Musicophilia

[Sensory Replication No. 2] – ‘Gloaming’ (1731-2005)

Posted in Mixes, Talking by Soundslike on October 27, 2008

Though it’s not the denotative meaning of the word, for me, “gloaming” connotes ambiguity, a tension between the waning day and encroaching night, a feeling that is beautiful yet tinged with some regret or trepidation—there’s more complexity and mystery to it than a simple synonym to “twilight”. And that beautiful tension is the feeling I’ve tried to create here, as well as a concept that informed the methodology behind the mix (more on that later). ‘Gloaming’ is the second mix I made seeking to create quasi-binaural “field recordings,” to create an immersive journey through an almost physical space constituted of (mostly) musical sound. (For convenience, I’m calling such mixes the “Sensory Replication Series,” an idea explored in somewhat greater detail here). You probably already know most of the artists featured in this mix—Tangerine Dream, Tony Conrad, Mozart, Xenakis, Keith Jarrett, Reich, Cage, Bjork, Eno, Low, 23 Skidoo, Holger Czukay, Vivaldi, Cluster—but I hope that the combinations, contextualisation and sum total make something you haven’t quite heard before. (I’d also like to make special mention of the track “Heathering Blues” by “unknown” Matt Anders, definitely the most emotionally satisfying thing I’ve ever known to originate with Fruity Loops)

This is my favorite short mix I’ve made so far, and despite its brevity (less than twenty-eight minutes) it feels like a full journey. It’s more or less the opposite of the spastic flailing of the ‘Miniatures : Post-Punk’ mixes, in that each section leads very much to the next, and there is a careful and unhurried sense of direction at all times. But like those mixes, it’s a good way to get a lot of listening done in a short amount of time—though this is “headphone listening” to be sure, not so suited for cruising down the highway or running errands. While I’ll tag it “avant-garde,” if you were to try any mix such tagged as a way in, it would be this one. A little more rambling, the tracklist, and full download after the “more…” link. If you do find you like this one, then check out the first posted ‘Sensory Replication’ mix posted here.

Whereas more recent mixes I’ve attempted in this vein have involved sometimes upward of five simultaneous tracks coalescing around a central track of emphasis, beat-oriented tracks combined with ambient tones and sound effects, remixes, dub versions, etc.—this mix was an intentionally simpler affair. The emphasis is on tone, melody, texture, and rhythm is subtle. Most of the sections of the mix are comprised of duets or trios, often with each element equally featured on the sound stage, as in the case of Bjork’s instrumental “Ambergris March” and Vivaldi’s “Double Concerto, Largo G Minor,” which pull together and spin apart. At other times, languid, liquid melodicism is countered with abrasion—for example, the sweet simplicity of an organ-based rendition of Bach’s “Air” with the percussive rancor of an Einsturzende Neubauten track far off to the right, its low, steady heartbeat-like bass elements adding a bit of menace. On the whole, the sound tends toward the beautiful—this is not difficult listening. But as with a sunset viewed alone, far from anyone else, even as one admires the brilliant color and light, one knows there is darkness not far off.

Various – ‘Gloaming’ (1731-2005)
Sensory Replication Series #2

[00:00 – 03:50]
01 Tangerine Dream – “Sequent C” (1974)
02 Tony Conrad & Faust – “The Pyre of Angus Was in Kathmandu” (1971)

[03:30 – 05:35]
03 Wolfgang Mozart – “Adagio for Glass Harmonica” (1791)
04 Artist Unkown – Arabic Chants {modified} (Unknown)

[05:20 – 07:40]

05 Chicago Underground Trio – “O Sino” (1999)
06 Matt Anders – “Heathering Blues” (2004)

[07:30 – 10:20]
07 Iannis Xenakis – “Akrata” (1965)
08 Keith Jarrett – “I’m Through With Love” {modified} (1999)

[10:15 – 14:20]
09 Penguin Cafe Orchestra – “Harmonic Necklace” {modified} (1981)
10 Cluster – “Fur Die Katz” (1971)
11 Steve Reich – “Nagoya Marimbas” (1994)

[14:00 – 15:00]
12 Alan R. Splet – “Space Travel with Changing Choral Textures” (1983)
13 Sylvie Courvoisier – “Tourine” (2003)

[14:55 – 18:20]
14 John Cage – “Prepared Piano Concerto, Part III” (1951)
15 Bjork – “Ambergris March” (2005)
16 Antonio Vivaldi – “Double Concerto, Largo G Minor” (1780s)

[18:10 – 19:30]
17 Brian Eno – “Lizard Point” (1982)
18 Low – “Untitled No. 2” (2001)

[18:55 – 22:20]
19 Matthew Herbert – “About This Time Each Day” (2001)
20 Holger Czukay – “Boat-Woman Song” (1969)

[22:15 – 27:34]
21 23 Skidoo – “Shrine” (1982)
22 Einsturzende Neubauten – “U-Haft Muzak” (1983)
23 Johann Sebastian Bach – “Air (For Organ), BWV 1068” (1731)

[Total Time = 27:34]

Minor note: this mix was made in 2006, and I’ve long since lost the original multitrack files and hence the precise durations for each track in the mix, so start and end times are rough estimates.

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9 Responses

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  1. pamela said, on October 27, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Thank you, thank you–

    These mixes are fabulous for book-shifting in the library

  2. magnificentmarvelous said, on October 29, 2008 at 9:02 am

    I learned yesterday that Einsturzende Neubauten’s Blixa Bargeld is the same person as the Bad Seeds’ Blixa Bargeld. I figured they were two different Blixa Bargelds. Regarding the Nick Cave, he and assorted Seeds will be in-studio on Chicago Public Radio’s “Sound Opinions” radio show Saturday for talk & performance, and the podcasts are usually up the same day. Maybe you’re familiar with the show; they bill themselves as “the world’s only rock and roll talk show,” although I’m willing to bet they haven’t heard me talking to myself and taking imaginary phone calls on a New Balance running shoe.

    I believe this mix is the first time I’ve seen the time span 1731-2005 in print, and I say bravo; it’s high time someone paid attention to those 274 years, lest we forget that the Academy of Ancient (ne Vocal) Music was founded a mere five years earlier. You can trace a direct line from Bach’s “Wachet auf” (1731) to Kate Bush’s Aerial (2005). I’m sure I don’t have to explain. It’s pretty obvious!

    I agree with you that this mix feels complete. A roughly half-hour run time is, I think, ideal for a largely textural piece. For me, at least; it’s rare that I want to listen to an uninterrupted sequence of music for over an hour. You know what they say — brevity is the soul of mix. I suspect that the After Chill Ibiza Night Flying Traveler Ultra Dark Loft mixes, inevitably clocking in at 79 minutes, aren’t as concerned with the “full journey,” as you say, but rather with asserting their bang-for-the-buck. I suppose in principle it’s the same situation as with 45s. Frankly, I don’t think this venture is going anywhere if you don’t start slapping neon bikini cleavage all over your sleeves.

  3. Soundslike said, on October 31, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Haha, umm, thanks. You’re right, the connections between those years hardly warrant discussing–to do so would be to trade in truisims.

    You wouldn’t happen to sometimes go by Bimble, would you?

  4. magnificentmarvelous said, on October 31, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    <— S. Matthew Fuller, esq.

  5. tylerw said, on November 26, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    finally got a chance to listen to this! fantastic. really, really good.

  6. […] pieces I know. [This Vivaldi is featured in a “duet” with an instrumental percussive piece by Bjork in this short mix at […]

  7. […] of her warmest production for fans of fuzzy electronics. [Björk is featured here with a lullaby, here with an instrumental percussion piece mixed with Vivaldi, and here with Robert Wyatt in a duet with […]

  8. […] an immensely listenable, immediate sort of high art in this score for a ballet.  [Herbert is featured here in a sultry Bill Evans-like idiom in a mix at […]

  9. […] sensitive.  If pressed, though, I’d simply call it beautiful.  [Ravel can be heard here and here in two of my favorite mixes at […]


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