leaving the concert hall after an anna Þorvaldsdóttir concert and entering men’s restroom is a one of a kind experience. no chance you fully realized / digested what you just heard by then. and so you’re standing in front of the urinal, eyes closed, and the silence in the restroom appears as a dynamic and complex composition of nothingness. as a magically choreographed dance of its countless particles, more and more assuming form, color and shape before your inner eye = as part of the concert. struggling to find a proper description or name for this, you finally come up with “artistic silence”. still hypnotised by these dancing particles, it takes a certain while until you wake up again and discover that you are still standing in front of the urinal. so you hurry packing your business, washing your hands, getting out of the restroom and back into the concert hall, just to take a quick shot of the prepared piano in order to get an evidence that everything really happened. out of the corner of your eye you notice the composer, talking to those who obviously are more familiar with what happened, looking happy, grateful and nice, holding a bunch of flowers. for a second you look at her, wondering what might have taken her here…
you know, i have quite some experience with contemporary / neoclassical pieces of experimental and/or ambient fashion, intensifying gloomy undertone and i even own “aerial“. all in all i was rather sceptical towards the potential outcome of an acreage that was so heavily farmed and harvested by ligeti, pärt and cage – but i was disabused impressively.
now i am sitting here, enjoying the aftermath of all this, witnessing the artistic silence getting slowly replaced by regular silence… i still have some brennivín somewhere!
i never really listened to music from my year of birth – with the great exception of kraftwerk which happened because of kraftwerk of course and not because of 1981. “computerwelt” was kraftwerk’s 8th album and released may 10th, according to discogs. obligatory quote: “the machine featured on the cover is in fact a hazeltine 1500 terminal, not technically a computer”. thanks much, agent weisenheimer, haha!
the first time i asked myself the question “what happened in 1981 musicwise? what’s to be discovered here?” was like a week ago. so i started a little exploration tour, got a fair amount of releases relatively quick, filtered out all the big national (roedelius, schnitzler, göttsching etc.) as well as international names (numan, legendary pink dots, throbbing gristle etc.), gave it all a try and figured out the following top 5 of releases by artists i never heard of… that’s what an exploration tour is all about, right?
5. didier bocquet – sequences (discogs, youtube)
4. tyndall – traumland (discogs, youtube)
3. andreas grosser - venite visum (discogs, youtube)
2. rüdiger lorenz – silver steps (discogs, youtube)
1. jean hoyoux – planètes (discogs, youtube)
this selection is based on my current mood and therefore kind of kraftwerkonian / jarresque synthpoppy ambient. maybe i’ll start an experimental approach one day as well – and there is still this entire noise tape universe left to be explored… but for now i’ll continue floating on the analogue synth wave to what hasn’t changed since my childhood: the sweet imagination of this celestial electronic wonderland.
in addition to my decision to spend a night in the woods soon, i also decided to go to the mountains even sooner. won’t tell too much as of yet due to superstition – but it’s great to have such intentions again for sure! in the making of the essential few preparations (i still consider myself a rather spontaneous person) i’m sitting in front of my computer, late at night, having some pastis, listening to the rain outdoors, feeling the refreshing thunderstorm breeze and – now coming straight to the point – compiling mountains soundtrack. what we have so far:
- va – mixcult circle one by andrey pushkarev (2018)
- yagya – rigning (2018)
- richard chartier – direct.incidental.consequential (1998)
it’s all in all a very ambientesque compilation but that’s exactly what i desperately need these days: this one of a kind heaviest chillout mood in which listening to ambient totally works.
is it that simple indeed?
elektrolux (not to be confused with electrolux, swedish washing machine manufacturer) was* a german label releasing unique highest quality downtempo sound – a unique and perfect symbiosis of pure (robotic) ambient with dub / electro elements. the sound clearly stands out from all the other lounge-style chillout kind of mumble pulp crap.
my personal elektrolux heyday was late 90s / early 2000s when the music guided me through countless sunrises after club nights, waiting for the first train home or in car on the empty autobahns. i’m so truly thankful for all this! it’s also still connected with lots of after hours and, of course, the space night series. elektrolux has been mentioned in every blog i had so far and of course it has to be a part of this one as well… even though i own quite some releases meanwhile, there is still much to be collected and the elektrolux hunt is continuing to be part of every music fair visit.
the track packed with the most emotions, warmth and memories certainly is “funkstille” by frank rückert and marcus schmahl alias rauschfaktor. oh boy…
*) the label still exists obviously, got renamed into elux recordings but releases now lounge-style music as well, at least what i heard during a first quick check
once or twice a year i still use to spend some online time on doing another netlabel tour – a virtual walk through this gigantic cemetery of trend-setting concepts and lost battles against the disadvantages of this kind of non-profit projects. some are still alive and there are even new ones to be registered each time i drop by. my personal netlabel heyday was between early and late 2000s i’d say.
staying up to date requires an insane amount of effort and time investment since basically everybody can provide music (or whatever is considered music) free and easy. the problem is: almost everybody does indeed, benefitting from the lack of professional quality control. therefore you have to go through a breathtaking amount of bullshit until one of those jewels comes to light, the jewels that are worth all the effort, that make you feel close to the real underground, that dont need to be afraid of the competition with major label releases. there is a bunch of very good netlabels of course. i will check cemetery, blogs and archives and even hunt out some new ones…
one of those quality netlabels certainly is bulgarian mahorka that just released the 5th issue of their “music for elevators” compilation series for the 2017 netlabel day. hell yeah! ambient par excellence!
to get the most authentic feeling, i decided to write this article next to the opened window. snowing outside, minus 2 degrees celsius. even though it was much colder very recently that’s gonna be a cold finger experience for sure. the timespan between the work seasons of 2016 and 2017 will come to an end tonight and since that will also mark the conclusion of another tiny and isolated chapter again, i have to write this article before. as long as this particular mood persists.
those last two weeks included christmas and new year (both as next generation clones of the previous years and therefore not worth to be mentioned here) and a whole lot of healthy idleness (what’s müßiggang in english? primrose path!) which allowed me to focus on some stuff, that was too time eating so far and therefore postponed: long walks, long chats, extended writing, reading, thinking… and sleeping. it’s also the ambient and vaporwave season.
outside frost traditionally creates this magical inner relaxation. the hibernation of my homunkulus makes everything around me hypnotising, inspiring and easily addicting – and everything i do meditative, soul cleaning and… just the right thing to do. actually i have no idea if this unique kind of silence (that in fact functions not nervewrecking but reconstructing) comes from the absence of my tinnitus as result of homunkulus’ sleep or from the fact that the snow blanket really kills all outside noises. maybe both. this clearly remains one of the biggest winter mysteries for me.
i can’t keep this inner peace and calmness alive throughout the upcoming weeks of course. all kinds of daily life routines will wake the homunkulus up again who will instantly start to scream. trying my best to preserve it despite everything. that’s my only resulution for 2017. again. thanks much to everyone involved! ❤
when club music left its physical forms and went on to become digital – napster heyday simultaneously – i discovered the universe of so called home listening. i swapped clubs, festivals and parties for my apartment’s couch, monobeats for break beats or no beats and vinyl labels like monoid, utility plastics or antidandruff for the freshly discovered netlabels. the mp3 entered the scene and it all felt like the necessary next step in the right direction.
years later, when i was fed up with next level gluttony i started thinking about getting active and mixing some tracks again. being some sort of human sync button certainly wasn’t the thing for me and one absinthe pregnant night i discovered multitrack mixing. lining up one track after the other belonged to the past as i went for lining up stuff on three or more layers – which offered (and still offers) a beautiful scope for creative action.
at the end of the day, it’s not like mixing in its proper sense even though live mixing still is no impossibility at all. it is the way more compositional approach in my humble opinion. playing several layers at the same time gives the recording the appropriate depth. it’s an ambient thing though.
one example, my reanimation of two of the best dead netlabels (luumu and robot opera), can be found here.