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ontol: openheads ep (first 'live' album)

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  • ontol: openheads ep (first 'live' album)

    Long and esoteric post--

    the tldr: this is a sort-of live album that was performed at the end of a long and wonderful day. I don't usually release such things (or discuss much in the way of my process) as I doubt many have the time to listen to long and extended meanderings and I prefer to share more polished and focused material. For me (and probably only me), the relationship between the material and the day felt special.





    These personal 'liner notes' I am only sharing here on AO:

    I am not a religious/spiritual person, in any form or manner but Monday, January 16 was a spiritual one for me in the sense I felt very connected to who I was, where I had been, and with whom I have emotional connections.

    The day began watching S1gns stream live. He is someone who truly enjoys his life and to me, radiates goodwill and happiness. While I may not share in his beliefs, I can share in his sincere expression of them, and that brings me joy; seeing a fellow human feeling in touch with his universe.

    After working in the yard for a few hours, I returned inside to get to work on my project for the weekend (my weekend is Sun/Mon/Tue) which was digitizing old video tapes from an annual party we used to throw in my salad days. The 16th marked the 30th anniversary of the first of the "Hellhole" parties and marked a transition in my life to some of my favorite years. We were all so young and beautiful. I shared images and clips from the videos which spurred threads sharing memories with the many people who went through that time. I had not seen the videos in at least 25 years.

    Late in the evening I decided to enhance my general mood and set forth on a bit of a journey with something I had put aside and had not experienced in almost 20 years. Enough on that.

    The rest of the evening was as wonderful as the day. I listened to music, reflected on my place in the universe, spoke to my kids (both adults now), watched a few clips from the old videos, as well as a performance of Krapp's Last Tape from 1988. Watching that particular play may seem counter to the general mood I was in, but I have always had an affinity for Beckett and as someone who spends a lot of time archiving things (pictures, videos, recordings) it serves as both a playful jibe at myself and as a warning against ceasing to look forward to the future, becoming trapped in reliving and the regrets of one's past.

    After the play I decided to try a bit of creative exercise. I messed about with some softsynths and effects, but never really settled into a sound I liked, so grabbed my guitar and hit record. Almost 50 minutes later, I reset and grabbed my bass. The recording was an extremely intimate experience and yet I could tweak effects and experiment without losing my focus in my instrument. The next day I was convinced I would find a long collection of incoherent noise, but it did sound like I remembered. I am not a musician (not a point of pride, just the truth) so don't look for any craftsmanship in the playing itself.

    Every sound on this recording is initiated by either the bass or guitar. Like Queen's early albums, "no synthesizers were used in this recording". The recording was not remixed, edited or mastered in any way--I wanted it to reflect as accurately as I could what I heard. A list of the effects chains is in the details on the site.

    Hope you like it.
    Last edited by aoVI; 01-20-2017, 10:45 PM.

  • #2
    Yesterday evening I listened to Eno's Reflection for the first time, and right now to this. Which one is better? I don't know. Enjoyed this one very, very much! It is really great!

    And no synths were harmed during the making of this album?
    Latest Album (Sept. 2020): Tenth Region Of The Night
    Soundcloud - Bandcamp - Youtube - Essentia Mundi - Winter-Light

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    • #3
      Originally posted by betadecay View Post
      Yesterday evening I listened to Eno's Reflection for the first time, and right now to this. Which one is better? I don't know. Enjoyed this one very, very much! It is really great!
      Keep talking and I will have to change the name of the album to "bigheads". I haven't had a chance to hear Reflection but am looking forward to it.


      Originally posted by betadecay View Post
      And no synths were harmed during the making of this album?
      just two live tracks; electric guitar and bass--both with fx chains. The most synth-like I felt was the bass further into the piece. It was overdriven using soundtoys radiator and DevilLoc Deluxe dumped into the H949 and further blurred with a couple of reverbs.

      Thank you so much for having a listen and feedback.
      Last edited by aoVI; 01-21-2017, 10:05 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by aoVI View Post
        Keep talking and I will have to change the name of the album to "bigheads". I haven't had a chance to hear Reflection but am looking forward to it.
        He he... :biggrin:

        Reflection is very reduced and minimalistic, it it somehow more ambient than everything I listened to before. The Shutov Assembly is very complex compared to this one. It is something between "may become boring after 2 more hours" and "milestone and masterpiece". I cannot decide yet.
        Latest Album (Sept. 2020): Tenth Region Of The Night
        Soundcloud - Bandcamp - Youtube - Essentia Mundi - Winter-Light

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        • #5
          I felt that way about Neroli. It just didn't have the same impact on me as Thursday Afternoon despite it being somewhat similar in many ways.

          I didn't dislike Neroli; it just was, like you said, somewhere in my head between boring and masterpiece--was hard to decide.

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          • #6
            I know the Small Craft On a Milk Sea - and did not like it, I do not know Neroli or Lux, there is a gap...
            Latest Album (Sept. 2020): Tenth Region Of The Night
            Soundcloud - Bandcamp - Youtube - Essentia Mundi - Winter-Light

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            • #7
              Well, I can honestly say this is brilliant. A deep, meditative experience, but also reaching into the domain of spiritual, and I even found connections and reflections to the turmoils of the current world events. Whether intended or not, this combination of timeless themes and subjective emotional response is what defines art for me.

              I'm practically broke at the moment, so I'm also very thankful for the free download option so I can enjoy this piece away from the computer as well.
              https://soundcloud.com/noiseconstruct/

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              • #8
                When I saw the bandcamp notification come in, I had no idea this record was so personal to you. Further, I had no idea that I somehow was part of the process. Amazing and honored. Thank you my friend!

                Off to go listen... :listening:

                Cheers,
                -S1gns
                S1gns Of L1fe
                Patreon | Synphaera | exosphere | YouTube

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                • #9
                  I'm going to listen again tonight...with the good headphones :listening:

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                  • #10
                    @ noise_construct: I appreciate the wonderful feedback and thank you for downloading! As always, the fact someone is listening is all I really am aiming for. Wouldn't turn down an offer from Warp Records, mind you...

                    @ S1gns: yeah, your good vibes stuck with me through the day. Funny how something like just seeing someone being happy and harmonious can affect a whole day. Thanks!

                    @ windspace: glad I am rating the good headphones. Thanks for listening; my initial intent that evening was to try and lay down something for HPD...sorry! ;)


                    And thanks to all who took a bit of time for a listen or download. The response has been really nice.

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                    • #11
                      These days I seem to be more of a lurker than a participator...but I felt I had to say something on this occasion.


                      Your introductory post really piqued my interest, so I downloaded the EP, and listened to it (for the first time) last night on the way home from work. I found it totally absorbing - everything I love about that style of ambient music: the stately pace, the atmosphere, the subtlety, all present and correct, and all reminding me what first drew me to ambient music.


                      My own music has been - unsatisfying - of late. Some reasons for that are personal, just down to life's rich tapestry giving me a hard time at the moment, but I've been thinking lately that I've got a bit lost, trying too hard to meld beats into my ambient music. I love it when other people do it, I don't think it's "wrong", I just feel my own efforts sound as if the beats are 'tacked on' somehow. But like a dog with an itch, I can't leave it alone, keep going back to it, attacking it from another direction, gnawing at it, pawing at it, trying to make it work...


                      Listening to "openheads" has inspired me - it made me remember that it's possible to produce a completely engaging piece of ambient music without beats, and a recorded performance can be so much more interesting than a piece which has had every spark of life micro-edited out of it. So, thank you for that
                      My new album "Exeunt Omnes" is available now, here:
                      https://thoughtexperiment.bandcamp.c...m/exeunt-omnes
                      Check out my (hopelessly out-of-date) SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/thought_experiment

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                      • #12
                        Hey Mike!

                        Glad to hear some of the good vibe that signs passed to me that morning made it's way to you.

                        I'd love to do beat-based ambient too. I lack the fundamental skills and knowledge to make it work both rhythmically and harmonically. So I stick to noises in the dark. Perhaps those of us in similar circumstances should get together and create a beat-based ambient compilation for the pattern-challenged?

                        I really appreciate the feedback and attention you have paid to my work not just on this project, but through the years. It means a lot.

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                        • #13
                          I've listened to this a couple of times now and think you're really onto something here. Tapped into something kind of elemental emotionally. Love the sounds you got too, I think there's a bassy sound about twenty minutes in that's just sublime (the H949 processing I guess).

                          I even listened to it on headphones, late one night and didn't fall asleep. Quite the compliment, believe me.

                          (no disrespect to other producers, I fall asleep to my stuff all the time...)


                          So, yeah, great stuff. Carry on.
                          Latest release: never to be repeated

                          Hearthis | Soundcloud

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                          • #14
                            Thank you, Mr. G.

                            I was pleased with the sounds and feel they more firmly came together the further into the piece--as is true with any improvisational material I guess.

                            There's been more than a few times I found myself snapping out of a nap while mixing things with the counter well over an hour past the end of the piece. I prefer to believe it is less from boredom than the composition imparting a peacefulness to one's mind.

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                            • #15
                              I gave this album a purchase, and two full listens in the car as I drove around running errands yesterday. I think by far what struck me most about it (this was mentioned above) is how spiritual this album is. There's a sense of yearning and longing for the infinite void, while not settling on the light or the darkness...because both are clearly presented. This album, to me, is about balancing those energies and finding yourself within them...and at the same time, connecting to the divine.

                              It's a true gem. Congrats ontol!
                              S1gns Of L1fe
                              Patreon | Synphaera | exosphere | YouTube

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