Someone on eBay has a variety of Tetsu Inoue -related FAX CDs up for auction. Currently up for grabs at pre-set prices are sealed copies of Slow & Low (6 copies), 2350 Broadway III (9 copies), Zenith (4 copies), Cymatic Scan (9 copies), Electro Harmonix (2 copies), Organic Cloud (5 copies), and 62 Eulengasse (3 copies). These are some of the classic releases that defined Inoue’s deep analog ambient sound along with collaborators Pete Namlook, Jonah Sharp, and Bill Laswell. This is not an endorsement for either eBay or whoever the seller is, but rather a heads-up as opportunities to own sealed copies of any original Faxlabel editions are few and far between, and to see this many of them available all at once is even more rare, plus some readers may still be filling gaps in their own collections.
As a follow-up to a post from 2012 regarding Woob’s parallel-worlds style soundtrack music, today we consider a number of HD audio releases that have emanated from bigamoebasounds over the course of the last few years. As you may recall, after a long hiatus of 15 years Woob rebooted around the time of 2010’s Repurpose. Since then the recent efforts from Paul Frankland continue a decades-long intergalactic Woob mission into delicately crafted works of immersive cinemambient. Not that Have Landed or Return to the City were anything less than top quality productions, but the recent Ultrascope and Ambient Disaster Movie albums remind a dedicated audience just how far Woob soundforms have come, enhanced with renewed vigor and offering panoramic, behind-the-eyelid vistas through a modernized and CG-enabled HD lens.
Whereas Have Landed explored earthbound regions of lounge or jazz, and Return to the City sounded like a reasonable contender for the Tron 3 soundtrack, Ultrascope and Ambient Disaster Movie both prove to be immersive listening experiences that continue the trajectory of the Woob sound. From the evocative splendor of the Suns Fall cover art (by French concept designer Florian de Gesincourt) to the painstaking technical efforts made during the recording process, perhaps Ultrascope is the most ambitious Woob release to date, while Ambient Disaster Movie also turns out to be a profound addition to the Woob discography. Drawing, as Woob music always has, from cinematic points of reference, the album sounds like music for an as yet unmade classic sci-fi film. Contributing to this perception is the myriad of multimedia items contained in the artifact editions, released in parallel to the digital download and CD editions. Short ‘reveal’ style videos, image files, and original 24-bit masters all make their way onto these tiny USB thumbdrives. The Ambient Disaster Movie hardcopy included extended versions of familiar passages from Max & Harvey’s Space Therapy Woob Remixes mini-album. Interested parties will want to check out the additional supplementary releases which are also well worth a listen, such as The Six Hundred, Lost 1994, and Time Paradox, all of which offer interesting alternate histories of other albums. The Woob biomachine let some new details out earlier today in a blog update, so for more info head over to Woob HQ and have a look.
Another year has passed and the annual audiophile extravaganza known as AXPONA is once again just around the corner. Last year we had a great time checking out the Woo Audio high end tube amps, fantastic-sounding Audeze planar magnetic headphones, and flipping through the many audiophile-grade vinyl pressings (and Moo Mats!) in the marketplace room. We’re gearing up to attend again this year and looking forward to whatever surprises AXPONA has in store for us. Particularly of interest will be Michael Fremer’s turntable setup seminar (last year’s edition was fascinating) where art and science come together for an optimal vinyl listening configuration. Early Bird ticket pricing is in effect until the end of January. Check out the official AXPONA homepage for additional information.
My annual Happy New Ears mix is now available for download from the Mix Archive and streaming from Mixcloud. Also check out some of the other recently posted sessions you may have missed over the past few months, including some deep ambient podcasts and a lengthy radio show recording. Here’s hoping you have an absolutely fantastic 2015!!!
A clutch of new mixes has been added to the Mix Archive. Start out with a nearly 4-hour escapade into sound, a recording of my radio show from last month featuring a number of different styles and moods. As this is the raw file recording of the radiophonic session, it includes voiceovers from the live broadcast on 89.3 WNUR-FM which saturated Chicago airwaves on a dark October Friday night.
Second in line we have Bass Philosophies v8, a 90-minute session of 4-to-the-floor beats in the tradition of all previous mixes in this series. I should also mention I will be retiring the Bass Philosophies series after reaching edition #10 in a few months. Note this mix was featured in the above radio show and as such partially overlaps with it, but lacks the intrusive voiceovers.
After BPv8, check out the Astral Cowboy mix which explores spaced out soul-searching ambient worlds in a mostly beatless context, celebrating the cosmic rendezvous of the European Space Agency’s Philae Lander with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This event was an inspiring and momentous one reminiscent of Arthur C. Clark’s excellent 2061 novel, which followed 2001 and 2010. The Astral Cowboy takes you on a nearly 100-minute tour of immersive soundscapes designed for the discerning listener.
Finally we have A Chilling Word. Another ambient set which explores further the uncategorical soundworlds of innerspace. Inspired by a recent trip to Japan for Mindgames’ wonderful Labyrinth event, this one-hour set maintains a downtempo groove throughout, keeping the wave going without actually cresting… whatever that means.
I should also mention, without dropping names, these recent mixes primarily include content from folks with whom I have direct contact at one time or another, which seems to be a recurring theme of late. Some of these associates tuned into the radio show mentioned above while it transpired. For a more accurate and image-enhanced recollection of these recent mind-expanding experiences, as well as a deeper integration with the esotronic network, check out Brother Wormgear’s excellent coverage of Labyrinth 2014, our fascinating Kamakura adventure, the Nezu Shrine Festival, our Owl Cafe Experience, the Asakusa incident, and a report on the ghostly town of Naeba near to where the unforgettable Labyrinth 2014 occurred.
Looking ahead, the annual Happy New Ears 2015 mix peeks over the horizon, although no one can be sure when this mix will be done and ready for posting. Also, the playlists for these mixes have not yet been posted but are as yet forthcoming. For now, enjoy the sounds! All four mixes are now posted to Mixcloud for instant streaming action, or available for download and safekeeping in the Phonaut Mix Archive.
I am profoundly humbled and beyond excited to announce a special voyage to the magickal home of bonsai trees, Mothra, Nekopan, and remarkably fine penmanship… aye Japan, in efforts to spread the ambientechno gospel via the prestigious Labyrinth Festival. They say the Labyrinth changes you. This gathering sees 2,500 lucky revelers assembling up in the misty mountains of Niigata to partake of an unforgettable 3-day event. The Labyrinth Festival features an expertly deployed Funktion One sound system hovering over a luxuriously catered tent city, and a devoted community of attendees, all surrounded by a lush forest. I will open day three with a deep 3-hour sound session. Looking forward to sharing with this special group in extraordinary surroundings. Further information is forthcoming, and event details are available on the Mindgames page.