I woke up before the sun, and flew in a lawn dart from ORD to IND on a little over five hours of mostly-restful sleep. As I walked through the airport, I heard the muted voices of gate announcements echo off the walls, and it reminded me of the Pink Floyd song On The Run. The similarities took on a surreal, dreamlike quality when I ended up in a tunnel, on a moving walkway, under rainbows of neon tubes, surrounded by fellow travellers in various states of running to their gates.
A few hours after I landed in Indianapolis, I checked into my hotel, fed myself, and came back to my hotel room to do some maintenance work on my blog. While working, I listened to the entirety of Dark Side of the Moon, followed by Echoes from Meddle.
That’s when my arm began to itch. This has been going on for months, and nobody knows why, but I get the worst itching in the world between my elbow and wrist on the top of my left arm. It feels like it’s coming from my nerves, doesn’t respond to scratching or topical creams at all, and sometimes itches so badly it feels like I’m being pricked with tens of thousands of tiny needles. It sucks, and the only thing that helps at all is benedryl. So here I am, a little loopy on not enough sleep and two benedryl, listening to Pink Floyd like some kind of throwaway joke character in an HST pop-up book for children, when Echoes finishes up and this album called Repurpose by woob starts to play.
And this is what I set out to write in the first place, which I suppose could have just been a link on Twitter: woob is one of the essential ambient acts, and the (relatively) new album Repurpose lives up to expectations.
Here, take a listen:
If you’re intrigued, and want to know more, you may be interested in the following, which I wrote in 2008, referencing something I wrote in 2005:
I’m always happy to share this type of music with people, and if I have an opportunity to turn people on to music that really opened my mind (without the assistance from any chemical or mind-altering substances, I always feel compelled to add) I always seize it.
I’ll point those of you who are interested to a portion of a post I made in 2005 (my god, how is it that it simultaneously feels so long ago and so recent to me?) about ambient music. The “it” I refer to is an ambient song I made in GarageBand called Lakeside Shadow:
If you like it, you’ll probably like some of the artists who influenced me over the years: Woob (especially 1194, and especially the track strange air) Dedicated (especially Global Communication, also called 76 14), and Solitaire (especially Ritual Ground). Also, Instinct Records (still alive) andSilent Records (sadly, tragically, defunct since 1996) released an amazing number of genre-defining ambient discs in the 90s. And now, just to prove how hardcore I am, I’m going to throw out Pete Namlook, and the FAX Label, but their stuff is far more experimental than the rest of my list, and isn’t what I’d use to introduce a new listener to Ambient music.
Finally, if you can find it, Silent Records put out an incredible record called Earth to Infinity (I think in 1994) which was pulled shortly after it was released, due to some sampling issues. I think it’s one of the greatest ambient recordings of all time, and don’t ask me for it because I’m not going to jail for you, Chachi.
I think I could have said “incredible” a few more times. Allow me to emphatically pulverize this dead horse deep into the ground: if you only get two ambient records in your whole life, they should be 1194 from Woob and Earth to Infinity (holy shit there are two available from Amazon). If you can only get three, add 76:14, and thank me before you touch the monolith and journey beyond the infinite.
Okay, as I said in 2005, most of my ambient CDs are from Silent, Instinct, and Caroline, and I have a metric assload of FAX recordings that I don’t listen to very much any more. If I were to expand on the artists and albums I mentioned three years ago into a list of essentials, I would add Pelican Daughters‘ breathtaking record Bliss, Consciousness III (or Lunar Phase) by Heavenly Music Corporation, and the 2295 compilation from em:t.
If you’re intrigued, and want to know what some of this stuff sounds like without waiting, please go directly to Magnatune, and fire up their ambient mix. They’ve got artists over there, like Robert Rich and Falling You, who make truly incredible music. (I really think I need to say incredible and really more. Really.) Soma FM has magnificent downtempo and ambient streams, as well. Groove Salad and Dronezone rarely disappoint.
The thing to understand about ambient, though, if you’ve never heard it before, is that it’s slow and deliberate. It takes its time. It doesn’t work in the car, and it doesn’t work if your brain is cranked up to eleven. It’s best enjoyed when you can relax, and let it fill the room around you as you slowly sink into it and out of yourself, like you’ve stepped into a giant gelatinous cube.
Hrm. Maybe that’s not the best way to describe it. Go ahead and fill in your own: “______________.”
Yes, that’s it. That’s it exactly.
This is not the first time I’ve talked about this album, but it will be the first time I’ve linked to woob’s newest album, Have Landed, which is brilliantly described as “The soundtrack for every classic sci-fi movie that should have been made.”
Have another embedded player:
It should come as no surprise that I encourage you to go buy these albums and give woob your money so he/she/it/robot/angel/devil/sentient fungus/ makes more music for us. I hope that, if you’ve come this far, you’ll go a little farther and dig beneath that one tree by the wall to find what’s there.