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somewhere in space
Hearts of Space radio and online music service producer
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Call it neo-paganism if you like, but when you work with ambient music, you can't help but be more aware of the natural environment — the time of year, the weather, the turning of the seasons, the solstices, the equinoxes. In fact the seasons are always turning, but there are special moments, and this week we passed through one of them: the Vernal Equinox. Around the 20th of March, the center of the sun aligns directly with the earth's equator and day and night are approximately equal everywhere on earth. It's the point of balance in the solar energy cycle, halfway between the extremes of winter and summer. Here in the northern hemisphere, most of us are enjoying more daylight, warmer temperatures, flowing water, and more time outdoors. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, the sound of the seasonal transition with an hour of ambient electronics for early spring, on a program called VERNAL CROSSING. Music is by AMONGST MYSELVES, ISHQ, HEAVENLY MUSIC CORPORATION, DAN POUND, SINEPEARL, JOHN LYELL, TAKASHI SUZUKI, and STEVE ROACH. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at hearts of space | news
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Back in the late 18th and early 19th century, a German doctor named FRANZ MESMER had a far out theory about energy transference between animate and inanimate objects. He called it "animal magnetism." A Scottish doctor named JAMES BAIRD developed the idea and called it "nervous sleep" or "neuro-hypnotism," and later just "hypnosis." The word comes from the Greek hypnos for "sleep" and osis "to put to sleep." These days, thanks to the American Psychological Association, we have a formal definition of hypnosis as "a state of consciousness created by 'hypnotic induction' and characterized by relaxation, focused attention and increased suggestibility, with alterations in perception, sensation, emotion, thought or behavior." Others define it as psychological regression, dissociation, or an altered state of functioning. However you define it, hypnosis has a lot in common with ambient music, which also creates a relaxed state with focused attention. Whether it causes increased suggestibility and altered perception...well, that's up to you. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, electronic music for mental alteration, on a program called HYPNOTRONIC. Music is by ORCHESTRA SOLITAIRE, CHRONOTOPE PROJECT, THIERRY DAVID, HOWARD GIVENS & CRAIG PADILLA, A PRODUCE, PHILLIP WILKERSON, STEVE ROACH, and VIC HENNEGAN. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2015 at hearts of space | news
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Another year rolls by, and with it our early spring celebration of St. Patrick's Day and all things Celtic. And when it comes to traditional Celtic music, it seems to be a bit bipolar — half lively, manic jigs and reels; half sad, some might say depressive, ballads. But it's all good, because you'll not find a more beautiful folk music tradition anywhere. Of course these days the Celtic homelands are all thoroughly modern countries, but the music lives on, ready to be reborn by a new generation of musicians, and rediscovered by a new generation of listeners. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, another journey in the slow and quiet side of Celtic music, on a program called CELTIC LEGACY 3. Music is by JEFF JOHNSON/BRIAN DUNNING/WENDY GOODWIN, MAIRE BRENNAN, PHIL COULTER, SECRET GARDEN, WILLIAM DOWDALL, AINE MINOGUE, and JOHN DOAN. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2015 at hearts of space | news
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The far north jazz of Scandinavia and Northern Europe has a distinctive sound: typically lyrical and melodic, often restrained and contemplative. It's a combination that fills the long, cold winter spaces and warms the arctic nights. Since 1969 the great German ECM label, under the expert direction of producer MANFRED EICHER, has been (shall-we-say) instrumental in bringing Nordic Jazz to worldwide attention, with hundreds of impeccable recordings and austere, elegant graphics that convey the mood perfectly. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, warm spacejazz from chilly Scandinavia, on a program called NORTHJAZZ. Music is by KETIL BJORNSTAD, TORD GUSTAVSEN, HELGE LIEN, TOMASZ STANKO, KARL SEGLEM, and KEITH JARRETT. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2015 at hearts of space | news
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The panorama of musical vocalization stretches across cultural time and space, from simple songs and chants to the most elaborate art music for chorus and orchestra. It's a medium that continues to evolve, incorporating the past while it forges into the future. The origins of the Central Asian tradition of harmonic chanting or "overtone" singing are lost in time, but are alive today, both in source cultures like Tuva and Tibet, and in the work of experimental singers and composers. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, a journey into the ghostly, floating world of harmonic singing called SPECTRAL VOICES. Music is by CHARLES B. KIM, TRIO MEDIEVAL, PAULINE OLIVEROS, STUART DEMPTER & PANAIOTIS, JIM COLE & SPECTRAL VOICES, SEATTLE HARMONIC VOICES, and SANCTUARY. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2015 at hearts of space | news
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Electronic music is sometimes critically described as "cold." But when it comes to sonic evocations of winter, cold is good: electronic timbres can convey the frigid atmospheres, desaturated colors, and static silences of the northern landscape, and spin hypnotic images of the Northern Lights. Musicians from Northern Europe and Scandinavia express these qualities in their music naturally. It's an austere but appealing sound that's been very influential, even on artists from warmer latitudes. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, another Ambient winter journey called ELECTRONIC NORTH 2. Music is by MARCONI UNION, ERIC WOLLO & BERNHARD WOSTHEINRICH, PJUSK, ALIO DIE & LORENZO MONTANA, ROBERT RICH, AL GROMER KHAN, PHILLIP WILKERSON, and CHRONOTOPE PROJECT. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2015 at hearts of space | news
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The latter days of winter bring a special kind of fatigue mixed with impatience. For residents of snow-crossed parts of the country, winter has begun to overstay its welcome; while here in California, the rain is back, the trees are blossoming, and February feels like spring. As the sound of the season evolves, music of the far north and Arctic countries still resonates, connecting with contemplative acoustic mainstays like the cello and the piano. From deep minimalist patterns to Romantic melodicism, we find the soul and comfort to endure. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, wintry acoustic spacemusic for the season on a program called WINTERTONES 2. With Icelandic musicians OLAFUR ARNALDS and HILDUR GUTHNADOTTIR, cellist DAVID DARLING with SYLVIA NAKKACH and JACQUELINE TSCHABOLD BHUYAN, MICHAEL HOPPE & HAROLD MOSES, BRUNO SANFILIPPO, and RALPH ZURMUHLE. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2015 at hearts of space | news
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We're at the nadir of winter in the Northern Hemisphere...a time when the yearly journey around our native star seems arbitrary and endless. Battered by storms, challenged by cold, starved for light, we have no choice but to wait...for the return of the sun and the bright promise of spring. It's a trial we repeat in miniature each long winter night, as we turn away from the sun into the cosmic darkness. But while we can escape most of the night in sleep, winter...must be endured. It's a test of fortitude and patience, a confrontation with our own desires for ease and comfort. On this transmission of Hearts of Space...a nocturnal winter journey called THE LONG NIGHT. Music is by JEFF GREINKE, ROBERT RICH, A PRODUCE, STEVE ROACH & KELLY DAVID, SEAN WASHBURN, and NUNC STANS & MYSTIFIED. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2015 at hearts of space | news
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The polar night creeps southward across the top of Europe, while the winter snows and ice hold the fjords and forests in their grip. In a land of dark and cold, the focus turns within, and the music of Scandinavia, the Baltics and Russia warms the heart and fills the soul. Classical, jazz and traditional folk sounds stretch from melancholy to an ethereal lightness: slow, majestic and beautiful. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, a far north spacejazz and new music journey called NORDIC SOUL. Music is by STREIF, JAN GARBAREK, FRANCOIS COUTURIER, ANDREY DERGATCHEV, MICHELLE MAKARSKI, GALINA USTVOLSKAYA, and VALENTIN SILVESTROV. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2015 at hearts of space | news
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Like wine, ambient and contemplative music comes in many varieties — from acoustic to electronic, from solos to large ensembles, from subtle to powerful. But when it comes to power per gram, there's no doubt: the most potent instruments in the ambient music box are the resonant percussion family of bronze bells, bowls and gongs. These instruments are psychoacoustic powerhouses, generating sounds that seem wired directly through our auditory systems to our inner core. In the hands of a sensitive musician, they can lead us to the quiet realm we like to call The Deep Zone. And while it normally takes most of a program to work our way into The Deep Zone...these instruments live there full time. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, a wintry journey for resonant bronze called SOUNDING THE DEEP. Music is by DEUTER, APOLLONIUS+33 TETRAGAMMON, NEBULAE, 33 BOWLS, ED MANN and KARMA MOFFETT. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2015 at hearts of space | news
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The weatherman seeks warmer spaces and tropical waters. We'll be taking a mid-winter vacation break and scheduling repeat shows for the next three weeks: JANUARY 23rd: PGM 973 'SOUNDING THE DEEP' a wintry journey for resonant bronze w/music by Deuter, Apollonius+33 Tetragammon, Nebulae, 33 Bowls, Ed Mann and Karma Moffett. JANUARY 30th: PGM 791 'NORDIC SOUL'—a far north spacejazz and new music journey—slow, majestic and beautiful, w/music by Streif, Jan Garbarek, Francois Couturier, and Valentin Silvestrov. FEBRUARY 6th: PGM 1037 'THE LONG NIGHT—a nocturnal winter journey w/music by Jeff Greinke, Robert Rich, A Produce, Steve Roach & Kelly David, Sean Washburn, and Nunc Stans & Mystified. We return with a new season of essential Ambient on February 13th. Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2015 at hearts of space | news
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January 2015 would be the 100th birthday of DR. JOHN C. LILLY, one of the true visionaries of 20th-century science. Lilly's life and work at the frontiers of human knowledge embraces the major themes of 20th-century bioscience. In his 86 years, Lilly made significant contributions to psychology, brain research, computer theory, medicine, ethics, dolphinology, and interspecies communication. Of special relevance for this program, Lilly's interest in the nature of human consciousness led him to invent the isolation or floatation tank in the 1950s. Today there are thousands of Floatation Centers around the world. The floatation tank is a large plastic container filled with 10 inches of warm water and 800 pounds of dissolved Epsom salt. This high-density liquid allows the body to float effortlessly, free for once from the burden of gravity. The water and air are both heated to skin temperature, so one soon loses the sense of the boundaries of the body. With no light and virtually no sound, it encourages a "sensory-reduced" state that promotes deep physical and mental relaxation, and ultimately allows the floater to explore "inner space." Hmmm. Sound familiar? Floating is one of the most common words used to describe the effect of Ambient music. Lilly began by investigating what would happen in an environment free of all sensory stimulation, but instead of the brain going to sleep as had been theorized, a whole new world of inner experience opened up. In the early 1960s, Lilly began experiments with LSD, and decided to take the drug in the isolation tank. Through this work, he arrived at a perspective that transcended the conflict between rationality and mysticism, religion and science. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, a weightless journey in inner space...on a program called FLOATATION. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2015 at hearts of space | news
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In the depths of winter, movement slows and time expands. Below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, flowing water becomes static crystals, locked and silent. At absolute zero, motion stops. The sound of winter is low and slow: thick drones punctuated by dark bells and metallic overtones. The chilled air is heavy with water vapor, damping sounds and creating a hushed atmosphere. And when the storms come, the keening of the cold night wind creates an eerie wail. On this transmission of Hearts of Space,far north winter electronics, on a program called ICE NIGHT. Music is by BIOSPHERE, SIMON LOMAX. DEEP CHILL NETWORK, HAROLD BUDD, CSILLAGKOD, BRAIN LAUGHTER, ALTUS, and JANNE HANHISUANTO. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2015 at hearts of space | news
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In 1975 Hearts of Space was a two-year old late night program on KPFA-FM in Berkeley, California. One rainy November midnight, a local artist named JORDAN DE LA SIERRA showed up unannounced at the back door of the radio station and demanded to play the piano on the program, which was already in progress! From that unforgettable encounter came a legendary recording of "experimental, explorational, Ambient/new age/neo-classical music" called GYMNOSPHERE: SONG OF THE ROSE. I'm STEPHEN HILL and on this transmission of HEARTS of SPACE, we revisit this timeless classic. We'll feature music from three of the four sides of the original double album. Along with PAUL HORN's Inside the Taj Mahal, it was among the first "acoustic-Ambient" albums. It was also the first original recording I produced — for Jordan de la Sierra was (and is) an exceptional artist in every way. Born in Fresno in California's Central Valley, he studied music at the San Francisco Conservatory and Mills College, where he met TERRY RILEY, LA MONTE YOUNG and other avant-garde composers influenced by Khyal master PANDIT PRAN NATH, who were cross-pollinating Western and East Indian classical music. It was the beginning of the electronic music era, and out of this rich tapestry of cultural and technical possibilities came a contemplative classic. Recorded in 1976 and released in 1978 on an early Northern California new age label, GYMNOSPHERE was an impressive double vinyl LP with a 20-page booklet. It was soon reduced to a single LP with no booklet, and then went out of print when the label failed a few years later. Thus began a long exile, punctuated by a cassette re-release in 1985 that also disappeared within a year. These were the realities of the "good old days" of the analog record business: all but the most... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2015 at hearts of space | news
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This week we're devoting the entire program to an album with which I have a very special relationship. It was the first recording I produced back in 1976; the music was groundbreaking and influential; and it became something of a lost classic by going out of print. These notes and the program introduction tell the story. :: SH JORDAN DE LA SIERRA Gymnosphere: Song of the Rose release notes by Randall Davis, December 2, 2014 In the world of experimental, explorational, ambient/new-age/neo-classical music, something very special has happened. One of the inspirational and influential "lost classics" has re-emerged. In 1976, multi-dimensional artist Jordan De La Sierra sat at a specially-tuned piano and recorded Gymnosphere: Song of the Rose. The original vinyl album has been out-of-print for more than 30 years. Now the recording has been released for the first time on CD, digitally-remastered from the original tapes. The legend continues. This historic music is finally available again — now as a two-CD set, as a double-vinyl-album and as digital downloads — thanks to a careful reissue by Numero Group, a specialty label based in Chicago. The package includes a 20-page booklet with extensive information about the project and its history as well as India-inspired drawings and De La Sierra's musings on "the tableau of space." More information about the project is available at http://numerogroup.com/products/jordan-de-la-sierra-gymnosphere-song-of-the-rose. There are several reasons this music is so coveted. The music itself is exceptional, emotion-stirring and timeless, although it also originally was considered cutting edge, ground-breaking and influential to other musicians (it was one of the first acoustic-ambient recordings). Remarkably, it sounds completely contemporary to this day. In addition, De La Sierra was always a leader in the field of modern sonic-art, avant-garde, psycho-acoustic, new frontier music. He studied with (and became a good friend of)... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2015 at hearts of space | news
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Winter settles in to the Northern hemisphere bringing powerful storms, but also radiant clear days with azure skies and deep vistas. Unlike most sensible animals, human activity seems to increase as the temperature drops, and we fill the brief days leading up to the new year with all manner of hustle and bustle. Holiday lights twinkle in the crisp air, and while the traditional sounds of the season are warm, rich and harmonious, it's also a perfect time for intricate electronic rhythms that echo the activity, and crystalline tones that ring in the chilled atmosphere. On this transmission of Hearts of Space...an Ambient/Electronic journey for early winter, on a program called COLD AND BRIGHT. Music is by BRYAN CARRIGAN, BLUETECH, FORREST SMITHSON, NATURAL FREQUENCIES, PHILLIP WILKERSON, and JUSTIN VANDERBERG. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2014 at hearts of space | news
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The great tradition of choral singing has a glorious history extending over thousands of years. Even in these diverse, multicultural, often secular days, the tradition endures because there is something deeply satisfying and essentially human in the sound and the practice of group singing. Choral groups range from trios to 200 voice chorales; they're often unpaid and done purely for the love of it. The genre has attracted specialist composers in every era, some working within churches and religious institutions, others as solo artists. During the winter holiday season, we enjoy choral classics like The Messiah and traditional hymns and carols in sacred spaces from cathedrals to street corners. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, another sacred music journey from our longtime guest producer for classical and sacred music ELLEN HOLMES, on a program called MAGNIFICAT. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2014 at hearts of space | news
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Well, another twelve months are almost history, and the holiday season has arrived in all its glory. And you know what that means: Christmas music is in the mall, on the air, in TV commercials and pretty much unavoidable. No matter how you feel about that — and the sentiment runs the gamut from delight to despair — here at Hearts of Space, we have a hopefully more subtle strategy: call it Ambient/environmental. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, we confront the cold with acoustic instrumentals that please the ear with harmony and warm the heart with melody and emotion, on a program called HEARTH AND HOME. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2014 at hearts of space | news
UPDATE 12/12/14: All better now, but we had to "spin up" a new virtual server with twice the capacity of the one our service provider originally advised us to use. Who knew? With cloud servers the actual capacity you get varies because you are sharing hardware with other clients. So you need more than "just enough." At the same time, we've added better "load balancing" and alert advisories to let our techs now when we are getting close to the edge and need to add even more capacity, reboot, etc. It's a brave new world, folks. We're learning as we go...and so, apparently are our vendors! :: SH For the last 24 hours we've been having the most frustrating kind of intermittent outage on our web server. This also has affected operation of our mobile apps. Symptoms are slow or no loading of the site, delayed operation, or part of the service unavailable. All hands are on deck in three states trying to resolve the issue. Note: For those who want to know why, the problem has to do with the provisioning and configuration of our cloud servers, which are failing intermittently under load. We are working to re-spec and re-configure them now. As soon as we get the right setup, everything should be back to normal or even better. As always, we hate anything that disrupts service and are deeply sorry for the inconvenience. :: SH Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at hearts of space | news
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The familiar Baroque harmonies of ANTONIO VIVALDI'S "The Four Seasons." But something is different. The notes are almost the same, but the sound and the recorded image have been "recomposed" in a more modern style by British composer MAX RICHTER. Since the dawn of the popular electronic music era in the 1960s and 70s, both classical composers and popular musicians have been fascinated by the creative intersection of Classical structure and Ambient atmosphere. And it has led to a genre of Ambient/Classical hybrids that continue to the present day. For Ambient is, at its heart, a sensibility for sound and space, one which had already been incorporated into certain forms of Western classical music over ten centuries of evolution: especially sacred and choral music, works for pipe organ, and adagio movements of all eras and genres. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, the creative intersection between Classical and Ambient, on a program called CLASSICAL REINVENTIONS. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2014 at hearts of space | news
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Here's a recipe for a long-running music genre: take a joyous, earthy sound you can dance to; balance with real life sadness and heartache; season generously with gorgeous melodies and some of the finest voices on the planet; add quite a lot of rain, then weather to a fine patina with salty North Atlantic winds, and you have something that can stand up to the centuries. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, an early winter's journey into the charmed and charming realm of Celtic and Irish music called 'FOLLOW THE DREAM.' Music is by SECRET GARDEN, MOYA BRENNAN & CORMAC DE BARRA, ARYEH FRANKFURTER & LISA LYNNE, AINE MINOGUE, JOHN DOAN, PATRICK BALL, PHIL COULTER and STEPHAN MICUS. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2014 at hearts of space | news
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Emerging out of the dark days of autumn, we begin the transition to the year's end holidays. The music takes a brighter, more active turn as we immerse ourselves in sparkling electronic soundworlds, and subtle, yet seductive melodies. Ambient artists turn raw waveforms into virtual environments, a kind of sonic alchemy. On this transmission of Hearts of Space...an early winter journey in virtual electronic space, on a program called AMBIENT ALCHEMY. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2014 at hearts of space | news
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As we descend into the quiet heart of the autumn soundscape, it's time to revisit the contemplative jazz and classical treasures of the indispensible German label ECM. It's the sound of mostly acoustic instruments played by master musicians in pristine studio recordings. ECM music seems to come fully alive under the grey skies and subdued light of fall, when its complex tonalities and somber, but intense colors take on a burnished glow. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, a miniature ECM festival, on program called DARKTIME REVERIES. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2014 at hearts of space | news
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We're descending into the autumn soundscape, a world of deepening colors, diminishing daylight, and declining temperatures. As the sun withdraws, we ride the trail of recession in the natural world. It's a time for patience, acceptance, forbearance. ​Ambient musicians reflect the feelings of the season with acoustic and electronic sounds, slowing time and stretching space with descending progressions and darkening harmonies. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, an ambient journey for late autumn, on a program called DIMINUENDO. Music is by PATRICK O'HEARN, ERIK WOLLO, PAUL AVGERINOS, BRUNO SANFILIPPO, HAROLD BUDD & BRIAN ENO, ROBERT RICH, and DARSHAN AMBIENT. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2014 at hearts of space | news
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As the autumn sun withdraws, we enter the season of gloom and shadow: the darkside. The ancient pagan harvest celebrations and the 16th-century Christian observance of All Hallows Eve have come down to us from the Celtic lands as the festival of Halloween, a time to honor the saints and recently departed souls, and recognize the dark emotions surrounding fear, death and decay. On this transmission of Hearts of Space, another Ambient journey for Halloween called DARKSIDE RITUALS. [ view playlist ] [ view Flickr image gallery ] [ play 30 second MP3 promo ] Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2014 at hearts of space | news