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Robin B. James
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The road to Ultima Thule has many hazards and traverses infinite colorful sights. Space travel requires a certain sense of wonder, attracting a certain type of kindred person that is passionate enough to keep on going in the face of the endless void. Truly the most valuable trait for surviving in deep space is probably persistence. One of independent composer Keith Richie's favorite authors, Octavia E. Butler, was famously attracted to science fiction because it was so wide open. She was able to do anything in her imagination, there were no walls to hem her in, and there was no human condition that she was stopped from examining. That kindred spirit can also be sensed in the cinematic dark ambient electronic soundscape tracks of his album Ambient Highways.

Richie was born in Dallas, Texas and grew up in a town called Pleasant Grove. He has lived for the last 30 years in a small town named Mesquite, where the official town motto is “Real. Texas. Flavor.” I asked him about the famous harsh and expansive Texan landscape and how that might influence his musical composition and style, he told me, "I don’t think the overall landscape influenced me, it’s not that much to look at."

He gets his inspiration from reading science fiction, watching movies and listening to music, from Alice Cooper, Mötley Crüe, AC/DC to Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, John Williams and John Carpenter… to Vangelis and Van Halen. He says that’s why a lot of the music he creates can be so varied from time to time. One day it can be this long droning ambient piece, and the next it’s some hard thrashy techno piece that just doesn’t fit in with what he was working on 5 minutes prior, but it gives him a broad pallet to work with.

"One of my ultimate goals in life is to produce film scores, particularly Sci-Fi and Horror," reveals Richie. "I always hear music in my head as I read. If I could only jot down every single note I hear from every single page I read. In fact, my new company (Other Worlds Than These Music) is heavily influenced by Stephen King and his Dark Tower series."

I had the opportunity to talk to Keith about his album Ambient Highways, and that led to a variety of topics, some of which I will share here with you, Constant Listener.

ROBIN JAMES: What is it about the electronic sound that attracts you to that technology?

KEITH RICHIE: Just how unique it can be, but honestly these days it’s so easy to create a hybrid (Orchestral + Electronic) sound that allows me to express what’s in my head.

RJ: Your styles appear to include ambient-electronic, cinematic (specifically science fiction and horror) and you even have some cowboy-type influences going on in the game imagery department too, how would you characterize the styles or genres of your interests?

KR: I like to think that if you were to take John Williams, John Carpenter, and Vangelis and put them all in the same room… what would the outcome be like. It’s probably those three individuals who have had the most influence on me and I think that I pull the most inspiration from.

RJ: What is your most cherished accomplishment?

KR: Putting Ambient Highways out on vinyl. Even if it doesn’t sell, it’s just something I’ve long wanted to do.


RJ: We who came from the time when vinyl was all that mattered have strong feelings about flat spinning circles of sound and steady tone-arms. The once lost artform of vinyl has made a come-back lately, and one of the things I like about that format is the size of the album cover, because you can look at bigger pictures. You know a band is successful when they have vinyl.

What bands have you played in?

KR: I have a couple of side projects going on. VR (Varosky and Richie) which is a pure Drone/Ambient project I’ve been working on with a buddy of mine from my technical field, Geoff Varosky. There are another couple of projects I’m doing with a friend of mine by the name of Ray Clay. We go way back to high school. Those projects are CTFO, which is like a soft electronic rock or a chill out type of music and binarywaste which is an industrial/heavy techno rock. Being involved in these other side projects allows me to be able to express myself in various ways and not lock myself into one specific style of music.

RJ: I salute your ability to traverse so many divergent worlds. You have the ability to use your synthesizer to convey listeners to many strange worlds, for example, at times boldly going where heavy electronic rock meets the darkness, with your project binarywaste. I just had a listen to “cipher” and “token thief” and appreciate your courage to fuse industrial, synth-wave and techno metal to push the sonic tsunami into new places. This is in stark contrast to your project VR, which uses computer technology to generate long flowing soundscapes and ambient chill-out music that immerses listeners within a virtual world of the mind, places that create a backdrop for the imagination to inhabit. What you are doing this time, with Ambient Highways, is all about visionary cinematic soundtracks and actively exploring deep space.

What equipment do you favor?

KR: Lately I’ve invested in a Native Instruments S88 controller and mostly virtual instruments, but I’m not picky. My thoughts have always been to pick the right tool for the job. I would like to invest in more hardware based modules in the future though.

RJ: What have been your most important discoveries?

KR: That you can actually be successful at failing. You learn from what doesn’t work. You learn how to adjust your path from what doesn’t always work.

RJ: What is your advice to artists who are starting their careers?

KR: Just because you can easily put something out there, doesn’t mean you should rush to do it. Work on your craft. Work on generating the best sound you can get. Ask for outside reviews (not just family and friends), and when you have enough of those people giving you positive feedback, then start releasing music. And don’t short change yourself. Invest in yourself to do it right.

RJ: Which comes first, the big idea, the cover art or the album title (or something else)?

KR: There is almost never one thing that comes first. However, many times I’ve had an idea just sitting for years before I can put it all together. Mostly things
seem to just have a life of their own.

RJ: How do you find your album covers?

KR: Most of the time I have something in mind, and I do some research on the backing of it online, and then composite things I like. I really enjoy having my wife conceptualize things for me. She’ll come up with an idea, and then I’ll bring in the elements into an image editor and see what I can come up with.

My wife will come up with a concept and we work together to flesh them out. She is the true visionary. She’ll listen to a piece of music and formulate what that would look like in her mind, and we work together to bring that to its fruition.

RJ: You are blessed to have that kind of synergy and such an important creative connection in your life.

What are you listening to right now?

KR: The Birthday Massacre. We love them. My wife introduced me to them and we have seen them 5 times in concert. I listen to that when I’m writing code and need to get something done.

I’m also going back and listening through some of my favorite Tangerine Dream material from the early years. Depending on what I’m doing at the moment though, it could literally be anything.

RJ: Who new (or neglected) should we all be listening to?

KR: 20six Hundred. I discovered his music from a Halloween fan film that he wrote and scored the music to. If you’re someone like me that enjoys John Carpenter-styled music and Synthwave, 20six Hundred mixes the two very well.

RJ: What would be the albums that you would take to that proverbial desert island?

KR: This is a no brainer: Pacific Coast Highway by Christopher Franke, Logos by Tangerine Dream and Refuge by Carbon Based Lifeforms.

(RJ) AT THIS point I just have to take a break to listen to these albums, and the time spent was well worth it. I have been listening all my life, but I readily acknowledge that I have only heard a fraction of the wealth of music that is waiting out there to be heard, and some of these groups, or some of these specific albums, are new to me. Here is what I discovered:

The Birthday Massacre: Birthday, and massacre. Light, and dark. Cute, and evil, featuring lead vocalist Sara "Chibi" Taylor, rhythm guitarist Michael Rainbow, lead guitarist Michael Falcore, keyboardist Owen Mackinder, drummer Philip Elliot, and bassist Brett Carruthers. They were formed in 1999 as Imagica and changed their name to protect the innocent. They have a sound dynamic that mixes contrasting elements, tragic comedy, fantasy and melancholy, new wave revival, electronic rock, gothic rock, and dark wave.

20SIX Hundred is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and was founded in 2013. Dark Retro Sounds for an Uncertain Future. Think John Carpenter meets Pink Floyd. Goblin meets Vangelis. Dark Synthwave. Synth heavy and action oriented ambience drenched in the neon glow of late-seventies/early-eighties electronica. 20SIX Hundred is an award-winning electronic composer for film.

Christopher Franke was born in 1953, in Berlin. Initially a drummer with The Agitation, later renamed Agitation Free, from 1971 to 1987 he was a member of the electronic group Tangerine Dream. His focus has always been on the beat, he was not the first musician to use an analog sequencer, but he was probably the first to turn it into a live performance instrument, thus laying the rhythmic foundation for classic Tangerine Dream pieces and indeed for the whole Berlin school sound.

Tangerine Dream pretty much invented the whole electronic space music and Berlin School genre in 1967. If you haven't heard of them already, just stop everything right now, go and immediately start listening to them, they have a huge catalog. I had not yet heard the 1982 album Logo and I am glad to now have experienced it.

Carbon Based Lifeforms is the name of a Swedish electronic music duo that was formed in 1996 in Gothenburg by Johannes Hedberg and Daniel Segerstad (né Ringström). Usually, Johannes works on the sounds of the tracks, and Daniel works on the rhythms and creates the tracks from the ideas of the group, they have always been open for collaboration with other composers and musicians. They started to explore electronic dance music and then have gravitated towards ambient music, focusing their attention towards drones, chill-out, and electronica.

There are links to all of these discoveries in the FOOTLINKS FOR A DEEPER DIVE section at the end of this article. Now I should be getting back to work. Keith has been very patient while I went off to educate my ears some more.

RJ: Are you able to bring ideas back from your nocturnal dreams?

KR: Sometimes, if I can get enough coffee in my system to wake up enough. There have been times when I’ve literally started an audio recorder on my phone and started humming a melody I had in my head while I was sleeping just so I don’t lose it.

RJ: Speaking of coffee, I was looking at your channel on YouTube, and I saw a few items, something like "Early Morning Coffee and Music."

KR: I actually have a main show called “Monday Musings with Maestoso,” that I do every Monday evening. I have multiple guests come on where I play selections of my music as well as theirs if they have any to contribute. We also discuss things about the music industry and anything else in general. We took a small hiatus during 2020 but have recently started broadcasting once again. It’s quite fun.

The Early Morning Coffee and Music streams are just that. Me waking up, drinking coffee, working on new material, and sharing small bits with the world as I stitch and piece small previews of material together. I find that there is great interest from people in seeing my creative process and I’m happy to share.

RJ: That sounds cool. Noodlin' before the day really starts.

Uh-oh, it is probably time to start wrapping up our conversation today. How about this, I have a favorite question I try to remember to ask when I talk to mysterious music folks, I get a lot of interesting variations. Here I go.

So... what the heck is music anyway?

KR: It is a way to express myself. It is something anyone can understand no matter the language.

RJ: Arthur Schopenhauer also said that "music a timeless, universal language comprehended everywhere," but I think you just said it better. Thank you for your time, I have enjoyed our conversation and I enjoy listening to your music, thank you for creating it.

Life for your music.

KR: Thank you Robin.

Percolating from darkness, slow mysterious signals are dancing like snowflakes seen from an extremely long distance. Neutrinos typically pass through normal matter unimpeded and undetected. For each neutrino, there also exists a corresponding antiparticle, called an antineutrino, the mass of the neutrino is much smaller than that of the other known elementary particles. "Neutrino" (7:36) asserts our awareness that we are already in space. We will be in space. We are building from the smallest particles to create our infinity.

Beginning as a tone poem parable, dreamy and slowly finding its way, building gradually, staying calm and serene all throughout. Thus unfolds the second track, "V Feeling" (5:45). Thinkers may be seen as cold and heartless by Feelers. Feelers may be seen as unreliable and emotional by Thinkers. Octavia E. Butler, in her Parable of the Sower, reminds us that “All that you touch You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change.” 

Sometimes the mystery has no explanation, such as when the offspring does not resemble its parents. Could there have been a foreign origin or source? That is the mystery, and each life creates endless ripples. "Xenogenesis" (6:25) begins with the electronic sound of veils or layers, each of which slowly fade to reveal new details, cycling through patterns which had their beginnings in ancient times. 

The objective of this writer is to determine whether electronic sounds and chillout highways significantly influence ambient concentrations of melancholy feelings, ultimately leading to an inspired state, while passively observing the seemingly unaffected hydrogen ions left behind to float around freely. This road is constantly filled with steady lights and throbbing streams of energy. The title track, "Ambient Highways" (6:49) is a story never about the destination, this story is all about the journey itself.

The Weeping Angels are a dangerous race of predatory creatures from the long-running science fiction series Doctor Who. According to the strange Doctor, the Weeping Angels "are as old as the universe (or very nearly), but no one quite knows where they come from." I am hearing dark slow winds and harp patterns with strings, hidden breaths and sighs, and for my own survival I am remembering the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear. "Weeping Angels" (6:53), is the sound of uncoiling sadness through a dark hall of mirrors.

As a dream symbol, the Ptilopteri may represent feelings of being burdened by unwanted emotions, concrete thinking, lethargy, and a need to achieve balance. As an Alternate-Reality Supervillain, the symbolic Ptilopteri presence sometimes is said to indicate that your problems are probably not as serious as you may think them to be. Ptilopteri are highly gregarious, often locating each other by means of their braying cry, and they swim through arctic waters entirely by means of their flipper-like wings, using their webbed feet as rudders as they search for fish, squid, and shrimp. This track has a big screen feeling, imagine the entire Ptilopteri colony assembled in the arctic twilight, with the soundtrack "Faith's Song (Ptilopteri Waltz)" (5:21). As seen from above, they are whirling together in spirals and loops, dancing ceremonially, wholeheartedly lost in the moment, moving in triple time, around and around, while harp patterns and layers of shimmering electronic strings fill the darkness. 

It came from a black hole, and landed somewhere in the Arctic regions. Arctic exploration has motivated some of the most persistent of scientists and speculative dreamers. They often come to their doom, stranded in remote frozen landscapes lost in wind and ice. The track begins with the sounds of waves breaking, "Arctic Shores" (6:34) in the darkness hear frosty synthesizer woodwinds as they hover over the darkest desolation.

Awakening from the darkness, "Dew from the Mourning Star" (5:08) comes offering an uplifting from out of the depths, progressing through changing patterns, expanding to a richer and colorful soundscape, melodic and harmonically pleasing, plucked tones with piano and strings weaving overhead.

"The night is a tunnel ... a hole into tomorrow." These are the words of Frank Herbert from his epic work Dune. "Keeping the Dream Alive" (5:09) brings to my mind the sounds of a harp and piano with an ethereal crown, providing uplifting and sustaining melodies, building and soaring, this is the key track to Ambient Highways, fulfilling the promise held hidden during the darkness of the prologue territories. 

Poseidon is the Greek name, and Neptune is the Roman name for the chthonic god of all waters, presiding over the realms of heaven as well as the underworld, the horseman of the sea. "Neptune's Awakening" (4:32). The beginning brings a distant continuous eternal roar of the surf, followed by a triumphant rolling procesion with powerful beats. A hero takes measure of the forces around, the new empire is emerging from the darkness and taking form, "Distant Visions" (6:51).

The final track, ``Ultima Thule" (8:00) has a rich mixture of textures, bringing to mind travel to the farthest of all, which are known and spoken of. Thule is an ancient word for any distant place located beyond the borders of the known world, a place where they often say that no one has journeyed this far before, the ultimate destination. Polybius in his collection titled Histories (c. 140 BC), Book XXXIV, cites Pytheas,  "Thule, those regions in which there was no longer any proper land nor sea nor air, but a sort of mixture of all three of the consistency of a jellyfish in which one can neither walk nor sail." 

Richie's studio favorites include a Native Instruments S88 controller and mostly Virtual instruments, his philosophy has always been to pick the right tool for the job.  Like so many expanding enthusiasts, he wants to invest in more hardware based modules in the future. His studio is a refuge for the spirits of lonely pioneers in a world of critical doubters who are too often bewildered by the term "science fiction."

He has been releasing his soundtrack-type listening experiences beginning in 2006 with The Maestoso Interstellar Suite, which contains a continuous piece of space music split across 6 movements. He reprised the album in 2016 as The Maestoso Interstellar Suite 10 Year Anniversary Edition and its’ Sister album Singularities – Music from The Maestoso Interstellar Suite, a space music epic. Other titles include La Famille Du Solénoïde (2008), which is a musical tour through our solar system, inspired by the book The Planets by Dava Sobel. For the Willow Wept…. (2012), a collection of soothing electronic music about those once lost and those found, in 2014 came March of the Inanimate, an homage to the classic horror movie soundtracks produced by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth who co-wrote the music to classics such as Halloween, the Fog, and numerous others. 2016  was a productive time, Skylines, Mister Stichs, and March of the Inanimate: Repossessed, an enhanced and extended version of the original masterpiece. More recently, Gunslinger – A Journey to The Dark Tower in Music: Volume 1., which is his first album of a series based on The Dark Tower books by Stephen King,  Pillars in Time, a SharePoint community dedicated album and Songs from the Wounded Heart, a sad/melancholy sound, a great primer into some of his more ethereal and ambient works.

The composition process was not without its challenges, said Richie, who faced a serious case of writer's block at one point. Perseverance and tinkering built momentum, as did the album's creative design process, aided by his wife, Kayla, whose choice of vivid cover art sparked Richie's imagination.

He shares, "I can still listen to Ambient Highways from start to finish with my eyes closed and visually see this body of music. For me, it leaves a lasting expression of finding beauty within the chaos. Just a moment of clarity. I hope it does the same for you. I am thankful to finally be in a place to share it with you in its full intended form, just as it was meant to be."

Ambient Highways will be released in streaming, CD and limited edition vinyl formats on April 12; the pre-sale is available on Bandcamp and on the official website of Richie's independent label, Other Worlds Than These Music. The first two singles are now on Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming platforms.

Connect with Richie for his live video series, “Monday Musings with Maestoso” which includes guest hosts, musical guests, and inside perspectives along with gear talk, creative noodling, and music. The series streams on Facebook, YouTube and Twitch every Monday at 5 pm CDT.

Ambient Highways Trackslist:
Neutrino (7:36)
V Feeling (5:45)
Xenogenesis (6:25)
Ambient Highways (6:49)
Weeping Angels (6:53)
Faith's Song (Ptilopteri Waltz) (5:21)
Arctic Shores (6:34)
Dew from the Mourning Star (5:08)
Keeping the Dream Alive (5:09)
Neptune's Awakening (4:32)
Distant Visions (6:51)
Ultima Thule (8:00)

LINKS:
Official Artist Website: https://music.krichie.com/
Official Label Shop: https://shop.otherworldsthanthese.com/products/owpid0070-lemcv
Bandcamp: https://bandcamp.krichie.com/album/ambient-highways
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/keithrichie/sets/ambient-highways
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/musicmaestoso/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/krichie
Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/maestosoprime
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/KeithRichie


FOOTLINKS FOR A DEEPER DIVE

Octavia E. Butler

https://www.octaviabutler.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octavia_E._Butler

Stephen King Dark Tower series

https://stephenking.com/DarkTower/

VR (Varosky and Richie)

https://bandcamp.vrambient.net/releases

binarywaste

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChyWQqCpEdiwKONNFtZELdg

Native Instruments

https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/keyboards/komplete-kontrol-s88/

The Birthday Massacre

https://thebirthdaymassacre.bandcamp.com/

20six Hundred

https://20sixhundred.bandcamp.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtl7bqt_JJTRVeFjMuKgqlg

Christopher Franke

http://christopherfranke.com/

Tangerine Dream

https://www.tangerinedream-music.com/

Carbon Based Lifeforms

https://www.carbonbasedlifeforms.net/

more
Music and nature have always gone hand in hand for New Zealander Rudy Adrian. He first started making electronic music while studying Forestry Science at the University of Canterbury, and in the following years at the University of Otago while completing a degree in Botany. The natural world continues to be a common thread in Rudy Adrian’s music through the exploration of sonic landscapes, where melody and rhythm play a secondary role to the tones and textures created by synthesizers, wood flutes and the human voice.

The phases of sunrise and sunset constantly remind us of the sacredness of life, where the daytime's steady precision of the path of the sun contrasts with the nighttime's waxing and waning of the wandering moon. Life is both as simple and as beautiful as every sunset while also being as delicate and as sacred; perhaps it is impossible to watch a sunset and not dream. Perhaps the true goal of imaginative music is to give face to form, and provide identity and character to the process and proceedings of existence, for comfort as well as for stimulation.

As Dusk Becomes Night, Rudy Adrian's 17th full length studio album, offers a serene and personal exploration of sounds and atmospheres that slowly transition from evening into twilight and on through the night. Whether it is looking down to a desolate moonlit beach or observing the twinkling lights of a city, the delicately shifting synthesizer overtones and calming organic textures simulate these moments of astronomical twilight in the artist's native homeland, New Zealand. The album releases today, and is available worldwide; explore the album at https://orcd.co/as-dusk-becomes-night

A visual interpretation of the music is live on the label's "Visionary" playlist on Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/visions/pl.u-mJy8gPDFkByd9

Subtlety, nuance, and ineffable moments can be skillfully expressed at the hands of such an accomplished electronic music artist, and Adrian's mastery of ambient electronic soundscapes is in top form. The album's eleven tracks are rich with the deep and mysterious tranquility for which he is so well known. Moving through the magical moods of evening, As Dusk Becomes Night reveals a wondrous gloaming that eventually gives way to deep heavenly nightscapes.

Music and nature have always gone hand in hand for this artist, whose MoonWater album is hugely popular in the digital streaming world. He first started making electronic music while studying Forestry Science at the University of Canterbury, and in the following years at the University of Otago while completing a degree in Botany. The natural world continues to be a common thread in Rudy's music through the exploration of sonic landscapes, where melody and rhythm play a secondary role to the textures created by synthesizers, wood flutes and the human voice.

In the back of Adrian's mind while creating the album was fellow musician Jeff Kowal (aka Terra Ambient), who passed away in 2016. He shares, "He also created some of my early album covers. One of the pieces I was working on reminded me of the cover he created for my album MoonWater, featuring a somewhat surreal moon rising over a beach. So I decided it would make sense to call the track "Moonlit Beach" in his memory."

Pittsburgh based artist Jeff Kowal was a trained visual artist and graphic designer, his musical approach had a visceral, painterly quality to it, leaving a deeply unique collection of crossover of electronic, ethnic, acoustic and experimental sounds. "I am still fascinated by the idea of exploring unfamiliar terrain both metaphorically and personally," confided Kowal concerning his creative vision, on his website for what turned out to be his last album, Wanderlust. "Thematically, I love the idea of stepping through an ancient, covered doorway, or finding an unmarked path in the woods, and discovering some place forgotten by time." Sadly, Jeff Kowal passed away in 2016 following a battle with cancer.

“For me, the process of creating atmospheric music is a pursuit of nostalgia, using equipment and software I purchased, at great expense, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, to assemble a relatively sophisticated (at the time) home music studio. I enjoy catching a glimpse of how I felt 30 years ago, young and naïve, but keen to create a music with minimal melody or rhythm, vaguely in the style of some other artists who came before me, but also with my own take on what sounds ‘right.’”

"I spend a fair amount of free time improvising behind the keyboard thinking about sound combinations, and keys and sow gentle melodies which might work in an upcoming piece. It's actually pretty rare I'll turn on the computer and try to commit these ideas to a structured piece. And when I do, it often doesn't come out the way I'd hoped. I use the computer to lay out my music tracks, I like the fact I can adjust individual note values - a bit longer, a bit shorter, a bit brighter, a bit duller, maybe playing a slightly different sound, maybe up an octave. All those tiny adjustments may sound tedious, but can be very satisfying. Because I'm multi-tracking, I often play a musical idea for say 3 or 4 minutes, then I add little overdubs overtop. I do tend to find it gets rather cluttered after a while and I end up muting some tracks to figure out where to go from here. So often I find muting the original track seems to give the best results, so obviously, it's a mysterious process! What I love about atmospheric music is that there's a lot of rules you don't have to follow, because you're hopefully making a slightly mysterious, evolving soundscape."

This new album of electronic ambient soundscapes from Rudy Adrian is about being awake outdoors on a nocturnal journey with timeless diversions to investigate various discoveries. All the music on this album was created using the Yamaha SY77, plus the similarly-designed Yamaha Montage 6, with lots of sampled sounds. Rudy is not a fan of having a recording studio filled with many different synthesizers, whenever possible he might want to spend more time outdoors celebrating nature.

I asked the composer himself about his approach to this craft. "Making this music was also a celebration of the technology from when I started out making atmospheric music in the late 1980s," muses Adrian. "I still enjoy using my Yamaha SY77 synthesizer from 1988 and an Apple Macintosh Plus computer, which boasts one megabyte of memory and floppy discs that hold 800 kilobytes of data."

Featured prominently throughout the album are some interesting trill-like insect sounds that sound a little like a cricket chirp or click, perhaps the winding in of a fishing reel. Sometimes I think it sounds like creatures who are making their signature in the night. Many arthropods are able to generate such sounds by rubbing two hard parts of their exoskeleton together, in a fashion similar to dragging a microscopic stick across a tiny wooden fence.

The dream begins in the sky, "Stars Appear" (6:42), opening up, emerging and swirling, suspended across the night above, the infinite and the supra musical, blending flute and synthesizer with accents from clicking insect calls on earth, and adding a chime or bell's double call. The title track, "As Dusk Becomes Night" (6:28), begins with rushing sounds which are expanding into the void, the night is a time for active hunting and exploration. The synthesizer provides an inclusive blanket of protection and security against the unknown darkness while containing the hand percussion and breath.

The smell of walking in a conifer forest at night is always a delight. The gases that escape the pine tree leaves in the form of vapor carry the strong scent of pine oil, a volatile organic compound. Conifers are aromatic plants that have cones. Conifer seeds develop inside a protective cone called a strobilus. Examples include cedars, Douglas firs, cypresses, firs, junipers, kauri, larches, pines, hemlocks, redwoods, spruces, and yews. "Conifer Grove" (2:05) blends flute breaths with small chimes, enclosed in the synthesizer strobilus, for a short tone poem. Looking through the pine boughs into the night sky overhead, the next piece of music unfolds, "Starlane" (5:32), elements of tonal color and linear ordering reveals new astral vistas, which carry and radiate personality and motion in the atmosphere, as I am thinking about travel in the future, remotely beyond this planet and constantly heading towards increasingly extreme distances.

There are numerous caves in New Zealand, such as the Ngarua Caves, with a variety of stalagmites and stalactites, and skeletons of the extinct moa, which resembled very large ostriches. The word "moa" is from the Māori language, the moa were the largest terrestrial animals and dominant herbivores in New Zealand's forest, shrubland, and subalpine ecosystems. No records survive of what sounds the moa made. The preservation inside the caves is fascinating. "Moa Caves" (4:20) is the fifth track, and develops from water sounds with a melodic presence, soon joined by tones from a glowing synthesizer, and what sounds to me like a rain stick, which combine to take over the subterranean atmosphere. A rain stick is a hollow tube filled with pebbles or seeds that creates a pleasant rustling rain-like sound when gently rotated.

The word crepuscular derives from the Latin crepusculum meaning "twilight." Special classes of crepuscular behaviour include matutinal (or "matinal", animals active only in the dawn) and vespertine (only in the dusk). Nocturnal creatures generally have highly developed senses of hearing, smell, and specially adapted eyesight. "The Crepuscular Wildlife" (5:17) brings a sense of secret motion hidden in the darkness. Crepuscular birds include the common nighthawk and the barn owl. Many moths, beetles, flies, and other insects, as well as bats, rats, jaguars, ocelots, bobcats, servals, strepsirrhines, red pandas, bears, moose, sitatunga, capybaras, chinchillas, the common mouse, skunks, squirrels, Australian wombats, wallabies, quolls, possums, snakes and lizards, ocelots, deer, marsupial gliders, tenrecs, and spotted hyenas are also active at night, especially during dawn and dusk, so mind your step.

Pittsburgh based artist Jeff Kowal (aka Terra Ambient) was a trained visual artist and graphic designer, his musical approach had a visceral, painterly quality to it, leaving a deeply unique collection of crossover of electronic, ethnic, acoustic and experimental sounds. Sadly, Jeff Kowal passed away in 2016 following a battle with cancer. Reflecting on his friend, Rudy shares that "He also created some of my early album covers. One of the pieces I was working on (for this current project) reminded me of the cover he created for my album MoonWater, featuring a somewhat surreal moon rising over a beach.” The seventh track, "Moonlit Beach (for Jeff)" (5:15), has a peaceful glowing energy, sparsely accented with those insect-like purring sounds. Are they lobsters calling to each other?

Continuing on our velvet sojourn, tenebrous shapes take form and I sense that we are approaching something in the darkness, it appears to be a structure, I hear distant night birds calling in the void, and now a lake is open before us. Here is a "Lakeside Shelter" (5:22). The darkness provides space for gigantic overhead activities, I hear rushing sounds carrying chimes and subtle whistles weaving around, "Western Wind" (5:34) depicts an overall zephyral architecture or form fundamental to the ancient language of poetry, dance and music.

The rising of the sun brings a new world belonging to the morning, quiet with emerging light in the Eastern distance, "Night Becomes Dawn" (3:45) and the darkness falls away slowly, as the new morning watches. Now we are left with the final track, "Sunny Day" (7:53), it is quiet and contemplative, giving us time to realize that a new day begins here.

Rudy Adiran has a complex career, his musical accomplishments include being a successful planetarium soundtrack composer, which brings a new dimension to appreciating his studiocraft. He said that this new album "was pretty much entirely created during New Zealand's lockdown in late March 2020, so the album was put together very much in the confines of my own home. Luckily there are some nice views to enjoy from the deck at the rear of my house and watching the sunsets and stars slowly appearing, plus checking online to see if the International Space Station was to soar overhead were some of the inspirations.”

As Dusk Becomes Night is an homage to experiencing the night, suggesting the concept of transformation associated with closure or relaxation, born out of the unusual events which the whole world went through in 2020. "I was trying to make an album which would seem to my listeners to be a logical continuation of what I've done before, as a 'thank you' to those who've liked the music I've created thus far." Rudy wanted to make something peaceful and calm for people to listen to, something to soothe the anxiety and stresses of life in these historic, unusual and uncertain times. The timeless spirit of the hours of darkness will bring you back again and again to an electronic dream of future and ancient nocturnal beauty.

Adrian's previous label releases include MoonWater (LSM07), Desert Realms (LSM11), Distant Stars (LSM17), Atmospheres (SPM-2601), Coastlines (SPM-2602), and Woodlands (SPM-2603).

As Dusk Becomes Night is Rudy Adrian’s 7th release on the Spotted Peccary Label. It was mastered by Howard Givens, and is available for physical purchase in CD format and in 24-BIT Audiophile, CD QUALITY LOSSLESS, MP3 and streaming formats. The CD version of As Dusk Becomes Night arrives in a factory sealed 6-panel gatefold package that includes vibrant artwork, liner notes, a 4-page booklet, and exquisite package design by Daniel Pipitone.

Tracklist:
01. Stars Appear 06:42
02. As Dusk Becomes Night 06:28
03. Conifer Grove 02:05
04. Starlane 05:32
05. Moa Caves 04:20
06. The Crepuscular Wildlife 05:17
07. Moonlit Beach (for Jeff) 05:15
08. Lakeside Shelter 05:22
09. Western Wind 05:34
10. Night Becomes Dawn 03:45
11. Sunny Day 07:53

About Rudy Adrian:
Music and nature have always gone hand in hand for Rudy Adrian. He first started making electronic music while studying Forestry Science at the University of Canterbury, and in the following years at the University of Otago while completing a degree in Botany. The natural world continues to be a common thread in Rudy Adrian’s music through the exploration of sonic landscapes, where melody and rhythm play a secondary role to the tones and textures created by synthesizers, wood flutes and the human voice. https://spottedpeccary.com/artists/rudy-adrian/

About Spotted Peccary Music:
Portland-based Spotted Peccary Music is North America’s finest independent record label with a focus on deep, vast and introspective soundscapes. For over three decades, the artists of Spotted Peccary have been on a mission to develop, produce, publish and release ultra-high-quality, deep-listening experiences that engage the listener and exceed expectations. Every release is carefully prepared in a variety of high quality formats from MP3 to high-res studio masters. Explore more than 165 titles and 45 artists at www.SpottedPeccary.com and www.AmbientElectronic.com.

Links:
Spotted Peccary Album page: https://spottedpeccary.com/shop/as-dusk-becomes-night/
Album Unboxing Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slgjebfajsc&t=4s
Bandcamp: https://ambientelectronic.bandcamp.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/spottedpeccary/
Spotted Peccary on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/spottedpeccary more
Composer and soundscape artist Jeff Greinke presents an elegant musical landscape of delicate compositions and harmonically rich ambience, an album titled Other Weather. The eleven slowly-unfolding tracks offer multi-layered textures that weave acoustic and electronic instrumentation into a gossamer soundscape that shimmers with the stillness of a perfectly calm atmosphere in the warm light of early dusk. Other Weather, on the Spotted Peccary Music label. The title Other Weather refers to Greinke's very personal and experiential relationship with the weather, especially the beautiful and sometimes indescribable meteorological phenomena that aren’t often noticed or talked about.

Greinke explains, "My interest in the weather has always been predominantly experiential, and as I get older I find myself attracted to its subtler and quieter aspects. I see a connection between this interest and the kind of music I like to make. This feels especially true with this album."

Jeff Greinke has been a composer since 1980, and he has dedicated nearly 40 years to making and recording music. He has performed throughout North America, as well as Europe and China, and his music has been heard in theatre, radio, art installations, and major motion picture trailers. Other Weather is Greinke's 20th solo album, and his fourth on the Spotted Peccary Music label.

Greinke describes his very specific and timely inspiration for Other Weather, “I live in the Sonoran Desert, just outside Tucson. In late April and early October there is a brief window – maybe a week or two – when a variety of conditions come together to create an almost magical environment. It’s a feeling in the air produced by a combination of the temperature being just right – 84 or 85 degrees, the air being perfectly calm, warm early dusk light and low relative humidity. It lasts maybe 10 minutes. It’s an experience that is beyond words for me. It’s utterly exquisite.”

In the near future, fans can catch Greinke performing for this year's live streamed Soundquest Fest on March 28th, beginning at 10AM PDT / 1PM EDT on YouTube. SoundQuest Fest, launched in 2010 as a live festival in Tucson, Arizona, was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. From March 26-28th, a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will entrance electronic, ambient and visual art fans. For more about SoundQuest Fest, visit https://soundquestfest.live/

As with 2018's Before Sunrise, Other Weather spans the genres of modern classical, electronic, and ambient as it gently evolves through a refined set of impressionistic ambient chamber music. Blending electronic ambiences and effects with an acoustic ensemble that includes cello, viola, violin, French horn, clarinets, flutes, and small percussion, Greinke realizes his musical vision through an empirical process of improvisation and experimentation, combining tracks and layering sounds, and uncovering the magical moments as they reveal themselves.

High-level stratocumuli form clouds open out before me, an enchanted world of the genus cirrocumulus forms, where snow begins when moist air at high tropospheric altitude reaches saturation, creating eloquent ice crystals or supercooled water droplets. Other Weather presents with eleven pieces, chiefly excited by movements taking place high up in the air. The overall mood of Other Weather is subtle, the sound is primed for interpretation, like clouds, with a huge vista appearing solid while being gentle. The sound possesses a quite extraordinary range of different timbres and vibrates along with the air inside it. The sensation is of the instruments having a conversation or perhaps painting a picture, always truly beautiful, and often formed by woven piano with strings and various wind instrument combinations, a complex satin fabric of sound.

Full, lustrous, and metallic, a clear, clean, and brilliant sound, “Rain Through the Night” (04:00), is an introspective piano and percussion exposition, building out of the heart of darkness and joined by subtle sensuous deep strings with a mellow, dark and rich tone. My favorite track of this album is “Falling Sky” (05:19), coming in with very distant cold shimmering glimmers of tones, subtle glimpses of approaching astral matter traversing from so far away. A dreamy piano emerges from electronic clouds that hang there.

Cumulus clouds are rounded masses heaped upon each other above a flat base that hangs in the sky. These are the big puffy clouds you see most of the time, but they can appear to be quite huge and rise to fantastic distances. Cumulo is a Latin word that means heap or pile. “Rising Cumulus” (04:27) features a piano joined by bowed strings, building to great heights, massive acoustic forms accentuated by emerging electronics and shapes that continue on and on, building and ascending, a thread woven through, blending and balancing, a beautiful, mellow, sweet tone. Depending on the atmospheric conditions, cumulus clouds can eventually turn into other types of clouds, including storm clouds, also known as thunderheads or cumulonimbus clouds.

Greinke sometimes intrepidly includes the squeaks and bowing sounds that real instruments make, and that adds a lot of emotional depth to the pictures that he paints with his compositions, thus the sound characteristics of the violin are not predetermined by the score, but their presence is accommodated to bring about a deeper realization of the intended compositional design.

From silence there is a lustrous distant sound, we are drawn in closer and pause to hear some fine details, then we float on beyond the source, and our perception of the sound fades, the music possibly forever continuing in our absence. Piano and classical guitar glide together using subtle phasing techniques to layer up lots of depth and gradual motion across the sky, to create a tone poem that defies categorization, “Clouds Like Flying Saucers” (04:19). Now join a search for new resonance and a new type of voice for the keyboard dream machine, “Outflow” (04:38), with electronica arranged in changing layers, bits of piano sustaining this solemn transfer, with sparkles and hints of complex forms hidden inside.

Shelf ice occurs when floating pieces of ice are driven by the wind, piling up on the lee shore. The track’s title, “Icebreaker” (07:26), made me think there is going to be a crushing sound and shattering sheets of ice, but to me the music is actually about delicate arctic poetry, cold shivering strings take form, joined by woodwinds and haunting brass, featuring Heather Bentley on cello, viola, and violin; Greg Campbell on French horn and small percussion; James DeJoie on clarinets and flutes, with the sound perhaps portraying the electromechanical properties of ice and its nano rheology (the flow of sub-microscopic crystalline water matter). In the final analysis, what I am left with is a dream about traversing the vast northernmost waters.

Composers sometimes seek new timbres, art music once modeled on Baroque and early classical forms can now emerge free from traditions. Central to the story are the tensions and the intimacy developed between the musicians, the composer, and of course, the listener, but this distinction is far from rigid. Acting now as a strange composite being that is never alien to the concert hall, yet free to dwell anywhere and be conjured at any time by the touch of a button, the moments of true intimacy occur whenever the spirit moves one to give oneself up to it. Enter a zone of magic, a close understanding of shared musical experience that is performed by a small number of performers.

Other Weather was composed, arranged, and produced by Jeff Greinke, recorded at Another Room, Tucson, and Invisible Studio, Seattle; the Seattle session was engineered by Rob Angus, the album was mastered by Howard Givens, and is available for physical purchase in CD format and in 24-BIT AUDIOPHILE, CD QUALITY LOSSLESS, MP3 and streaming formats. The physical CD version of Other Weather arrives in a factory sealed 6-panel gatefold package that includes vibrant artwork, liner notes, a 4-page booklet, and exquisite package design by Daniel Pipitone.

Tracklist:
01 A Stretch of Sun 4:35
02 Rain Through the Night 4:01
03 Falling Sky 5:19
04 Rising Cumulus 4:28
05 Snow Across a Windswept Plain 9:06
06 Clouds Like Flying Saucers 4:20
07 Outflow 4:38
08 Storm Chaser 5:42
09 After the Rain 3:50
10 Icebreaker 7:26
11 Across the Sky 5:42

About Jeff Greinke:
Jeff Greinke is a musician, composer, performer, and sound sculptor who is known worldwide for his unique sound. Through a highly developed process of layering, Jeff composes and performs music rich in texture, depth, mood, and subtle detail. Using various acoustic and electronic instruments, found sounds, and extended studio techniques, Jeff sculpts sound worlds that conjure a strong sense of place, hovering somewhere between the exotic and the familiar. With numerous releases to his credit, Greinke has been an active artist for more than three decades and has composed music for film, video, dance, theater, radio, and art installations. OTHER WEATHER, is Jeff’s fourth release on the Spotted Peccary label. His previous SPM releases include BEFORE SUNRISE (SPM-3701), VIRGA (LSM16), and WINTER LIGHT (LSM09). Jeff’s music can also be heard on numerous compilation recordings. http://www.jeffgreinke.com/

About Spotted Peccary Music:
Portland-based Spotted Peccary Music is North America’s finest independent record label with a focus on deep, vast and introspective soundscapes. For over three decades, the artists of Spotted Peccary have been on a mission to develop, produce, publish and release ultra-high-quality, deep-listening experiences that engage the listener and exceed expectations. Every release is carefully prepared in a variety of high quality formats from MP3 to high-res studio masters. Explore more than 170 titles and 46 artists at www.SpottedPeccary.com and www.AmbientElectronic.com.

Links:
Spotted Peccary Album page: https://spottedpeccary.com/shop/other-weather/
Spotted Peccary Artist page: https://spottedpeccary.com/artists/jeff-greinke/
CD unboxing: https://youtu.be/tMows5jcaCw
Bandcamp: https://ambientelectronic.bandcamp.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/spottedpeccary/
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/spottedpeccary
SoundQuest Fest 2021: https://soundquestfest.live/ more
Music has been around since ancient times. At its heart Lamentations is about the relationship between music and realizing overall physical rehabilitation, and facilitating movement, increasing people's motivation to become engaged in creating their own treatment, providing emotional support for individuals and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings. Lamentations expresses the grief and disbelief of those who have lived through the difficulties of 2020 and yet still looked to their purpose. Not just an outpouring of emotion, however, Lamentations also contains a profound theological reflection and response to the problem of suffering.

As much as we may wish to leave 2020 behind, there is still much to process, and music provides a gentle approach. LAMENTATIONS is a new album of ambient music by Long Beach, CA-based composer and performer Thomas Peters, who recorded as a one-man-orchestra using cutting edge computer electronics and synchronized electronic soundscapes, performing on bowed NS Design EU-6 bowed 6-string electric double bass designed by the legendary Ned Steinberger, and a laptop with Ableton Live. Lamentations is now available worldwide digital release through DistroKid.

Lamentations is a new direction for Peters, who is a composer and GRAMMY®-nominated performer known for creating multimedia works featuring classic silent films. He contributed to the 2014 Grammy Nomination for Best Small Ensemble Performance for John Cage: The 10,000 Things, on MicroFest Records; he also participated on 2015 Grammy-winning album for Best Small Ensemble Performance for PARTCH: Plectrum and Percussion Dances, on Bridge Records; and participated on 2016 Grammy-nominated album for Best Instrumental Album for flutist Wouter Kellerman’s Love Language.

With his live performances placed on hold, the pandemic created in Thomas the need to explore a new musical direction, and a growing interest in experimental classical music. He uses “process music” techniques such as phasing and aleatoric techniques to create slow, constantly shifting sonic tapestries. For example, the track "Drifting" uses three strata of looped musical phrases of unequal length, played at the same time. The result creates 30 different chord combinations. The bowed electric double bass provides the foreground that carries the musical narrative forward.

The relaxing music of Lamentations is also inspired by a more personal point of view. Peters is forthcoming about his diagnoses with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a topic on which he also writes and gives lectures. As a person with ASD, Peters has frequently had to use coping strategies to keep himself from getting emotionally overwhelmed, and it occurred to him that in this pandemic era, such strategies and techniques may be helpful to everyone. Thus, the album was composed to provide some respite and release to all who listen. Peters said he has found it tremendously helpful in times of stress to listen to music that is quiet and in alignment with the emotions he is trying to process.

"As a person with ASD, I have frequently had to use coping strategies to keep myself from getting emotionally overwhelmed—a skill that most people who are not on the ASD spectrum never have to develop. Lamentations is a way for me to share one of my key coping strategies with those who are not on the spectrum, but who are suffering with similar feelings of sensory overload and overwhelm right now."

What you will hear is inspirational instrumental meditations, quiet and serious, each intimately related by both structure and content into an overall singularity, and yet each a separate work; this is Lamentations, a new direction for multiple GRAMMY-nominee Thomas Peters. The emotions expressed within these nine pieces are a soothing tonic for the raw and dramatic times we endure, providing a hopeful and positive glimpse of the restoration ahead.

The primary instrument is an electronic bass (NS Design EU-6 bowed 6-string electric double bass designed by the legendary Ned Steinberger) bowed and occasionally plucked, sometimes joined by chimes, sometimes by an ethereal choral presence, and sometimes by a simple ukulele, and his laptop with Ableton Live. The intention of this album is to accomplish universal healing goals for 2021 and beyond, to provide emotional uplifting, and to create a space to process difficult emotions. The task of processing emotion and despair is important for finding healing and peace, but such efforts are sometimes difficult. Music can heal people and act as a preventive medicine, it also offers a simple way to improve troubled sleep, improving our ability to fall asleep and feel more rested. This music is uplifting and respectful of these emotions, which makes the listening experience rewarding.

A lament or lamentation is a passionate expression of grief, often in poetry or music. The Book of Lamentations is traditionally ascribed to Jeremiah, and tells of the desolation of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. The patterns in music and all the arts can contain the keys to improve mood through emotional expression and release. A healthy brain tries to make sense of the world around, and the constant information it receives, including sound and music. Empathizing with grief provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. If you can use music to navigate past the pain and gather insight into the workings of your own mind, you can begin to fix a problem.

Depression is a highly prevalent mood disorder that is characterized by persistent low mood, diminished interest, and loss of pleasure. We must remember that mercy never ends, and is renewed every morning. Music may be helpful in modulating moods and emotions, creating room for a positive transformation and adaptation, our abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of our lives.

Since 2008, Thomas Peters has been a successful silent movie composer and performer, creating new music for such classics as Nosferatu, The Cat and the Canary, Pandora’s Box, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (Alfred Hitchcock’s first big success), Der Golem and Chicago. His score for The Passion of Joan of Arc premiered at the 2013 Toronto Silent Film Festival with acclaimed viola da gambist Joelle Morton. Silent movies were never silent. When creating his soundtracks for silent movies, Tom is accompanied by computer-synchronized soundscapes that may include anything from voices to drums to ukuleles. He performs the live portion of the score on the EU6 with composed and improvisational elements to create a truly unique sight and sound experience.

TRACKS
1 Out of the Depths
2 Drifting
3 A Million Pieces
4 Remembrance Canon
5 Without You
6 Still
7 Tenderness
8 Prayer
9 De Profundis

For more information about Lamentations or Thomas Peters, visit:

https://silentmovietom.com/home

https://thomaspeters.bandcamp.com/

https://open.spotify.com/album/18u6qtMMT0RuwwdYsyogWc?si=WeRGKM0yTpaUNJKldxDGXA

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0CmvCcz_wKKkSjzEk9xGhg
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