Tag Archives: Ambient/New Age

The Blake Album

“The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” is an illustrated book by the influential English poet William Blake created 1790 to 1793

“Themes from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” is an 1998 album by Ulver, sometimes reffered to as just “The Blake Album” where the illustration’s by Blake is replaced by music, the text/lyrics is exactly the same.

For those interested in the entire text and William Blake’s impressive etched plates, click here

In 1998 Norwegian music collective ULVER led by vocalist Kristoffer Rygg, was known mainly as a black metal band with some acoustic elements from classical and/or folk music, after the release of their three first albums. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell saw a huge change in their artistic direction.

There is a black metal vibe left from the previous album, but this is a magic mixture of elements from other styles like Industrial, Electronic and Ambient etc that you won’t really find anywhere else, that combined with those mysterius and spiritual lyrics provide for a  very avantgarde rock to say the least, a complex music that demands a lot and rewards equally too those patient souls able to dig deep enough.

While this album at first glance seems very dark and almost scary, there is something very beautiful in the interaction or contrast of those acoustic moments and vocals clashed with passages of brutal distorted sections of hard industrial rock and dark vocals – perfectly illustrating “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”.

To me personally it is that kind of album, that I don’t visit too often, but when i do I always spent the entire hour needed to hear it all at ones.

Im not an expert in Literature and this is just by own interpretation: In reflection of the above mentioned harmony of contradictions, it is my believe that William Blake’s idea was exactly to highlight that Heaven and Hell or rather The Natural Element and The Civilized Element, was not contradicting and “The Marriage” of those are  needed.

 

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Woman’s Boat and Lifeforms

What a Fripp

1994 was a wonderful active year for Fripp, contributing to Damage – Live , Flowermouth  and Sidi Mansour but that is not all.

Together with a star cast is names like Peter Gabriel, Trey Gunn and David Rhodes, Fripp contributed to Toni Childs album “The Woman’s Boat” on several tracks. The album features a rich world music inspiration that we also know from the works of Peter Gabriel in this period and it is no surprise to find that it was recorded in his Real World Studios.

 

Toni Childs (born 1957) is an American/Australian singer and songwriter. Making three albums from 1988 to 1994, best received was the debut “Union”. After 1997 Toni Childs gave up touring after developing Graves’ disease, she would not make another album until 2009.

Fripp also played on a track from “The Future Sound of London”’s album “Lifeforms” a wonderful album of avant-garde electronic music, walking the line between  techno and ambient. Surprisingly not only a success with critics but also commercially; selling over 60.000 copy’s.

The Future Sound of London is a duo of Garry Cobain born 1967 Bedford England and Brian Dougans born 1966 Glasgow Scotland. Brian Dougans has also released as soloartist under the name Humanoid having a hit with ”Stakker Humanoid” prior to his work with ”The Future Sound of London”

Contributions by Robert (part IV)

In 1992 Fripp contributed to David Cunningham’s “Water” on a single track “Stars” – the saxophone player is Peter (Laurence) Gordon.

Fripp had already been involved with contributions to Cunningham’s group “The Flying Lizard” back in 1981. This time the music was more ambient and minimalistic.

 

Also in 1992 Fripp contributes on English electronic group The Grid’s album 456. Fripp’s plays on 3 tracks, Ice Machine, Aquarium and Fire Engine Red.

While Fripp is very evident on all the tracks, Ice Machine stands out as the most hilarious and at the same time brilliant. A must know track for any Fripp devotee. Vocals performed by Dieter Meier from Swiss band Yello.

And then, as python said, to something completely different.

 

In 1993 Fripp played on a track from Lawrence Gowan “…but you can call me Larry” sorry to say so, but to me this is very forgettable.

Anyway here it is, it might be that others will think it is great:

Lawrence Henry Gowan is a Scottish-born Canadian pianist and singer, since 1999 Gowan has been a member of legendary American rock band Styx

1990 Anno Domini

Emigma’s 1990 debut “MCMXC a.D.” (MCMXC is the Roman numerals for 1990) is one of the important steppingstones in the development of Electronic music. At the time it was a huge hit, and a huge provocation too. With its mix of a very sexy female voice, Gregorian chants and dance beats.

The music is sort of new age chill, mostly on a soft dance beat, but yet at time very experimental. Personally I think it one of the best music experiments, able to penetrate into a mainstream audience, since Eno/Byrne’s (1981) “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”, The music is based on a lot of samples, including rain from Black Sabbath debut, a track from Aphrodite’s Child’s album 666, and the voice of Maria Callas.

Enigma was actually not a band, more the brainchild of Romanian-born Michael Cretu.
With MCMXC a.D. he created one of the most original and controversial albums in the early 90’s, with its unique blend of religious influences, fusion of genres, and sexual references.
MCMXC a.D. is one of a kind, and even though Enigma made others albums later, is has been unsurpassed as their best effort.

Fripp & Travis meets Eno & Fripp

Friday is Fripp day
What a Fripp
So lets Fripp out !!

While deeply involved with King Crimson, in 1972, Fripp was invited by Brian Eno to his home studio, with Eno’s new system , using two tape recorders, when a single sound was played, it was heard several seconds later at a lower volume level, then again several seconds later at a still lower level, and so on.
Fripp and Eno, got started, and created “The Heavenly Music Corporation,” Side One of “No Pussyfooting” released the following year, a proto-ambient masterpiece. The birth of Fripp’s journey, into ambient music.

The latest work have been his collaboration “Travis & Fripp”, with Theo Travis, British saxophonist and flautist. Where they use similar systems as Fripp & Eno did back in 1972, besides the fact that today everything is off course electronic.
The style is Ambient as many other of Fripp’s solo works have been, but with the more acoustic sound from flutes and other wind instruments played by Travis, this collaboration come out more soft.
Fripp have always been working a lot with improvising, and that is also the core of this project, but they have also reworked existing materials (“Moonchild” from the King Crimson debut ).

Travis and Fripp : When The Rains Fall – 2012
(there is a silent intro of about 40 sec., nothing wrong with your system)

There is no Youtube from No Pussyfooting atm. But this gives a good idear of the kind of music on the album.  (a live version of ‘The Heavenly Music Corporation’)

 

Kitaro – Ku-Kai – Japan Part 3

Kitaro – part 2
Kitaro started his solo career in 1977 and became a pioneer in what was to become known as, the New Age movement. Kitaro’s music for “The Silk Road”, an NHK documentary series from the 80’s, was sold in millions and created huge international attention.
Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai is a series of albums inspired by the classic Buddhist pilgrimage “The Shikoku Pilgrimage” (四国遍路) of 88 temples on the island of Shikoku – associated with Kūkai (空海), 774 – 835, a Japanese monk, kalligrapher and engineer. Among the many achievements attributed to him is the invention of the kana, with which in combination with Chinese characters (kanji), the Japanese language is written to this day.

Temple bell

Every track on the 4 volumes of Sacred Journey Of Ku-Kai contains samples from ancient Japanese temple bells (Peace Bells) from the 88 sacred temples.

Japan part 2
Japan part 4