Ken Downie, Ed Handley and Andy Turner were mates back in the day, digging into b-boy stuff as it came into England, mixing in sounds from Chicago and Detroit, acid and techno, and making it their own. They released three EPs on their own, and joined Warp Records in 1993 with the iconic album, Bytes, which already showed a fractured nature to the group, with eight different entities attributed for the album and individual tracks, but they wouldn't formally fracture for a few more years. Ken Downie kept The Black Dog, which he named in part for his battle with depression, while Ed and Andy became Plaid. With Plaid's newest album, The Digging Remedy, each now with 11 albums to their names. Read on for more history and tunes. [more inside]
Two unique, evocative Japanese mixtapes to assure you that spring is really here at last: Spencer Doran's Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo and Ventla's Astrocast 45. [more inside]
Are you interested in making ambient, drifting, densely-layered electronic music? But don't know where to even start? This is the most thoughtful and gentle introduction I'm aware of, from a fine musician. It's a 45-minute video workshop from Rich Vreeland aka Disasterpeace, composer of the gorgeous, acclaimed Fez soundtrack. Rich composes a Fez-like track on the fly, explaining what he's doing in the process. While he uses Logic and the softsynth Massive in this workshop, his general approach and attention to sound design and synthesis will be applicable to whatever software or hardware you choose to use. (Hat tip to sparkletone for the link. Fez previously on Metafilter.)
Word has arrived that Edgar Froese, founding member of the massively influential electronic group Tangerine Dream, has passed away. Froese was a pioneering figure in the German Krautrock and Kosmische styles, and contributed an unfathomable amount to the world of ambient/psychedelic electronic music. [more inside]
Here's a look back at sounds of summers past, with a review of EMI's series of Balearic compilations, and for a bit more mystery and diversity, mixes that focus and include Balearic styles from Test Pressing. If the whole "Balearic" thing is confusing, Boiler Room TV has a nice write-up with photos from the period to set the mood, where the music was a mix of mixture of soul, reggae, rock, pop, and Latin, mixed with chill out, lounge and dance music. [more inside]
[LuckyMe's Claude Speeed] may have labeled this his Summer mix, but it isn’t all sunshine and good times – instead, it’s somewhere between Kanye’s Cruel Summer and Fennesz’s Endless one. 90+ minutes in length, it hypnotizes you with a succession of beatless music by CFCF, Sevendeaths,
Richard Skelton Tim Hecker and Speeed himself… then, at the mix’s climax, the world comes crashing in on you.
Earlier this year, the BBC's Arena produced and aired an excellent documentary on Brian Eno entitled "Another Green World" containing "a series of conversations on science, art, systems analysis, producing and cybernetics". [more inside]
September 2010 marked 20 years of Ninja Tune, the independent label formed by the duo known as Coldcut. Starting with an album by the duo that they released under a different group name, the small UK label has since spiraled out to include three separate imprints (plus an artist-specific mini-label), with an extensive collection of singles, EPs and albums from an ever-growing list of artists. More history in words, music and video awaiting inside... [more inside]
Who is Joe Wall? Why he's an author and ambient electronic musician who works in a clock tower and loves to sing. But most Mefites know him as sonascope, author of many vast and beloved comments. His touching 2004 show, My Fairy Godmothers Smoke Too Much, is available free and complete online. [more inside]
Electraum is a great collection of amazing electronic and ambient mp3s(try the Cerebellum, Red Lines or Kunstner for good examples), mostly from unknown artists. The mp3s rotate monthly, and there's a mailing list you can join to remind you when the music changes. You've already missed the previous seven installments, but there's plenty more to go around...