Group Mind

I’ve mentioned it a couple of times already this year but it bears repeating- Richard Norris’ ambient album Abstractions Volume 1 is a wonderful record/download, the very embodiment of chill out. I know some of you agree- Drew and I discussed it when we met for a pint on Thursday night. Richard has done several mixes for his Group Mind project all in a similar vein to the album and this one, Group Mind Mix 004, is ace, over an hour of immersive warm sounds, experimental ambient, drone and piano pieces. Perfect for Sunday.

Monday’s Long Song

Richard Norris’ ambient album Abstractions Volume 1 has been on heavy rotation round Bagging Area Towers since it came out in February. It is a stunner, four beautiful and completely absorbing meditations, what Richard tags ‘deep listening’- nothing much happens but it doesn’t matter, nothing happens really nicely . It draws you in, fixes you and as I said somewhere else recently works really well as a kind of aural Valium. And God knows we all need some of that from time to time, in these chaotic and depressing days especially so.

The vinyl edition has four tracks- the download comes with Confluence 2 as an additional one, a twenty minute journey to nowhere/here.

Shorelines

This is new from Richard Norris, the first fruits of his current ambient direction and label Group Mind, a gentle instrumental that drifts very nicely, drone overlaid with melody.

The shoreline above is the Atlantic, Messanges, south west France, pictured in the summer of 2017. Just in case you were wondering.

Group Mind

That’s week one done. To celebrate the end of the working week here’s a brand new mix from Richard Norris who’s on an ambient tip at the moment. He’s just started a group/label/forum/series of events called Group Mind and kicked it off with a two hour mix of ambient, drone and deep listening. A sure fire way to improve your day, switch your mind off for a while and focus on something else. Includes tracks from Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Wilson Tanner, Jas Shaw, Penelope Trappes, Elaine Gazzard, Hiroshi Yoshimura, Alarm Will Sound, Erland Cooper, Chihei Hatakeyama, Richard himself and BBC Radiophonic Workshop legend Delia Derbyshire.

Reading My Mind

Jeez- the previous Circle Sky single (If I Let Go) was a good one, a real 2018 highlight, but they’ve now given us this one as a follow up. A sublime piece of subtle, emotive, electronic music that reveals a little more each time you click play.

One Way Traffic

In 2015 Richard Norris and Dave Ball reunited as The Grid and recorded using the Moog Soundlab at the University of Surrey. They have just put some of the results of this on the internet. One Way Traffic is a half hour dive into the sound of the Moog modular synth, a world of drones and lovely repetitive noises, pulses and waves of sound and rhythm. I think some of you may love this as much as I do.

The Moog Soundlab UK includes the Moog System 55 modular synthesiser and developed by Dr Robert Moog who ‘established standards for analog synthesizer control interfacing, with a logarithmic one volt-per-octave pitch control and a separate pulse triggering signal.’ Furthermore,  ‘The Moog modular system consisted of a number of various modules mounted in a cabinet. Each module performs a specific signal-generating or -modifying function. These modules offered unprecedented control over creating sounds by allowing a user to modify primary sound waveforms with amplitude modulators  and spectral modulators and other modifiers. Envelope generators provided further control by modulating the attack, decay, sustain and release parameters of the VCAs, VCFs and other modules. The modules are patched together with patch cords with ¼-inch mono plugs. The patch cords and module parameter knobs could be adjusted in countless ways to create a nearly infinite number of sounds. The final sound was heard (‘triggered’) from the system by pressing a key on an attached keyboard or pressing on the ribbon controller’.

Now cover that up and see what you can remember.

Feels Like Falling

The first days after the clocks go back always remind me how much I loathe travelling home from work in the dark- and this is just the start of it, there’s another six months to go. Grim. So I’ll take some snatches and glimpses of light where I can find it. I wrote recently about the new single from Circle Sky (a Richard Norris project), a beautiful low key ambient techno song I eloquently described as ‘rather fucking gorgeous’.

The 12″ is out imminently with two remixes, one from Ulrich Schnauss who strips it back and finds some little repeating melodies which he sets off against some washes of sound. Eventually a lazy drumbeat joins in. Half way through the vocal comes in, smothered in echo, and everything speeds up a little. Then it slows down and fades. Lovely.

The 12″ also has this more insistent remix from Michael Mayer, a more austere techno reworking but the softness of the original track remains.