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.
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.
Hair Mask (Hair Shirt?)
Taking a shower tonight I reached into the skyline of shampoo, conditioner and who knows what else is in there and I grabbed one that said, “Hair Mask”. Imagine that. A mask for your hair. We live in a nation where a much too large portion of the population was unwilling to wear a mask over their mouth and nose during an airborne pandemic to protect their friends and family. An airborne pandemic, by the way, that killed more than one million of us. I wonder how they’d feel about a hair mask.
But on the positive side, all the rest of us did! We masked up and for all sorts of reasons. Some people were afraid for themselves, wanting to stay healthy, not wanting to die (go figure), but didn’t we even more often hear people talk about other people, as in, I have to make sure I have a mask and get a test before Saturday when I go visit my grandma? Stuff like that-there. It was a beautiful thing and we can be very proud of the effort we all made. We saved millions of lives by doing the right thing.
A democracy like ours needs its people to pull together occasionally no matter what you believe. We need to make sure that we insert a little responsibility to all those rights we like to talk about. And most of us did. Warms the heart.
We think we know
Sentient beings need a brain, right? A nervous system to tell the body what to do in the world. It’s what we know. It’s all we know. But there’s a single-cell slime mold, sans any nervous system, that learns, passes knowledge to other molds, and repairs itself within minutes. No one knows even how to categorize this organism.
It’s been around for millions of years, but we have no idea what it is. Is it an animal? Is it a fungus? It’s capable of memory and adapts its behavior. It solves problems of moving around a labyrinth.
“The blob can navigate without eyes, limbs or wings. When researchers sliced up the organism and sprinkled them in a maze, the blob consolidated into its original form.” And get this: “After introducing the experiment to a new blob and allowing it to merge with another, the new super blob show incredible smarts. ‘Somehow during the merging process, the naive cells learned a behavior for a situation that they themselves had never experienced.'”
Crows taught to fear a particular human will give birth to baby crows that have never seen that human or know anything about it, but know to fear it. What do we know?
good vibes only
i’m not sure I could love my daughter more. This goes back a few years! 🙂
It’s ten below outside heading toward 20 below. If you’ve not felt that kind of cold, it’s dry; it’s really really dry. Body lotion vanishes like mist in Phoenix. Static electricity loves this kind of dry!
I have to roll up the trash bins so I put on my green puffy down jacket and a wool hat, making sure my headphone cord is on the inside so it doesn’t get caught on anything like the trash bin handles. It’s ten below and that generally means crystal clear. Not a drop of water in that air. There’s a delicate moon, just a sliver, running from 2 to 8 on a clock tip to tip. “You could hang a bucket on that moon,” my grandma Lucia once said about a similar moon at a different time.
It’s beautiful, but it’s also stupid-cold out there so I head back inside. I stop in the entryway and close to door behind me to keep the cold out. I pull off my puffy down jacket. The cord sticks to it and then peels off.
A pack of tiny firecrackers goes off in each ear. Electricity dances between the ear buds and ears. Each feels like one of those electricity balls that makes kids’ hair stand on end when they put their hand on it, but without the glass ball. It hurts! My shirt billows toward the jacket and hangs there for a second . I’m pregnant with static electricity; Marylin Monroe on the sidewalk grate. I shake the sparks from my shirt and throw my crackling hat on the jacket, watching as all around me the energy slowly snaps itself out.
I’ve had more painful shocks from static electricity, but this went on like a fireworks grand finale. I wonder if it’s going to give me any superpowers.