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Messages - aquarius

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Metal / Essential ambient/drone/vibration recordings
« on: July 19, 2012, 10:03:58 PM »
It's not something I can listen to all the time, but I have had some great ambient listening experiences from time to time and it would be good to get some input or further recommendations from other listeners here.

Fripp and Eno - Evening star - This could well be the perfect ambient album and I've realized what a long overlooked gem it has been in my collection for many years. The basic idea is to have a continual stream of audio from a live instrument (Fripp) fed through a tape-delay unit (Eno) with the two forces almost playing off of each other. This is further processed and rearranged into layers which phase in and out to form a droning repetitive structure with melody at its core. It's a better album than No Pussyfooting and probably the best project Brian Eno was ever involved in.

Maeror Tri - This group seems more droning and noisy with less emphasis on melodic development, but fairly enjoyable if the mood permits it. Mind you their catalogue is extensive and not so easily penetrable so it would be good if someone could identify a 'best work'.

Lustmord - Heresy - I found this interesting at first but don't find myself coming back to it all the often. It's basically just a 'sound-collage' of sampled audio pitched down and drenched in reverb. It's also kind of lacking in internal motion which is really what drives this type of music if nothing else. The place where black stars hang is better but still doesn't grab me in a big way.

Steve Roach - The magnificent Void - I find this hard to distinguish from The place where black stars hang but I think where this guy really shines is when he is mainly melody-focused. Structures from silence has a warmth and a stillness to it unmatched by any other recording while still retaining the necessary sense of movement or internal motion. While Midnight moon is on a different plain of existence altogether. Deep, dark intoxicating waves of spacious organic sound in seemingly endless repetition. I'm almost forced to slow my heart and mind down while appreciating this recording.

Klaus Schulze - To me he was the master of creating a sense of motion/movement/momentum within his music and shaping it furthermore with a genius tact for tension and release. This is best exemplified in early works such as Timewind and Irrlicht. I still like Moondawn but it's an obvious decline from there as everything starts to sound a bit glam-rock-ish in its choice of sounds/timbres and it's also a step away from ambient compositionally.

Tangerine Dream - People praise Phaedra and Rubycon and won't deny that they're brilliant but at this point I honestly find more longevity in their pre-breakthrough album Zeit. Perhaps it is that I listened to that other stuff a thousand too many times and that Zeit by its very nature is not as immediately accessible, but really I just love the heaviness and vastness of it. Of course they didn't yet make use of any sequencers thus the emphasis was more on creating layers of heavily oscillating sound. There is not so much a sense of movement or tension, but inversely, the lack of it as for over an hour it holds you fixated without doing anything. Interestingly the moog modular synth which comes in at the tail end of the first track is being played by Florian Fricke of the group Popol Vuh, he later sold that same synth to Klaus Schulze who was at one stage also a member of Tangerine Dream.

Popol Vuh - Their first two albums fall partly into ambient/noise and partly into world music, but are notable for the dense atmosphere of 'tone sounds' and interesting array of contrasts. In den Gärten Pharaos is particularly awe-inspiring at times in its ability to convey a merging of the senses; as though one were observing the audial form of the great european frescoes.

Eberhard Schoener - Meditations - Interesting, a good companion to the above mentioned but not overly enduring . This is about as close as Krautrock ever got to something purely droning and meditative, devoid of rock.

Biosphere - Substrata is a genius album but the rest of Jensen's catalogue is largely unremarkable. Why is this? Basically because he was transitional at the time and still retained something of the energy and directness of his roots in house/techno music. Thus he stumbled onto greatness with substrata but failed when the design became codified. The point is that ambient is not slow and quiet, it is pure force simplified to the point of being immaculate. There is no narrative structure but its design is something like a byproduct or afterglow of a narrative structure (and mostly it is that the artist has attempted both).

Time Machines by Coil could be considered the quintessential drone album but it doesn't go for atmosphere and it certainly doesn't acknowledge even the slightest hint of melody. Instead it functions more in the way that beautiful architecture does; revealing inner space rather than outer space. And in a conventional understanding of music appreciation it simply isn't music but it's awesome nonetheless. It's something close to what I think of when the average joe ask me what kind of music I like "well, I prefer noise to music".

Suuri Shamaani is like Time Machines worship but with an even more clinical or sterile approach (a trait oddly enough shared by fellow Finnish techno pioneers, Pan sonic). The project is labeled as 'ambient metamusic' and it is fairly faithful to that description, if you can imagine a picture composed of component parts but no obvious whole

Interzone / Re: Final moral question about killing and this website
« on: July 15, 2012, 12:02:36 AM »
A few people mentioned that IQ alone is not enough to determine the true value of a person/society. Things like dedication, good moral character and kindness are just as important. Really, there are many contributing factors that make up the whole and when one is neglected there will obviously be an imbalance.

Isn't it disgusting that they will push for a mental health sentence. At least some blame should fall on the government for creating the conditions whereby this event even occured.

Interzone / Re: Non-meaningless social activities
« on: July 13, 2012, 04:54:45 PM »
We live in an upside down world where it can be healthier to live in a bubble.

Metal / Re: Dead Can Dance "Anastasis"
« on: July 13, 2012, 04:43:36 PM »
Who would have guessed they would ever have made such a return to form as this? I've listened to it twice now and very promising so far, though I would agree on there being a few weaknesses as mentioned. The sections with Lisa Gerrard singing are a definite highlight.

I often ponder over this myself. But I still think the future of metal isn't a question of innovation vs tradition (or non-innovation?). Both directions have the potential to either succeed or fail. But what matters is function. As when a person speaks to another person: do they really have something to say? and do they mean it?

Looking at a band like Beherit, their legacy will go beyond such definitions, as they don't look forward or back, their music is ultra-simplistic and yet it moves worlds. Necessity is at the core of function.

Metal / Re: Subjective vs objective? Contradiction?
« on: July 13, 2012, 04:10:22 PM »
I can see what you mean but I'm also going in another direction in that I only seek out and enjoy music of the highest level. There simply isn't any room in my life for anything less and even then, there's a ton of high quality material I still don't have time to listen to. Even within the highest echelons there is infinite diversity.

Metal / Kraftwerk and Franz Schubert
« on: July 01, 2012, 02:20:53 PM »
I have often wondered what is behind the title of the concluding track from Kraftwerk's timeless classic Trans Europa Express. Was it that they borrowed one of Schubert’s melodies or were paying homage to his style, perhaps, though it wasn't overt and I'm inclined to believe everything in Kraftwerk has a reason. More likely I have found that they choose to align themselves with this composer much in the way that they choose to label themselves as Robots or Showroom Dummies. That is to say that they correctly identified a large amount of their art as sharing in the same essential qualities that exemplify Schubert's body of work.

Namely simplicity, not necessarily minimalism but the ability to build their music out of solid fundamental elements no matter how grand in scope it sets out to be. Thus they recognize their music as a language of ideals in the abstract and use no more of it than is necessary to communicate to the listener, lest it becomes ambiguous.

Looking at Schubert's symphonies, they were renowned for their simplicity in a time where the orchestra was rapidly expanding (following the innovations set out by Beethoven) yet he chose to work within the tried and tested forms established by Mozart. Even his most developed symphonies seem to flow so naturally and in such an uncomplicated manner, showing little hesitation of artistic inspiration. Likewise Kraftwerk have developed a profound sense of simplicity in their compositional language despite the vast potentials inherent in all the equipment they use.

To that end, both have a natural propensity for creating a rather joyous, lyrical type of melody and phrasing it with the most spontaneous sense of expression imaginable. The type of melodies that might just spring to mind while wandering through an open field or mountain range. This is coupled with a remarkable economy of compositional devices, resulting in the ability to build various themes of great contrast out of a few basic melodic variations. And on that note I find this quote most appropriate:

"If we can convey an idea with one or two notes, it is better than to play a hundred or so notes" - Ralf Hütter

Not least, both artists share a driving sense of the poetic. Schubert of course excelled primarily in the domain of the German art song or lied, writing almost 600 pieces of flawless musical poetry. But Kraftwerk's interests also lie in having some bearing on the domains of speech and poetry despite the fact that a lot of their music stands alone as purely instrumental, really it is a fusion of using the voice as an instrument and writing melodies that appear to speak, much like the perfect lied.

Above all of this there is a remarkable sense of positivism underlying the approach to their conceptual material. Both seem fixated on contemporary subjects and exalt the beauty to be found in the simplicity of everyday life or rather the essential elements of it as opposed to the often dysfunctional and over-complicated life that we might associate with criticism for the modern world. I find this particularly evident in the case of Kraftwerk with their simple, almost ironic lyrics about the humanity/technology duality and their unerring optimism for the future.

Metal / Ildjarn-Nidhogg - Hardangervidda
« on: June 27, 2012, 06:32:04 AM »
It's been almost a decade now since this was released and I'm curious to hear some opinions as I think it's a very worthy album that rarely gets a mention. But for pure ambient synth music evolving out of the second wave of black metal, I would view this almost as a definitive statement, epitomizing the isolated, naturalistic aspect of the genre distilled from its fury.


Metal / Re: I hate nerds
« on: June 10, 2012, 03:11:01 AM »
Look, all I really want is to make my forearms look bigger.

Metal / Re: Autechre
« on: June 10, 2012, 03:05:14 AM »
Funnily enough, I recently sold a bunch of cds including some Autechre cds to a local cd recyclers and the guys had to ask "what's wrong dude, don't you like autechre anymore?". I said I'd grown out of it, but I think what I really meant was that they're okey and have a few great tracks amidst a sea of flotsam. But on the whole they're just another warp records product; quirky, nerdy, cerebral, smug and pointless. With AFX you don't really need to go past his first couple of eps (all can be found on the 'classics' cd) and selected ambient works II, it is the opposite of what his music later became; ego-driven.

Interzone / Listen up all you primitive screwheads
« on: June 03, 2012, 02:20:38 AM »
On the one hand it's 2013, or so it would seem, and the world is getting more and more off track.

On the other hand I get glimpses of a beauty to be found in the earth that seems to transcend (the) time (of this world).

On the one hand it's good to be natural and spontaneous, and strive to achieve results within a timeframe, lest it becomes too late.

On the other hand one should take the time to make a result last forever.

Interzone / Re: Post-Modernism
« on: May 31, 2012, 03:05:28 AM »
He's a smart guy that paints a very vivid picture of reality, but it is not the only picture. He also seems to have an underlying cynical/pessimistic worldview and is preoccupied with suicide from a long way back but he's a interesting case nonetheless.

Has anyone read 'Infinite Jest' and is it worth looking into?

Metal / Re: Biases and music appreciation
« on: May 31, 2012, 03:03:52 AM »
What do you mean 'biased' in what music you listen to.

It is simply what we like and gravitate towards as Moringotto illustrates. Other examples might be the prejudices inherent in listeners of 19th century music to modernism or classical to jazz, which some might argue is narrow-minded and could negate any potential enjoyment from the onset. But in the end it gets to the point where being 'open-minded' or unbiased is a bias in itself, and people might fail to see that either appoach is not without some benefits.

Everyone is 'biased' in so much as the sort of music they like refelcts their place in the world, not some 'right choice'.

That's agreeable enough but it kind of affirms an argument for the subject value of music.

Metal / Biases and music appreciation
« on: May 28, 2012, 03:57:23 AM »
To what extent are you biased in what music you decide to enjoy and furthermore what you even decide to listen to at all. Myself I don't see a problem with it so long as one admits that that is what it is. In terms of recommendations I must say I probably would be open to something that most members here praise and wouldn't bother with something they condemn (or any further Burzum albums regardless) but during the listening process itself I am usually trying to keep my mind free from external or pre-conceived ideas, and just go with whether or not it conjures those deep feelings that first set me on this journey.

In my earlier days I was certainly more naive towards deciding what to listen to, which in a world of populist rabble is not good as I tended to collect a bit of everything, but it makes me glad to think that even back then not just everything was truly enjoyed.

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