New Palancar release: Yurushiiro

coverI am proud to announce the release of my latest Palancar album:  Yurushiiro.

I am a Wikipedia geek. Yes, I admit it. One of my favorite pastimes is to go to the Wikipedia home page, hit the random link, start reading a base article, and then see where I end up. Often times I pass through quite a bewildering sequence of topics, usually ending up in quite a different place than where I started. Which is, of course, half the fun.

During one of these virtual journeys, I came across this interesting page, which describes the traditional colors of Japan, including which colors were reserved for the nobility (“kinjiki”) versus those that the common person could use (“yurushiiro”):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_colors_of_Japan

To be honest, it had never occurred to me that a country might have a formal national color palette. Such an fascinating idea. And of course the colors spoke to me, very reserved, subtle, orderly, and ancient, as one might expect when describing Japan.

Which inspired a thought: what if I was to create a series of pure ambient pieces and then see which color reminded me of which track, or conversely, which tracks reminded me of which color? Sort of a weak form of synesthesia. Well, this album, called Yurushiiro, is the result of that process.

I hope you enjoy the music as much as I enjoyed making it.

Robert Rich – Filaments

a0377898230_10I often make it a habit at bed time to drift off to some good ambient music.  I love giving this kind of music the sort of deep listen that can only happen when there are zero sensory distractions, just as much as I love the experience of ‘falling into the music’ as I glide off to dreamland.  If you haven’t tried this yourself, I heartily encourage it.  Just take care to ensure you aren’t listening at too high a volume.

Anyway, last night I was looking for something different to drift off to and decided to listen to some Robert Rich and semi-randomly picked Filaments, his extraordinary 2015 release.

Needless to say, I did not get much sleep, because the music transfixed me.  I’m a long-time fan of Robert’s music and have heard pieces from Filaments many times, but never before have I listened end-to-end, nor have I ever before listened to this level of depth.

Folks, all I can say is that Robert Rich clearly qualifies as a genius.  There are layers of structure in this music that can only be heard when you thoroughly immerse yourself in it.  The bass lines that build slowly over minutes so you notice they repeat only when you focus on them.  The astonishing vocal quality of Robert’s steel guitar play.  And those scales!  The mature and remarkably deft analog sequences that never seem to repeat and always sound fresh and new, familiar and yet exotic.  I could go on and on.

Put simply, Filaments is a master work.  If you haven’t heard it, you need to …

Organbient – Longform Ambient Compilation Volume 1

Some more work music for you, this time coming from back in 2005.  Back in that day, Scott Turner ran a weekly live electronic music program called Organbient, in which he played some of the deepest ambient music I’ve heard.  It was a great community of artists and listeners alike.  One of the coolest things that came out of that era was a compilation of longform ambient pieces that the regular artists contributed:  the Organbient Longform Ambient Compilation Volume 1.

I can’t give you a link because this album is no longer available (it was released through the now-defunct Blue Water Records).  But here is a small sampling of the artists:

An awesome lineup and simply wonderful ambient music.

North Hive – Gaia

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we live in magical times.  Yes, the world is deeply flawed and divided right now, but when it comes to ambient music, there has never been a better time to be alive.

One of the artists I have recently discovered is North Hive, a Russian ambient, electronic, and new age artist who puts out some of the finest music around.  Tonight, I’m listening to Gaia, a 2015 release of immense beauty and maturity.

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If you like your ambient music refined and visual, you can’t go wrong with North Hive.  Highly recommended.

Steve Roach – Skeleton Keys

If you’ve been paying attention at all to the world of electronic music, you are probably already aware of Steve Roach’s Grammy award for his magnificent album Spiral Revelation, which reflects his recent move back towards his roots in the world of analog synthesizer music.  Followed by such albums as Molecules of Motion and Electron Birth, I think it is safe to say that he is firmly back in sequencer music territory.

Well, Steve is back at the modular synth again, this time with a sublime collection of electronic ambient pieces called Skeleton Keys.

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I cannot speak highly enough of this album.  I’ve listened to it multiple times already since it was released a few days ago, and I’m just gobsmacked.  If you love Berlin School electronica, synthesizer music, or ambient music in general, you owe it to yourself to check it out.  Spectacular.

 

 

 

Darkness and Silence – Victory In Europe

It’s Hallowe’en, and so today I’m listening to dark ambience.  And folks, it simply does not get any darker than this:

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Victory In Europe by Darkness and Silence is one of the most grim and depressing pieces of music I have ever encountered. Which is to say, this album hits the mark right in the bulls-eye. This is not uplifting music to make you feel better. This is dark ambient music that reminds us of what the word ‘horror’ means. Most of all, it helps us to never forget. Brilliant work.

Also dishearteningly timely given current events.  Check it out.  With the lights out, preferably.  But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The Ambient Drones of Bill Baxter

0011134456_10It’s not often that I come across an ambient artist I haven’t already heard of.  It’s even more rare when that artist comes with an already-established catalog that is even larger than my own.  And in the case of Bill Baxter, that catalog is many times larger.  Like, incredibly large.

In fact, I can count on one hand the number of artists who are more prolific.  And yet, somehow, the music is consistently superb.  If you are a fan of deep, contemplative, hypnotic,  constantly-evolving ambient drone, then Bill Baxter is someone you should know about.

Check it out!

Craig Padilla – Below The Mountain

A-25044-1105022029.jpgToday I’m listening to Craig Padilla while I work, and – wow – what a good choice.  One of my very favorite electronic artists, Craig is one of those musicians who produces simply beautiful compositions alongside his trademark lush synthesizer timbres.   Well-rounded, mature, and thoroughly enjoyable electronic and ambient music.

One of my favorite albums by Craig is his wondrous 2008 release Below The Mountain.  Billed as “progressive ambient”, this is a collection of melodic ambience replete with gentle pulsations and lush sweeps of sound.  Just superb.

Check it out!