Thursday, November 29, 2012
End of November 2012 sees the re-release of my "Night Works" album on ...txt recordings..
Last year Night Works was the first release on the new Lee Norris inprint ...txt, the label was set
up to specialize in ambient music and so far has gone onto release music albums from Solipsism,
Nacht Plank, and recently an album from Ishq..
This special edition release of "Night Works" features all new artwork a previously unreleased track
an alternative running order. The album is also in a mixed/sequenced format or gapless audio and
limited to 50 numbered CD's.
Night Works as the title suggest is a collection of tracks which were conceived in the twighlight
hours between 2008 & 2011 which venture from dark soundtrack inspired ambience to environmental drones.
Order CD direct from the ...txt shop
or download from bandcamp
Sunday, November 25, 2012
On November the 8th 2012 Peter Kuhlmann AKA Pete Namlook passed away leaving a permanent void within the ambient/electronic music world.. Pete Namlook is probably the most prolific electronic music artist ever with well over 100 CD albums including solo work under a dizzying array of aliases and genres and many collaborations with some of the most influential names in electronic music, from ex Tangerine Dream member Klause Schulze, to Herbie Hancock producer Bill Laswell and with one of dance musics biggest exports Richie Hawtin and many more, all of which have released on Pete's cult label Fax..
Although Peter is probably best known for many of his ambient creations during the early to mid 90's ambient techno boom, Pete was never really comfortable with the tag "Ambient" he preferred the term "Environmental" as he got most of his early musical inspiration from nature.
In his early years Pete enjoyed sitting by rivers and finding a rhythm within the flowing water were he could attempt to play his guitar in sync with the streams. Pete's further musical inspirations came from psychedelic rock masters Pink Floyd and the classical chamber music of Bach, he also grew great inspiration from early subharmonic electronic master Oskar Sala along with many jazz masters.
In the early nineties Pete became exposed to the dance music explosion that swept across Europe and into his homeland of Germany. Pete began to make his own techno and trance etc, with a vision of releasing 12" vinyl with a slamming techno track on one side and one of his environmental tracks on the other. He wanted to give the DJ's something that could be played in clubs, chillout rooms and at home.
Many of the labels he went to in Berlin, Frankurt etc, were not really interested in mixing the styles in this way, so after some frustration in 1992 Peter set up Fax +49-69/450464 his first release was a limited 12" under the alias of True Colours with Non Eric, Pascal F.E.O.S. within the year Pete had released several techno/trance 12" releases under various alias from Subsequence to Hearts Of Space some of which were collaborations with some well known DJ's, many of which made quite an impact on the German club scene.
It was his first full length ambient masterpiece with Dr Atmo under the Silence alias that really introduced the world to Pete's ambient side. Due to the success of Silence and a rather limited initial run Pete liscensed the album to UK electronica label Rising High, which lead to another cult collaboration with Mixmaster Morris AKA The Irresistible force called Dreamfish in 1993 and to worldwide acclaim. Pete also licenced many releases to other labels like Instinct in the U.S and Music Man Records and Belgium's Mighty R&S offshoot Apollo.. In later years Pete took 100% control of the label and no longer licensed Fax releases.
By the end of 1993 the Fax label was regularly releasing 12"s and CD albums all within different
genres and aliases many were collaborations and some had nothing to do with Pete at all.
To avoid confusion the Fax label was broken up into different divisions and color coded depending on the style of music. The releases also had unique cataloging for example a release with Pete that was a collaboration from an artist outside of Germany have had the PW initial [Pete World] any that Pete had not been involved with were PS [Pete Sub] and the PK catalog was for Pete's solo work or collaborations within Germany..
PK releases left image, PW right :
The PS side of the label became a great platform for many established techno/electronica artist to release more experimental/ambient music and over the twenty years of Fax, big names like Anthony Rother, Atom Heart, Move D, Steve Stoll, Spacetime Continumm, along with many more and lesser known artist got an oppurtunity to release on the label.
PS releases :
Also the Ambient World label was set up to re-issue any releases which where in high demand but out of print on the Fax label. These AW releases add unique artwork which separated them from the minimalistic yet iconic circular images that identified the original Fax material.
So right through the 90's Pete and his label continued to release an incredible amount of electronic music covering a dizzying amount of genres, sometimes releasing two or three releases a month. By the end of the 90's the ambient trend had died off somewhat and illegal downloading and sharing was a new problem for many labels so Fax became a little less prolific and began to release more manageable numbers, maybe only eight albums a year.
While many music journalists and music fans had written off the ambient genre as a place where no new ground could be covered Pete continued to bring new levels within the scene mixing up jazzed out drum and bass with Atom Heart on the Jet Chamber series, mixing up classic space ambient with IDM intricacies on SHADO with The Higher Intelligence Agency along with many more ground breaking releases..
By the mid to late naughties, technology was marking the end of physical formats, but Pete continued to push his music on CD now in limited numbers of anywhere between 1,000 or 300 copies depending on the project but yet he also experimented with new formats like the MP3 CD, where you could get a complete series like Jet Chamber or Silence on one disc or the DTS CD which Pete was now releasing all his PK releases mixed in 5.1 audio along with a stereo mix CD.
While many people will remember Pete and Fax just for the seminal ambient music of the early to mid 90's I find this somewhat unfair. The label had released just about any kind of music that could be made with electronic instruments along with eastern and traditional jazz instrumentation and beyond.
Another very unique element to Fax and Pete Namlook was the fact that he handled almost every aspect of his business, orders could placed directly from Pete via email, there was always a friendly and personal connection with him.
Many orders came with a greeting card and a personal message like "Enjoy the summer Mick, greetings from Germany", signed Peter, or in the past I received plant seeds which came with advice from Pete on how best to grow them or bonus CD's I wasn't expecting. Pete was actively involved in the Fax forum on Discogs, and enjoyed getting into lengthy discussions with the fans directly. It was these personal touches that really separated him from other artists and showed his rather humble and generous side.
Pete and his label continued to redefine electronic music right up to his untimely and deeply sad passing this year and the legacy he has left behind will continue to be a timeless stirring of emotions.
R.I.P Peter Kuhlmann, you are sadly missed.
For a full comprehensive look at Fax and its output check out Fax @ discogs or namlook.de
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
November 2012 will see the release of a new collaboration project between Myself and Lee Anthony Norris AKA Metamatics/Norken/Nacht Plank etc.. Lee rose from the UK electronica/IDM explosion of the early to mid nineties with his Metamatics alias which saw a series of 12"s and album on the seminal but now defunct yet highly respected Clear records. Lee also pioneered his own take on House and Techno under the guise of Norken and environmental ambient sounds as Nacht Plank. Lee founded the seminal Neo Ouija records in 2000.
Autumn Of Communion was born almost as quickly as the seasons themselves change..
In summer of 2012 Lee and I discussed a collaboration which could possibly convey
everything we love about electronic music, movies, the mysteries of nature/life and beyond by combining each of our own musical idiosyncrasies.
The results are a synergistic kaleidoscope of deeply atmospheric drones, lush synthwork and emotive melody with environmental touches and intricate rhythmic details which reflect a hint of classic 90's ambient/electronica but displays a strong unique identity.
So the new project "Autumn Of Communion" will be release on the legendary Fax records
run by the highly prolific ambient master Pete Namlook, the label now running in its 20th year and still releasing full CD albums which is a testament to Pete's dedication as many electronic music labels struggle today with digital only releases. So I am absolutely delighted to have been fortunate enough to work with such an influential artist of mine and then to finding a home for the project with Fax has been a dream come true.
CD's can now be ordered directly from Pete Namlook
US orders are handled by ear-rational Autumn of Communion
Download from itunes
Thursday, August 9, 2012
August 2012 will see the final release of my "Early MC303 Tracks" series with Volume 3,
another eleven tracks which cover a broad spectrum of electronica, from Ambient to Drum & Bass.
This collection will also include some bonus tracks if you purchase the the full album from bandcamp.
Seen as this is the final chapter in the series I'm also selling it at the special price of €3.03.
Again it has been great fun yet challenging at times to return to these old tracks and breath new life into them but now I feel I can finally move on to my new projects.
Hope you enjoy this early chapter in my music production career..
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
In March 2012 I released my “Early MC303 Tracks 1996 to 1998 Volume One”.A collection of tracks which showcased my early productions which covered many genres within the electronic music spectrum. For Volume One I mainly selected tracks from my minidisc recordings archive as many of the tracks were no longer stored on my MC303's memory. From these original recordings I edited and mastered them in Ableton live.
So after the success of Volume One, July 2012 will see the release of Volume Two. This time many of the tracks sequences were still contained within the MC303’s memory so I was fortunate enough to be able to re-record many of the tracks into Ableton and mix and arrange within the program.
I have been very strict to not get lost using Ableton’s wide range of features and FX so I kept the tracks original feel by staying within the restriction of the MC303's architecture, so I only used the maximum of eight track sequencing, two simulataneous effects and low pass filters etc.. just like the MC303.
One or two of the tracks also feature the mighty Korg Prophecy
which I added to my set up in early 1998 but using the MC303 to sequence on one channel only due to the Prophecy’s monophonic and single timbral system.
Again it has been great fun revisiting these tracks and brings me back to a time when I was still listening to so much music and drawing inspiration from many genres which is clearly evident in both collections. I’m still very proud of most these tracks and it is great to be able to release these early recordings finally, something that has been nagging in my conscience for many years.
Saturday, June 30, 2012
The album was a beautiful collection of layered soundscapes which covered environmental, ambient, field recordings and glitch and beyond..
July 2012 see's the releases of Nacht Plank "Maria Sabina Cubensis" a strictly limited edition CD remix album. 10 pieces mixed into a melting kaleidoscope of organic cubensis.. windswept weathered tones tangled with memories of a forgotton past forge the new nacht plank album into a sea of an enviromental jumble sale... Human contribtutions from myself, Sense and Tim Koch..Otherworld mixes from Craig Murphy, Joel Tammik and Wil Bolton..Offshore interference from Coppice Halifax, Arbee and Env(itre) and Japanese nuclear scientist Shintaro Aoki..
limited to 50 numbered cds
Pre order now by emailing email@example.com
Available soon from ...txt Shop
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Back in 2008 Neo Ouija records released "Diaspora Cottage Industries 5" a massive double disc collection of high qaulity tracks which showcased many of Neo Ouija's previous artists along with some highly established artist like Move D, Benjamin Brunn. On CD one, Macedonian based new comer Dimitar Dodovski's "Aluminium Bend" really stood out with its infectious dub riffs and pristine soulful nod to Detroit techno.
Some time later through various social networking an opportunity arrived where I was asked to remix the track for a possible future EP release. The first draft I sent was a sort of minimal ambient dub techno mix, it was pointed out to me that the version was a little loopy or static with the drumwork. I planned to re-work additional edits and tweaks to my original idea.
Returning to the track I felt maybe I should move away altogether from the regular 4/4 structure and worked on a more lively looser feel with a slight Latin vibe which complimented the original elements and the additional parts I had worked on. Thanks to Dimitar's guidance the remix turned out to be amongst my favorites.
The "Aluminium Bend" EP is to be released on the Japanese based Lantern Records on June 29th along with a remix from Mark Thibideau.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Generally my albums have been very much within the ambient spectrum but over the years I have been working on other genres of electronic music like house and techno which is were my interest in electronic music first stemmed.
In the late eighties I got hooked on acid house and techno, so anything from Mr Fingers to 808 state where frequently on my walkman, also around that period I was experiencing the strains of the embryonic Irish club scene, regularly venturing into legendary Dublin clubs like Sides DC. Through the nineties and naughties I still consumed plenty of techno,deep house etc and also produced a rather healthy amount groove based tracks.
So in May 2012 I'll release "Transitions" exclusively through bandcamp
which showcases a selection of my more upbeat orientated material.
The title "Transitions" seemed fitting as currently my personal life is in something of a transitional period, plus the music is something of a change to what I'm more associated with plus I see it as transitional phase for the way I'm now distributing some of my music, taking control 100% by releasing through bandcamp..
Purchase Album here "Transitions"
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Greek based net label this-side release their second in the resurge series
on this-side down which usually focuses on their downtempo tracks.
This time "Resurge Two" focuses on the more upbeat electro flavoured side of things.
Likos serves up a slice of unique and sleazy electro funk with "Late Nites"
Lee Fraged delivers some deep and atmospheric future funk on "Helix"
Track three features an exclusive track from myself titled "Alive With Wires"
which finishes of the electro tinged EP nicely..
You can download the EP for free from here Resurge Two
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Originally released as part of a limited CD compilation to help promote an electro club night in Dublin called "Neuromantek" the CD also featured tracks from Decal, Skkatter and many more Irish producers..
My concept behind the track at the time was to juxtaposition traditional electro/dance themes amongst a sombre or melancholic atmosphere, so if the sample "Check This Out" seems somewhat out of place, it is meant to be a metaphor for how lonely people can be while out clubbing etc : )
Sunday, March 4, 2012
From the early nineties I dreamed of producing my own electronic music after hearing that acts like LFO, Orbital etc had produced much of their work from small bedroom studios. After much investigation in to the equipment they used, I realised that it would not be so cheap to obtain the equipment needed, at this time analogue synths were still the only way to create these sounds as digital synthesis seemed to be for experienced programmers.
It wasn’t until the mid 90’s that a new breed of digital kit started to emerge, gone were the unfathomable interfaces of the DX7 and the mega expensive sampling workstations like the Fairlight. Companies like Roland started to realise that musicians wanted the ease of use that analogue kit gave, plenty of knobs for instant real-time manipulation and control.
One piece of kit caught my eye, The Roland MC303, my understanding at the time was that this machine was part bass line emulator of Roland’s classic TB303 acid box and their famous 909 and 808 drum machines. The price seemed reasonable, I thought great! I can learn how to program drums and play basslines etc and eventually progress to another synth for more sounds but when I got it home I discovered it had much more, Piano’s, Strings, Pads, Leads, FX and an eight track sequencer!!
Out of the box and with a few days of getting to grips with its basics the MC303 was an instant dance music machine with some obvious trance/dance preset sounds and sequences, but if you dug a little deeper and avoided the presets other styles were possible.
Listening back I still get that sense of creative innocence within the compositions and production, maybe that was due to the MC303's limitations or my new found artistic endeavours? but I feel I its appropriate to pay respect to the little grey box that paved the way for many more budding producers in the mid to late nineties.
Friday, March 2, 2012
In September 2011 the Icelandic based Moller records released Skurkens Debut album "Gilsbakki", after the first listen I was yet again left speechless by Iceland's electronic music output.
Skurken AKA Jóhann Ómarsson is also one half of Sk/um along with Þorsteinn Konráð Ólafsson AKA Prince Valium who released the beautiful "I Þágu Fallsins" album back in 2003.
Some of the many highlights from "Gilsbakki" include:
The opener "Romer" is a rather melancholic piano composition that sits tastefully with some minimal downtempo electronic grooves and the addition of some very emotive chord changes gives you a sense of the beautiful environment which it was created in.
"Rafting" follows up wonderfully as it continues to wrap you in comforting warm keys, some electro like drum and bass grooves kick in and a melodic growling bassline gives the track some solid presence, again plenty of changes in key and infectious melodic bliss displays Johann's heartfelt compositional skills.
"Dircuits" effortlessly blends IDM beats dark vibes, guitar with melodic acidic lines, almost sounding like Plaid jamming with French easy listening duo
Air. Next we have the beautiful but short fantasy piece "Welschmerz sumar" which certainly wouldn’t sound of place on the Donny Darko soundrack or the latest Tim Burton epic.
"Kannaski" introduces a haunting soundscape with poly rhythmic grooves which transform into more acidic loveliness and smooth key lines, the introduction of some strumming guitar chords adds an emotive folk feel and then we are taken away on layers of heavenly synth arps, possibly the finest moment on the album ?
"Bistisbo" is another beauty with its comforting lullaby vibes and soaring strings and rather low slung bass mixed with some Boards Of Canada influences. Track eleven "Utvortis" is another contender for the best track on the album, which mixes a beautiful cello section and warm melodic electronics along with what sounds like R2D2 conversing in the background.
The final track "Uppaslir" leaves us with an epic uplifting futuristic ambient vibe with an almost Vangelis meets BOC feel.
Over all the album has an incredible sense of emotion which at times is very melancholic and uplifting and there's enough diversity and experimentalism to keep the hardcore IDM fans happy, while there are plenty of moments where many of his influences are clearly evident from AFX to orbital etc, but "Gilsbakki " never loses its strong sonic identity.
Essential listening for fans of Plaid, Aphex Twin, Kettel etc..
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
"Soul Ideals" is one of those tracks which has been floating around since the early naughties, Inspired by the early house sound of artists like Larry Heard etc, or so I've been told, it fits more into the downtempo/home listening arena..
The EP came about after I uploaded the track to soundcloud and posted it on facebook, after many requests for remixing the original I felt I had a really nice collection of remixes which took the original to a wider audience and I set about finding a home for a possible release. Eventually the collection landed with Irish based NiceandNasty records.
So the EP opens with the stunning rework from Dave Anderson [ferox] clocking in at over nine minutes, Dave weaves some incredible freestyle funky lead work around some of the source material along with his own tech grooves and production..
Next we have Monsieur Electonique AKA Dimitris Pataras from Athens Greece, giving it a minimalistic intricate techno feel but keeping the focus on emotion.
Iceland's Arni Gretar, AKA Futuregrapher injects a retro-futuristic Detroit vibe full of classic 909 programming and spine tingling atmospherics.
Finally we have two remixes from Florida based Phasen, who's no stranger to Niceand Nasty and the sister label DXR. Ryans mix [Phasen's Ambient Idealism] focuses on deep emotion and deep house grooves, if you can imagine Vangelis meets The Art of Noise meets The Timewriter you're halfway there.
Phasen again shows his incredible talent both with his keywork and beautiful production values.. The Reprise is a beat less version of his remix with additional piano keys and other worldliness.
The "Soul Ideals" EP is out now [digital only] from all the usual stores.