Sunday, March 22, 2015

Walking with Myself

Earlier this year I quickly threw together some tunes for a walk in Madison, WI.  I liked the way it sounded so much that I made a few changes and made a proper mix out of it.

Most of the music is fairly new, half are from last year, with the oldest cut being the Mojave 3 track from 2000.  As usual, most of the tracks are laid back.  Even a loud cut like JM by Strand of Oaks is slow, but awesomely loud, very Neil Young-like.

This is a mix that you can also find on my second Mixcloud profile, Elements of Sound, which I mentioned in a previous post.


T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00    DeYarmond Edison - Love Long Gone
  • 04:25    Middle East - Deep Water
  • 12:00    Field Report - Pale Rider
  • 16:50    Strand of Oaks - JM
  • 24:06    Waxahatchee - Half Moon
  • 27:13    Barr Brothers - How the Heroine Dies
  • 31:17    Damien Rice - Trusty and True
  • 38:08    Mojave 3 - In Love with a View
  • 44:00    Amateur Love - Ether Egg Hunt
  • 48:00    Blaudzun - Wingbeat
  • 51:51    Low Roar - Phantoms
  • 54:16    DeYarmond Edison - Ragstock
  • 56:44    Strand of Oaks - Pope Killdragon
  • 61:54    end

Elements of Sound

Over the past several years I've been listening to more and more "normal" music.  By normal I mean music that's not ambient or electronic.  I guess if I had to put a genre on my "normal" listening it would be "indie" which covers a lot of music.

As I said in my Best Albums of 2014 post, Spotify is a big part of my shift in listening habits.  I use it to sample new music & I follow folks who update their new releases playlists.  I'm constantly on the prowl for new music.  It's gotten to be a bit of an obsession really.

I've already done some mixes which stray from the normal ambient path, like Slowcoustic, Always & Forever.  I will hopefully be doing more mixes that dip into my indie playlists.  Hopefully some louder mixes too.  If anyone is interested here is my Spotify profile where you can find a bunch of playlists...

Spotify Profile

Low Light Mixes has been part of the Mixcloud community for about 5 years.  And because Mixcloud likes to put couldcasts into specific categories I thought it would be cool to add a second Mixcloud profile specifically for mixes that are not as ambient as others.  So here's the link to my new Mixcould profile, Elements of Sound...

EoS on Mixcloud

The new profile doesn't really change much for visitors to this blog because most of what I post on the two Mixcloud pages will be available here.  If you like what you hear from Low lIght Mixes and Elements of Sound let your friends know.  The new EoS profile can use the extra plays and new followers, it trails the Low Light page but about 31,000 followers.  Haha.


Sunday, March 01, 2015

the quiet winter sun

This mix was started because of one new tune - "Witch Season" from the new Infraction release by Offthesky and Pleq.  I love that track and what better way to tell people about it than a new mix.

With that song as a starting point things fell into place very nicely.  All the music in the mix is fairly recent.  Most is from 2014 or 2015 with the exception of the cut from The New Honey Shade which is from 2011.

The mix as a whole is pretty straight forward ambient.  Straight forward but awesome ambient.  I love the tracks from dirk serries, tonepoet, The Circular Ruins, Janek Schaefer, Spheruleus...oh heck, I adore every cut in this mix.

All of the albums used in this mix are available on Bandcamp so I'll link to them here in order of appearance in the  mix...


T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00    Offthesky and Pleq - Witch Season
  • 04:57    dirk serries - cloud surface break
  • 11:11    Janek Schaefer - Beyond
  • 16:16    The New Honey Shade - Sun is Elixir
  • 19:00    The Circular Ruins - Full Circle
  • 27:30    Coppice Halifax - lowlights
  • 34:05    Experiments in Silence - duskforms
  • 38:50    Man Watching the Stars - Midday
  • 49:40    tonepoet - Showers of Lilac
  • 54:00    Spheruleus - The Railroad
  • 1:01:27    Experiments in Silence - Nascent Light
  • 1:06:53    end

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Morning Music vol. 10 - To Heal

Here's the latest in the Sunday Morning Music series.  And as usual it follows a similar path to its predecessors - little bit of quiet vocals, little bit of jazz, little bit of classical, little bit of everything.

The first track in the mix is from DeYarmond Edison, which is Justin Vernon's first band from 2005.  Vernon is the man behind Bon Iver.  He's a fellow Wisconsonite that hit the big time with his For Emma album back in 2007.  I discovered the DeYarmond Edison album while doing some Bon Iver research and found that it is an excellent album.  Vernon is also a member of Volcano Choir, which has a cut in this mix as well.  I have a Justin Vernon mix in the works.  It will feature his music along with music from the many artists he has connections with.

As much as I like that first track, the highlight of this mix for me is the Kate Bush tune, Snowflake, from her wonderful album, 50 Words for Snow.  She sings the song from the point of view of a snowflake,  I only used about half of the song in the mix.

A couple of others favorite tunes in this mix are Ladder in Place from rf, very bright and happy.  I have always loved the Underworld cut, To Heal and used it as part of the title for this installment of the Sunday series.  And finally, the Daryll Hall tune at the end from his offbeat collaboration with Robert Fripp is another fav.

Other mixes on the horizon include a space rock mix, ambient dub, breathing, time dilation, Americana,  sea music and the previously mentioned Justin Vernon Family Tree mix.


[ s t r e a m ]   [ d o w n l o a d ]   [ i t u n e s ]

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    DeYarmond Edison - Time to Know
  • 05:56    Pink Floyd - Things Left Unsaid
  • 08:27    Underworld - To Heal
  • 10:15    Black Elk - III_IV
  • 15:05    Kate Bush - Snowflake
  • 19:55    Gem Club - Red Arrow(john)
  • 22:40    rf - Ladder in PLace
  • 26:15    Kjell Anderson - Broadway Valetine
  • 28:57    Volcano Choir - Husks and Shells
  • 32:00    Penguin Cafe Orchestra - Air
  • 35:50    Piers Faccini & Vincet Segall - A Half of Me
  • 40:00    Dublin Guitar Quartet - Mishima V
  • 43:28    Moon Ate the Dark - She Swimming
  • 46:30    Labradford - P
  • 55:25    Daryl Hall - Without Tears
  • 58:17    end

Sunday, February 01, 2015

fripp_2015 by Ambient Landscape

A couple of posts ago I mentioned a favorite new ambient blog - Ambient Landscape.  I visit quite often, usually finding new music, interesting links and good mixes.

I reached out to Gene, who runs the blog and asked if he would do a guest mix for Low Light and I'm happy to say that he agreed.  The result is this Robert Fripp themed mix - "fripp_2015."

I love listening to well done mixes where I'm not entirely familiar with all the tunes.  That way everything just blends seamlessly, one track into another, I can't tell where one begins and another ends.  Being a long time Fripp fan, any mix that features his music immediately gets my attention and this one does that and more.  This is a great collections of tunes whether you're a Fripp fan or not.

Check out the Ambient Landscape Mixcloud page as well.


Gene also likes to break his mixes into separate cuts because he doesn't always listen to a full mix and he likes to be able to access the mix at various points.  So in addition to the normal download above I'll provide a link to a zip file with the mix broken up into 5 individual cuts.  Here's the link...

T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00    Marcus Fischer - Nearly There
  • 04:43    1605_Munro - Oscila34 (feat. Robert Fripp)
  • 12:33    Microvolt - Dissipate
  • 16:12    Theo Travis & Robert Fripp - Improvisation.1
  • 19:51    Illuha - Relative Hyperbolas of Amplified and Decaying Waveforms
  • 28:25    Marcus Fischer - Monocoastal (Part 2)
  • 34:23    Metropole Orkest & Robert Fripp - Pie Jesu
  • 43:37    Johan Troch - The Enlightened
  • 47:05    Peter Davidson - Grand Theft Saucer 1960
  • 50:29    Robert Fripp - My Mother's Birthday
  • 53:40    Frore - A Name On The Wind
  • 61:25    Robert Fripp - Affirmation_Imac
  • 67:18    Robert Fripp - Let The Power Fall/1987
  • 78:27    Memnon Sa - Titans Sleep
  • 83:08    A Produce - The Golden Needle
  • 89:36    end

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Points of Departure

a beginning
an expedition is launched
springs into being
the journey begins

This is a follow up to an earlier mix Leaving the Station, which had a train theme.  I had several people ask if I was planning on a follow up and, well, here it is.

My favorite track in this mix is El Divisadero by Chris Watson from his wonderful field recording album, El Tren Fantasma.  I've used this track before but it's so awesome I just had to use it here.

Another track in this mix that I've used before is Dialing in the Sun by Paul Ellis.  It's an excellent berlin school cut that has this great clicky-clack sound that works perfectly here.

The rest of the mix is a collection of old(Richard Pinhas) and new(Andy Stott) cuts.

On a side note, I don't know if anyone has noticed but embedded in each mp3 for download is the mix tracklist.  So if you're playing it on your phone or on some pc players, you should be able to see the tracklist when the mix is playing.

Other mixes coming soon, or maybe I should say sometime this year, a sort of jazz mix, a new age massage mix, a sci fi mix, a dubby mix, a space rock mix, guest mixes and many more I haven't even thought of yet.


[ s t r e a m ]   [ d o w n l o a d ]   [ i t u n e s ]

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    Edinburgh - City Streets and Train Station
  • 00:40    The Elf Machine - Asymmetric Transition
  • 03:27    Arovane - Passage to Nagoya
  • 05:15    Locust - I'll Be There
  • 08:57    Forrest Fang - Bothered
  • 12:27    Paul Ellis - Dialing in the Sun
  • 17:45    Chris Watson - El Divisadero
  • 22:00    Circular - Synchronus
  • 29:00    The Black Dog - Exhibit 1.1
  • 33:20    Function and Vatican Shadow - Things Unknown
  • 40:20    Dub Tractor - More or Less Mono
  • 44:08    The Field - Arpeggiated Love
  • 48:55    Richard Pinhas - Melodic Simple Transition
  • 52:15    Andy Stott - Science and Industry
  • 57:57    Torn Hawk - She Happens
  • 1:02:55    Ten and Tracer - Figure and Ground
  • 1:06:05    Deepchord - Day's End
  • 1:08:11    end

Saturday, January 03, 2015

into the fog

This mix started with two discoveries.  First I found a great ambient blog called Ambient Landscape.  I have found lots of music through the site, most notably the fantastic album by Dylan Howe, New Designs on Bowie's Berlin, which made it on to my year end lists.

The second discovery that inspired this mix was a series from Aural Films called Fog Music.  I believe they up to 25 releases which you find here...FOG MUSIC.  There's some nice stuff in there & I liked to whole concept of "Fog Music," not too far off the "sea" mixes I've done before.

So that's where this started.  From there I looked for other foggy tunes.  I'm not a big fan of dark, dissonant ambient that might typically get used for fog music.  I think the collection here works pretty well.


[ s t r e a m ]   [ d o w n l o a d ]   [ i t u n e s ]

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00    foghorns & stuff
  • 01:00    Todd Peck - Into the Mist
  • 03:30    Optical Frameworks - Surrounded Fog
  • 06:20    Maps & Diagrams - Fog Signalling
  • 07:55    echospace - Vector Vapor
  • 09:00    36 - Mist
  • 11:30   Chihei Hatakeyama - A House in the Fog
  • 13:10    Loscil - Vapor
  • 17:06    Brian Eno - Events in Dense Fog
  • 20:45    Laocoon - Mist
  • 26:20    Wolfgang Gsell - February Fog
  • 32:00    Shaded Explorer - Sea Mist
  • 37:10    Sam Rosenthal and vidnaObmana - Dark Mist, Rain
  • 40:30     Thomas Koner - Vasabron, Stockholm
  • 44:10    James Johnson - House of Mist
  • 47:50    ASC - Behind the Veil
  • 53:50    Jeff Greinke - Over Water
  • 1:01:12    end

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Overtones & Nocturnes

I've mentioned many times that a mix often starts with a single track that interests me and takes off from there.  In the case of this classical mix, the track is "In Spe" by Arvo Part.

I first heard the piece via YouTube & loved it right from the start.  As far as I can tell it has not been recorded for official release so the version in this mix is the performance I heard on YouTube.  You can find the original ten minute track here... In Spe, Arvo Pärt, Georgian Sinfonietta

Creating a classical mix right now works nicely because I just bought the excellent new piece by John Luther Adams - Become Ocean.  It's basically an orchestral drone piece & it's beautiful.

One of my favorite recordings of 2014, Atmos by A Winged Victory for the Sullen, makes two appearances in the mix.  It's a gorgeous record that fits perfectly in this mix.

A couple of other tracks that I was happy to squeeze into the mix are "Odi Et Amo" by Jóhann Jóhannsson and The Dublin Guitar Quartet's version of Philip Glass' "String Quartet No. 3 Mishima V."  I've always loved the Philip Glass soundtrack "Mishima" and this guitar quartet version is sublime.

I guess this will be my last mix for 2014.  I'll start a new mix right off the bat in 2015.  

I'd like to thank everyone who has been following this blog for almost 9 years now.  I've always said that I'd make mixes just for my own amusement, even if nobody else ever heard them.  But when other folks get some enjoyment out of them it makes it more fun and meaningful.  Plus it's just plain cool to have connected to people all over the world through these mixes.  Thanks!

Enjoy & Happy New Year!

T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00    Jonny Greenwood - Overtones(The Master OST)
  • 02:00    Arvo Part - In Spe(Georgian Sinfonietta recording)
  • 07:20    A Winged Victory for the Sullen - Atmos XII
  • 10:45    Valentin Silvestrov - Symphony No. 5(excerpt)
  • 14:18    Christina Vantzou - vhs
  • 18:46    Islands of Light - Goerde
  • 21:55    Ólafur Arnalds - Highway
  • 24:10    Jóhann Jóhannsson - Odi Et Amo
  • 27:10    Hildur Gudnadottir - Unveiled
  • 30:33    Vieo Abiungo - Insincerity Peeked Through Cloudlessly(Upward Arrows Remix)
  • 33:55    John Luther Adams - Become Ocean(excerpt)
  • 44:00    Nest - Far From Land
  • 48:40    A Winged Victory for the Sullen - Atmos VIII
  • 52:10    Dublin Guitar Quartet - String Quartet No. 3 Mishima V
  • 55:30    Steve Reich - Electric Counterpoint I Fast
  • 1:02:30    John Luther Adams - Become Ocean(end)
  • 1:07:09    end

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Best ambient/instrumental albums of 2014

Even though I don't listen to quite as much electronic & ambient music as I used to, I still listen to an awful lot of it.  And just like many other genres, it's difficult to keep up with all the new music.  I'm sure I missed some good releases but here is my attempt at a best of 2104 ambient/instrumental list.

It's no surprise that Loscil, Kyle Bobby Dunn and 36 are on the list.  They've all made lists in the past.  The Dirk Serries and tonepoet albums made the list because they are great examples of guitar ambient and I'm a total sucker for that style.

Full Circle by The Circular Ruins was a late season discovery thanks to the good folks at the Hypnos forum.  The first cut is a killer track.  The Janek Schaefer album, Lay-by Lullaby, is a gentle combo of road noise, field recordings, minimal music and found sounds.  

Two records here approach new age territory but manage to be engaging without being cheesy or too sweet.  One is eternell - Kalimba Ambience which uses improvisations on kalimba as the sole source material.  It's very peaceful & relaxing.  The other recording is Jordan De La Sierra - Gymnosphere: Song of the Rose.  It's a re-issue of an album originally released in 1977 at the dawn of the new age movement.  The music uses alternate piano tunings to create long, hypnotic pieces.  It's quite good.

Speaking of quite good...a unique album on the list is Dylan Howe - Subterranean - New Designs on Bowie's Berlin.  It is a collection of jazz versions of Bowie instrumentals form his Berlin period.  Freakin' excellent music!

Definitely check out the rest of the list as well, some very good stuff in there.

Another year and another hard drive full of great music.  Cheers!


1. Loscil - Sea Island
2. Dylan Howe - Subterranean - New Designs on Bowie's Berlin
3. Janek Schaefer - Lay-by Lullaby
4. tonepoet - Headspace
5. A Winged Victory For The Sullen - Atomos
6. Dirk Serries - The Origin Reversal
7. The Circular Ruins - Full Circle
8. Kyle Bobby Dunn - Kyle Bobby Dunn and the Infinite Sadness
9. Jordan De La Sierra - Gymnosphere: Song of the Rose
10. Benoît Pioulard - Hymnal Remixes
11. 36 - Dream Tempest
12. Locust - After the Rain
13. Thomas Koner - LA BARCA complete edition
14. Steve Roach - The Delicate Forever
15. ASC - Truth Be Told
16. eternell - Kalimba Ambience
17. Christopher Willits - opening
18. Brian Reitzell - Auto Music
19. Dirty Beaches - Stateless
20. Tangerine Dream - Sorcerer(Cinematographic Score)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Best albums of 2014

2014 was another year where I continued to listen to more "normal" music than ambient or electronic music.  

Part of the shift in my tastes can be directly attributed to Spotify.  I listen to Spotify at work a lot and I have used it more and more to discover new music.  I keep a playlist called "2014 albums worth listening to" that now has 3874 tracks in it.  Not all the albums in there are great or even good, really.  The playlist is just a collection of things in my wheelhouse.  I'm constantly on the prowl for new things to add to it.

On Tuesday when new music is released, I go here...  to find out what's new and if it looks interesting I sample it on Spotify & maybe add it to a playlist.  Finding new music has become close to an obsession over the past couple of years and with so much stuff out there and ease of access, it's a great time for music lovers.

Most of the albums on this list you can probably find on lots of other indie lists like NPR, Consequence of Sound, Pitchfork, etc.  A couple records not on the national lists are from Wisconsin bands, Phox & Field Report.  Both record for the fine label, Partisan Records, as does Sylvan Esso which came in at #9 on my list.  Another album with a Wisconsin tie is Paradise Outlaw by Pieta Brown.  A beautiful, ethereal album recorded at Justin Vernon's studio in Wisconsin.

Another odd ball selection is the awesome album by Dylan Howe - Subterranean - New Designs on Bowie's Berlin.  It is a collection of jazz versions of Bowie instrumentals from his Berlin period.  I love this record!  Find it & buy it here...

I included Loscil - Sea Island on this list, even though it's electronic not indie, because it's very, very good and deserved to be on both lists.

The only other album that doesn't fit under the indie umbrella is Piers Faccini & Vincent Segal - Songs of Time Lost.  It's a subtle record of soft vocals, guitar and cello.  If you like Nick Drake you will love this record.

The rest of the list is all variations of indie music, some loud, some soft, some electric, some acoustic, some straight forward and some a bit more odd - all of it good stuff worth the effort of seeking out.

What were your most played albums this year?  Please post any favorites in the comments.  I'll also be posting a list of ambient/electronic favs.

BEST OF 2014:

  1. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream
  2. Damien Jurado - Brothers & Sisters of the Eternal Son
  3. Field Report - Marigolden
  4. The Rural Alberta Advantage - Mended with Gold
  5. Phox - Phox
  6. Strand of Oaks - HEAL
  7. Dylan Howe - Subterranean - New Designs on Bowie's Berlin
  8. Pieta Brown - Paradise Outlaw
  9. Sylvan Esso - Sylvan Esso
 10. Phantogram - Voices
 11. The Antlers - Familiars
 12. Saintseneca - Dark Arc
 13. Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy
 14. The Barr Brothers - Sleeping Operator
 15. Real Estate - Atlas
 16. St. Vincent - St. Vincent
 17. Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots
 18. Eno & Hyde - Someday World
 19. Blaudzun - Promises of No Man's Land
 20. Bill Callahan - Have Fun With God
 21. Loscil - Sea Island
 22. Warpaint - Warpaint
 23. Piers Faccini & Vincent Segal - Songs of Time Lost
 24. Gem Club - In Roses
 25. alt-J - This Is All Yours