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Robin B. James
March 03/27/21, 2021
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

 

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