Thursday, 24 March 2016

SubVersion Stop 265: Pulses Of Life, Pulses And Life, Pulses In Life

"Pulse is life, and life without pulse is until it morphs, lifeless. The meaning behind life then may not be pulse, but life without pulse".

Just to get philosophical in my pseud's corner euphoria for a moment, like the old TDD days. But yes, I've been thinking about how daily activity is measured. Pulse unites how people move, how we interact. Framerate is like pulse too, pixels in a camera metaphorical for so much of Instagram and Twitter's poularity. Seeing as we need facts and figures to operate, it's always me trying to push beyond three dimensions in LSD like lingo. But I do miss the highs of a high pulse. It's like a run, where you travel at speed, reaching a destination while the pavement stays stationary. And some things around you will move with you, such as other humans, animals, creations of man and woman, say machines.

But yeah, pulse. I actually have a very high pulse to be factual. It rests between 106 and 125 when I'm less well, or hypermedicated. Seeing and moving at a slower pace because of my 19 stone frame rate, so to speak as of now is concomitant with a slothful meandering style of living. I often wonder how, as when 10 years ago when I was 18 and 8 stone lighter, and much fitter, how my pulse has manifested in the psychic physiology of my body.


Saturday, 19 March 2016

SubVersion Stop 264: Creating DreamScenes

What is Dreamscenes?
DreamScenes is a ‘subset’ of ( ), but is was also the name of one of my first mixes.

Ambientblog features short ‘reviews’, but the true heart of it are the ambientblog mixes that you can find there (and which are also featured on the USB).
DreamScenes originally was a 4 hour mix that was created for Dutch National Radio in 2001 (can you believe they actually broadcasted a 4 hr mix uninterrupted on a Sunday Evening?)
Over the years between 2000 and 2009, I created this kind of mixes for Dutch public radio NPS/VPRO on a regular basis. When the radio shows were cancelled in 2009, I continued to publish mixes on, there are over 60 now.

(Of course Ambientblog also presents short reviews that I prefer to call recommendations, since I do not pretend to be a music journalist and do not write extensive analyses)

Ambientblog mixes characteristically are rather complex: they are not ‘mixtapes’ featuring full tracks, but a collage of mostly short fragments that are layered in such a way that the music may get a different connotation.
To me, they often feel like a movie soundtrack.

(Link to these mixes: )

Since these mixes take quite a lot of work to create, there are not many of them – about 4 a year on average.

But there is such a lot of great music released that I started to miss the radio shows that I was involved in. These shows simply presented the music, not in complex mixes but in ‘head-tail’ sequences, presenting full tracks in one continuous flow without spoken introduction inbetween. These are more like ‘mixtapes’ in the classic sense. They are much easier to create than the Ambientblog collages, though I still pay much attention to the sequencing of the tracks, which should feel natural from beginning to end while at the same time including different varieties of ambient/electronic/experimental music.

This became a monthly  Mixcloud series called
DreamScenes (  

So… in fact it depends what exactly you are referring to with DreamScenes. Are you talking about the Ambientblog mixes (that are on the USB too), or about the Mixcloud series? They are quite different in nature, though they both cover the same kind of music.

(Short fact: Ambientblog was originally called DreamScenes, named after the original mix. But at the time it was also the name of some kind of animated video wallpapers and that was rather confusing in the Google search results.. So when I decided to intensify the blog in 2009, it was renamed to Ambientblog)

What working method do you use to create the sets? Dave Michuda who we both know at Low Light Mixes for example picks some tunes by their titles. Whereas me I'll usually go with a overarching working title?
For this, I assume you’re talking about the ambientblog mixes.
I don’t usually begin with a fixed idea. I start out with sorting a collection of tracks by their nature: dark, light, acoustic, electronic, effects, fieldrecs, and ‘anchors’ (I mean more melodic pieces which may bring you back to reality a bit, to avoid drifting too far off)

Then I search for an opening track that feels like a good start. From there, it is really like creating a ‘collage’, searching for fragments that match, or that bring some kind of tension, to build further on the preceding fragments. From there it seems the music selects itself even though that sounds a bit cheesy. I try to keep a certain kind of storytelling flow, balancing ‘light’ with ‘dark’.. I always feel there should be a kind of tension to keep it exciting enough, the mixes usually aren’t the kind of sounds you would use in a Reiki or Yoga of whatever kind of New Agelike session. I like it when some parts become almost frightening. But even though I don’t usually choose it on purpose, the mixes usually end with a hopeful – although often melancholic – note.

The title usually comes up when the mix is finished. Often it is inspired by one of the tracks included.

The human psyche tends to look for correlations, so when the title fits the music, the music will also fit the title….

There are exceptions, however: the ‘Hum in the Room’ trilogy was created around that theme, using the Philip Glass track ‘Changing Opinion’ as a starting point. So in that case there was a concept from the start.

What software have you used to create Dreamscenes sets in the past? For example, I've used Acoustica (Hydrogen Cafe) Mix craft  (Michuda) and Ableton (several).
I work with Adobe Audition. That’s it. The basic multitrack setting. Though I cut longer tracks to pieces and sometimes use only outrageous short fragments, I always use the original (stereo) mix and no extra effects are applied.
Apart from volume levelling to match the other tracks of course. (And L/R-C-Ls/Rs placement in the case of the surround versions). And a lot of long fades. 
Special thanks to PvC (Peter Van Cooten) for this introductory interview to what creates his dream scenes in sound and music. He has limited copies of the USB stick, featuring over 30 tracks from commissioned producers from the ambient scene, and his collection of not-for-profit mixes on :)

Thursday, 17 March 2016

SubVersion Stop 261: Clova Pine Poem

Mrb - Clova pine poem
Can you hear them?
Wait, we're here, I'm here, so you close
And I'm apologetic to you. I am
Like a synthetic that's only monophonic
Sometimes it takes seeing in 2d-3
To realise there's more than this
Eye, eyes, eyesight, foresight, snap

Can you see me? Do you wonder...
Do you wonder if I lived on drab
Sour milk or drizzled on resin?
I think you know that's not the way I bring the bacon in!
And perhaps that's liver in a bird
For a laugh or a while escaping from the herd
Do you think they really cared?
Can you hear them? They know you.
I shudder, but you're
You're now closer to me.

~ Michael Robert Buckingham - Mrb.


Monday, 15 February 2016

SubVersion Stop 262: Foci's Left - What I Think - review by Andy Poplin

For a FTAL direct self-promotion, I thought I'd offer some clandestine words on what makes up 'What I think - Right Bus Of The Psyche' LP by FL.

The album begins with a surf pop woozy wash in a remix of 'Or Jaw Slints', fed into a slush puppy mixing can that drums at the edges like it's attention deficit to the max. Not able to stay still, the piece eventually wears itself out, Foci's Left having recorded this on a 1970s Clavinova then reversed the track with post-processing. What happens next isn't untypical of most post-rock idioms, in that the next work in progress, 'Lament To A Broken Generation' is a slow burn of a shoegaze match, eddying vibes of ambi-dub pioneers Bvdub and Carbon Based Lifeforms, dedicated to Ryan Griffin's tireless work at A Strangely Isolated Place. It's a little long - over 16 minutes for the full insert - which means the record needs some tempo breathed into its veins, and there's where FL goes next, with 'Assata' bringing the Covert Operations sound that inspired it into full view, with ASC-sounding synths and replicated roboticness in the drum programming. FL went back in on the arrangement for this and brought it up to date from the year it was produced, back in 2005 to be precise. It was unreleased on his desktop PCs HD until now and remastered from tape. 

The track that follows, 'Inorganic Beings Cull' is one of the best Foci's Left tracks in hir catalogue, with a Depeche Mode and Pink Floyd style rhythm section augmented by plinky plonky piano strikes and schizophrenic playing that reflects hir mental health condition. It's the ultimate in blues part of the LP, rising and falling like a shark caught between barbed wire (see the 'Gymnopedie No.1' lift from Erik Satie) and paradise. 'In Debt To A Decaying Era (for Daniel Crossley) is shortened on this album and the full work (all 21 minutes of the original - the 2h 31 minute microtone version is at hir Bandcamp in 'Dumping The Rock EP') bookends one of the pinnacle Foci's Left records this reviewer has had the pleasure of being a part of, in a conceptualised bus trip into prosperity.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

SubVersion Stop 261: subversive titles in Oxfordshire

I have been doing a little disc-tribut-ion of material on disc at Rapture, Witney, hometown of David Cameron and less built up connector between where I live and Oxford city.

So far, the following artwork CD-Rs have been handed over:

1. Carbonara Porcupine EP (includes commissioned remix of Kid Moxie's "The Bailor").
2. Early Riser LP (vocal guitar and piano/synth/bongo half dozen instrument proper mastered disc).

And if I can get proper pass for my reinterpretations (total remix with lyrics from the original) of tracks on this new Internal Dialogue LP - but then this one would be a free giveaway disc in respect of the creators.

A fresh Foci's Left CD-R that I'd need proper copyrights checking to release. It won't happen overnight, but I can share the continuous improvised sounds LP for free on CD.

I find it interesting how larger companies are under such legislation that remixes and reinterpretations don't automatically pass clause 4.0 of copyright, which means when we hsve bought or interpreted music, it's the same as when we sell it. We are performing it, we are living and breathing it, spinning a new web from it, creating our own version, discomputing the score and starting afresh.

And at the same time, we are paying tribute to the creators of the very music that inspired us. It's a healthy relationship if machinery grants you easy access to copying and henceforth disctribution - if it doesn't, maybe things should stay that way.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

SubVersion Stop 260: Xmas Charts from Muttley Statto & MetaLX...

SubVersion End Of Year Chart from Muttley ( /,,,,,, writing, writing).

A lot can happen in a year...I found love within myself. I released albums with good reviews. I bought lots of mind-scultping records. I delightedly  changed my accommodation with help of the local mental health services. And I realised, all along the way, that I didn't have to go anywhere - the party moves with the indivisual.

01. Favourite track: Run close by Tamaryn - Sugar Fix, Little Red - The Huntsman, Kid Moxie - Mysteries Of Love (feat. Angelo Badalementi), and Marina & The Diamonds - Gold, and finally, Markus Guetner - Magnetar (A Strangely Isolated Place vinyl, like our space station, frankly)...

02. My album of the year is Bjork - Vulnicura, followed by Bat For Lashes - Sexwitch, then Kid Moxie - 1888, then Tamaryn - Cranekiss. David Borden - Music For Amplified Keyboard Instruments, Marina Diamandis - Froot. Of my own solo LPs, it's Nothing, Early Riser (released at Rapture, Witney, Oxon UK today), What I Think - Right Bus Of The Psyche, or LUV. All my releases are available at

03. Favourite label: Low Point. Bought their entire discography (32 + digital releases, subscribe to their newsletter, they have 2 new tapes from Kogumaza today - it's Hardwick's label) on Bandcamp this Autumn. Kyle Bobby Dunn, Gareth Hardwick, Lviv, P Jorgesen, Ex-Easter Island Head, Apalusa. So many more. Absolute goldmine catalog if you love minimalist ambient and drone.

04. Favourite mixtape: Foci's Left - Any And All Things - Live @ GTI, Sep 26th 2015 (Live improvised mixset, first electronics gig conscious). Fixated for 15 years in 34 minutes.

05. Favourite book: Emotioanal Intelligence And Understanding Emotional Intelligence: Daniel Goleman, pbk 1995.

06. Favourite gig: Gig of zee year I went to Friday 18th December, 10 months on:

After the Thought begins our evening with a warm and enveloping techno cheer that doesn't prepare the audience for what's to come. In the best way of course, because Gappy Tooth never disappoint in terms of stylistic diversity and act quality control. Matt Chapman-Jones, who is After The Thought, uses a Launch software technique that he's honed to a fine ambiental art since Midwinter Dronefest this time last year.

Utilising sparing guitar in reverb clusters with a different way with a Sigur Ros sample, cryptically it sets the tone for The August List, a husband and wife team I've never seen live before. Their demo of the month in 2012 impressed me, but now there are extra, gentile layers to the multi-tracked sound, taking the Lawrence vibe Matt had earlier and injecting auto harp, steely guitar chops spanning decades of folk arrangements and an intergender icy vocal call and response. Go see them - they're glad and very good.

Zurich could be a loose cannon in print, a glorious take on New Order speech styling s and Blue Monday catapulted into oblivion. Borne from the smoke of local Oxford band The Scholars, they're like the best combination of two of my fave post punk groups: The Horrors and lesser known rockers Glint from the United States. Much of their themes are loosely piloted - driven by raucous noise, and makes their and headline act Balloon Ascents appearance well worth the wait.

There's a lot of punches pulled by a 4-strong bunch of youths equally to the previous guitar storm, but Balloon Ascents tone down the heat inside the candle and hold the Radiohead, not dick head light strongly, with a clutch of new songs, most from 'Dont Look Down', making Top 25 in 2015. Their set is the perfect send off to Gappy Tooth's year in gigging, and mature lyrics tread the band to places where the instruments tell them that they're wrong. Gig of the year? For me personally, by a mile.

- besides my first live audience piano consciously at the James Street Tavern alongside Megan Josephy, Tom, Hugh McManners, Kosmosis , Cowley and first live audience keyboard and electronics consciously at The Wheatsheaf, High St, Oxford, experiences. Bjork at Wilderness Festival, of course, Braziers Park.

08. Favourite food (or Snax): I'll break this up into 3: meal, curry meal and Dastardly Exposure drink. Meal was the one I had today at Hackett's Bar, Witney. High Street, who had a saxophonist akin to Mikael Tariverdiev seemingly using a program to play along to like Music Maker Jam for iPhone. It was Chicken & Ham Hock Pie w peppered creamy mash, steamed veg (broccoli, carrots). Close runner up on the meal to the cruise Lobster w butter Sauce, asparagus and wild mushroom soup.

Curry meal was on the cruise, gotta say, despite wonderful Mutton Kodai, Chicken Balti and Korma curries from my favourite land restaurant, The First Floor Cowley, and Spiced Monkfish at La Cucina Cowley. Sindhu restaurant, Ventura ship. Soft shell crab (all edible) from the head chef with sauces and appetisers. But the real win came in the 3 course main meal after that: a sequence of rich korma, Lamb Rogan Josh and Tandoori Salmon Tofu, w a choice of high standard Marshmellow Cake or Chocolate Mega Profiterole. Included rice, sundries and Tarka Dhal. The main course was Atil Kochar's Big Plate.

DE drink would be Bavaria Lager, or Lager Shandy, from Holland. You can buy it in stores like Morrisons, ASDA (we have these in Carterton, Oxon - ASDA just opened).

09. Favourite guilty pleasure: Blogging

10. Favourite random moment: finding love (in a hopeful place week 22nd Feb ending) randomly, for the first time. The real kind of love, not the digital maelstrom I am sludgily used to. Hats off to a lovely lady for helping me heal from the time I was without feeling. Now I feel so loved and so alive.
Edit Delete Reply Quote Report
It's about that time of the year again. I'm glad to be reminded early, actually. Smile

Reply Quote Report
01. Favourite track(s):
Chris Janson - Buy Me A Boat
Miranda Lambert - Smokin and Drinkin
Big & Rich - Run Away

02. Favourite album(s):
A lot of house/electronica/dnb from the late 90s, early 00s

03. Favourite label:

04. Favourite mixtape:
2 Bad Mice Mix - Euphony
Atmoteka 2.4 - Aural Imbalance
Southern Bluegrass III - dj MetaLX

05. Favourite SC thread:
Anything with good banter and or music

06. Favourite gig:
DJ Euphoria Live on 13.11.15

07. Favourite book(s):
Morris, Marc. 2015. A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain. London: Pegasus Books.
Morris, Marc. 2015. King John: Treachery and Tyranny in Medieval England: The road to Magna Carta. London: Pegasus Books.
Seward, Desmond. 2014. Eleanor of Aquitaine: The Queen Mother of the Middle Ages. London: Pegasus Books.
Davis, Jefferson. 2010. The Rise of the Confederate Government. New York: Barnes & Noble.

08. Favourite food (or Snax):

09. Favourite guilty pleasure:

10. Favourite random moment:
Finally realising just how different I am from those around me.

Reply Quote Report
01. Favourite track: Roger Robinson - It Soon Come

02. Favourite album: André O. Möller & Hans Eberhard Maldfeld - In Memory of James Tenney (Edition Wandelweiser)

03. Favourite label: Edition Wandelweiser

04. Favourite mixtape: K-NeT Karant - The 40th Papy Zhamiq Birthday mixes (June 2013, but I only discovered them this year)

05. Favourite SC thread:  POLITICS So Jeremy Corbyn is the new boogie-man?

06a. Favourite gig (Jan-Jun): Mesa of the Lost Women ft. Junko, Rammel Club, Nottingham (20th June)

06b. Favourite gig (Jul-Dec): Ex Cathedra, Southwell Minster, Notts (10th December)

07. Favourite book: Matthew Collin - Pop Grenade (Zero Books)

08. Favourite food (or Snax): Tunnock's Caramel Wafers

09. Favourite guilty pleasure: Scoring 158 in an official Mensa test (Cattell III B) Oops

10. Favourite random moment: Being interviewed about genderqueer (as background research for a US web magazine article)

Lisa Wave Wave Rainbow
Reply Quote Report
Thanks MetaSpandex and Stattandroid.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

SubVersion Stop 259: Wire Chart 2015

Another year, another set of fifteen purchases according to the principle “buying one record reviewed in The Wire each month”, plus three more in order to make up a "proper" Wire chart. It's the third year I've been engaged in this entertaining (for me), if ultimately pointless, endeavour. The lists for the previous two years can be found here (2013) and here (2014) – and now here's my chart for 2015. The # marks denote the issues in which the records featured.

SubVersion 2015 15

#371 Rie Nakajima - Four Forms (Consumer Waste)
#372 Runhild Gammelsaeter & Lasse Marhaug - Quantum Entanglement (Utech)
#373 Björk - Vulnicura (One Little Indian)
#374 Beatriz Ferreyra - GRM Works (GRM)
#375 Tyondai Braxton - HIVE1 (Nonesuch)
#376 André O. Möller & Hans Eberhard Maldfeld - In Memory of James Tenney (Edition Wandelweiser)
#377 Alternative TV - Opposing Forces (Public Domain)
#378 Malcolm Goldstein - Full Circle Sounding (Kye)
#379 Amir ElSaffar - Crisis (Pi Recordings)
#380 Mario Diaz de Leon - The Soul is the Arena (Denovali)
#381 The Necks - Vertigo (ReR Megacorp)
#382 Harry Bertoia - Sonambient (Important) — on pre-order; I don't actually have it yet.

+#371 Heather Leigh - Nightingale (Golden Lab)
+#375 Alessandra Eramo - Roars Bangs Booms (Corvo)
+#376 Eva-Maria Houben - Air: Works for Flutes and Organ (Edition Wandelweiser)

Compiled by Jonathan Tait,

Once again, this isn't a “best records of the year” list; it's a collection of releases that made me sit up when checking them out. If I had to pick one, it'd be In Memory of James Tenney. It's hard to beat the splendid noise made by two Tromba marinas in concert.

PS I do feel slightly guilty about leaving Sleaford Mods out this time, but Key Markets was reviewed in #377 and Alternative TV "won" that month – mainly because I was surprised Mark Perry could turn out a good album after all these years (cf John Lydon's dreadful record), whereas Sleaford Mods are... Sleaford Mods. Great to see the local lads doing so well, though :)