The plans for what would become The Sidereal Cycle took place without any input from me. I first found out about the concept from a post on the Altus blog. As soon as I read it I reached out to Mike (Carss, AKA Altus) with a resounding, “Yes, please! Fans of Free Floating and ambient I’m sure understand my enthusiasm.
Simply put, Mike Carss is a master of ambient music, there can be no doubt about that. Of the ambient artists that I listen to and love, I feel that Altus music is the most ‘composed’. While much of it is decidedly cinematic in structure, even the more minimal and abstract pieces seem to have deeper structures and themes that resonate throughout.
With his focus on thematic elements, the music of Altus is also somewhat painterly, in that the melodies and structures help to draw mental images, especially since each release usually contains a specific topical reference (time, sleep, fire, water, etc.).
And so it is fitting that Altus turns his hand once again to the grand theme of time and the seasons with The Sidereal Cycle.
In this collection, Mike reflects on the transformation of the verdant summer into the dormant browns, oranges, and golds of autumn. Andromeda is really a two-part suite, I would say. The first part explores the gradual changes in color while the second part reflects leaves falling to the ground and the eventually dormant landscape of the impending winter.
The music is at once placid and dramatic, a perfect reflection of the changing season of autumn itself.
Please enjoy this second installation in The Sidereal Cycle and come back in a few months to hibernate with part 3.
All music by Mike Carss
Cover design by Brad Ross-MacLeod
Photograpy by Mike Carss
Download in a number of formats:
MP3 320K, MP3 VBR, FLAC, ALAC, AAC, OGG. Images and liner notes included.
*This track list was arrived at randomly. We highly recommend that you listen to this collection on shuffle in order to best explore the many layers and textures of the individual pieces within the whole of the collection.
This compilation is more than just music. It is a mission statement.
As you will see on the website, there is a written mission statement for the label. While those words are an adequate description for what I intend the focus of Free Floating Music to be, words can only express so much. This is, of course, why there is music. And while this music doesn’t speak loudly, it does speak clearly.
It speaks to us of the spaces where we can be free from the accelerated pull of the world. It writes poems to the cloudless, star-filled skies. It gently reminds us perhaps of that patient, sane and compassionate person we deep down wish to be.
I have been a listener and fan of ambient music for over 25 years. To me, the best of the genre has always hovered closest to the edges of silence, being almost barely music at all, but almost a frame that adorns the masterpiece of sound that is silence. When I am looking for a space in which to think or dream, sleep or read–or just simply be–it is this music to which I turn. And it is this music that I have always wanted to create and to spread to the world.
While I occasionally dabble in creating this music myself (I am the C.paradisi represented here), I find that I have a greater knack for discovering this music by others. And so I was led to blog about the music and eventually to broadcast a show on Stillstream ambient radio. But I wanted to be more involved in the creative process and so I finally decided to start a netlabel devoted to this gentle drifting music that I love.
As you can hear, the focus is on the serene, the simple and direct. I have lived with this music for weeks–playing it in my sleep, in the shower, in my car, at family dinners and walks by the shore–and I have only just begun to explore its depths and nuances. While the tracks on ‘conception’ share a similar dynamic range, each artist has infused their work with their own unique instrumental and compositional voice. Some are firmly grounded in the silence, while others glide above it, occasionally touching its surface. Some are abstract and textural, while others explore closer to orchestral territory. But each and every one builds their own room in this collaborative temple to silence.
I would encourage you to wander aimlessly through the spaces that they have created. In all the times I listened to this collection, I did so randomly, shuffling the playing order each time. In this way I was able to allow the created space to lead me where it would, and each time I discovered a new place for repose. Pieces that I had heard multiple times became new as I approached them from a different direction. (I tried to resist providing a track order at all, but I know that the technology would impose one (alphabetical, most likely) anyway. And so the numbering of tracks that is embedded was arrived at completely randomly and I encourage you to always listen to this collection as a shuffled playlist.)
I could not have asked for a more articulate conception for the Free Floating Music label. If you are curious about what Free Floating Music will sound like in future releases, you have this mission statement that makes it abundantly clear.
A ‘mission statement’ from the brilliant Free Floating record label and a compilation that reflects a vision set out by label owner Brad Ross-Macleod. “If you are curious about what Free Floating Music will sound like in future releases, you have this mission statement that makes it abundantly clear” – a great way to start a label and a high standard to be maintained, going by the textural ambient contained here. There’s nothing more exciting that seeing a tracklist you only vaguely recognise (i.e Bing Satellites, Altus, Benjamin Dauer) and knowing plenty more is to come with even more artists to explore.
The Benjamin Dauer track is actually one of the best on here, and if it’s sending you off into a spaced-out, welcoming tunnel, then I suggest you also download his free album on Distance Recordings, ‘Burning of Wine‘.
There will be a close eye or two on Free Floating in the coming months, as I have a feeling this won’t be the last time they are mentioned on ASIP…
Not only because Earlyguard’s track “Monoku” on the yesterday released new Free Floating compilation »Conception« is a wonderful new track and a perfect addition to the shiny Earlyguard discography, but also because there are so many stunning good artists I know and love (Bing Satellites, Benjamin Dauer, Altus) and so many more to discover, do yourself a favour: Get »Conception«, it’s good, it’s free and it is a friendly companion for your travel through the day. A brilliant start for an interesting new netlabel with a clear vision.
Simply put… I want to do what Brad Ross-McLeod has done. He has assembled 22 uniquely talented and wonderfully individual artists and asked them to provide tracks for a compilation album. This compilation – entitled ‘Conception’ – showcases the very best in the ambient electronic genre… and he has managed to do so in a manner that has ensured a sense of consistency and a feeling of together-ness which suggests a single cohesive whole rather than 22 separate parts. ‘Conception’ is a wonderful compilation of ambient electronic soundscapes that has a real depth and substance to it. It really does showcase the very best in this genre and it has become the soundtrack to my life since I was given a pre-release copy (thanks to Earlyguard for the introduction) earlier this week.
It features 22 artists and lasts 201 minutes (yes… 3 hours 21 minutes). The tracks can be played sequentially or you can shuffle them. In fact, Brad recommends you do randomise the playing order… and I can only agree with this sentiment.
Each track is self-contained but works, at a higher level, as part of the collective whole. It is a saladbowl of sound… where each element is uniquely itself (e.g. a tomato or onion) but works together to make a nourishing salad.
Whilst part of me is loathed to single any specific tracks out… because they are all so good… the other part of me would consider it amiss not to mention personal favourites: Earlyguard, Benjamin Dauer and Philip Wilkerson; who all bring their very best produce to this communal salad.
That said… the compilation has brought to my attention some new (to me) artists that I am eager to follow up on. Andrew Lahiff, Elypixa, Mooma, & Crystal Dreams; to name but a few, are truly excellent and I will be on the hunt for their work. ‘Conception’ was released yesterday and I would thoroughly recommend you pick it up… for free… from Free Floating Music.
Free Floating Music exists to release and promote serene, peaceful ambient music–music that grows out of and flows through the silence around it, sculpting spaces for reflection, repose and rejuvenation.
All music released through Free Floating Music is available for free download via Creative Commons non-commercial licenses.
3915 SE Sunrise Drive
Camas, WA, 98607 USA
Phone: (360) 213-9601
All Material is released under Creative Commons Licenses. Music copyrights belong to the original artists.