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

Saturday, May 10, 2008

light cycles

After a very long absence I am finally posting a new mix. I started a new job in January, so the past several months have been insanely busy. But the last few months have really brought a sea change in my life as well. My last two mixes really reflected my mood at the time. But, just when I thought the desolation and rain would last forever, things suddenly changed for the better. I feel like I have a whole new life. So, take it from me…don’t give up hoping. Change CAN occur. It just usually happens when you least expect it!

Given my improved mood, I wanted to put something together that echoed it. light cycles is the result. The original idea was to do another “Sunrise” mix. But I quickly discarded that because I felt it was too limiting. I love repetition in music–-music that uses the constant repetition of notes or themes or sounds as a basic structure to the composition. Modern composers like Philip GlassSteve Reich have based most of their compositions on musical repetition. Berlin-school groups like Tangerine Dream have used sequencers since the early 70’s to great effect as an integral part of their music. Ambient music also has a strong component of repetition in it. Many of the ambient works by Brian Eno (Music for Airports, Neroli), for example, use repetition. I wanted to put together a mix where all of the pieces used repetition as a major part of the cut. I also wanted to use pieces that had an “ambient” feel to them but that also were bright or upbeat. The title of the mix was inspired by the movie Tron. light cyclesCan. The Can piece Future Days and starts out fairly slow and quiet but becomes more vibrant as it goes along. Near the end it almost rocks out with an amazing piece I stumbled across by uses repetition to great effect. This piece is also cool because it was done back in 1973 but still sounds amazingly contemporary.

I hope you enjoy light cycles. Like the last several mixes it is somewhat of a departure from the typical ambient drift and drone but I think it still evokes “ambient-ness” throughout the piece.

Let me know what you think. Bright times are ahead for the Hydrogen Cafe–and for me as well.

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

light cycles MP3 (68:30) (192k) (94 mb)

Cover Art & Score (284k zip)



1. Kamen Nedev - Waves, Atlantic Coast, Porto, Portugal

2. Cliff Martinez - Is That What Everybody Wants (excerpts)

3. Budd-Garcia-Lentz - Pulse, Pause, Repeat

4. Sonmi451 - Second to None

5. Bobby Devito – Untitled Ambient Track

6. The Elf Machine - Buddha Zone 6

7. Fenton - Neon Giraffe

8. Shuttle358 - Calty

9. The Green Kingdom - Lucky Bamboo

10. Cliff Martinez - Is That What Everybody Wants

11. Thomas Fanger - Twinkling Sun

12. Saul Stokes - The Bright Tones (Even Brighter)

13. Dollboy - Juicyfruit

14. Isan - Cinnabar

15. Can - Future Days

16. Tangerine Dream - White Eagle

17. Underworld - To Heal

“To the dull mind all nature is leaden. To the illumined mind the whole world sparkles with light.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Tears in Rain

While I was gathering music for the Desolation Angels mix, I was originally going to have both vocal and instrumental tracks. Once I started putting it together, however, I felt that having a mix of just instrumental and operatic cuts was best. So, I decided to put all of the vocal tracks left over from Desolation Angels together in their own mix which became Tears in Rain. It was actually fairly difficult to find tracks that had both sad lyrics as well as slow, somber backing music. Although somewhat of a departure from my other ambient mixes, I think the sad and melancholy mood I was going for turned out pretty well and the mix serves as a nice companion to Desolation Angels. The title is taken from the film Blade Runner. I hope you like it. This mix is also dedicated to my friend Katie, gone too long.

Downloads (right click, save link as):

Tears in Rain MP3 (74:26) (192k) (104 mb)

Cover Art & Score (575k zip)


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1. Various field recordings
2. Peter Gabriel – The Drop
3. The Montgolfier Brothers - Journey's End
4. Canyon Country - Dead or Dreaming
5. Damien Rice - Sleep Don't Weep
6. Porcupine Tree - Feel So Low
7. Peter Broderick - Another Glacier
8. Michael Andrews & Gary Jules - Mad World
9. Johnny Cash - Hurt
10. Cowboy Junkies - Spiral Down

11. Sigur Ros - Gong Endir
12. Azure Ray - Sleep
13. Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - Falling Slowly
14. Red House Painters - Have You Forgotten
15. Archive - Fold
16. Peter Gabriel - I Grieve

Cover art is adapted from a photo I found online. After this mix, I promise to do something a bit brighter. :)

“There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.”

- Aeschylus

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Greetings, felicitations and a Happy New Year to all! I wanted to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has taken the time to download and listen to my Hydrogen Cafe mixes. The response I've gotten since I started this has been humbling. I also appreciate everyone who has taken the time to e-mail me or post a comment. They are greatly appreciated!

There will be a lot to come in 2008 starting with a follow-up vocal mix to Desolation Angels which I will post tomorrow. I have a number of other ideas simmering as well. ;)

Best wishes to everyone for the new year. 2007 wasn't the best year, but it ended on a high note. Here's hoping that 2008 will be great for all!

I also wanted to highlight a few mixes that have been posted recently by some friends. My friend Dave over at Low Light Mixes has been a busy bee and has posted several excellent mixes. Please go over and check out drown the world in reverberation
and his Best of 2007 mix. They rock in an ambient way! Also, my friend Lord Sherwell from London has posted his own Best of 2007 mix called Music for the Dead Days. Check his mix out as well! Take care everyone.

January 1, 2008