The internet as a distribution network for music has done some really wonderful things for us, bad press to the contrary aside. As I hope this series itself will eventually attest, there is great productive power in something seemingly as simple as sharing mixes on the internet. Over the better part of the last year working on this series, I’ve discovered a vibrant community of music lovers participating in this circulation of music, which does more than just share music but plays an important role in sustaining a community around music.
I came across Low Light Mixes on Mixcloud, I think through searching for Jon Hassell while working in an office this summer. Curated by Dave, I was immediately impressed by the taste that went into making these mixes. I invited Dave to share a mix with us, and he’s produced “Daylight Fades,” revolving around the music of Harold Budd.
Harold Budd, like my hero Jon Hassell, is probably best known for his collaborative work with Brian Eno but is highly prolific in his own right. His early career was spent composing minimal and avant-garde music often revolving around drones, inspired by the likes of Morton Feldman and LaMonte Young. After a brief renunciation of composing, Budd resurfaced as a recording artist, releasing the four-part Pavillion of Dreams, produced by Eno, in 1976. Since then he’s carved out his niche of atmospheric piano music on records like Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror. More recently his output has been arguably less even, but records like the soundtrack to the film Mysterious Skin, a collaboration with Robin Guthrie, demonstrate his continued relevance.
Budd grew up in the Mojave desert outside of LA, and allegedly was inspired by the drone created by the desert wind blowing across the power-lines. It seems to me that we tend to think of avant-garde music as being an urban phenomenon; forms of art that are responding to the rhythms of the city, inspired by cosmopolitanism and fostered in clubs and galleries. Yet an example like Budd serves as a reminder that more rural settings can also inspire, and that ambient music in particular can be well-suited to different modes of living. As we approach Labor Day and the sunlight continues to decrease, this seems like a perfect mix for celebrating (and mourning) the end of summer. Let us know what you think about think in the comments. (Joseph Sannicandro)
Thanks for putting together this mix, Dave. Tell us about it.
The mix is called “daylight fades” because as I was listening to “Olancha Farewell” by Harold Budd [off Lovely Thunder] it made me think of sitting on the front porch watching the sky begin to darken as daylight fades. Once I had that feeling in mind I just kept my ears open for a couple of weeks listening for tracks that would work well with that theme. The cuts are mostly newer music with the exception of a couple Harold Budd tunes. I’ve be digging through my collection of Harold Budd music & kind of re-discovering pieces that I haven’t heard for years.
Thanks for that. I’ve been inspired to do some more digging through some of Budd’s extensive discography. How’d you get into making mixes? What’s the story behind Low Light Mixes?
I’ve been making mixes & posting them on my blog, Low Light Mixes, for about 6 years, although my tinkering with mixes probably goes all the way back to college and making party mixes on cassette tape featuring Ultravox, XTC & New Order. In the 80’s I remember making a 6 hour party mix on 1 inch reel to reel tape then transferring to VHS to play at the party. Yikes, things are a lot easier now! My love of ambient also goes back to the 70’s & 80’s as I remember buying Music For Airports & not quite getting it at first but quickly falling under it’s spell.
XTC are so underrated among young music listeners today, thanks for mentioned them . And reel-to-reel to VHS?! That’s crazy and wonderful. Things may be easier now, but the level of connection is quite different. Still, I’d think more people are being exposed to your mixes these days, as cool as a VHS party sounds.
I’ve also been posting mixes to Mixcloud for about two years. Mixcloud is a fun community of “mixers” & a great way to connect with folks & find new music.
It still blows my mind when I get email from folks all around the world who have downloaded the mixes. I’d do these just for my own amusement, but the fact that other people enjoy them too is very cool.
I just acquired a reel-to-reel player myself. Can’t wait to play around with it.
My roommate had one & I drove him crazy by creating feedback loops, sending output of the playback heads back into the record heads. He thought I was going to destroy his machine.
02:04 *AR – Inception
03:45 Vieo Abiungo – Insincerity Peeked Through Cloudlessly (Upward Arrows Remix)
06:15 Wolfgang Voigt – Fresko 1
09:08 Willits + Sakamoto – Completion
13:30 d_rradio – Falling Light
16:30 Alessio Ballerini – Night in Day
19:10 Plinth – the sunken carillon
23:45 Harold Budd with Zeitgeist – I blink and she’s gone
25:20 Marconi Union – part 4(from weightless)
32:00 Chihei Hatakeyama – Road After Rain
37:12 Willamette – images dune longueur de cheveux
43:40 Kyle Bobby Dunn – An Evening with Dusty
47:05 36 – Levitate
51:10 Christopher Willits – Olancha Hello
53:42 Brian Eno – For Real