Ambient Sunday: 4

Here’s a relatively new release for your listening enjoyment. This is Ian Hawgood’s Mysterious Shapes and Remembered Rivers, which makes one think of China Crisis’s Difficult Shapes and Passive Rhythms. It came out in 2022. He does a song with Stijn Huwels, with whom he’s done a lot of great music, and Friends We Found, who I know nothing about, but will. It’s just great ambient music. That’s all.

Ambient Sunday: Thursday or Friday edition, depending on where you are right now

Being that we’ve veered a bit from Sunday, let’s veer a bit from traditional Ambient. Susumu Yokota‘s “sakura“. It’s an amazing record by a young man that I came across in 2014 and started following him and he died suddenly in 2015. It was a really strange feeling. I had the same experience with Mitch Hedberg. But this record is just a stellar example of what this man created. Check him out! If you’re into that sort of thing.

Ambient Sunday: 3

Biosphere is the nom de plume of Geir Jenssen, a Norwegian electronic musician and composer. He lives in a place called, Tromsø, which is within the Arctic Circle; in other words, way the fuck up there. You can see how someone living in such a achingly dark and cold place could create the sort of Ambient music he does. (Of course, they do have some long, long summer days.)

Substrata is his masterpiece. As I’ve mentioned before, talking about Ambient music isn’t easy, so it’s hard to even tell you why I believe this is so. It’s haunting, has lots of overdubbed old recordings of voices and even singers, chilly effects, and yet remains (often) really quite upbeat. So, there you go; A masterpiece.

There are more than one Biosphere-named artists out there – just an FYI. I will definitely be sharing more of his work as I go through my favorite Ambient albums.

Ambient Sunday: 2

Rest in peace, Mr. Sakamoto. So my ambient Sunday 2 will step back to what I consider the first, and maybe still best, Ambient album ever. Brian Eno’s Ambient One Music for Airports. I bought it after having bought Here Come the Warm Jets and Taking Tiger Mountain and Before and After Science, and I honestly thought there was something wrong with my turntable. I fucked around with it a little bit and it slowly dawned on me that this was exactly what it was supposed to be. I learned just how brilliant Brian Eno is. 1/1 is sublime.

The Ultimate Discovery

Electricity! This might be the most important book I’ve read in, well, forever. I’ve always been fascinated with the fact that there is only energy, and that all matter is just energy. If we could somehow turn the energy of the universe off, everything would disappear. That blows my mind. And in my book, I talk about Energy as a sort of God, that which gives us life, that which sustains us and IS us – and everything else. So I talk about the fact that God is Everything and Everything is all a part of God.

I’ve been waiting for this book: “We Are Electric: Inside the 200-Year Hunt for Our Body’s Bioelectric Code, and what the Future Holds.” The author, Sally Adee, (I believe) coined the term, Electrome, much like the gut Biome, of which we’ve talked about quite a bit recently. She does a deep dive into the history of how we came to understand energy and our bodies and life, with great stories of the scientists and others who worked on this over time, then how every cell has energy, and on and on. I won’t give it away, because it’s really, really interesting.

As our understanding of how electricity manages our body and, as she points out, is a sort of separate nervous system, and what it can already do and what can be possibly done with it in the future, it really feels like I’m reading about the future of medicine wrapped in lots of great stories at the hands of an amazing author. She’s obviously super smart, but makes it not only accessible, but quite the story! If you’re into this sort of thing, I would strongly recommend it. It’s a blast to read and also a glimpse into the future of medicine. We are electric. We need to recognize it and see what we can do with it to better ourselves and our future.

Ambient Sunday: 1

Ryuichi Sakamoto “async”

I’ve always wanted to share some of my favorite ambient albums, but it’s such an odd thing to share, right? It’s really hard to talk about – Ambient music is, one tends to lots of new age sounding adjectives, and so I will mostly just post the album and encourage anyone who wants to search it out and listen to it.

I learned today that Ryuichi Sakamoto died. He’s one of my top four, for sure, musical artists. He’s on constant rotation for me, partly because he has dozens and dozens of great albums – from early Yellow Magic Orchestra, his poppier solo work, and his own Ambient, soundtracks and piano albums, to his many, many albums created with other artists. It breaks my heart to know he’s no longer with us, but he definitely left us with lots of amazing music with which to remember him.

Note that sometimes albums I call Ambient are called electronic or some other genre elsewhere. It’s a hard one to nail down, for me they range from classic Ambient, such as Brian Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports (which I always assumed would be my first Ambient post), to more experimental Ambient music that moves beyond the soft mellow chill of classic Ambient. This one shows up as electronic on my Apple Music, I would call it experimental Ambient. I just happened to be listening to it yesterday when he passed. I love this record.

It’s called “async”, by Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Depression and anxiety symptoms linked to reduced information-seeking behavior

Allow me to flip that on its head.

Reduced information-seeking behavior linked to depression and anxiety symptoms.

I was finally diagnosed with adult ADHD at 54 years of age. It explained so fucking much. I always jumped into everything head-first. I never wanted to learn anything officially. So I generally always sucked at things. I’m a drummer! Drum lessons? Nope. … Sell the drums. I’m a bass player, I’m a playwright, I’m a business owner, I’m an accountant, I’m a writer, I’m a social media guy… I was none of those things because I had no patience to really learn them. I just wanted to do them. And I got bored almost immediately. That is classic ADHD behavior.

As an adult I had awful depression and anxiety. From college on, I struggled with both and felt weak and pathetic for having them. I had no right. My life was fine. But the reason I did is because I never prepared for or really learned anything. So I just faked it and that led to serious anxiety; and as I failed, depression.

I never slept very well and so my doc thought I might be bipolar so I met with a psychiatrist. He asked me a bunch of questions and said, “You’re not bipolar, you’ve got classic ADHD.”

After a couple of days of testing, it was confirmed. I treated the ADHD, and the anxiety and depression went away. I was suddenly able to pay attention more, focus better, slow down, know my limitations and what is needed to succeed.

Poof – I’ve still had some anxiety but no depression for over a year. The lack of learning ( information seeking) led to the depression and anxiety. Now I’ve learned how to learn to be happier.

What the Hell is Going on with Harry Nilsson?

I’m a big Harry Nilsson fan! Love the guy! Great songwriter with one of the great voices of the era. I’ve been a fan since the 1970s (pre internet but post dinosaurs) and when the Internet came around, of course, googled him and listened to anything I’d not seen. Pandora, Spotify, internet itself.

Okay, so how on earth did I just come across two Nilsson albums I HAVE NEVER SEEN? One of them, Knillson, is possibly his greatest album ever. Schmilsson is genius, but this one… Where the hell has that been?! Or, how can a guy who’d spend many afternoons flipping through albums in record stores never, ever come across either album?

Look we got a pandemic, fires, hurricanes, Trump, death, destruction, republicans, and so this doesn’t really float to the top of important topics, but I can’t understand how I missed two albums from one of my musical heroes. Help?

The other is Pandemonium Shadow Show. Also a blast, but not quite Knnillssonnn or Schmillsson.