Bokeh, by Wil Bolton

Released 29 August 2014

Written and produced by Wil Bolton
Mastered by Ian Hawgood
Photography by Hitoshi Ishihara (attic photograph – http:/attic.cc)
Designed by togoshi + mondül

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The Quietened Mechanisms, by A Year In The Country

The album is an exploration of abandoned and derelict industry, infrastructure, technology and equipment that once upon a time helped to create, connect and sustain society.

It wanders amongst deserted factories, discarded machinery, closed mines, mills and kilns and their echoes and remains; taking a moment or two to reflect on these once busy, functioning centres of activity and the sometimes sheer scale or amount of effort and human endeavour that was required to create and operate such structures and machines, many of which are now just left to fade away.

The CD and Bandcamp download include accompanying notes on the tracks by the contributors.


The Quietened Mechanisms is released as part of the A Year In The Country project, a set of year long journeys through spectral fields; cyclical explorations of an otherly pastoralism, the further reaches of folk culture and the spectral parallel worlds of hauntology – a wandering amongst subculture that draws from the undergrowth of the land.

As a project, it has included a website featuring writing, artwork and music which stems from that otherly pastoral/spectral hauntological intertwining, alongside a growing catalogue of album releases.

Accompanying the music releases is a book called A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields which gathers and revises previous writing from A Year In The Country alongside new journeyings.

The book and the written posts on the site are intended to draw together and connect layered and, at times, semi-hidden cultural pathways and signposts, journeying from acid folk to edgelands via electronic music innovators and pioneers, folkloric film and photography, dreams of lost futures and misremembered televisual tales and transmissions.


“…the first book of it’s kind to catalogue all these disparate strands, many of which cross over time and space to influence one another.” DJ Food

“…an essential field guide to a distinct aesthetic that remains loosely defined, like a fluttering night moth that would die if pinned down.” Ben Graham, Shindig!


On A Year In The Country and its previous music releases:

“A Year In The Country quietly go about their business releasing beautifully packaged music that is influenced by folk, electronica, drone as well as by landscape, time and place… each have themes running through them, tying the music together and seemingly telling a story as they unfold.” Terrascope

“…another exquisitely packaged affair… murky and ominous as befits the guiding thematic: places that are spectrally imprinted with past conflicts and struggles… a conceptual compilation of excellently eerie electronic music…” Simon Reynolds, author of Retromania and Energy Flash

“A Year In The Country… operating like some sinister rustic arts and crafts movement manifesting online via a Wi-Fi connected scrying mirror… an almanac of unearthly sonics to tide you through the winter nights.” Shindig!

“…a response to British folk traditions that acknowledges the history without seeming beholden to it.” John Coulthart, Feuilleton


www.ayearinthecountry.co.uk

Released October 2, 2018

Lifestream

A World-Music mix (on an Ambient blog!?!); starting slowly & gradually speeding up to near-techno levels . . .

. . . one could even work-out (and I have) to the 2nd 1/2 of this aural agglomerqation!

89:43

Download



01 Carlos Nakai – Red Tailed Hawks
02 I-Ching – Birds Flying in the Sky
03 Choying Drolma+Steve Tibbetts -Shengshik Pema Jungney
04 Djivan Gasparyan – A Cool Wind is Blowing
05 Stellamara – Zephyrus
06 Plastikman – Umayeyo
07 Tulku – Ghost Dance
08 Suru Ekeh – Voice on the Mountain
09 Deep Forest – Desert Walk
10 Yulara – Moon in 44
11 Oystein Sevag + Bendik Hofseth – Global House
12 Roberto Concina – It’s all Coming Back
13 Bill Laswell+Jah Wobble – Virus B
14 Asiabeat – Peacock
15 Talvin Singh – Eclipse
16 Zakir Hussein + Bakithi Kumalo – Indoscrub
17 Mickey Hart & Planet Drum – Angola
18 Steve Tibbetts – Dzogchen Punks

Temporal, by Julia Kent

Temporal is a meditation on the transitory and fragile nature of existence. 

Much of the music that comprises the album was originally written to accompany theatre and dance productions. “The initial inspiration was more external than internal, in that many of these pieces began as a response to a text or a choreographic concept,” Julia explains, “but they all seemed to be coming from the same emotional world and it made sense to weave them together into a record.” 

After the threat of violent release on previous album Asperities, Temporal’s relationship to the physical world manifests itself in a more organic, human sound. The electronic manipulations are subtler, with Julia sampling voices from a theatre production and processing them into unrecognisable textures: ghosts of the source material. “I included the processed voices to acknowledge the genesis of the music and also because I wanted to incorporate vocals in a way that turned voice into texture, and blurred the lines between sonic elements.

Releases January 25, 2019

Scenes of Scapes, by Kenji Kihara

Kenji Kihara is a musician based in Horiuchi, Japan, a place surrounded by nature near the sea and the mountains. Kenji makes field recordings around his home and integrates those into his lush, drifting compositions. He says, “I am making music as an inspiration for seasonal change, day to day importance.” Kenji imbues his compositions with the tone and timbre of the landscape of his home. There is acute attention to make all the pieces breathe as elements come in and out, ebb and flow. There is a reverance for natural beauty and the natural pace of the non-human world. While not all compositions on this collection are in dialogue with summer, it is still fitting to release the album in summer as it it bookended with two pieces evokative of a warm breeze on a light summer evening.

Music by Kenji Kihara. 
Art and mastering by Sean Conrad.

Released July 31, 2018

#SomeBraveApollo

Last year (2018) marked the 25th anniversary of the release of this album.
I had a fleeting thought about this project, but it lay dormant in my head until several months ago: a re-working of Brian Eno’s landmark classic ‘Apollo‘.

The original title for this project was ‘Apollo on my Mind’ (it was later changed after I decided to close with the Diamond Dogs track); because back, w-a-y back, in the deep recesses of my mixological cranium . . . Apollo has ALWAYS been on my mind; shaping, guiding & navigating; & providing a pathway (as well as a way out) through the din.

I relied heavily on my own mix back-catalog: (what tracks had I utilized with Eno, & specifically Apollo, over the years?}. In some cases (noted in the play-list), I purposefully targeted excerpts from previous mixes (both ambient & ether-jazz), coupled with infinitely long segues, to achieve an Apollo-like aural atmosphere. Several of the tracks (where indicated*) were custom “built”; that is reconstructed, echoed, fitted with slightly longer intro/outtros; I built the last track (Bowie) first – – which was a lot of fun – blending a rock track with an ambient intro & a back piece (molded noise) due to the original, abrupt ending.

My approach to albums is that, while the compositions themselves may be great, the ordering of tracks, as well as the overall atmosphere, leaves MUCH to be desired. So I reorder & mix them with like-minded tuneage until I get something I can listen to again . . . & again. Incorporating layered tracks, ghost-editing, over-dubbing up the ying-yang & fragmented/edited tracks, I now present it for your listening pleasure
(IF you enjoy this sorta’ thing, that is . . . ).

The full Laibach STUMM433 track/video (released on MUTE) can be found here & here.

And, finally . . . one more tip of the hat to David Robert Jones (1947 ~ 2016)

01:21:07

Download or Mixcloud



01 John Cage/Laibach – STUMM433 (excerpt)
02 Richard Chartier – Central (for M.Vainio) excerpt
03 Ambient Landscape – Matta’s Secret*
04 Daniel Lanois (ARR) & Brian Eno – The Secret Place
05 Ambient Landscape/Lowlight Mixes – Slow Decay* (excerpt)
06 Brian Eno – Matta
07 France Jobin – Singulum n_
08 Ambient Landscape – Sans Serif (opening excerpt)
09 Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois – Stars
10 Jaja – Aurigae (edit)
11 Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois – Under Stars
12 Cinchel – Drinking Tea on the Couch, Staving off a Fever
13 Brian Eno – An Ending (Ascent) w/*intro wash
14 Loscil – Monument Builders
15 Ambient Landscape – Blade Running – rework* (excerpt)
16 Zahn, Hatami & McClure – Byte
17 PCM – Par
18 David Bowie – Big Brother* (extended gibberish mix)

The Gateless Gate, Landslag Norður Íslands

…from Toronto, Ontario.

This album is an ambient music evocation of certain landscapes of the northern regions of Iceland near the town of Akureyri, which we visited in the fall of 2014. We were, as most visitors are, very moved by the power of these volcanic landscapes and coastlines and decided to capture them in music.

Released March 2, 2015

Allister Thompson: guitar, synths, mellotron sounds, voice, other sounds
Teri-Lynn Janveau: piano, mellotron sounds, voice
Samantha Thompson: concert harp, tracks 2 and 4

And His Many Seas, by Moss Covered Technology

Stepping bravely out into icy waters and leaving behind a port always known, that being a lifetime of familiarity, comfort, and love, Moss Covered Technology paints a cold sea composed of blue tones, the chilled air seeping into the cabins of the heart through cracks in its frost-rimmed windows. Through this crack, feelings of sadness, anxiety and hopelessness slither in, making a nest in the heart of the ship. Some of the background textures clink and creak, like the breaking of ice, and the record charts a melancholic course. ‘His Many Seas’ is the sound of an ending, but it’s also a maiden voyage. 

Soaked textures and sparse, frostbitten melodies loop in the frigid air, almost as if they can’t remember their place, or where they are in relation to everything else. The grey sea looks the same. Its horizon never differs. But music can act as a compass, a North Star, in times of trouble, during tempests and unquiet seas, and this ambient Polaris guides the artist back home. Music can return a soul to safe shores after a period of brokenness. 

Credits: 

Music: Moss Covered Technology 
Mastering: James Plotkin 
Design: Daniel Crossley 

In loving memory of Ian W. Baird (1949 – 2016)

Released April 30, 2018 

Sony 40th Anniversary Walkman’s Surprise Feature is a Scene-Stealer!

by David Phelan from Forbes.com.

Sony has announced a new Walkman to celebrate the gadget’s fortieth anniversary. It’s snappily called the NW-A100TPS Walkman and here’s all you need to know about it.

What was your first Walkman? If you had a music player before you had a smartphone, it’s likely it was a Walkman. When it first launched, seeing people wearing headphones as they walked down the street was just weird.

But everyone got used to it very quickly – especially when they sampled the joy of listening to your music as you walked along, and with good audio quality, too.

Of course, back when the Walkman first arrived, and for years after, the optimum portable format was the cassette. Whether you carried a bag full of tapes bought from your favorite store, or scrupulously put together mixtapes, the Walkman gave you the freedom to carry your music like never before.

Nowadays, almost everyone carries their music in their smartphone, although it’s true that Apple hasn’t given up on the iPod, for instance, refreshing the iPod touch range earlier this year. So, the announcement of a new Walkman isn’t entirely surprising.

What is surprising, however, is exactly what Sony has done with it.

Sony’s music players have traditionally been known for extremely good audio quality, beating many smartphone music players hands down. Which is a good start.
The new model, I can confirm, sounds terrific, with rich detail in vocals, a light touch with mid-tones and solid, enjoyable bass.

But the look is as important as the sound with this model, and here’s why. A special soft case comes with the player which means it closely resembles the very first cassette player, the TPS-L2, released in July 1979.

Because it was a cassette player, it had a little plastic window on it so you could see the tapes rotating slowly inside as the music played.

Well, not only does the soft cover absolutely make the Walkman look like a real classic, but it has the peek-a-boo window, too.

And when you look through it, oh my, there are those cassette cogs turning inside. If that sounds a bit baffling, just open the case. Yes, it’s a cassette player, you think. Has Sony taken leave of its senses?

As you think that, just tap the tape. Don’t worry, you won’t jog the music because then the trick is revealed: it’s not a cassette, of course, but a touchscreen with a perfect video representation of tape. As you tap it, the image is replaced by a modern interface, with album art, track details and play and pause functionality.

It’s a cute trick, and it works beautifully. There’s something so idiosyncratic about this visual effect that it almost feels like only Sony could have done this. Other companies might not have had the imagination, and especially the wit, to do something as fun as this.
There’s something so idiosyncratic about this visual effect that it almost feels like only Sony could have done this. Other companies might not have had the imagination, and especially the wit, to do something as fun as this.

But this is a splendid player with a super-cool, if gimmicky, extra.

The storage isn’t huge – 16GB – so you can’t have your entire music library on it. And many people will want to stick with just their phone. Unless they listen to how good this sounds.

It hits stores in November.

This still works (in my basement gym)


A Narrow Path

A collaborative mix made many (12) years ago – when I mixed under the moniker ‘g.a.b. l@bs‘ on the Art of the Mix site. The collaboration was with one ‘Muzag‘ (Gary Smith) – an Irishman who @ the time was mixing rings around the rest of us with the equipment @ his disposal. We made this & then another one (entitled A Wider View; my copy (CD) of which was damaged over the years & will, sadly, no longer play).

Here’s the original AotM post page: 2007 post http://www.artofthemix.org/FindAMix/getcontents2.aspx?strMixID=115433

73:55

Download

01 Muzag Field Recording – Mont St Michel Abbey Bells
02 Arrocata – Binary Som [extract]
03 Ingram Marshall – Gradual Requiem (Part 2)
04 Fessenden – Sun on 5
05 Geoffroy Montel – Tokyo Temple Prayers
06 Jeff Greinke – Moving to Malaysia [extract]
07 Gamelan Plesetan – Kecapi Drum Bubbles
08 Nikita Golyshev – Seven Glasses with Hot Oil (Infra-Red Analysis on Low Frequencies)
09 Nikita Golyshev – Frozen Oil Spectum Analysis (Infra-Red Analysis on Low Frequencies)
10 Igneous Flame – Red Sands Shifting [extract]
11 Vangelis – Abraham’s Theme
12 Pausal – Song From A Cloth Pocket
13 Aix Em Klemm – Sparkwood and Twentyone
14 O Yuki Conjugate – Tropospheric
15 Polygon Windows – Quino-phec
16 Muzag Field Recording – Benny Purrs
17 Pan Sonic – Rafter [extract]
18 Endlos – Hast du viele hast du keine
19 Easy Star All-Stars – Great Dub in the Sky
20 Dub Syndicate – Higher Than High [Muzag edit]
21 Robert Rich – Beyond Part 4 [extract]
22 Pjusk – Spore 2
23 Murcof – Ulysses [extract]
24 Klaus Schulze – Amourage [extract]
25 Fridge – Tuum
26 Georgy Sviridov – Four Choruses from Songs of Troubled Times: Bright Fields