Mixes are the New Albums

I can’t remember the last time I listened to an entire album from start to finish.

I simply don’t do that…anymore. I used to – when I was 16 & had just bought a new Bowie or Robert Fripp album – I’d listen to the whole album – but then one track would remindRecord Albums3 me of the guitar riff by another artist…or the bass line would be similar to another song…and I began making cassette mixes (non-segued @ that time) on my TEAC double cassette deck. At the time, I’d hand draw the mix cover-art & passengers in my car would marvel at the creativity it took to put everything together in an enjoyable music mix for the road trip we were on.

And I’ve been making mixes, on & off, ever since (Round 1: 1974 ~ 1990). I had taken a break for a few years – when out of the blue, my 10 years younger brother sent me a cassette mix he had made as a way of thanking me for “saving” him from a Village People fate in which his peer group was immersed. That mix, made with a dual turntable & a mixing board, contained songs from his generation (The PhonographCure, Depeche Mode, The Sugar Cubes, Pixies) & mine (David Bowie, Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp, Ian Hunter) and we labeled it P.H.A.C.Progressive Hits / Alternative Classics. The series went on for 11 more editions (and, as a side note, I’m restoring a few of them by recording the tape to a digital source). Then Eric enrolled in the Peace Corps and shipped off to Nepal (where he eventually met his wife) and I shipped him 3-4 more editions of ‘After the P.H.A.C.’ – adding acts like Monty Python into the music stream as well as narrated portions using a microphone.

That brings us to, roughly, the year 2000…when I mixed one of my all-time favorites, ‘Lanterna‘ (a tribute mix to the Henry Frayne album by the same name): initially onto cassette, then CD-R in 2004 and digitally in 2014. And I’ve never listened to the entire Lanterna album in toto – only by way of its mixed iteration.

Lanterna can be downloaded free here: Ambient Landscape’s Bandcamp, & will give you an entree into my mixing style.

That mixed reignited the art of making mixes within me, purely as a pastime, (Round 2: 2000 ~ Present) and I stumbled across the Art of the Mix website & joined their online community – posting under the moniker ‘g.a.b. l@bs‘. The site got glitchy after several years (though is still up & running), but the core group of elite mixers to which I palled around with began to fall apart. But I had had a nice run of things from 2000 through 2010 & resigned mysRecord Albums2elf to posting purely on my blog & cross posting to Facebook (our FB account is no longer).

In 2015 I found Mixcloud, a streamlined version of Art of the Mix with better  categorization & a worldwide membership of world-class mixers…within all the genres I participated & a lot more – and have been posting there ever since.

Mixes are, for me, the ONLY way to listen to music. When I purchase or download a new album – it goes on my phone only long enough to determine what songs I like & which ones I’ll utilize to craft a new mix…usually within the same genre – but not always (my ‘elements‘ series (Jazz) is a border-crossing mixed bag of classic Jazz, European Jazz (a la ECM) & Ambient…even Classical.

Albums are categorized into folders on my hard-drive, from whence I derive my mix play-lists & the final deliverable which is then rendered with cover art & uploaded to my phone & Mixcloud.

To my ears albums are boring – too much of one artist & not enough derivation. In fact, when shopping for music, one requirement is that it be different enough to warrant my listening attention…yet similar enough to garner inclusion for the next mix project. Thus albums, CD’s & digital collections sit idle until the master (that’s, uhm…me ; D ) hand selects compositions from same as the new mix is crafted.

There are, however, 2 albums which do reside on my phone’s hard-drive & will probably never be deleted:

…just because I consider them near perfection (within their respective genres).
Bottom line is: I love these 2 albums in the entirety! And I’m sure the reader also has his or her favorite.

So there you have it. The plastic & waxed shape of one man’s opinion on the topic of listenable forms of music. The miplastic + waxx is the thing: taking the creative input of artists & reshaping them into something better, something finer, something able to be shared without violating the artist’s creative world…AND, at least within the genres I mix…a final product that actually grants increased exposure of the artist & their work.

Thanks for reading and, if you have a differing opinion…please share it with me. I’ll read it…when I’m not tilting my head sideways to peruse the spines of stacks like these; in search of the perfect tune.

Record Albums

mute space

Slowly simmered, textural ambient coupled with meandering, sparsely brooding dark-wave. Hat tip to Dirk Serries for the referral to Year of No Light, who close out the mix.

“In [mute] space…no one but you can hear your ambient” ~ 82:11

01 focal (Arnaud Galoppe) – polarity (muted scream, washed intro/ edit)
02 steinbruchel – scene 03
03 atom heart – timeslice (excerpt)
04 saul stokes – the far edge of suburban station
05 ma ja le w/james johnson – methane sea
06 steve roach – this & the other
07 CTI – la genou (aux gouts speciaux)
08 viridian sun – axiom sunburst
09 stefano musso/nick parkin – the 3rd column
10 jaja – aurigae (excerpt)
11 leonardo rosado – scratching the surface
12 year of no light – courtempierre (back-lit, extended wireframe edit)

D/L:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/0ppmqn4ou1x8s3c/mute%20space_0.zip?dl=0

mute space 2

WhiteLabSounds

An outstanding Ambient/Drone V/A collective of exquisite moodiness..!

by Whitelabrecs

Since we began running Whitelabrecs in January 2016 we’ve managed to put out 20 albums covering the varied ground of the Ambient scene and featuring artists both new and established. Usually by the time that this many releases have amassed, most labels will have created at least one compilation or sampler but rest assured, we’ve beenWhiteLabSounds working behind the scenes for several months on our very own ‘Whitelabsounds’.

Our very first compilation album features a CDr full of top drawer Ambient and Experimental music featuring well known artists in the scene such as Offthesky, Maps and Diagrams, The Green Kingdom, Wil Bolton and Darkroom as well as contributors to our discography and other friends.
The album is presented as a small-scale fine-art vinyl LP imitation package, with a printed outer photographic/graphic sleeve, white card inner sleeve and a printed vinyl-effect CDr. There’s not a rubber stamp or white label in sight, as we wanted to present something truly special and hopefully, the start of a series.

The sounds contained within the disk are to be seen as a mood board of the various shades of modern Ambient music, with darker drones concocted from electronics and light noise sitting alongside beautiful electro-acoustic pieces, framed as a sort of mosaic. Every tile tells a story as each artist’s environment, experience and influence helps shape their sound. Somehow, the whole body of work becomes greater than the sum of its parts and that brings us to the artwork, a photograph of tessellating mosaic tiles taken in Pompeii, Italy.
Some tiles are worn and disintegrated whereas some are smooth and clear, perfectly reflecting the tones that can be heard on this inaugural Whitelabsounds compilation.

Credits

Released April 25, 2017
Mastered by Tim Diagram
Photography by Bethany Towell
Artwork by Harry Towell

Nevermind Your Palaver . . .

…your air guitar and the bright blue wainscoting: these are the Cotswold Gnomes.

So yes…guilty as charged…a fripp-a-holic! The tunes herein are from Robert Fripp, Brian Eno (together & separately) AND compositions from artists that filled in the blanks; the spaces in-between the embedded Frippertronics.

Track 1 is a custom, in-house amalgamation of blended sound & the rest flows from there. The title was crafted with James Joyce’s ‘The Dead‘ in mind:

“The men that is now is only all palaver and what they can get out of you.”
~ Lilly, from ‘The Dead’

But you wanted to hear the mix…so nevermind

[73:49 – part 1 of 2]

D/L:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/5wj7lzrabysc2xn/Palaver%201.zip?dl=0

01 Ambient Landscape
Custom Fripp-Scape:
    Sustayn/Location.9/Slow Music.1
    Robert Fripp, Si Begg, Slow Music Project
02 Robert Fripp & Brian Eno – Deep Indian Long
03 Markus Reuter – Mundo Nuevo, Part 2
04 Dwight Ashley – Behold the Trampled Wheat
05 Brian Eno – Slip, Dip
06 Brian Eno – Innocenti
07 Bill Nelson – Her Presence In Flowers
08 Theo Travis – October Night
09 The Cotswold Gnomes – Gasp
10 Brian Eno – Lantern Marsh
11 Jeff Greinke – Deep Inside
12 The Cotswold Gnomes – Hopeful Timean
13 Deaf Center – Thread
14 Lutz Thuns & Wolfgang Gsell – Tirawa
15 Fripp & Eno – Timean Sparkles
16 O Yuki Conjugate –  In Dreams, Perhaps
17 Robert Fripp – Water Music II + Postscript

palaver1

Yazz Ahmed, ‘La Saboteuse’

–listened to this earlier in the week – fabulous (earning a permanent spot on my automobile’s memory-stick play-list!)!

On Naim Records (to be released on 12, May 2017)

Yazz Ahmed has been making serious waves in the Jazz world after storming onto the scene with a commanding performance at Ronnie Scott’s with her quintet in 2010. With her next release ‘La Saboteuse’ Yazz looks set to join an pioneering group of artists such as The Comet is Coming (Leaf Label), Kamasi Washington (BRAINFEEDER), Yussef Kamaal (Brownswood) and Naim Records’ Sons Of Kemet who are flipping the jazz world on its head and breaking through to the forefront of the UK music scene with a vibrant and exciting approach to their art.

Yazz has performed with creative goliaths including Lee “Scratch” Perry and Max Romeo as well as touring worldwide with These New Puritans and laying down the Flugelhorn on Radiohead’s ground-breaking ‘King of Limbs’. Her second full length release ‘La Saboteuse’ explores the creative process and the demons that can exist within. Yazz’s transformation of this into a unique blend of psychedelic Arabic jazz is intoxicating, compelling and sonically outstanding.

Naim Records have teamed up with emerging Bristol illustrator Sophie Bass Illustration to craft a stunning visual aesthetic for ‘La Saboteuse’. Sophie’s work explores human nature and our sensual relationship with the world we occupy. Through an exploration of her Trinidad heritage Sophie developed an appetite for native art and the mythology and symbolism encompassed within, these themes are beautifully displayed in Sophie’s unique, culturally rich and symbolic style.

With La Saboteuse Naim Records will break away from the traditional model of release with the album being dropped as four chapters across streaming services in early 2017. Each chapter will have an individual cover crafted by Sophie which when combined will form the gatefold cover housing the heavyweight double LP. The vinyl and CD will be released concurrently with Chapter Four and the digital release of the full album, all landing in May 2017.

Performers:
Yazz Ahmed – flugelhorn, trumpet, quarter-tone flugelhorn & Kaoss Pad
Lewis Wright – vibraphone
Shabaka Hutchings – bass clarinet
Samuel Hällkvist – electric guitars
Naadia Sheriff – Fender Rhodes & Wurlitzer pianos
Dudley Phillips – bass guitar
Dave Manington – bass guitar (sponge bass on Bloom)
Martin France – drums
Corrina Silvester – bucket, bendir, darbuka, krakab, riqq, pins, gongs, waterphone, sagat, frame drum, ankle bells & drum kit

Yazz Ahmed_La Saboteuse

s i g n s [1]


This classical-music based mix was built upon the skeletal structure of burned out Chevrolets an unreleased mix from 2012, entitled ‘another fripp’ (which was a Robert Fripp inspired mix revolving around his release The Wine of Silence‘). I was never fully enthralled with the final deliverable and would pop it on & off my phone for listening now & again.

Then, this past March, I received a promotional copy of  Izumi Kuremoto‘s Late Chrysanthemums, which I very much enjoyed. And in April, I tripped across Daníel Bjarnason‘s ‘Recurrence’ while on Twitter; and the mixological wheels began to churn…

Thus ‘s i g n s’ (parts 1 & 2) became a mix project wrapped around Recurrence, performed by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra (and recycling a few of the compositions from ‘another fripp’).

It is one of the more aggressive projects I’ve undertaken in awhile: segmenting tracks, using portions of material or bits of compositions & layering tracks to construct an entirely new & reconstructed f-l-o-w of sound.

The cover art is a nod to an old & strange fiancé of mine, named g.a.b. l@bs – ;- )

Part 1 | 81:11

01 Leonardo Rosado – The Blue Nature of Everyday Var. in Blue #1- Dusk
02 Ambient Landscape – Intro 2 [custom wash]
03 Daníel Bjarnason – BD (excerpt)
04 Robert Fripp – Glass & Breath (excerpt)
05 Izumi Kuremoto – Three Movements for Harp & Strings (1; excerpt)
06 Yo-Yo Ma, David Zinman, Baltimore Symphony Orch – The Dormition of the Mother of God (excerpt)
07 Iceland Symphony Orchestra – Flow & Fusion
08 Ralph Vaughan Williams – In the Fen Country
09 Daníel Bjarnason – Emergence  I. Silence
10 Andrew Keeling/Robert Fripp – Miserere Mei
11 Iceland Symphony Orchestra – Emergence II. Black Breathing

D/L:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/58gbzx6lwep1e8e/s%20i%20g%20n%20s.zip?dl=0

Artwork

l@b_sand with title + signature

Titok

Hungarian guitarist Ferenc Snétberger made a lot of new friends with his ECM solo debut In Concert (“a beautiful, assured performance” – All About Jazz) and will make many more with Titok, which features his trio with Swedish bassist Anders Jormin and US drummer Joey Baron.  Recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in May 2015 and produced by Manfred Eicher, it’s a warm and involving album, with an emphasis on intensely melodic improvisation and interaction which draws the listener gently into its sound-world.

The rapport between Snétberger and Jormin is evident from the outset, as both guitar and bass explore the contours of Ference’s compositions. Throughout, Joey Baron’s drums and cymbals provide shading and texture with restraint and subtlety.

Hungarian guitarist Ferenc Snétberger leads a trio with Swedish bassist Anders Jormin and US drummer Joey Baron in this warm and involving recording, produced by Manfred Eicher in Oslo, and intensely melodic improvisation draws the listener gently into its sound-world. The gracefully flowing guitar (Snétberger has a way of making even complex phrases seem effortless), the enveloping rhythmic undertow, and the highly creative playing from all participants captivate throughout Titok. There is soloistic brilliance here and high-level interplay, and the music takes the time it needs to unfold, breathing very naturally. The compound sound of the trio, with Ferenc’s acoustic nylon-string guitar partnered by bass and drums, is special. Joey Baron shades and colours the music with great subtlety using brushes, stick and hands, and the rapport between Snétberger and Jormin is evident from the outset, as both guitar and bass explore the contours of Ferenc’s compositions. “The dialogue here between classical guitar and Anders’s way of playing the bass seems to me unique,” observes Ferenc Snétberger. “Anders has a special ‘voicing’, a special way of entering into my music. And, together, he and Joey offer inspirations which are mirrored in my playing. Manfred’s participation was also inspiring – without his ideas, and his choice of pieces and the sequencing of them, the album could not have existed in this form.”

The producer recommended Jormin and Baron for this project and the trio came together to play three concerts in Hungary before the session at Rainbow Studios, where spontaneity was the watchword. The album is framed by music freely created in the moment: the opening piece “Cou Cou”, the title track “Titok” and the three concluding pieces “Clown”, “Rush” and “Inference” are all improvised discoveries. The sense of searching and finding in the opening moments gives way to the clearly etched melody of “Kék Kerék”, a rather beautiful older melody of Ferenc’s. “Rambling” is the first of several pieces written for this trio, the writing leaving space for bass and drums to add their statements. The tenderly phrased “Fairytale” likewise invites Jormin to add countermelodies in the deep end. “Leolo”, dedicated to Ferenc and Angela Snétberger’s grandson Leo, begins with nursery rhyme melodic simplicity and develops into elegant chamber music, including a fine section with Jormin’s arco bass…Ferenc Snétberger’s thoroughly distinctive guitar style has been gradually shaped through the absorption and transformation of many influences. Born in 1957 into a very musical family, Ferenc had classical guitar lessons from age 13, and studied jazz guitar in Budapest. Based in Berlin from 1988, he began to harmonize the full range of his guitaristic interests, from Django Reinhardt and Roma music to Brazilian and other Latin American musics via US jazz and European classical tradition – from the baroque to contemporary composition. “Alom” on the present disc is an adaptation of an old theme referencing Roma music, while “Orange Tango” and “Renaissance” acknowledge their inspirational sources in their titles. Yet none of these pieces sounds “eclectic”, the diverse sources are integrated organically inside Snétberger’s music, and accessed readily through the guitar. (Throughout Titok, Ferenc plays a guitar hand-built to his specifications by the late German luthier Tom Launhardt.)

Titok is the second ECM album by Ferenc Snétberger. It follows the critically-acclaimed In Concert, recorded at Budapest’s Franz List Academy of Music (“A beautiful, assured performance” – All About Jazz).

Anders Jormin and Joey Baron have appeared on many ECM records, but Titok marks the first time they have played together on a session for the label (they have periodically crossed paths in live contexts – playing for instance in trio with the late John Taylor). Jormin has made several albums as a leader for ECM, most recently Trees of Light, with singer and fiddler Lena Willemark and koto player Karin Nakagawa. His other discs include Xieyi, In winds, in light, and Ad Lucem. A long-time member of the Bobo Stenson Trio, he also appears on albums with Don Cherry, Charles Lloyd, Tomasz Stanko, Sinikka Langeland and others.

Joey Baron has been John Abercrombie’s drummer of choice for two decades and appears on the Abercrombie Quartet’s newest release Up and Coming. Baron is also currently a member of the trios of Jakob Bro (album: Streams) and Gary Peacock (albums: Now This and the forthcoming Tangents, due this autumn).

Plans for further Snétberger concerts with Jormin and Baron are currently being worked on. Meanwhile, Ferenc also fronts an admirable trio with British bassist Phil Donkin and New York-based Hungarian drummer Ferenc Németh, which recently brought some of the Titok repertoire to Europe’s clubs and concert halls. In October 2017 Ferenc Snétberger will tour in trio with Anders Jormin and Ferenc Németh.

Ferenc Snétberger   Guitar
Anders Jormin   Double Bass
Joey Baron   Drums


Track list

1. Cou Cou Ferenc Snétberger, Anders Jormin, Joey Baron 02:53
2. Titok (Ferenc Snétberger) 02:18
3. Kék Kerék 04:01
4. Rambling 07:22
5. Orange Tango 05:13
6. Fairytale 05:24
7. Álom 07:05
8. Leolo 05:53
9. Ease 05:23
10. Renaissance 05:14
11. Clown 05:09
12. Rush 01:53
13. Inference 02:16

Titok

King Crimson, Fripp & ‘Heroes’

King Crimson performed Heroes at the Admiralspalast in Berlin as a celebration, a remembrance & an homage. The concert was thirty-nine years and one month after the original sessions at the Hansa Tonstudio overlooking the Berlin Wall. This is released in the Fortieth Anniversary year.

Robert Fripp
Wednesday 22nd. February, 2017; DGM HQ, Wiltshire, England.

Track Listing:
1 Heroes
2 Easy Money
3 Starless (edit)
4 The Hell Hounds of Krim
5 Heroes (radio edit)

DGM and Panegyric are proud to present for pre-order, King Crimson’s Heroes EP – recorded live on the European tour of 2016. The title track sees Robert Fripp reprise the unforgettable guitar role he created for the original David Bowie studio recording in the same city in 1977, particularly poignant in the year of Bowie’s death. Also featured on the EP are a ten minutes recording of Easy Money (Paris), a song that varies in length and solos from night to night and is always a fan favourite, an edited version (featuring the “song section”) of Crim Classic Starless often a set closer, always a stand-out moment and a recording of the three drummers’ showpiece The Hell Hounds of Krim (both from Vienna) – all previously unreleased live recordings.

The EP is completed with a ‘radio edit’ of Heroes.

A full live album, recorded on the 2016 European tour will be issued in September 2017.

Heroes_2016

Subsiding, by Siavash Amini

Sort of like ambient glitch meets a neo-classical ghost…

Prominent Iranian artist Siavash Amini continues a triptych of works with ‘Subsiding’, an album of instrumental ambient drone. His most full and detailed sound to date illustrates Amini’s ability to bring together modern classical composition with that of controlled noise, granular synthesis, and atmospheric soundscape. Both monolithic and micro sound sculptures coexist within a perfect balance, a mix which makes for an all encompassing listen across the audio spectrum, funereal yet uplifting.

Complete with striking cover photography by Alex Kozobolis, “Subsiding” will be available on glass-mastered CD in digipack sleeves (run of 200) and digital formats.

credits

released November 2, 2015

All music composed by Siavash Amini
Violin, Viola: Babak Koohestani
Clarinet: Soheil Peyghambari
Strings and Clarinets Recorded at Migrain Studio by Pouya Pour-Amin

Residual Image

An antique, experimental mix of mine…from 2003; painstakingly restored on a digital cutting board. I ripped the .wav files from a CD-R, imported them into Audacity & began re-segueing the tracks [Zoom in, Fade-in/Fade-out, Zoom out].

The project was driven by a question that, @ the time, permeated the minds of ALL mixers: “How does one successfully blend Ambient, Experimental, Post-Rock, Glitch & Classical onto a solitary mix?”
;- )

74:19

01 Brian Eno – Signals
02 Gustav Holst – Neptune the Mystic
03 Firmament – Pinhole View
04 Michael Griffin/David Fulton – Biometric
05 eM – Across the Milky Way (treated/ghosted edit)
06 Roland Ivarsson – Coral
07 David Fulton/Michael Griffin – Plastic & Flesh
08 Pan American  – Noun
09 Alien Planetscapes – Energy Fools the Magician
10 Robert Fripp/Andy Summers – Lakeland-Aquarelle
11 Arvo Pärt – Darf Ich
12 Jan Garbarek – Arc
13 Henry Frayne – Dog Days, part 1
14 Sinead O’Connor – Just Call Me Joe

residual-image