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Old 05-28-2011   #81
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Re: Your favourite song at the moment..

Klaus Schulze has been releasing albums for 5 decades, many of them are ambient. Currently I'm only familiar with one of them, Timewind, from 1975. If I remember correctly the entire album is one long piece, or maybe two long pieces... At any rate, Timewind has been recognized as an important and highly influential album in the history of ambient.

Parts of Timewind are brilliant. Unfortunately, the only YouTube video of my favorite part is a ####e recording not worth listening to. There is a condensed cover (the Klaus original is about 28 minutes, I think), however, by Houzan Suzuki that captures the song's essence:

Klaus Schulze"Time-Wind" Covered by HouzanSuzuki
http://youtu.be/7q3ageI5ffM
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Old 05-29-2011   #82
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Re: Your favourite song at the moment..

In my not so humble opinion ambient masterpieces like COIL's 'Time Machines', Nurse With Wound's 'Soliloquy for Lilith' and Aphex Twin's 'Selected Ambient Works vol. II' make the work of all those old Krautrockers - and certainly Schulze - look like New Age kitsch.

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Old 05-29-2011   #83
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Re: Your favourite song at the moment..

i am loving Blut Aus Nord's new album alot, especially the second song.

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Old 05-29-2011   #84
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Re: Your favourite song at the moment..

Quote Originally Posted by faliol View Post
i am loving Blut Aus Nord's new album alot, especially the second song.
I'm not a fan of Black Metal (and I've been exposed to quite a lot), but that song sounds grand to me. So does this one, although in a different sense:

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Old 05-30-2011   #85
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Re: Your favourite song at the moment..

Quote Originally Posted by sundog View Post
In my not so humble opinion ambient masterpieces like COIL's 'Time Machines', Nurse With Wound's 'Soliloquy for Lilith' and Aphex Twin's 'Selected Ambient Works vol. II' make the work of all those old Krautrockers - and certainly Schulze - look like New Age kitsch.
Thanks for posting Time Machines, it was an enjoyable listen that I have not previously had the pleasure of hearing; nice atmosphere of brooding menace and mystery. Definitely will add it to my audio library.

To call it a masterpiece, however, is going a bit far. To qualify as such, a song not only needs to be a great listen but it must be largely, if not entirely, original. This is clearly not the case with TM as it is heavily influenced by, indeed, almost a homage to, Tangerine Dream's masterpiece, Blue Room. I feel certain COIL would cop to this if asked. Undoubtably your ignorance regarding TM's ancestry is due to your apparent lack of interest in the history of ambient music, or perhaps your relative youth, though youth does not necessarily imply ingorance.

Tangerine Dream - Blue Room
http://youtu.be/NGBVlsmZygI

Then again, I tend to get carried away with details and distinctions at times. Probably in your own mind the definition of 'masterpiece' is not the same as mine. Looser I would guess. If so, fine by me - I'm a firm believer in the old saw about it taking all kinds. Seriously! I say this, despite the context, without the least bit of sarcasm. More to the point, these are all evaluations of music, the quality of which ultimately can only be perceived subjectively. To each his or her own, I say.

Notwithstanding, since you chose to voice your opinion about music I posted directly, I will further comment on the music you mentioned in reference to Klaus Schulze from my own personal perspective, which I realize is no more or less valid than anyone else's view outside the confines of my own mind.

Soliloquy for Lilith is a satisfyingly creepy piece, for about 10 seconds. After that the endless repetition of the short introductory motif loses its power; by the end of the song it has become merely drab and boring, reduced from its intriguing beginning to a stagnant form of... hm, what's an easy categorization... horror kitsch. This critique does not take into account the pictures in the video, of course, which are not part of the music. The track has only two elements, the sinister synth swells that define the rhythm counterpointed with the fingernails-on-chalkboard-esque sound. This latter sound does change throughout the song, but not with any notable artistry or depth. Still, I give the song a nominal nod for the first 10 seconds' efficacy.

Aphex Twin is talented. Richard James has depth, speed, protean liquidity and creativity, and much else at his command. Not surprisingly he has been very influential on the ambient techo scene; a universally acknowledged icon in that area, no less. Several years ago (he's been around for a while now, you know... he's only two years younger than me in fact), after having heard Polynomial C (a techno track I actually like), I listened to a cursory sampling of his music. Overall didn't much care for it. Had all the impressive elements listed above, but it was mostly glorified techno dance music. Impressively creative compared to most typically redundant techno, but still techo. Not my style. Did like Polynomial-C and Blue Calx, the latter being a true non-techno ambient song of remarkable beauty and atmosphere:

Aphex Twin - Blue Calx
http://vimeo.com/7075212
I should hold my tongue on this score, though. Aphex Twin has done a lot of stuff since then, and there was much I didn't hear of his at the time. Maybe he has more songs similar to Blue Calx.

Coincidentally, one of Aphex Twin's admitted influences is Tangerine Dream. And they, among many other ambient artists of note, probably upwards of 90% of all ambient artists or more, have cited Klaus Schulze in terms of admiration and reverance, as a source of inspiration. So, even if my opinion means nothing, even if his music isn't your style, it seems daft to talk about Schulze's music as New Age kitsch. Just saying, so that you may avoid embarrassment in the future when talking loosely about ambient music.

Actually, I don't really have much problem with the New Age reference, it's the assertion that KS's music is kitsch that strikes me as moronic. I can kinda see how one might speak of his music as sort of New Age-ish - it does have a certain bizarre otherworldly quality, like the sublime Indigo Clouds by Tangerine Dream:

Tangerine Dream - Indigo Clouds
http://youtu.be/JhM4CFS0hgg

Not dark or grim, hence a considerable number of folks here at TLO probably think it sucks. That's alright, fine by me. But if you somehow decided it was kitsch and said as much, I might feel like taking exception. Remember sundog, kitsch implies a glitzy lack of talent, skill, *and* bad taste, whatever your subjective perception of bad taste may be.

Last edited by hypnogeist; 05-30-2011 at 02:20 AM..
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Old 05-30-2011   #86
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Re: Your favourite song at the moment..

I no doubt didn't use the word 'kitsch' in its correct historical sense, more as a short-hand for what I perceive to be aesthetically deficient art. The demonstrative spaciousness (or out-of-spaciousness) of the old Krauts just falls flat on its face as far as I'm concerned. So much in fact that I can't help but cringe with embarrassment on the artist's behalf. I mean, their aim with this music is obviously (make that 'too obviously') to put the listener in a state of awe. When they fail so dismally at that lofty aim of theirs their music just comes across as down-right ridiculous. I guess I wanted to use the word 'kitsch' (perhaps wrongly) to signify this stark discrepancy between artistic aim and actual effect - on yours truly. I chose that word because the means (i.e 'the sounds') that Shulze and Tangerine Dream employ in attempting to reach their aim of creating a sense of awe are so very demonstratively spacey (and often in a purple way) that their music ends up being just a postulate about awe-inspiring space rather than the thing itself. In this sense, at least, their music seems to have a great deal in common with Kitsch. Not so with COIL and NWW, however much they have been inspired by the old Krauts - and they surely have. To my ears their music is much too subtle - and sideways and folded into itself - to be written off as 'kitsch' in the sense I've outlined above. Their music has something genuinely esoteric about it, which is the reason why I can listen to it again and again and again - unlike the old Krauts.

But right now I'm more into grandiose 60's girl-pop, preferrably sung in French:
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Old 05-30-2011   #87
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Re: Your favourite song at the moment..

It's obviously different for every listener, but for me ambient music has to get the balance right, creating an atmosphere and allowing the music to progress, but without calling attention to itself. I also have a preference for there to be an obvious "craft" element--not just some computer generating loops.

Time Machines didn't do anything for me, I'm afraid - it seemed rather soulless. Coil have their moments, as do Nurse With Wound, Lustmord and others who frustrate me because for every two or three good tracks on an album, the rest don't quite come off. Rather like Throbbing Gristle, I have respect for what they do, without wanting to hear it too often!

I was lucky enough to acquire about ten Tangerine Dream albums a few years ago but kept only Zeit, which is marvellous. I suppose if you are pioneers, like TD, or Eno, you won't always get it right. When Eno is on form he is peerless.

One of the oddest gigs I've ever been too was Robin Guthrie's "Lumiere Live". I was in the front row, directly in front of him, and the amplification was so low that I could hear the strings of his guitar being individually plucked over the sound of the PA. It was, though, beautiful stuff, although his solo material on CD doesn't quite work for me either. Picky, or what?)

But as for grandiose 60s girl-pop! -- Sundog, I'm with you there! "Run" is splendid - I'd never heard it before. (I'm currently listening to The Shangri-Las' Myrmidons of Melodrama (1963-66), and it's inevitable that I'll end up listening to The Ronettes and the Shirelles before the evening is ended...)
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Old 05-30-2011   #88
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Re: Your favourite song at the moment..

I agree about Zeit being the least bad Tangerine Dream album. But seriously.. f#ck all those old hippies and their supposedly 'mind-expanding' music, electronic or otherwise. They wouldn't know mind expansion if it came to them on iron wings. Give me groovy well-groomed 60's girl-pop anytime. Do post some youtube videos of your favourite songs from this era.
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Old 05-30-2011   #89
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Re: Your favourite song at the moment..

Quote Originally Posted by sundog View Post
Give me groovy well-groomed 60's girl-pop anytime. Do post some youtube videos of your favourite songs from this era.
As you've posted an English woman singing in French, how about I post a French woman singing in English?

My all-time favourite sixties girl-pop song is probably "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)" by the Shangri-Las.
I can still remember the first time I heard this (aged about 14), and how seriously weird it sounded. I taped it from off the radio and played it so many times because I was fascinated that the singer seemed to be on the verge of tears, and the song is structurally all over the place. It is quiet one moment, and histrionic the next. (I was convinced the dj had missed off the final chorus, and I spent a long time looking for the complete version :-) )

(All these years later I discover that this: a slightly different version to the one I know.)
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Old 05-30-2011   #90
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Re: Your favourite song at the moment..


Mark S.

(edited for no particularly good reason save a change of mind)

"You have no idea how much nastier I'd be if I were not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being." Evelyn Waugh

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