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!

The ambience of Sarana

Some more work music for you, this time from prolific live ambient virtuoso Sarana.

If you haven’t listened to Sarana before, you are in for a real treat.  Sarana is Janne Särkelä, a brilliant artist who performs extended ambient sets live at concerts, raves, and online venues all over the world.  His catalog is quite extensive, and nearly all of it is available for free listening and enjoyment.

Whenever I listen to Sarana, I am struck by how he can create such enormous works that ebb and flow perfectly.  You can hear the artist playing his instruments in each piece, constructing a sound world that sounds both organic and synthetic.  And the sound design balances perfectly, always changing, always evolving, but never overpowering.  Just delightful.

Check it out!

New Palancar release: Final Theory

00-thumbnailIt’s with a great deal of pleasure that I announce the release of Final Theory, my latest solo release under the Palancar project name.

Over the past several years, I have been increasingly fascinated by the pulsing electronic music of the Berlin School. Iconic radio programs like Star’s End educated me on this style of electronica and ever since I have been trying to create music in this vein. Somehow I always ended up starting with a sequence but ending up in a quite different place altogether. This is not at all a bad thing, in my view; but it does mean that I still have not been able to fully embrace the genre.

With my latest release, Final Theory, I am again attempting to dive headlong into the Berlin School ocean. And though I branched off onto tangents in several places, I feel that this is the closest I’ve yet come to releasing an album that might be called an example of the Berlin School. How close? Well you be the judge.

However I label the style of music, I’m very proud of the result. This album represents literally years of effort, and, for the first time in a decade or more, contains more use of outboard synthesis than software synthesis, something long overdue. In addition, I started using the guitar, both six string and lap steel, in ways I have not before. To say that I had fun creating this music is to greatly understate the case.

Put simply, this album was a blast to create. I hope you enjoy hearing it as much as I did recording it.

If you’re interested, you can find the album for free download in two places:

https://archive.org/details/Palancar_Final_Theory
https://palancar.bandcamp.com/album/final-theory

 

NEEMFEST 2018

For anyone who makes electronic music, the electro-music.com site ought to be a common destination.  One of the many great things about that community is the festivals that they regularly put on at various locations throughout the year.  These festivals are sort of a combination of live concerts, seminars, workshops, breakout sessions, group meals, general mayhem, and even a Synthesizer Petting Zoo.  Who could ask for more?

The granddaddy of them all is the northeast festival, affectionally called NEEMFEST, which is going on right now.  Fortunately for those of us who couldn’t make the trip, RadioSpiral is simulcasting it live.

Check it out!