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2015 is well underway! The year began with the first of five releases for the year on my own Pioneer Light Music label, "Into The Current” (2-6-2015). “Into The Current” is a 60 minute composition that stands as a document of, and tribute to, my experience at Steve Roach's “SoundCurrent Master's Class” in late September of 2007 at his then home and studio in Sonoita, Arizona. Myself and three other artists, Ben Garvie, Chad Kettering and Roy Mattson, spent a life-changing week immersed in the supportive and stimulating environment of Epona Equestrian Center and Roach's Timeroom. During those few days, we ate great food, talked much, listened deeply, shared widely and slept a little. My sincere gratitude goes out to these four men for the experience they gave me—it was an utter privilege to share that depth of time, spirit and music with them all. Field recordings, overtone flute, bass flute and keyboard textures are interwoven to create this serene and multilayered journey into soul and memories of warm desert breezes, shaded canyons, crisp mountain streams, cool nights and deeply rooted memories. Thanks also to Peter James for his mastering magic.
My collaborative e.p. with Ran Kirlian, “The Uncarved Block,” also came out on the new Relaxed Machinery e.p. series. I first sent Ran Kirlian foundational sounds for a collaborative work back in 2014, not too long after the release of my e.p., Trust and Remember, on Ran's, AlteraOrbe label. Ran sent me some early drafts in late 2014 that timed in at about 20 minutes. In early 2015, Relaxed Machinery launched it's rM.:.Ep series, and Steve thought their collaborative track would be a perfect fit for this new series and Ran agreed. Ran processed and kneaded Steve's sounds of flutes, voice, didgeridoo and keyboard pads, melded his own particular inclinations and sounds, forging them into the 23"10" work, The Uncarved Block. The title, inspired while Steve listened to Ran's most recent drafts, is a Taoist term that alludes to our natural state of being before cultural conditioning takes place. All proceeds from the purchase of this e.p. go toward the upkeep of the rM.ning community.
I was also able to attend a two night performance by Steve Roach at Solar Culture Gallery in Tucson this past February 12 & 13. It's always great to see this master perform live, but the highlight for me was being able to spend some quality time hanging out with my ambient buddies, Kati Astraeir, Will Merkle, Ricahrd Gürtler, Dawn Wilson-Enoch, Michael Parrish, Steve Roach, Mariel Parish, Nathan Youngblood, Greg Moorcroft, Geoff Small, Loren Nerell, Chad Kettering and Hollan Holmes. Lots of good tacos, great beer and wonderful moments and memories were had! There's talk of another performance and another reunion early in 2016...honestly...I hope we don't to wait for that. It's always nourishing to spend time with so many positive, funny, bright and creative kindred spirits.
Some titles were inspired by these writings from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“The Supreme Critic on the errors of the past and the present, and the only prophet of that which must be, is that great nature in which we rest, as the earth lies in the soft arms of the atmosphere; that Unity, that Over-soul, within which every man’s particular being is contained and made one with all other; that common heart.
“We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one. We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are shining parts, is the soul.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
All instruments, compositions and sleeve design, Steve Brand ©sbrand2013
Chad Kettering/Soniclayers Mastering and Peter James, mastering and track assembly. I could not have achieved this without their help.
1. Over-soul_The Wise Silence
2. Over-soul_The Collective Heart
*Download will include both separate tracks and continuous mix, as well as cover art and computer wallpaper. **CDr comes in 5"x'7" bi-fold booklet, signed, numbered in cellophane envelope. First edition is limited to 50.
- Earlier this year, Ran Kirlian of AlteraOrbe asked me to contribute to AO “Woomh” e.p. series. I immediately agreed and went to work. “Trust And Remember” is the result. I loved this idea, since rM and AO have been working with one another in one fashion or another for a few years now. (Currently, AO also houses rM releases in FLAC.) It seemed like a natural and synergistic way for our two labels to cross-promote one another. Thanks to Ran for the invitation. I think this e.p. represents the beginning of more interested collaborative work between us... (Cover art to left featuring one of my photos.)
This 24 minute track, composed of keyboard, voice and processed guitar sounds, gradually unfolds in three phases. I had resolved in August of last year, to work on more one-off or single tracks, not worrying about their context in an album, just letting my creativity flow, experimenting, experiencing, relaxing, just trying new things and approaches. I had already been working on this lengthy track, and I knew immediately that it would be great for this Woomh e.p., so I began adapting and filling in the sketch I had already created. From my release notes:
The track “Trust and Remember” began as a phrase that I've heard in my mind over and over again for years. This phrase would come up in times of apparent uncertainty, change and upheaval. I would often ask this soundless voice…trust what? Remember what? Even though I could not rationally understand the words, I felt their power and relevance in my gut. I knew without question that they constituted a powerful answer to everything I am and was experiencing.
My current understanding of this mindful directive is this… For me, trusting in this sense means knowing that even though I may not be able to see what's ahead, even if it seems unlikely or uncertain that a way or means is going to present itself, there always has been a path in the past, so why shouldn't there be one waiting and forming for me at this time…and the next time and the next. It also means trusting my own creativity, integrity, sovereignty and native abilities, my own sense of timing and appropriateness. More simply, trusting that I will know what to do when it's most needed in the most appropriate way.
Trusting that “making it up as I go along” is a legitimate way of being in the world, although we are often taught otherwise. Remembering, the second half of this phrase, “Remember,” has also become a powerful concept for me. Not so much remembering facts or past events, although those can also be powerful tools. Remembering, in this context, is less a mental process and more in the realm of feeling. Remembering how it felt to be innocent, trusting, seated in my own power, my own passion, and what it felt like to bring these into effect I my life, without worry or fear. How did that feel? What was the result? How can I create or access that feeling for myself now? I often “get” these sorts of phrases running through my mind like a leader at the bottom of a news screen. I have learned to trust and remember them…by heart.
- As always, several projects are brewing at once here at the Treehouse: singles, e.p.s, re-masters and new works, along with accompanying art, poems, etc. For the last several months, while simultaneously working on and releasing, “The Great Hoop” on Relaxed Machinery and my e.p. on AlteraOrbe, “Trust and Remember,” I've been revisiting, reworking and remastering my 2009 AtmoWorks release, “She Covers The Sky.” The original release fell through the cracks to ultimately disappear completely. (Sneak peak of cover to left.) I knew two years ago that I had to rerelease this album, but I wanted to give it and my other releases plenty of time, and I'm glad I did. One track, “Creation...” has been entirely replaced by a new one, “Ovum,” 20 minutes of ceremonial atmosphere, featuring didg, bells, gongs, clay flute, voice, whistles and keyboard. The track, “Coverer Of The Sky,” was extended. And, an additional track has been added, “Womb of Earth,” to round this album out to nearly 78 minutes. Originally, SCS was created to honor the divine feminine, which is said by many to be making it's way back to a place of prominence on Earth—balancing the heavily male energy that has been in place for millennia. The dominant notes here are fluidity, fecundity, flow, and flexibility, and lots of sounds from Mother Earth herself. SCS_2013 should be out in September on my own Pioneer Light Music...just in time for my birthday!
- New instruments are showing up these days, too...a couple of new flutes (a copy of an Anasazi flute and a copy of an Ice Age flute, both reconstructed from ancient relics and made by Eric the Flutemaker), a new bead drum and finally a pair of tingsha bells...I've had one for years, but only one on a small stand that had to be struck.
- I also want to take the time to thank everyone that I spent some time with at the recent Kansas City Electromusic Festival in Parkville, Missouri, this past weekend. I was only there Friday afternoon and for a few minutes Sunday, but I had a great time. It's always nice to visit and be in the company of like-minds. Thanks to David Herpich, Damon Mar, Charles Shriner, Mike Metlay, Kevin Haller, Kevin Kissinger, Michael Carlson and Barbara Vesey Johnson.
- I just updated the blog below with a better photo of just about everyone who attended the "Ambi-Colorado" 2012 last Summer.
- It's been almost half a year since I've updated this blog. I can't believe how time has flown by and the incredible changes that have taken place in my life. 2012 was a challenging and rewarding year. I was laid off from a job of almost a decade in early August and I am still on the hunt for just the right situation! Meantime, I've been clearing my space...mentally and physically...and creating, finishing and polishing lots of new music. In 2011-2012, I lost 45lbs and as a result of the weight loss, I was taken off the blood pressure medication that I was on for more than 5 years. My wife and I have changed the way we eat entirely—eating more raw and whole foods, tossing out trans- and saturated-fats almost entirely. We go to the gym in our local community center at least 3-4 times a week. We have a simple regime at the gym that is easy to maintain and something we look forward to. I've been donating and selling a lot of the clutter that's been accumulating for the past decade. With some hesitation, I've finally sold all my vinyl recordings and most of my CD collection...I probably have something like less than a quarter of what I used to have. Probably the most important clutter that I've cleared is the clutter between my ears...with help from some wonderful and very tolerant friends. It's amazing how accustomed we can become to certain aspects of our environment, because of daily exposure, income considerations, denial, that we would never tolerate in any other circumstance. It has taken me time to get reacclimatized to not having inordinate amounts of stress...and general silliness and drama...in my life.
During 2011 and 2012, lots of music came forth to be created...and continues to in 2013. I have a number of projects in various stages of completion (as always), that include albums with collaborative tracks with Peter James, Roy Mattson and Frore. There are some exciting things in the works for 2013, but unfortunately I can't share any of those just yet, since they're very much in the early stages...but I can say that at least one release will likely include a limited CDr and could be issued in early Summer. I'm also anticipating a big release on rM in mid-Summer that I'm very excited about?!
In June of 2012, I had the good fortune of meeting lots of my ambient peeps for a long weekend in Colorado Springs, CO. At left, you can see ambient luminaries Chad Kettering, Hollan Holmes and Geoff Small...Jesse Sola/Numina was the photographer. It was an incredible weekend of fun, friendship, late-night conversations, music, food and beer in the mountains of Colorado...what could be better. Thanks to all who attended. I hope we can do it again soon?! (The wildfires in Colorado broke out that weekend...we essentially vacationed during a disaster...I should have known big changes were afoot?!) Updated this portion of the blog with a better of photo...you can see Jesse Sola in this one. A beautiful afternoon at Adam's Cafe in Manitou Springs.
Since my last blog entry, I've had a new rM release, “Our True Nature,” and 2 re-releases, “Sunprints” (originally on AtmoWorks on 2009) and “Bridge To Nowhere” (Hypnos Secret Sounds in 2008), that are all now on Bandcamp, CDBaby, iTunes and other outlets. I hope to be able to provide a CDr for O.T.N. some time this year. Also released was a Bandcamp-only release called, “The Track Of The Full Moon On Water,” the long form of a track from “Catalyst.”
I will end this blog entry with a special note about a new friend that I said, “goodbye,” to a few weeks ago, Kristian Kotarac, owner of Nextera. In January, Kristian contacted me about buying some of my old work as Augur and current work under my own name. As I was reading, I thought, "Holy %^#$, this is the guy who runs Nextera, the label that released music by Alio Die, Oophoi, Steve Roach, Hafler Trio, Clock DVA and Lustmord?!” I was very flattered to have my work come to the attention of such a visionary. Kristian and I had several email exchanges over the intervening weeks, when suddenly, I stopped hearing from him. Finally, after about a week, in my in box, was an email from Jarka, saying that Kristian had had an operation and that he had “burst an aorta.” A few days later, I received another email from Jarka saying he had passed away. I was shocked and saddened. Kristian was only 42. In my brief dealings with Kristian, he was forthright and transparent, and it was a privilege to have gotten to know him.
- WHAT?! It's not conceivable that it's October of 2012 already. Time has gone so quickly and so much has happened...so much has changed, so many possibilities have begun to present themselves. I have to admit, at times I've been very uncomfortable at times, even a little frightened by the depth and breadth of these changes, but the music has always brought me back to my core. It's been almost 3 months since my last Treehouse Blog entry, as well. "Sunprints" was re-released, thanks to John, Joel and Geoff. You guys rock..in a gentle, ambient way, of course. Here's a very nice review just out by Headphonaught of this 2012 re.... I'm so glad to have this music see the light of day again, after being lost in back catalogue limbo for almost 2 years. It's one of my personal favorites, and includes a new track just for this re-release, "Sunprints (the space where you used to be)."
- I was just exchanging email with Dave Ebacher about my upcoming rM release, "Our True Nature," and wrote the following... Our True Nature is essentially complete and ready to drop. Just waiting for the exact day...Winter Solstice of 2012! To my mind Sunprints and Our True Nature are companion pieces. I loved Sunprints, and wanted to do something that was similar in nature and feel, but stood on it's own. OTN is 2, 35 minute pieces that evolve, morph and come full circle again, revisiting a slightly different locale...the center pieces are transformation, becoming, integrating with what you/we/I am/are...Our True Nature. I think those who enjoyed Sunprints, will also like OTN...I can see playing them back-to-back for over 2 hours of atmosphere.
More even more incredible things are in the works, I can feel it. More to come...
- My Next Relaxed Machinery release, "Catalyst," is scheduled for June 15...I've written about this release several times in this blog. I'm very excited about this release for several reasons. It's my first official release for 2012 and has been in the works now for about 2 years (Geoff Small first heard it in Arizona in September of 2010). It's also a disk that represents a more personal angle on my music, which was begun with last years "Subtle Movements Inside." Larger themes aren't entirely gone, but I wanted to move more toward a more intimate approach and sound that stemmed from current feelings, thoughts and experiences.
- Later in 2012, will be my second and final rM release for 2012, "Our True Nature." Other music was actually completed before this album, but I felt this release was more appropriate for late 2012, and so I chose to push it ahead of the others.
Early last year, I was revisiting my older release, "Sunprints" (which will be re-released in September on Pioneer Light), and while listening, I felt the need to further explore the themes touched on in Sunprints...compassion, love, nature, acceptance, intimacy. At the time, my constant companion of 15 years, Nadja was in declining health. I like to say that he taught me about unconditional love and acceptance, and he truly did. He was my primary guide and inspiration making this music..well, most of my music! The title came to me early on, and I felt it was the perfect summary for the feelings I was experiencing. A couple of months ago, I was reading Brian Weiss' "Messages from the Masters" and ran across the following paragraph that nicely compliments the message of "Our True Nature":
"We do not need to learn about love and balance, about peace and compassion, about forgiveness and faith. We have always known about these. Instead, our task is to unlearn those negative and harmful emotions and attitudes that plague our lives and cause us, our communities, and our world such misery. As we let go of these negative traits, lo and behold, we rediscover our true nature, our positive and loving self. It has been there all the time, covered over, obscured, and forgotten. When we remove the outer layers of dirt and debris, the negative thoughts and emotions, when we clean and polish away the outer overlay, then we can once again discern the true diamonds we really are. We are immortal and divine souls on our way home. We have always been diamonds underneath."
- How could it possibly almost be June of 2012?! The year almost half over...or is it only half started.
- June 15 marks the release of "Catalyst"—cavernous, ethereal, sentimental and lilting inscapes—my first Relaxed Machinery release for 2012. Instruments used on Catalyst include, keyboards textures, shakers, voice, conch, kora, bamboo chimes and field recordings.
- My 2010 release, "Sunprints" will be re-released on my own Pioneer Light Music. Sunprints came out, and just as quickly disappeared, as the label it was on slowly began to fold, so I'm very pleased to re-present this work as one of my sentimental favorites with new art.
- Finally, for 12.21.12, the 2012 Winter Solstice, a new work and near companion piece to "Sunprints" will be "Our True Nature"—two long evolving atmospheres featuring field recordings, flutes, shakers, whistles, bells and keyboard textures. With all the scary stories told about 2012, I wanted to tell another story...that of our on-going evolution as Spirit and Human begin to merge. The release of Sunprints and Our True Nature is dedicated to my two mentors and constant companions, Miette and Nadja, who show me what our true nature actually is...love and acceptance.
- If the weather in this part of the world is any indication, it's going to be an interesting year. We've had 2 or 3 snows, all of about 1" or a little more, a few sub-freezing days. It's March 3rd, and the trees and bulb flowers started to bloom in late February. (Usually, by this time, we're still having freezing temperatures, lots of snow and ice, and Spring-like weather and blooming is still a few months away.) Pretty unusual behavior from Mother Earth, but very interesting...and hopeful.
- Lots of new work and exciting projects are on-deck. I just started a Bandcamp store. I sort of shopped Bandcamp for a few months, and after having some good experiences buying some music from folks like Andrew Lahiff, offthesky, Ultimae and Ishq on Bandcamp, I was pushed off the fence. I still can't load some of my long forms on Bandcamp due to file size restrictions, but I'll figure that out in time. The re-release of "Spiritual Science” my collaboration with Ishq, will be going live March 16 on CDBaby and Bandcamp. I've also re-released my 2008 compilation,"Codex," on Bandcamp...featuring extra a and extended, remixed tracks and new art by Jonathan Benham—now times in at over 2 hours and at a special price. In June, my next rM release, "Catalyst," will be released...I've got some ideas brewing for this release that could make it really special. I'll have another Pioneer Light release (likely my 2010 release, "Sunprints") and another rM release before the year is out...TBD right now.
- I have a feeling lots of new and interesting things are in store, and change and interpersonal and intrapersonal integrity issues coming to light are still the over-arching themes, so I'm anxious to see what's in-store (personally and world-wide), because I generally feel that wonderful and unimagined potentials are ahead for all of us. These are exciting...and sometimes twitchy...times!
- 2012?! Wow...weird to finally be here. Lots of new exciting music came forth during the middle to end of 2011, so there are lots of new works in progress here at the Treehouse, including a further chapter of my "Cahokia" release—this one will be called, "The Great Hoop." A couple of new long forms are also in the works, including an expansion of my track "Oversoul" from my 2011 release, "Upwelling." Also, in celebration of the coming of 2012, I started on a new album that explores the idea of unknown territories.
- I have 4 releases planned for 2012. First, in March, I'm excited to be re-issuing my 2009 with Ishq, "Spiritual Science." I've remastered and re-packaged this one and plan to release it on my own Pioneer Light Music label. Mid-year, comes an official Relaxed Machinery release called, "Catalyst," which features 4 long tracks of sound environments ranging from mirky ritual space to a long track inspired by the light of the moon on water...there may be a further surprise with this release. In September, I'll be re-releasing my 2010 release, "Sunprints" on Pioneer Light...this one almost disappeared as soon as it came out, so I'm glad to be re-presenting it. Finally, toward the end of 2012, I will be another official Relaxed Machinery release TBD. Of course, all these releases and dates are subject to change.
- Thanks to everyone reading this for their support and please accept my wishes for a peaceful and prosperous 2012.
It's almost the end of another year. I just want to thank everyone at rM.com the label and blog for all your support and friendship. It's been a special year and I'm certain 2012 will bring even more interesting things my way. Expect at least 4 releases from me in 2012, among them being a re-master, re-release of my collaboration with Ishq and a couple of new works, as well. Cheers to another new and exciting new year!
I must easily be into 2014 with new material by now, but what the hell, it comes when it comes. Started on a new batch of material that must be called, "Songs from Unknown Territory." Basic tracks are completed for more than 50 minutes of material so far. Titles to date: Song from Unknown Territory, The Long Way Home, The Crucible Of Heart, The Pause Just Before The Great Exhalation and When I Have Left Behind All That I Am.
- TODAY, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2011... "Upwelling," the second release on my own label, Pioneer Light Music, is collection of epiphanies, experiments, singular moments, remixes and re-discoveries.
Some of the music for this collection like the re-workings/remixes of "Forgotten Feast" and "Morning Glory" were completed while working on previous albums, some, "Selves Like Facets of Diamonds" and "The Language of Moon and Tide," where accomplished in moments of inspiration and depth of feeling, and still others, "Upwelling" and "The Web," are remixes and rethinkings of tracks that I originally provided as free downloads.
I'm very excited and pleased to be able to share "Upwelling" on Pioneer Light as I feel that it holds a range of feeling and instrumentation that represents my work over-all “Upwelling” will be available as download from CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon, and other digital outlets, as FLAC from ad21music.com, as well as on CDr from Hypnos.com.7.11.11
- Newest collaboration, now available on CDBaby.com and on CDr from Hypnos.com, "What Is Memory?" with Dean Richards/Disturbed Earth comes Monday on Relaxed Machinery. Should be available at CDBaby as download, and at Hypnos Store as CDr on Monday. Eventually, it should also be available as a FLAC release from ad21music.com. "WIM" underwent a number of mutations before it's final 69 minute form. I first sent Dean several sounds of flute, voice, keyboard textures and melodies at his request. Dean then kneaded them with his processes and sensibilities and sent them back to me. I wove those processed sounds into two longer pieces, adding some more new sounds, and then forwarded them to Dean again. He final melded these pieces into the a single longform, once again adding his own processing.
The sound for me, is so appropriate when it comes to matters of memory, how memories fragment, shift and change, how they recede and at the most unexpected times, come forth in sometimes very grand and weird ways. For the cover photo, I first had the idea of taking a shot of some old family photos on fire. Dean happened to have some shots of his own of fire which were perfectly suited. "WIM" has 3 distinct sections which Dean has titled: (i) all is found, (ii) as it is, (iii) however. Dean also managed to sneak in a few seconds of a melody from my recent Hypnos release, "Avatara" as a sly nod. Look for more info on this release soon...
(Response a blog on rM.ning by Jennifer Allison called, “What is Ambient Music to you?”)
Music, any sort of music, is not just sound for your ears. It is also the transmission of information on multiple levels to your entire body (physical, emotional and etheric). Our entire body (skin, organs, electrical field, etc.) is a sensory organ, which itself receives and transmits signals, vibration, energy...”music.” I add this information that I have intuited because I feel that we are on the cusp of a greater understanding of the multidimensional nature of sound and music, and how it effects us, how we can use it, and ambient is already on that cusp waiting. No doubt, there are, or will be, studies that substantiate these ideas. This isn’t news for some. No doubt there are some in this community that know much more than I do about this. I’m also aware that there are some artists that feel that this discussion is too high-handed, that music is music and nothing more, or that this discussion is too theoretical. That’s fine, but I feel that there’s so much more to sound than we currently know and it’s important to discuss it, and what better place than rM.ning.
(I want to say here to that I feel that music can certainly be used to facilitate healing...physical, emotional and spiritual...but from a broader perspective, if music can endeavor to facilitate expanded awareness/consciousness, healing will follow. Notice I am using the word, “facilitate,” here to indicate that music/sound is not in itself “doing” anything, but augmenting or helping create the space for new potentials to enter. Nothing can be done in healing or matters of consciousness without the allowing of the participants, so facilitation is the word I’m choosing.)
If you take the above to be true (and I do), what happens when we consciously create and use sound/music for the purposes of consciousness—with intent of creating, propagating, expanding consciousness. (Truthfully, as 3D humans, I’m not sure we can ever really consciously Know on every level just how music works, with our 5 senses and current level of consciousness.) For me, what we call “ambient music,” has a unique potential and set of attributes that allow it to express and access a level of awareness and expression that is (to a greater degree than other forms) not as anchored in cultural baggage or entrenched aesthetics. This freedom from tradition or the usual sign posts that tell us where we are and where we’re going, allows for or creates a space for novel experiencing, thinking, feeling, knowing that is outside our normal bandwith or modes of functioning. Ambient uniquely utilizes tones, clusters of notes, natural sound, binaural sound, subfrequencies, etc., sometimes in very abstract ways. I’m not sure it’s necessary to be academic about approaching music on this level, to try to know the facts about these aspects, but perhaps all that’s necessary is intent and following the clues of intuition—the intent to, as I’ve already written, to open share from one’s passion and heart, and with the intention of creating, propagating, and expanding awareness and consciousness.
- Excerpts from an email exchange of late last year between Dean Richard/Disturbed Earth and myself about the upcoming Relaxed Machinery release and collaboration, “What is Memory?”...
From Steve Brand to Disturbed Earth
Sent Dec. 29, 2010
Listening to “What is Memory?” today. Wow. Amazing. Sounds great. I think is an amazing disk, from the sounds to the title. I like the fact that it’s been re-re-mixed by both you and I. I think the question it asks is enigmatic, asks an intriguing question, and set the mood for the listener...it’s as though the music is asking the question...or is a soundtrack for asking the question. I like the section titles that you gave it as well...those need to be kept. I like the fact that the title came from our phone conversations. I HAVE NO IDEA what the cover image would be for this concept...maybe old photos on fire...? I dunno.
Anyway, more notes as I get farther into the album.
From Disturbed Earth to Steve Brand
Sent Dec. 30, 2010
What a beautiful message. It’s a long way from Australia, I love the journey this particular bit of music has taken. It has traveled by email and airmail.
Your thoughts as always are stellar, and always thought provoking, for the reader (your notes need to be in the liner notes)...I have some notes as well, mainly engineering and thought outtakes.
Our way of creating is only a way...it finishes where it left off...we finish. When we need to leave...we leave things alone...and leave the place the way we found it...all shook up!!!
I feel deeply...I tread lightly...no matter, the resultant effect of our music has it’s way and will...
Happy New Year my friend
- I've hinted at this a couple of times in this blog, now it's a reality: Hypnos has a agreed to release CDrs of my Pioneer Light releases, and ad21music.com (Max Corbacho and Bruno Sanfilippo's label and store), have a agreed to release FLAC files. Thanks for all your support and faith, guys.
- Work on "Subtle Movements Inside" has been completed. I'm very happy with the final results. SMI, as I've written here before, was inspired by an old poem and by recent events in my life. Increasingly, I'm convinced that our lives are changed not so much by outer events, or profound revelations, but if we're sensitive and attuned to it, by the subtle migration of thought and feeling—subtle movements inside. The final track on this group of songs includes a contribution of treated guitar from Bobby Jones/i've lost which takes the emotional top. Thanks to Bobby for agreeing to be a part of this release.
- My Hypnos release, "Avatara," saw the light of official release day in April. I'm very proud of this release. As a fan of Hypnos for many years, it's a real thrill to now have an official Hypnos release (thanks to Mike and Lena), and to make it even more special, to have that release complemented by Kati Astraeir's artwork on the outside and inside covers.
- In May, I also launched my own label, Pioneer Light Music, with the re-release of my 2008 album, "SoulSpiral." "SS" was simplified a bit and re-mastered a lot. The second track "WorldMaker" bears probably the most significant changes, being a bit more spacious, dense and dark than the original. I was proud of the original release, but am even more pleased with the re-released version, including the new art. Thanks to Greg M/eyescastdown for a wonderful in-depth review of "SoulSpiral." PL will house the re-release of all my now deleted AtmoWorks solo releases...as well as some special releases like the upcoming, "Upwelling," which consists of tracks done while testing equipment, some done while working on other albums, alternate versions of some free uploads and a re-working of a track from "Avatara." I currently have the agreement of Mike G. at Hypnos to release PL releases on CDr via the Hypnos store, and Bruno Sanfilippo and Max Corbacho to sell these releases in FLAC format via their ad21music.com store. We're still working to make this a reality, but I'll make sure to let everyone know when these are available.
- I had my 5th airing on Hearts of Space last weekend, with the track, "The Eternal She" from "She Covers the Sky," on the "Timescapes" edition. Having been a fan of this show for many years, and having memories of hearing music like Steve Roach and VidnaObmana's "Well of Souls" for the first time, it's a thrill to be featured on this perennial radio show. Thanks to Steve Davis and Stephen Hill for their continued interest and support.
- Coming up in July, my collaboration with Dean Richards/Disturbed Earth, "What is Memory?" will be on Relaxed Machinery. I'd say that this this album shows more of Dean's own stylistic characteristics than my own, but as always, it's an interesting blend of the two. Dean also supplied the photos for the cove.r More on this as we get closer to release date...
- I need to add... Love and appreciation, as always, goes out to my wife, Jill, for her unwavering respect, support and inspiration. And love and appreciate to my animal companions and mentors, Nadja and Miette.
- Putting finishing touches on "The Great Hoop," a disk inspired by the Native Americans of the Great Planes of the United States. All my life, my imagination has been fired by the history and the geography of this area, and by the history of the Native Americans of this area (of all the Americas). It was a real dream come true to be able to make this album, because of this lifelong fascination. While these people still exist in this area of the U.S., and their past and current history is sometimes shaded with tragedy and sadness, I chose to honor the power and on-going legacy of their Spirit and traditions with this music. I feel that in this music, you can hear the grand spaces the natural power and beauty of the planes, woodlands, wetlands and foothils that were so much a part of their lives. I used several flutes for this album, along with rattles, shakers, medicine drum, bone whistle, clay bird whistle, voice and keyboard textures. Not sure when TGH will see a release date yet. Maybe early 2012?
- "Avatara" should be out on Hypnos very soon. I think Mike said it's at Disk Makers now. Very excited about this. Following shortly afterwards will be the re-release of "SoulSpiral" on my own private label, "Pioneer Light." I've created PL to house my re-releases and for special releases. JKN has kindly offered to let PL live on the rM site, and to let PL releases be "in association" with rM. I very much appreciate that offer!
- Later in 2011... My collaboration with Dean Richards/Disturbed Earth, "What is Memory?" on rM, and the solo release, "Subtle Movements Inside" (a track on this disk includes a contribution from Bobby Jones/i've lost), and another Pioneer Light release called, "Upwelling," an album consisting of remixes, edits and unique one-off tracks that were recorded during the making of other albums. A couple were free tracks, but I've since remixed them and re-mastered them. More to come...
- Watching rM.ning grow and expand in the past not-quite-a-year has been amazing. I personally have never seen a social site quite like this one, with input from fans, visual, sound and written words artists, from all over the globe. I'm very proud to be a part of it. For me, it's a mirror changes that we're seeing in the world in-general, where people can come from all over the world, freely contribute their varied individual skills, strengths and interests, thereby enriching the whole...a global ambient society. ;-)
- Putting the finishing touches on the Hypnos release of "Avatara" with Mike G. This is a continuous piece and Mike has been adding tags to make individual pieces. The cover uses some of Kati's wonderful artwork, as well. Some sounds were contributed by Matt Hillier/Ishq and Charity Masters/Holon. So fun to have all these people working together on this release. This should be coming very soon.
- Mid-year, my collaboration with Dean Richards/Disturbed Earth, "What is Memory?" will be released on relaxedMACHINERY. For WiM?, files were traded back and forth between Melbourne and the U.S. at least 4 times, with Dean remixing my sounds, I remixed Dean's sounds, and once again, Dean remixed those sounds. The result is rich and emotive, highly textured long form piece. Dean contributed some photography for the cover.
- Well, not quite the last day of 2010, but close enough. First, please accept my wishes to all my friends and new acquaintances on rM.ning for a peaceful, prosperous (in whatever way you wish) and potentially powerful 2011. I'm privileged to be a part of such a wonderfully diverse community of creative minds. Thanks for being.
- Lots of new materials and ideas came forth during 2010. New music, new ideas for how to make music, new avenues for my music, new expressions that point to the future, new idea for what music means to me. Some changes took me by surprise (sort of), and others arrived right on time. I had my bags packed and was waiting for the train to arrive...in most cases. New potentials popped up, old potentials (and relationships) either continued their steady climb, or dropped away...and I accept either as things working as they should. While there were a few obvious outward developments, I have feeling that the majority of changes took place were on a more personal, inward level. I learned that force and pushing for outcomes is really a way of closing myself off...period. It's good to have a vision, an idea, but often, there are grander outcomes I might never have imagined or foreseen and I need to be open to those. I learned that, just as with the creation of my music, if I am true to the feeling that gave birth to the idea, that I am working WITH and not against, things take on a life of their own. I learned that sometimes old relationships, old thought patterns and ways of being, need to be let go of, even though they might be familiar and the process can be uncomfortable and even painful...sometimes we/I have to put something down to pick something new up. I learned the value of honoring...beginning with myself. I was and am faced with questions. Will you be sovereign. What will that look like. What will that mean. What does it mean to me. Great questions. I hope I can accept the answers! Having done a lot of inner work (which I'm sure has only begun), I look for my external world to reflect some of those changes in 2011. As always, more to come...