09 12月

[earman105 & 106] Different Skies – That Merciless Sky; Arcosanitarium

earman105 – Different Skies – That Merciless Sky

On September 20, 2008, the Different Skies ensemble performed a ninety minute live concert of experimental and electronic music for an audience at Arcosanti in the Arizona desert just north of Phoenix. The more melodic and conventionally structured pieces from the show were gathered onto a CD called “The Scorpion Chronicles”, but three pieces from the program were omitted for reasons of length and due to their more ambient and atmospheric nature, a change in mood not in keeping with the rest of the concert material.

This release combines those three pieces with a set of thematically compatible ‘All Star Jams’ (live freeform improvisations) that were created by the ensemble after the formal concert on the 20th, and in evening jams the three previous nights. The four movements of the title track were actually four distinct takes of the concert piece, three rehearsals and the live performance; because the piece had only a basic gestural guideline and choice of key, all four movements were completely different, yet with enough cohesion to be assembled after the fact into four parts of a larger suite.

We are pleased to offer the previously-unreleased ambient sections of the Different Skies 2008 concert here, with supporting material to create a delightful counterpart to “The Scorpion Chronicles”. For more experimental excursions into live improvisation, you’ll want to hear “Arcosanitarium”, the companion release to this one. We hope you enjoy them both.

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earman106 – Different Skies – Arcosanitarium

Every year, a group of electronic and experimental musicians gathers in the Arizona desert at the Arcosanti architectural laboratory and spends a week living and working together, rehearsing existing music and composing new music with the goal of creating a full musical program in time for a live concert at the end of the week. This festival, Different Skies, is different every year, because the participants and their backgrounds are different every year. Veterans of past festivals mingle with newcomers, old and new ideas are exchanged, and the music bears certain common themes with previous years while being wildly different in many ways.

Over the course of several days’ work, the musicians learn to interact, to listen to one another, and develop an instinct as to when to lay out and when to dive in. Their improvisational and listening skills are honed every evening after dinner in entirely improvised musical free-for-alls jokingly called the ‘All Star Jams’. These sessions are recorded, and in the months following the festival, they are listened to, cut apart into musically intact and separate pieces, and arranged into albums for release on Earth Mantra.

The first two such albums, “Strange Lines and Distances” and “Imaginary Spaces”, were taken from two distinct evening jams in 2007. For the 2008 sessions, material from four nights’ jams, 17-20 September 2008, was cut apart and rearranged into two thematically consistent sets.

This album, “Arcosanitarium”, represents some of the more energetic and experimental (as well as amusing) meanderings encountered during the week’s jams. Ranging all over the ambient map, these improvisations for keyboards, sequencers, electronic percussion, guitars, vocals, and unusual sound sources combine into an arresting and absorbing whole, a unique glimpse into the madness and delight of Different Skies 2008. You’ll also want to experience its companion release “That Merciless Sky”, which combines unreleased tracks from the live concert with thematically compatible improvisations.

As always, all Earth Mantra releases are available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license.

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