New Interview with Ryan Stewart on the Mainly Piano site Check it out by clicking here.
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Conscious Pilot by Pan Electric
June 1, 2016
MMichael Foster Editor AV
Pink Lizard Music is bringing back some classic music from
years gone by as it reissues Matt Coldrick’s five albums one by one until they
are all available again. On June 1 (TODAY!) the third in the series of re-releases was
let loose on the world and it is indeed worthy of being resurrected on Pink
Lizard. The album is by Pan Electric and it is called Conscious Pilot and
features some great musicians working alongside Matt to create an album that
draws from Matt’s ambient and downtempo work. With talent like award winning
jazz pianist Neil Cowley, Big Chill veteran The Fantastic Laura B, pedal steel
legend BJ Cole and last but certainly not least is synthesist Ishq how could
this project not already be in print? It is good to see that great music such
as this has not been forgotten over the years and even better is being
re-released so that those who enjoyed it the first time around can do so again
and new fans who didn’t have the privilege of hearing it back in 2007 can now
discover the music for themselves.
Below is a little video that Matt Coldrick made to share
with listeners about what he learned during the making of Conscious Pilot. The
video is making its debut here on Ambient Visions and we hope that you will be
able to gather some insights into Matt’s thinking as he created the wonderful
music on this album. You might have to listen closely as the wind kept whipping
around the mic and makes it a tad hard to hear at times but stay with it. Be
sure to pick up your copy of the album by clicking on the album cover above and
heading over to his Bandcamp page to start your listening adventure. Been
through it a couple of times now as a new listener myself and I’m sure you are
gonna like it. Enjoy.
What We Left Behind Michael Brückner talks to Robert Rich
First of all I'd like to introduce Robert Rich to those readers who do not already know him.
Robert was born in 1963 and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He started to build his own modular synthesizers from kits and experimented with long-form sonic environments already from 1976 on. In the late 70s he was involved in some local noise/industrial bands.While still studying psychology at Stanford University in the early 80s, he started to organize his first all-night sleep concerts for which he eventually became
well known. Also around that time, he released his first solo albums (“Sunyata”, “Trances” “Drones” etc), first on cassette and then later on small European labels on CD.
In 1987, he contributed to Steve Roach’s album “Dreamtime Return”. Success on a larger scale came when a string of Robert’s albums were released on the American label “Hearts of Space” (most of all “Rainforest”). At this time his musical vocabulary already had encompassed more percussive and melodic elements than on his early drone based work.
We need ambient evangelists. I know. That sounds strange but it doesn't mean what you think. The visual that comes to mind is a preacher at a pulpit and instead of spiritual things they are talking about getting more ambient music into your life so that you can resist the temptation to fall back into that bad heavy metal crowd. Sounds like a great church where the organist would play Steve Roach while the members meditated on the differences between
ambient, space and new age music. That
is not exactly what I had in mind though. Here is a definition from Wikipedia about what a technology evangelist is so that you get an idea of where I am coming from.
"A technology evangelist is a person who builds a critical mass of support for a given technology, and then establishes it as a technical standard in a market that is subject to network effects. An evangelist promotes the use of a particular product or technology through talks, articles, blogging, user demonstrations, recorded demonstrations, or the creation of sample projects. The word evangelism is taken from the context of religious evangelism
due to the similarity of relaying information
about a particular set of beliefs with the intention of converting the recipient. There is some element of this although most would argue it's more of showcasing the potential of a technology to lead someone to want to adopt it for themselves."
So as you can see the word "evangelist" does derive from the spiritual concept of its usage but it has been taken out of that context and serves a wider purpose as someone who is a proponent of a particular product or technology or even a particular genre of music and of course that is where ambient music comes into the picture. An ambient evangelist would be a person who is always out there pushing ambient music through articles, blogs,
reviews and through any other means
that would present itself to the evangelist. This goes beyond the casual one time recommendation of some ambient music you might have tried to interest your friend in and into the realm where everyday you are posting, writing or finding other ways to promote ambient music to your friends, to strangers, or to the whole world. It would require a mindset that started to look for ways to "get the message out" to everyone. Of course you have to be careful that you don't become a fundamentalist ambient music
evangenlist that can't see any other genre except ambient as being worth your time but instead stay open to all the many sub genres such as electronica, space, new age, and the wide variety of instrumental genres that exist in the world today.
Everything and Nothing by Hammock AV Spotlight CD Review
It's been over a decade since Hammock
released their debut album Kenotic, and three years since their last
album Oblivion Hymns. The latest incarnation of their personal and
musical journey has all the usual guitar sonics you'd expect from them but is
arguably the most “mainstream” sounding Hammock album. Perhaps this is because
it reflects their now “hopeful” mindset after the heavier sentiments of the
previous two albums. All the expected elements are still there on Everything
and Nothing – fans of the duo's work will not be disappointed. It's a long
album of 20 tracks (4 of which are bonus tracks), and in Marc Byrd's words (the
other half of the duo is Andrew Thompson) is part of an ongoing exercise in
Opening the album is the sweet and
atmospheric Turn Away and Return. Distant guitar licks and a minimalist rhythm
gradually build while many of the typical Hammock elements such as cello and
ethereal vocals are a little reminiscent of the otherworldly vibe of work by Jónsi
Birgisson from Sigur Ros.
Southern Cross by Jim Ottaway AV Spotlight CD Review
music is a peaceful drift that surrounds you and envelops you with an unhurried
relaxing ebb and flow of synths that is very soothing and very comforting. It
is apparent that Jim is well versed in coaxing just the right sounds out of his
equipment and then crafting that sound into the marvelous soundscapes that you
will hear on Southern Cross. Southern Cross is Jim's latest effort and is aptly
named after the asterism the Southern Cross in the constellation of Crux which
is visible in the Southern Hemisphere.
individual songs on this album are named after the stars that comprise the
Southern Cross and the album closes out with a track simply called Southern
Cross. (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, and Southern Cross) Gazing into the
night sky and observing the familiar patterns in the sky gives you a feeling of
wonder or simply one of reverence for what you are looking at. The vastness of
space and the beauty that such a pattern as the Southern Cross represents
obviously struck Jim with an urge to try and musically capture that image that
has left its mark on so many hearts who have stood staring up at the night sky.
What comes to mind was the line from the movie Contact where Ellie's father
told her small moves as she was searching the ham radio dial for other
operators to talk to. Jim's album Southern Cross makes good use of this
philosophy with the music he has recorded for this release.
Antiferromagnet by Michael Brückner AV Spotlight CD Review
As I have mentioned several months ago, when focusing on Michael Brückner's "Eleventh Sun" CDr, this German sound designer is known for his flamboyantly extensive discography with many well hidden gems. And I think that's the case with "Antiferromagnet", an album, which was recorded mostly during one day in 2003 and then revisited and given the final touches in 2006, before self-released by the artist at the same year. I believe it's not easy to find
out a lot of background info on this rare recording and as far I know, this album is one of those which are not featured on Michael Brückner's Bandcamp site. Well, I am quite sure Michael will reconsider this, because it certainly deserves to be explored by a wider audience. Although I think the album can be ordered on request via Bandcamp as a digital download or as a physical CDr edition. "Antiferromagnet" comes with a 4-panel front insert and is packaged in standard jewel case. Visually rather more
ambiguously inconspicuous, connected to the theme, but it really matters what's "inside".
The album, comprised of 13 rather shorter pieces clocking between 2:39 and 7:10, unfolds with "Terbsee", a strikingly enigmatic composition merging mostly distant, sinuously reverberating, gauzy rumblings and tinkling lyrical passages. Seamless transition into "Pharn" follows and the listener remains in quite unique, mesmerizingly flavored zones reinforced by abstrusely hallucinogenic oscillations. "Avatiano" incorporates weirdly meandering
patterns, permeated here and there by wrinkled surges and ear-piercing pinnacles. Otherwise the track clandestinely glides into serenely enrapturing horizons efficiently counterpointed with tenser transitions. "Haun Toshu" brings back the mind-expanding meridians experienced on "Pharn" and shifts them into bizarrely sculpted realms of tumultuousness. "Epók" marks an escape into relatively quieter terrains, yet occasionally percolated by titillatingly high-pitched tides and other
mildly twinkling subtleties.
Beyond the Waves by Ann Licater AV Spotlight CD Review
I have been listening to Ann Licater's music now since I first
received Following the Call which came out in 2007 and I must say that I have
never been disappointed in any of the music that she has recorded over the years.
Beyond the Waves is Ann’s 4th album to date and comes a little more
than 2 and ½ years after the release of Invitation From Within. While I value
diversity and surprises in my music I have also come to expect a certain amount
of stability and constancy in the music that I listen to as well. When I pick
up an Ann Licater album I know there will be new songs and music that will
explore different aspects of her talent and personality but I also know that I
can expect that those songs will meet my expectations given my past experiences
with her music. Beyond the Waves does not disappoint me in regards to either
point and I’m sure that you will find the 12 compositions that comprise Beyond
the Waves to be a melodic journey with Ann showing us the way forward with a
variety of flutes that she demonstrates her mastery of song after song.
One of my favorite tracks on this album is a song called
Sailing on Moonlight. I think that what drew me to this song is the definite
jazz feel of the song itself and the interplay between Ann’s flute, the
keyboards and the bass. While retaining Ann’s signature flute playing as the
focal point of the song the other instruments offered a sensuous soundscape on
which Ann skillfully sculpted and painted a wonderful composition filled with
emotions and a very enjoyable jazzy kind of vibe. You could almost see this
song being played late night in a club with a trio onstage and a very
appreciative audience looking on and taking it all in. Running at 6:26 this
song had more than ample time to draw the listener in and let them get
comfortable with the atmosphere that was woven about them.
Learning to Fly by Neil Tatar reviewed by Michael Debbage of The Mainly Piano website
It was late fall or early winter when choices for best albums of 2015 were already being mentally lined up when Learning To Flyby an artist new to this reviewer arrived in the mail. While Neil Tatar was learning to fly this reviewer was now learning to be adaptable as this solo debut frankly took this listener by surprise. And the more this album was revisited the more inspiring it felt that on second thoughts perhaps a top ten ranking would have been more in line. That note aside the multi instrumentalist is equally comfortable on guitar and piano and has clearly made a strong impression makingLearning To Flythe sleeper hit of the year.
Komorebi by Altus reviewed by John Shanahan of Hypnagogue
From its first warm, lush pads to its final touching notes, Altus’ Komorebi is an album bound to find its place alongside all of your top quiet-time and meditation albums. Once again, Mike Carss holds the tonal keys to unlock your innermost thoughts and feelings, and he gives you a full, immersive hour to get in touch with them. A review isn’t really going to do it justice. I can tell you that I distinctly feel something stirring when I’m deep in the middle of “Wander” and”Touch,” and that on any number of listens there have been places where I quite literally stop everything that I’m doing because some sound, some moment within each of these pieces has found its connection and pulled me out of what suddenly seem like far lesser concerns when all that matters right then is to listen.
Letters From Far Away by Heidi Breyer reviewed by Michael Debbage of Mainly Piano
Only another two year lapse and once again we are invited to another recording from the delightful and adventurous pianist Heidi Breyer. Last time around Breyer pushed the envelope with the addition of a few vocal performances. This time out she wanted to strip it down to create her first solo piano album however decided to make it a double album concept with the second disc presenting the same songs fleshed out with various instrumentation. The results are magical.
Next by Jeff Oster reviewed byKeith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck of New Age Music Reviews
Ever think of what it would sound like if Pink Floyd joined forces with Miles Davis? Well that is the sound of Jeff Oster as people described him over the years. Personally I love both of those artists, they were building blocks to our musical legacy and idolized by generations of listeners. Jeff Oster is an acclaimed trumpet and flugelhorn player that has been bestowed many honors over his career. After giving his new release Next a good listen I can understand why.
Somehow he has been able to take jazz, funk, ambient and new age and make it a unique and compelling sound all his own.
From my point of view we simply won’t have comparable data for about 20 years, or perhaps for about 10, which I think begins to be a fair comparison point for looking at income from CD/download sales against income from streaming.
Added to that, I think there are a number of confounding variables, including accurate, competent registration of music rights, transparent reporting of sales and usage both now and before, and opacity & variability in the deals done with streaming services.
If you talk to reasonably successful electronic music labels, they may still be investing thousands into promotion for a release that’s viewed as popular and end up with total sales of 140 or less. So you are at a loss straight away. Sales are heavily, heavily down, which completely changes the business model.
Now, I personally like access instead of ownership as a model. It seems, at least theoretically, fairer to the people whose music gets listened to more. Of course, that listenership will still be unduly influenced by marketing spend, which is always where indies are at a disadvantage compared to majors. But really, I’ve bought plenty of indie CDs and vinyl that turned out to be disappointing – and if I listen to Patti Labelle more than Ishq, it’s fair
that she should get more of my money. What I can also see from a recent soundtrack release is that, while it sold single figures, it was streamed by listeners in more than 20 countries. So, streaming, for those of us who are looking to increase the size of our audience, is better, I think.
Ambient, world fusion, experimental, chillout, electronica; these are just some of the genres Bob Holroyd’s music has been described as. But not wanting to be categorised, he has long pioneered music that crosses musical and cultural boundaries. Spiced with world influences, his music touches all corners of the globe and he has worked with such a diverse range of artists that his music knows no boundaries and becomes almost impossible to describe. Almost.
Just think Brian Eno meets Groove Armada round at Mory Kante’s Buddha Bar, having cocoa down in Acapulco… and you’re nearly there. To date, he has released five critically-acclaimed studio albums and three remix albums, including remixes by Nitin Sawhney, Coldcut, Mogwai, Lemonde and The Album Leaf. His music appears on over 50 compilations and has also featured extensively on TV and films, including Lost, The Sopranos, Friends, The Secret Millionaire,
Panorama, Coast, Horizon, The Nutty Professor, My Best Friend's Wedding and the Ace Ventura films.
Other projects he has been involved with include recording the Islamic Call to Prayer inside the Regent's Park mosque in London. Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), sang the Holy text and Bob composed a track around this haunting vocal.
Androcell is the enveloping, electronic dub infused music project of producer and artist, Tyler Smith. For almost two decades he has been at the controls of music production, experimenting with different styles and emotions in sonic art form. Over the last ten years under the Androcell name, Tyler has been steadily growing in awareness across the planet for his organic meets electronic musical expressions of bass drenched, effects heavy sound manipulations. Having a deep
passion for blending
a multitude of music styles, instruments, and cultures, he continues with his studio-as-instrument approach in creating emotional and immersive sound productions. After four full-length albums plus various compilations, EPs, and remixes to the name, the Androcell project stands as a firm embodiment of his sonic exploration.
Androcell reemerges yet again to bring his fourth studio album "Imbue" to the sensory surface. This latest work is a new journey of vivid sound imbued with peace, love, courage, strength, and healing for the human heart, conscious mind, and nervous system. Together, in alliance with Altar Records, this album is proudly presented as a limited-edition CD with all original cover artwork painted by artist Jack
Shure and quality mastering by Colin Bennun at Stooodio Mastering, UK.
A few years back I ran several opinion pieces of those involved in the ambient/new age music industry about the state of the ambient union as it existed in 2008. As the pace of technology increases and the fact that the way we consume our music seems to be in a constant state of change I felt that perhaps it might be nice to revisit this topic again and take a look at the ground that we covered in the
last 10 years or so musically speaking and what kinds of changes we might expect over the next few years in regards to ambient music creation and distribution.
The music industry has been in a state of constant change since I first started to listen to music way back when I put the needle down on my first 45 RPM record. While the changes took a little while to manifest back in the day because there was a manufacturing process that drove the music industry that had to be adhered to and it took time and lots of money to make changes from albums to 8-tracks to
cassettes to CD's. Once music became separated from the physical and broadband speeds increased enough that files could be uploaded and downloaded all bets were off in regards to what the future held for the record labels and for the artists themselves.
These series of writings are not an attempt to predict the future of the music industry and the ambient/new age genres in particular as we have seen the futility of trying to do that every time a rock solid prediction (so it seemed at the time) falls flat on its face in the cold light of the future. Let's just say that these writings are musings of those who make, distribute or play it on the air. It
is a time to look at where we have come from and what possibilities lie ahead for the ambient/new age artist if things continue on their present course.
Blake Gibson aka Broken Harbour offers up his views of where the ambient community is currently and shares his thoughts on streaming, physical product and why it's a great time to be an ambient musician or listener.
This time around Ambient Visions' Q & A has a go at Bill Fox, the long time host of a spacemusic radio show called Galactic Travels. Bill has been broadcasting Galactic Travels since 1996 out in eastern PA on WDIY calling the faithful to his weekly shows that spotlight the best that spacemusic has to offer. What's that you say? You haven't heard of
Bill or his show? Well then you are in for a treat as we ask Bill all those difficult and hard to answer questions that keep you up at night trying to figure out the answer to. What's your favorite color Bill? If you could be an animal what animal would you be? And of course who is your favorite Beatle? After these difficult questions we got down to talking about spacemusic and his work as a musician to round things out. If you wanted to know about Bill Fox, Galactic Travels and how it all came to pass then this
is the interview for you. Seriously, join us now as we talk to Bill Fox about his ongoing love for and involvement with spacemusic. Click here to read Bill's interview.
Other AV's Q&A Features available on Ambient Visions
When Paul Avgerinos graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in 1980, as a full scholarship honors student, he had already performed as a bassist with Isaac Stern, Jean Pierre Rampal, The Beaux Arts Trio, Baryshnikov and many other great classical artists. He also has won scholarships to play and study at music festivals in Tanglewood, Aspen, Grand Teton, Taos, and Spoleto (Italy). After graduation, Paul served as principal bass of several major symphony orchestras
around the world,
and gave solo recitals as well.
Expanding into more popular genres, Avgerinos toured as a bassist with Charles Aznavour, Liza Minelli, and the jazz legend Buddy Rich. Seeking to further his original composition and develop his childhood passion for electronic music, Paul built Studio Unicorn, a comprehensive digital/analog recording studio, in 1984. Nine solo CDs in the New Age genre followed,
including Muse of the Round Sky on the Hearts of Space label. Muse was nominated for a Grammy and is played on more than 2,000 radio stations around the world in addition to syndicated shows such as Music from the Hearts of Space and John Diliberto's Echoes. Two thirty minute features with the latter are added to his credits along with his many other radio interviews. Paul's music is currently being played on Sirius XM Satellite radio & DMX as well as Music Choice SoundScapes.
He has appeared on fourteen sampler CDs and as a guest artist on albums by Joanie Madden, Faruk Tekbilek, Joaquin Lievano, Brian Keane and others. Paul records and produces many popular albums as well and has worked with artists as diverse as Jewel, Willie Nelson, Deana Carter, Richie Havens, Run DMC, and the Celtic Tenors . Avgerinos always makes time for scoring
and has worked on many Film, Commercial, TV, and Cable projects for all of the major and minor networks. Paul's work on Peter Kater's Red Moon earned A 2004 Grammy Nomination. Paul's album GNOSIS placed #1 on the New Age & World Radio Chart and his latest, Garden of Delight, won an award for the Best World Album of 2007. Keeping busy creating original music for a variety of interesting and rewarding projects is a way of life.
Currently, Paul lives and works in his Studio Unicorn, Redding, Connecticut, where the deer pass by his studio windows and the hawks and eagles give inspiration from above .