Saturday, October 23, 2010

The End

This is the end of the Hydrogen Cafe. I don't really have the motivation or the muse to do it anymore. Thanks to everyone who listened and to all who made such positive comments over the years.
- nrvnet

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”
-  Orson Welles

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Muttley - Back To Mine Pt.1 - Overshadowed

Another first for the Hydrogen Cafe…a guest mix by my “Transference” partner Muttley. This new Muttley mix is exclusive to the Hydrogen Cafe. Here is Overshadowed as described by Muttley…

“Overshadowed”: the “Back To Mine” model taken literally, in a mixed-construction collage of music very personal to my existence; upheld as a return to being myself. Catalysed by an explosion of hateful bile, and inaccurate surmising, from two allies, towards me - defending the woman I’ve scripted in the “15 Minutes Of Fame” writeups from part 5 onwards - who this is anonymously dedicated to, each track signifies through titles a soundtrack to meetings, and departures which have never taken place.

Cataloguing what can overshadow failed friendships by symbolism - from the rebuttal of society with “Untitled” by Klute, to the depth-charge fathomages - over fabrication - of Grouper’s “Close Cloak”, prior the stones of universal change, gathering moss, and returning with surplus details - from each rise and fade - on Ulrich Scnauss’ “Molfsee”; rain samples bespeaking the “Where are you going?” questioning in GYBE’s “Providence, then a handful of sentimental recordings from 2006, where I believed I could trust this lady - as a true friend; no infatuation, just investment by what I brought to the table in conversation; then finally the juxtaposing of rational and irrational lust, leaving the participant with a subconscious dialectic principle for advancement on “The Dialogue”, by Pilote.

The end of a relationship or marriage can be a difficult and painful experience. It can leave you feeling confused, lonely and lacking confidence in yourself and the future. Feelings of betrayal, guilt or rejection are common. Anger, sadness and confusion are often intense. Moving forward can be hard when trust, self-confidence and self-esteem have been shaken. All I hope for is that “Overshadowed” can be an aural springboard to assist and heal those swathed in darkness, that which I’m slowly exiting, one step at a time.

D O W N L O A D S (right click, save link as):

Overshadowed MP3 (67:40) (320k) (162 mb)


01 - Lull - Illusion Of Unbroken Surface
02 - Hildur Gudanottir, BJ Nilsen & Stillupsteypa - The Direction Was Foggy Or Cloudy
03 - Klute - Untitled
04 - Grouper - Close Cloak
05 - Stars Of The Lid - Hibener Toujours
06 - Massimo Liverani - Primavera
07 - Lamenter - Bleeding Riverbed
08 - El Heath - Epick
09 - Xela - Her Eyes Sparkled And She Walked Away
10 - Ulrich Schnauss - Molfsee
11 - Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Providence
12 - Hakobune - The July Skies Followed Us Here
13 - Kettel - Halt Him
14 - Mogwai - Punk Rock
15 - Bark Psychosis - Burning The City (Alt mix)
16 - Jodi Cave - For Myria (2)
17 - Lezrod - Digi4
18 - The Alpha Rhythm - Long Road Ohm
19 - Klute - Torrential Pain
20 - Pilote - The Dialogue

Monday, October 12, 2009


Transference” is the result of the first collaboration between fellow mixtape creators Muttley & nrvnet. Transference began as an exercise in association. Muttley started rummaging through his monthly archives one day, for tracks with titles that suggested an action of transference in the composition of a message. Given the biggest percentage of his collection consisted of beatless audio, the rigidity of tune choices remained, but the limitations decreased.

Influenced by the low-high penchant of groups like Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the consequential recording clocked in at 12 minutes, featuring dense soundwalls from Robin Guthrie and Harold Budd, Beef Terminal, Bitcrush and Broadway Project; going from tranquil piano motifs to a downtempo behemoth.

During this period, fellow ambient mixtape maker nrvnet had contributed two sets to the "15 Minutes Of Fame" mix series. Muttley emailed nrvnet to ask whether he'd like to collaborate on a joint mix. With passion for the cause, both were obliged, and an ongoing conversation was established. The result that you see today is an 83-minute exploration into soundscapes, ambiences, crescendos, and, critically, a bucket-load of emotional credence.

Muttley and nrvnet contributed three sections each following a guideline of 10-15 minute sections. Upon completion of a section, the completed piece was “transferred” to the other. The piece went back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean several times until the message was complete. We won't tell you who did what--that's up to you to decide. The piece represents a conversation between people—both literally and figuratively. It also reflects a transference of state—from quiet to loud; from ambience to dissonance; from drift to beat. What Muttley provides in unconventional selections, nrvnet matches with tapestries of sounds. Transference will be cross-posted at Muttley’s Subversion blog and nrvnet’s Hydrogen Cafe blog.

It was an honour for Muttley and nrvnet to engage in this musical conversation together. We hope this transference of sound will be enjoyable.
- Muttley & nrvnet, October, 2009

D O W N L O A D S (right click, save link as):
Transference MP3 (83:27) (320k) (200 mb)
Artwork (800k Zip file)


01 - Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd - Hidden Message
02 - Beef Terminal - Passing Secrets Through The Window
03 - Bitcrush - Prologue
04 - Broadway Project - Message From The East
05 - Porcupine Tree - Russia On Ice (excerpt)
06 - Andrey Kiritchenko - Let Oneself In
07 - The Radio Dept. - Gibraltar
08 - Amusement Parks on Fire - So Mote It Be
09 - Radiohead - Meeting in the Aisle
10 - The Caretaker - Unmasking Alzheimer’s
11 - Skare - To The Other Shore
12 - Emma Cora - Parcels Carrier
13 - Milton Cross - First There Came A Letter From A Tree
14 - Helios - Signed I Wish You Well
15 - Porcupine Tree - Metonia Pt 1; Mesmer Pt 3 (excerpts)
16 - The Gentleman Losers - Weed Garden
17 - Jónsi & Alex - All the Big Trees
18 - Max Richter - lonosphere
19 - Arca - Baixa
20 - Jacaszek - Orszula
21 - Con Cetta vs. Antartica - Thank You
22 - Stars Of The Lid - A Meaningful Moment Through A Meaningless Process
23 - The Alpha Rhythm - Escape Velocity
24 - Peter Broderick - Something Has Changed
25 - Hreda - Knowing How To Carry
26 - Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I (02)
27 - Underworld - Pizza for Eggs (excerpt)
28 - Archive - LeMans
29 - The Last Days - Nightlight
30 - Auburn Lull - Blur My thoughts Again


01 - Marek Brandt - Versailles Castle
02 - John Tenny - French Quarter Walk
03 - Figowitz - Kantine01
04 - Cognito Perceptu - AM Band Static
05 - Stomp - Factory X Operatios
06 - Sal Randolph - Grand Central Station
07 - Connum - Bakery in a German Train Station

"When that transference between beings does occur it is the result of some very strong unbroken karmic connection from the past."

- the Dalai Lama

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Music for the Swiss Alps

Hiking up a mountain for the first time does something to you. It changes you in ways that are hard to describe. Faced with so much overwhelming beauty on a scale that is hard to image, you can’t help but be affected. So when you descend, it’s almost like you are a different person—somehow more than when you began your climb.

Last year I had the opportunity to hike up a mountain in the Swiss Alps near Lauenen, Switzerland. It was truly an amazing experience made even more special by my companions who accompanied me, one of whom has been a guide to me both hiking up mountains and in life. I decided I wanted to try and capture this unique experience and put it to music. The first challenge, of course, was: how do mountains “sound?”
I began collecting different pieces of music that seemed to reflect the feelings of my climb and represented the grandeur and majesty that are the Swiss Alps. Artists like Hammock, Deepspace, Jeff Pearce and Manual fit very well. Then I happened upon a documentary on Philip Glass on public TV. Several Glass pieces I thought perfectly captured the rhythm of Wandern—German for hiking—as did a piece by Parks. Other artists like Mark Isham, Bass Communion and Sigur Rós I thought captured well the feeling of finally reaching the top and seeing the amazing view—surrounded by peaks as far as you can see. Finally, I found other pieces representing the descent and end of the journey. Because the mix represents points along a journey I decided to label the different parts of that journey as “movements” which I have listed below along with the timecode where each movement begins. I also was able to incorporate a number of field recordings of wind, mountain streams and even cowbells in the mix. You’d be amazed at how many cows are climbing around the Alps!

So, with that I present to you
Music for the Swiss Alps. This mix can’t possibly do justice to the beauty of the Swiss Alps. You will have to go and visit yourself to see what I mean. I would like to dedicate this mix to all of my friends in Switzerland but especially to my mountain guide and great friend who has taught me a lot about the Zen of Wandern and about myself. I will be returning to Switzerland soon to go Wandern again. I almost feel like I am returning home—to climb other mountains and find new paths to try and touch the sky.

- nrvnet, June, 2009

Movement 1. Voices (00:00)

Movement 2. Majestic (01:47)

Movement 3. Ascent (13:53)

Movement 4. Wandern (25:02)

Movement 5. Peak (34:28)

Movement 6. Transcendence (39:21)

Movement 7. Embrace (42:38)

Movement 8. Descent (47:16)

Movement 9. Remembrance (54:52)

Movement 10. Overflight (56:18)

Movement 11. Echoes (59:53)

D O W N L O A D S (right click, save link as):

Music for the Swiss Alps MP3 (60:33) (320k) (138 mb)

Cover Art & Score (539 kb zip)



1. David Sylvian - Laughter and Forgetting (excerpt)

2. Michael Stearns - Mantra/Organics

3. Leandros Ntounis – Arkadian Mountains Lagadia (field recording)

4. Hammock - This Kind Of Life Keeps Breaking Your Heart

5. Mark Rownd - Before There Was Rain

6. Deepspace - Arctic Sun and Weather Experiment

7. Jeff Pearce - The Emergence

8. Lawrence Dolton – Blue Lakes Creek (field recording)

9. Roach, Stearns, Braheny - The Canyon's Embrace

10. PEI – Bigfish Tree (Zurich) (field recording)

11. Manual with Jess Kahr - Dawn Changes Everything.

12. Eisuke Yanagisawa – Marble Mountain (field recording)

13. Hammock - Eighty-Four Thousand Hymns

14. Olivier Nijs - Birds in the Morning (field recording)

15. Philip Glass - Island

16. Parks - The Breath of Autumn

17. Mark Isham - Sympathy And Acknowledgement

18. Bass Communion - Transcendence

19. Sigur Rós - Festival

20. Philip Glass - Choosing Life

21. Patrick Franke – Cows, cowbells (field recording)

22. Lisa Gerrard – Elysium

23. Peter Gabriel - The Nest That Sailed the Sky

24. Max Richter - Horizon Variations

25. Jon Anderson - Song of Search

The Swiss Alps

YESTERDAY brown was still thy head, as the locks of my loved one,

Whose sweet image so dear silently beckons afar.
Silver-grey is the early snow to-day on thy summit,

Through the tempestuous night streaming fast over thy brow.
Youth, alas, throughout life as closely to age is united

As, in some changeable dream, yesterday blends with to-day.

Uri, October 7th, 1797

- by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sunday, March 08, 2009

[02] Absolute Motion

THC Series [20][12]

Here is the second of 12 mixes from THC Series [20][12] for the 15 Minutes of Fame Mix Series. [02] Absolute Motion is another departure from the usual quiet ambient mixes on the Hydrogen Cafe. I wanted to do something that was much more polyrhythmic and incorporated cuts from some Berlin-school electronic artists like Tangerine Dream and Synthetic Block. I wanted to create something very rhythmic that flowed nicely together. I continued the idea of using conventional artists who did unconventional tracks and using conventional tracks in an unconventional way. Once again you will hear U2 masquerading as the Passengers along with the Twilight Sad (an AMAZING indie-rock band!) and Snow Patrol. Excerpts from these artists are intercut with some great polyrhythmic electronic tracks from Synthetic Block, the Irresistible Force, an amazing cut done way back in 1966 by Raymond Scott, Tangerine Dream, the Alan Parsons Project (I Robot was the very first LP I ever got!), a snippet of Vir Unis and a great cut by Saul Stokes. I also tried to incorporate field recordings that were rhythmic in nature as well.

THC Series [20][12] is a series of 12 mixes, all 20 minutes in length. I will intersperse these mixes with my regular long-form mixes throughout 2009. THC Series [20][12] will also be cross-posted on the 15 Minutes of Fame board. The Zip file below contains artwork for the mix as well as the “score” for the mix which is a jpeg capture of the timeline from the mixing software I use, Acoustica MP3 Audio Mixer. The score can show you exactly what is playing at any specific time code. I hope you like [02] Absolute Motion. This mix is meant to be played LOUD! ; )

D O W N L O A D S (right click, save link as):

THC Series [20][12]-[02] Absolute Motion MP3 (20:00)
(320k) (45.8 mb)

Artwork & Mix Score
(861 kb zip)



1. Passengers – Slug (excerpt)

2. The Twilight Sad - Talking With Fireworks/Here, It Never Snowed (excerpt)

3. Synthetic Block - Sonic Approach

4. Snow Patrol - If There's a Rocket Tie Me to It (excerpt)

5. The Irresistible Force - Spiritual High

6. Raymond Scott - The Bass-Line Generator (1966)

7. Tangerine Dream – Logos (excerpt)

8. Alan Parsons Project – Nucleus

9. Vir Unis - Pale Blue Dot (excerpt)

10. Saul Stokes – Fields (excerpt)

11. Snow Patrol - The Lightning Strike (excerpt)

[F I E L D R E C O R D I N G S]

1. John Arndt - Montego Bay

2. Matthias Kispert - Buddha Machines

3. Matthias Kispert - Weaving Factory

4. Cedric Deloche - Taipei aeroport interieur

5. Dave Pape - UK Photo Machine

6. Olaf Ross – cowbells

(′ab·sə′lüt ′mō·shən)

(navigation) Motion relative to a point fixed on the earth's surface or to an apparently fixed celestial point.

(physics) Motion of an object described by its measurement in a frame of reference that is preferred over all other frames.

“Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration.”

- Kahlil Gibran

THC Coffee Break

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who takes the time to write to me about the Hydrogen Cafe mixes. It means a lot to me when people take the time to let you know they enjoy what you have done. I thought I would take a moment to let folks know a few things and to also post some interesting links.

I would like to remind people that the Zip files I post with my mixes contain artwork for the mix as well as the “score” for the mix which is a jpeg capture of the timeline from the mixing software I use, Acoustica MP3 Audio Mixer. The score can show you exactly what is playing at any specific time code. Also, several people have written me about submitting their ambient tracks for inclusion in a mix. I don't take "submissions" for the Hydrogen Cafe. I just do this for fun and there is no money involved whatsoever so I hesitate to take free CD's and such from folks. If you have free tracks already online or a LastFM streaming page I would be happy to listen for future consideration for inclusion in a mix. What I will also do is happily post links to ambient artists or blogs that are looking for some exposure. I will post some links to artists who have written to me below. Finally, a new short-form mix is coming shortly!

Links of possible interest to Hydrogen Cafe listeners:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

[01] Monoamine Road

THC Series [20][12]

A good mate Mick invited me to participate in his “15 Minutes of Fame Mix Series” which asks folks to submit shorter-form mixes. There are some great mixes posted there, several excellent ones by Mick himself. So, I thought I would start a new series of short-form mixes for 15 Minutes of Fame. “THC Series [20][12]” will be a series of 12 mixes, all 20 minutes in length. I thought it would be really interesting to do some mixes that were experimental or more offbeat than the normal fare for the Hydrogen Cafe. And, limiting oneself to only 20 minutes forces you to choose tracks more deliberately and also can offer you the freedom of exploring a single idea that may not work in a longer mix. I will intersperse the THC Series [20][12] mixes with my regular long-form mixes throughout 2009. Maybe this way there won’t be months between mixes. ;) THC Series [20][12] will be cross-posted at the 15 Minutes of Fame site as well. Thanks for inviting me Mick!

The idea for THC Series [20][12]-[01] Monoamine Road came from a small collection of tracks I have been putting together made up of unconventional tracks from conventional artists. I stumbled upon an ambient track of all things from Doves, an indie-rock band (one of my favorites). It’s from a collection of b-sides and rarities. I also had never, until recently, listened to David Bowie’s Low album all the way through and discovered the Eno-inspired ambient-like tracks towards the end. Those, along with U2 masquerading as the Passengers, Crystal Method, and excerpts from Amusement Parks on Fire and Snopek (a great local band from Milwaukee from when I was in college), and a few ambient tracks thrown in, make up Monoamine Road. I also threw in several field recordings, including one of my own.

I would also like to remind people that the Zip file below contains artwork for the mix as well as the “score” for the mix which is a jpeg capture of the timeline from the mixing software I use, Acoustica MP3 Audio Mixer. The score can show you exactly what is playing at any specific time code. I hope you like this trip down Monoamine Road.

D O W N L O A D S (right click, save link as):

THC Series [20][12]-[01] Monoamine Road MP3 (20:00)
(320k) (45.8 mb)

Artwork & Mix Score (461 kb zip)



1. Amusement Parks on Fire - Await Lightning (excerpts)

2. Doves - Where We're Calling From

3. Jacaszek - Rytm to Niesmiertelnosc II

4. David Bowie - Art Decade

5. Passengers - Beach Sequence

6. Snopek – Solalex (excerpt)

7. Takagi Masakatsu – Piano

8. The Crystal Method – Vice (excerpt)

[F I E L D R E C O R D I N G S]

1. nrvnet – (fr) Lee HWY 01

2. Clemens von Reusner – Basel Soundwalk

3. PEI – Waterpark Tram 4

4. Marco Targa – Lungolago Lakefront

"What's your road, man?--holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It's an anywhere road for anybody anyhow."

- Jack Kerouac, On the Road

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

- Robert Frost

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Music for Stargazing Vol 2

Things have been really busy for me lately so I have not had much time to devote to the Hydrogen Cafe. But, I finally managed to finish a mix I started back in August. This mix is a follow-up to Music for Stargazing Vol 1 which people seemed to enjoy. Like Vol 1, Music for Stargazing Vol 2 is a quiet, drifting mix put together specifically to accompany a night of stargazing. What makes this music suited for stargazing? It’s hard to say specifically, but, like my other mixes, I like to put together music that evokes an emotional response of some kind in the listener. So, for this mix I chose music that sounds the way I feel when I look at a star-filled sky.

Every summer, my friend Dave, from Low Light Mixes, and I go to a cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin. There aren’t any big cities around so there are no lights to drown out the night sky. The stargazing is spectacular. We often see satellites and shooting stars with the naked eye. I made a version of Music for Stargazing Vol 2 for this year’s trip. But, after listening to it up there, I decided I didn’t like parts of the mix and decided to redo it. Well even with the best laid plans, weeks turned into months. But, vowing to finish this before the end of the year (lol), I finally got the mix to a point where I was satisfied with it.

So here it is after a very long delay. I hope you enjoy Music for Stargazing Vol 2. With this mix, I took the advice of some listeners and encoded the mix at a bitrate of 320k—hence the larger file size. I’d also like to give a special shout-out to my listeners in Russia. I’ve gotten quite a few e-mails from folks in Russia lately saying kind things about my mixes. A special thank to everyone in Russia and around the world. Happy holidays and best wishes for the coming year.

D O W N L O A D S (right click, save link as):

Music for Stargazing Vol 2 MP3 (68:57) (320k) (157 mb)

Cover Art & Score (539 kb zip)



1. Jean Francois Cavro - St Andeol de Clerguemort (field recording)

2. Laurent - Natural Night Sounds in Boquete (field recording)

3. Dave Michuda - Froggies (field recording)

4. Steve Roach - A Deeper Silence (excerpts)

5. Bitcrush - Prologue

6. David Tagg - Waist Deep Sea 1

7. Hammock - City in the Dust in My Window

8. David Helping - Loss of Words

9. Bersarin Quartett - Die Dinge Sind Nie So Wie Sie Sind

10. Cliff Martinez - Hi Energy Proton Accelerator

11. Steve Roach - See Things

12. Jasper Leyland - Charcoal Weir

13. Slowdive - Cello

14. Koda - Dark Secrets We Harbour

15. Talkingmakesnosense - Slow Grounding

16. Manual - Seleva

17. Deepspace - Slow Moving Lifeform 2

18. Stars of the Lid - Mulhlolland

19. Ashera - Temple Ritual

20. Steve Roach - Red Shore

21. Hammock - Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow

“We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them and discuss about whether they were made or only just happened."

- Mark Twain

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I'll bet they'd live a lot differently.”

- Bill Watterson