I took a few days off this week and dove deep into a pool of ambient exploration.
The ambient kick was jump-started by my discovery of several William Basinski releases I found which were missing from my collection. After tracking down copies of these albums and split seven inch records, I now have the following in my library: (please let me know if I’m missing anything)
1998 & 2007 – Shortwavemusic
2001 – Watermusic I
2002 – The Disintegration Loops I
2002 – The River
2003 – The Disintegration Loops II
2003 – The Disintegration Loops III
2003 – Untitled 7inch [w Andreas Martin & Christoph Heemann]
2003 – Watermusic II
2004 – Silent Night
2004 – The Disintegration Loops IV
2004 – Variations – A Movement In Chrome Primitive (Die Stadt)
2005 – Melancholia
2005 – The Garden of Brokenness
2006 – Variations For Piano and Tape
2007 – El Camino Real
2008 – The River (Alternative Mix)
2008 – The River [Alternative Mix]
2008 – Untitled 1-3 [with Richard Chartier]
2009 – 92982
2010 – Vivian and Ondine
2011 – A Red Score In Tile
There is also a new album pending release, titled Hymns of Oblivion. You can preview a full track on the label’s website, but I implore you – do not look it up. Basinski has changed his sound significantly and sometimes… change isn’t a good thing. I’ll sum up his new project in a few short words which should effectively dissuade you from pursuing it any further. Dreadlocks. Leather pants. Shirtless. And High-Pitched Wailing. He had a solid 10 year run, and we’ll leave it at that.
Fortunately a newer artist was there to pick up the torch with some impressive drone work I discovered from an ambient blogger. Black Swan has recorded two full length LPs to date. Black Swan (in 8 Movements) in 2010 and The Quiet Divide in April of 2011.
Both were released by Experimedia and make for a most satisfying listen. A word of caution, however – this is not blissful easy-listening ambience. Black Swan is dark and melancholy, but hauntingly beautiful.
Another collection I’d been meaning to acquire for a few years now is the Dark Side of the Moog series. Pete Namlook, Klaus Schulze (and Bill Laswell on select albums) collaborated to produce 10 albums between 1994 and 2005, each with a title playing off the recordings of Pink Floyd.
After securing the 10 album set, along with The Evolution of The Dark Side of The Moog (a “best-of” disc) I discovered that in 2008 Namlook released an 11th volume of the series. It is available in both stereo and 5.1 surround formats. I picked it up immediately.
I also watched three of the KLF’s films – Waiting, The Rites of Mu and The Stadium House Trilogy. I’ve watched The White Room before and will get to Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid in the coming weeks.
Waiting was a 42 minute ambient recording venture on the Isle of Jura. It was filmed in 1990 and was available via mail order from the K Foundation. Elements of Chill Out and their other recordings are clearly audible all throughout the film. A ltd. ed. soundtrack was available (mis-labeled as Waiting For The “Rights” of Mu) which features the audio from both films. After watching the movie I dug through my KLF archive and was surprised to find I already had a copy.
If you dig minimal ambient electronic music you should definitely pick up a copy of this last album. The minimal cover art intrigued me so I queued it up and instantly fell in love. The LP is available from Discogs for under $15 so I’ll have it soon enough. Listen to Pantha du Prince’s album, This Bliss.