starry starry night

January 14th, 2012

"I, the fiery life of divine essence, am aflame beyond the beauty of the meadows, I gleam in the waters, and I burn in the sun, moon and stars."

- Hildegard von Bingen

Electronic & ambient music seems perfectly suited for stargazing.  So you really could use just about any ambient mix for night sky viewing and it will work just fine.  But sometimes it's nice to do a mix specifically geared towards astronomical awe.

It's always interesting to see how the song titles match the theme of the mix.  Sometimes I pick tunes precisely because the titles match but most of the time it's accidental.  In this mix we have titles like "Alpha Centauri", "Polaris", "After Midnight", "One Starry Starry Night" and "Encounter in an unexplored nebula."

As usual the music is a mix of old & new, with most tunes being from the last couple years.  I was happy to sneak in an old track from Jean-Michel Jarre.  Different from his normal berlin-school stuff, this one is a nice long ambient cut from 1990.

As with a lot of stargazing mixes, this one works well as a sleep mix too.  I can testify to it's effectiveness.

On a side note...thanks to anyone who voted for Low Light Mixes in the Mixcloud best of 2011 poll.  We came in 78th.  Doesn't sound like much but considering they have thousands of "cloudcasters", coming 78th was great.  Thanks for all your support last year & over the last 6 years.

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Lunar Testing Lab - Paaliaq (I, Absentee)
  • 01:35    Sonmi451 - Alpha Centauri (Time Released Sound)
  • 04:40    Digitonal - Polaris (Leaves)
  • 07:20    Diatonis - One Starry Starry Night (Diatonis)
  • 12:15    The Winterhouse - Clearing (DataObscura)
  • 18:00    Frederico Durand - El Mundo Secreto De La Montana (Spekk)
  • 21:30    A Produce & Loren Nerell - Intangible (Hypnos)
  • 28:20    Maps & Diagrams - The Infinite Delay (Handstitched Recordings)
  • 30:45    Thom Brennan - Pulse
  • 31:55    Aglaia - After Midnight (Hic Sunt Leones)
  • 37:30    Sonmi451 - Blue (U cover)
  • 43:05    Biosphere - Warmed by the Drift (Touch)
  • 48:20    Jean Michel Jarre - En Attendant Cousteau (Disques Dreyfus)
  • 55:10    The Civilized Electrons - Encounter, In an Unexplored Nebula (Databloem)
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fire and ice - an Icelandic mix

December 31st, 2011

For such a small country, Iceland has produced a surprising number of excellent artists.  From Bjork to Mum to Seabear to Olaf Arnalds to Sigur Ros, it's really extraordinary the amount of wonderful music that comes from that island.

This last mix of 2011 is an Icelandic journey.  All the music is created by artists from Iceland.  The brilliant idea for it came from loyal listener, Kevin.  I wasn't sure how much music of Iceland I had in my collection but I was surprised to find quite a bit.

Icelandic music for me begins & ends with Sigur Ros & Bjork.  They are both in the mix, with Jonsi, from Sigur Ros, making multiple appearances.  In addition to the Sigur Ros tune, Jonsi contributes "Stokkseyri" from Riceboy Sleeps & "9" by Frakkur.

When Kevin suggested the mix & the title, he was thinking of Iceland as a land of extremes...glaciers & volcanoes, 24hr days & 24hr nights.  This mix doesn't swing too wildly from one extreme to another.  It's more ice than fire.  A few of the tunes do build in typical post-rock fashion, but generally things are fairly subdued.

I used two Johann Johannsson tracks fairly close together, which I normally don't like to do but the IBM track just seemed to fit perfectly with the preceding cut.  Plus I was just happy to be able to use that IBM track again because I LOVE it!

The pic in this post is from a terrific blog called "Stuck in Customs." Check out the blog or go to his Flickr stream to see some amazing photos.  I'm a little tired of the HDR effect in photos but Tret Ratcliff does a really nice job with it & it definitely helps that he is shooting in unbelievable locations.

This was a fun mix to put together & I'd like to thank Kevin for suggesting it, I'm very happy with how it turned out.

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Amiina - Boga (from kurr 2007)
  • 06:01    Johann Johannsson - The Flat (from And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees 2009)
  • 08:15    Olafur Arnalds - Himininn er a hrynja, en stjornurnar fara per vel (from Variations Of Static 2007)
  • 12:05    Johann Johannsson - Part 2 Ibm 1403 Printer (from Ibm1401-A Users Manual 2006)
  • 15:50    Stafraenn Hakon - Veggur (from Gummi 2007)
  • 18:55    Valgeir Sigurðsson - Equilibrium is Restored (from Ekvilibrium 2007)
  • 30:54    Jonsi & Alex - Stokkseyri (from Riceboy Sleeps 2009)
  • 37:49    Sigur Rós - Álafoss (from () 2002)
  • 46:15    Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson - Sudurgata (from Children of Nature 1996)
  • 49:08    Bjork - Cosmogony (from Biophillia 2011)
  • 53:40    Frakkur - 9 (from songs for the little boy 2008)
  • 1:01:23   end
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Launch of Curiosity

November 27th, 2011

This past Saturday NASA launched the Mars Science Laboratory known as "Curiosity" on a 9 month journey to the planet Mars.  As I was watching video of the launch, I was thinking about music that would work well with a launch & space voyage.  I quickly collected some appropriate tune & cranked out this mix at escape velocity speed.

The tracks are all electronic/electronica cuts that I thought seem to fit the theme.  As it turns out, many of the tunes have titles that are perfect for a mix like this.  Titles such as "Towards Unknown Space", "Solar Sailer", "Born to Fire", "Your Wings Make You Fly" and of course "Phobos & Deimos Go To Mars".

That "Phobos & Deimos" tracks was one of my absolute favorite tracks in college.  I had a clear vinyl version of the Synergy album "Cords".  There aren't going to be too many times that I can sneak that cut into a mix so I'm glad I got that one in here.

The NASA audio is all from the actual launch of the Curiosity Mars rover mission.

In the coming months maybe I'll do "Flight of Curiosity" & "Curiosity Lands" mixes.

T R A C K L I S T :

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Shadowland

October 26th, 2011

Josh, from Nocturne Records,  requested a Halloween mix.

At first I was reluctant because I'm not a big fan of dark ambient.  I've never really cared for Lustmord records, although I do have "The Place Where Black Stars Hang."  While I do have a fair amount of drone music I don't like dissonant drones.

When I set out to do this mix I wasn't sure what direction it would take.  Would it be noisy, scary ambient drones?  As I was looking through my music I came across "The Twin Peaks Archive" by David Lynch & Angelo Badalamenti.  I thought, now there is some dark-ish music that would be cool to use in a Halloween mix.

Three Twins Peaks tunes made it into the final mix & helped establish a sort of film noir feel.  There are definite dissonant moments but hopefully the mix is more creepy & shadowy rather than outright scary & annoying.

It was fun putting this together and I'm looking forward to making this an annual ritual.

T R A C K L I S T :

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future days

September 12th, 2011

I guess you could call this mix "Televison Sky #2".  It's a continuation of the sounds found in that mix.

This has more beats than a normal low light mix, more of an electronica sound.  I think it has a nice mix of old & new material.  The oldest cuts are from Can, Eno & Earthstar, 1973, 1975 & 1981 respectively.  In the middle we have the Casino Versus Japan cut from 1999 & the Aspen track from 2000.  Then there are a few newer tunes like the ones from Tobacco & Maps & Diagrams.

I was happy to sneak in part of a long track from B. Fleischmann called "Take Your Time".  I listened to it recently for the first time in a long while & remembered how much I like it & knew that I had to squeeze it in somewhere.

I was also happy to have done the accompanying pic myself.  It's from a picture I took in New York & then messed with in my video editing software, rather than photoshop, because I don't how to use photoshop. :(    It's nothing great but it was fun to come up with something sort of original.

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00   ATOM™ -  weisses rauschen (zweiter teil)
    02:44    Earthstar - Cafe Sequence
    04:13    Brian Eno - In Dark Trees
    06:15    Can - Future Days
    08:45    Field Rotation - lichtermeer
    14:55    Joey Fehrenbach - Don't Wake me
    19:05    Aspen - Are You that Retail Snob?
    24:05    B. Fleischmann - Take Your Time
    31:03    Black Dog - Rainbow Bridge
    35:07    Tobacco - Stretch Your Face
    37:49    Casino Versus Japan - Warm Windows
    42:25    Maps & Diagrams - Waking Up
    44:25    Digitonal - After the First Death
    49:40    ATOM™- weisses rauschen (erster teil)
    53:22    Boc Scadet - Ganymede
    56:10    end
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television sky

February 19th, 2011

"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

>    _ William Gibson Neuromacer

I love that line from "Neuromancer" & it's the jumping off point for this mix.

Now if I was going to do a true Neuromancder mix I'd use stuff like Autechre & other noisy, abrasive electronica.  But this isn't really a Neuro mix, I'm not a big fan of later Autechre & music that gets so noisy as to be annoying.

In addition to that line, some new music I discovered at the end of last year got me thinking about an electronica style mix.  The excellent music blog, A Strangely Isolated Place, posted their A - Z of 2010 list on December 27th.  I discovered some great electronica like Lights Out In Asia, Tropics, aKido, Com Truise, Horizon Fire and more.  I listened to enough of the new stuff to know that I wanted to do a related mix.

The mix is fairly straight forward but takes a different turn when it hits the two soundtrack pieces, "Kanada's Death, pt. 2" & "Monsters Theme", from John Murphy & Jon Hopkins.  I absolutely love those two tracks & figured this was the best chance to incorporate them into a mix.  They actually fit pretty well.

Enjoy.

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Milieu - Ghosts In The Trees, Songs In The Breeze (Am-Boy Alternate Remix)
  • 07:32    Horizon Fire - Passed out in a Datsun
  • 11:40    aKido - Mrchf Thftr
  • 13:10    Morgan Packard - Again
  • 15:25    Jon Hopkins - Wire
  • 19:50    Marconi Union - Stationary
  • 26:20    Lights out in Asia - Attempt No Landings There
  • 31:00    John Murphy - Kanada's Death, pt. 2 (adagio in d minor)
  • 33:20    James Murray - Eleven(decades_mix)
  • 40:10    Jon Hopkins - Monsters Theme
  • 43:50    Parks - Perfect Silence
  • 49:45    aKido - Carrousel
  • 54:05    Tropics - Soft Vision
  • 59:20    end
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vox electronix

October 8th, 2010


I was playing some Boards of Canada recently & came across the song "In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country." I love the use of the vocoder in that tune. Being a sci-fi geek & an electronic music dork, it makes sense that I would like songs with vocoders. So I set out to find enough vocoder tunes for a mix. The result is "Vox Electronix".

The vocoder is is an analysis/synthesis system, developed in the 1930's, that dramatically reduces the amount of information needed to store speech, from a complete recording to a series of numbers. Because much info was lost in the encoding & decoding process, the voice ended up sounding "dehumanized" or robot-like. Eventually changes were made by people like Wendy Carlos & Robert Moog, that made the vocoder a musical device, used most prominently by artists like Kraftwerk.

The vocoder is used in many of the tracks in this mix, but I'm not exactly sure which ones are vocoder & which ones are auto-tune and which ones are just clever vocal manipulation. So don't everyone go crazy saying "hey that's not a flippin' vocoder!" I was just going for a certain sound, a certain feel.

It was cool discovering tunes I'd either never heard of or forgotten about. Thanks to Judd at the Hypnos forum for recommending the tune by Tonto's Expanding Head Band & for reminding me about the track from the U2/Eno collaboration, Passengers. Also thanks to False mirror on the Hypnos forum for the heads up on the Robert Rich song. That's one of those that I think is some form of auto-tune versus a vocoder. The mix opens with a cool bit of audio which was recorded at Bell Labs in 1936.

This was a fun mix to put together, discovering new tunes & revisiting old favorites(O Superman). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00 Bell Labs 1936 - Voice of Power
  • 00:23 Tonto's Expanding Head Band - Riversong
  • 03:33 Brian Eno - And then so clear
  • 08:15 Boards of Canada - In a beautiful place out in the country
  • 12:30 Air - le soleil est pres de moi
  • 16:30 Apples in Stereo - Vocoder ba ba
  • 16:45 Bjork - Possible Maybe(Lucy mix)
  • 19:30 Passengers - A different kind of blue
  • 21:10 Robert Rich - Premonition of circular clouds
  • 28:25 Laurie Anderson - O Superman
  • 35:40 Ricardo Villalobos - Easy Lee
  • 39:45 Trans Am - Futureworld
  • 42:33 Air - Sexy Boy
  • 47:30 Peter Baumann - This This Day
  • 51:54 Apples in Stereo - Hello Lola
  • 52:10 Black Moth Super Rainbow - Twins of Myself
  • 55:15 Holger Czukay - Ode to Perfume
  • 59:15 Brian Eno - Bottomliners
  • 03:04 end
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beneath the surface

June 5th, 2010

Right off the bat, I have to come clean. I stole something. I stole the idea for this mix. But I'm glad I did because I'm very excited to post this new track.

Over at SoundCloud I ran into some mixes by Astromatt. He uses sounds from music libraries and soundtracks of '60's and '70's to create great underwater themed mixes. I love the sound of these old tracks & how they work together in a mix. Who knew that these old library albums even existed?! After some research & digging, I decided to try my hand at a similar mix.

With a lot of this music, it's very easy to cross the line into cheesy/kitchy territory. I tried to find tunes that had that old 70's undersea soundtrack feel but was still listenable by today's ambient standards. I think it works pretty well as an ambient mix, very relaxing, with a cool watery vibe. It was a lot of fun discovering some of these old albums & I'm sure I'll visit them again.

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:13 Amedeo Tommasi - Acque Tranquille
  • 02:20 Eugene Thomass - Magic World of the Sea
  • 04:50 Michel Redolfi - Music for Fresh Water
  • 08:40 Franco Tamponi - Submarino
  • 10:35 Gaston Borreani - Cirrus
  • 13:40 Gaston Borreani - Entrelacs
  • 17:16 Franco Tamponi - Stelle Marina
  • 20:05 Amedeo Tommasi - Correnti Sottomarine
  • 21:45 Piero Umiliani - Eliogabalus
  • 24:00 Gaston Borreani - Rave Abyssal
  • 26:10 Patchwork Orchestra - Brumes sur Mars
  • 28:00 Franco Tamponi - Profundita
  • 30:05 Fabor - Angelo di Mare
  • 33:25 Gaston Borreani - Port Cross
  • 36:53 end
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eppur si muove(and yet it moves)

April 17th, 2010

The mixes are coming fast and furious!  I'm trying to crank out a few more than normal.  This one seems to be fast paced compared to the usual mixes found here.

This creation is similar to a mix I did in 2008 called "Motion for Relief".  Ambient dub would be the best way to describe this installment.  Not all the tunes are "dub" but most have beats, some more prominent than others.  The feel is still pretty laid back, with just enough going on to give a sense of movement.  Hence the title, "eppur si muove(and yet it moves)", which is apparently a phrase uttered by Galileo.

Enjoy

T R A C K L I S T :

    • 00:00 Pan American - B esso
    • 04:30 Deepchord - Vantage Isle (echospace reshape)
    • 08:50 Aardvarck - bloom 4
    • 11:45 Marconi Union - Shibuya
    • 14:45 Porter Ricks - Redundance 3
    • 20:40 Rhythm & Sound - Hit You Version ??
    • 27:40 Kiln - Royal Peppermint Forest
    • 30:50 Rena Jones - Indra's Web
    • 33:40 Rod Modell - beach
    • 37:20 Shuttle 358 - Calty
    • 40:50 Marconi Union - We Travel
    • 47:25 Jonathan Hughes - Dieresis
    • 49:40 Basic Channel - Radiance i edit
    • 53:30 James Murray - eleven (decades mix)
    • 59:57 end
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Remember Tomorrow

December 21st, 2009


I was listening to music from Lunar Testing Lab the other day.  The album, "Space Program", has a sort of retro/space/electronic feel to it.  Boards of Canada in space?

I thought a whole mix of music with this kind of feel would be fun, so the result is "Remember Tomorrow".  I tried to use tunes that had that retro, space program vibe without being too kitschy or cheesy.  It's fine line & I hope I walked it successfully.

Lunar Testing Labs of course makes several appearances in the mix and of course Board of Canada had to be included.  I am especially happy about being able to squeeze in the track "Cowboy" from The Units.  I remember listening to it in college and absolutely loving the tune, so it was was fun to get it into a mix.  I am also happy to have two Bowie cuts in there, "V-2 Schneider" & "Weeping Wall".

I found some sound from a recording called "Bob & Betty go to the Moon" and I used a couple clips from that old, corny recording.  I tried not to use too much as it can easily distract from the music.  I ended up using 4 samples, the coundown open & three other quickies.  Using sound samples can be very tempting,  tt's fun to use some but they can quickly get in the way of the music.

Although this mix is more beat-oriented than the typical Low Light offering, I think it's a fun trip.

Download(right click/save as) :   93mb,  51:00 min Remember Tomorrow

T R A C K L I S T I N G :

  • 00:00    Countdown from "Lunar Adventure in 1985"
  • 00:13    Belbury Poly - Adventures in a Miniature Landscape
  • 06:05    Harmonic 33 - Departure Lounge
  • 10:30    Lunar Testing Lab - Lunar Radio control
  • 11:30    EU - New Osc's
  • 13:00    Boards of Canada - Wildlife Analysis
  • 13:50    Freescha - The Sun is Still
  • 16:00    Lunar Testing Lab - Orbiting Lunar Observatory
  • 16:40    TRS-80 - moon Patrol
  • 22:30    David Bowie - V2 Schneider
  • 25:10    Bochum Welt - interlude
  • 28:25    Lunar Testing Lab - Phantom Cosmonaut
  • 30:50    Signaldrift - Children of the 70's
  • 32:20    Harmonic 33 - Planet 54
  • 35:50    Frank Comstock - Music from Outer Space(when you wish upon a star)
  • 37:50    Boards of Canada - Nova Scotia Robots
  • 38:50    Bernard Szajner - A Kind of Freedom
  • 41:30    Talvihorros - A Rural Place
  • 43:35    David Bowie - Weeping Wall
  • 46:35    Boards of Canada - Dayvan Cowboy
  • 51:05    end
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