end