In between all the traveling and novel writing and trying to get my head around the general oddness of the world, I neglected to mention that the Zenapolæ netlabel released my Venus Vulture album Air and Eyes in May. I’m grateful to Arnd for curating this collection of five tracks – in this case effectively becoming producer as we whittled the number of tracks, and worked a couple into better shape.
I’ve always made music to listen to while I write. It usually turns out that I can’t listen to my own stuff more than, say, once, but that’s okay, there’s more out there, including lots from my labelmates on Zenapolæ.
While for the most part I pursue writing as my main creative outlet, from time to time I also create ambient music.
With Kendall Keener of December Nightskies I make up one half of Shadows on the Snow. We exchange music back and forth, remixing snippets of each others work to create something new. Most of our combined music appears on archive.org, some on netlabels and occasional pieces appearing on compilations.
Solo I make music as Venus Vulture. My latest release is Muscari TZ.-1. The long, ambient tracks, with deep levels of repetition. I’m a fan of FM3’s Buddha Machine, so much of my recent music has reflected some of that repetition aesthetic.
I first started writing music because I liked having something in the background while I wrote stories. I couldn’t find enough, so Venus Vulture was born.
Musicari TZ.-1 is available on Bandcamp. You can stream it there. If you’ve read this and it sounds like you might like a listen, PM me/comment and I’ll send you a free download link sometime in late May.
Kendall-my Shadows on the Snow bandmate- has a solo adventure as December Nightskies. Prolific ambient musician that he is, he has numerous releases on various netlabels – Haze, Petroglyph, Zenapolae, etc.
His latest release, however, is a physical CD from This Winter Will Last Forever. Kendall’s CD is right at the edge of the label’s usual fare, which tends more toward the metal end of the music spectrum. I guess the dark-metal, dark-ambient collision makes for a good fit.
Anyway, after many years of collaborating with Kendall, and listening to numerous downloads of his, it was very cool to listen to a physical CD. Yes I do like CDs.
Rainbowdrone fits right there with my list of “music to write to”, or perhaps Eno’s “interesting enough to be engaging, discreet enough to be ignored” (I can’t find the exact quote). An hour of background drones, at times deep and dark, at other lighter. Perfect to put on to unwind, chill, relax. Or write to.
When I first began listening to ambient music it came from a love of that background soundscape that worked well with my writing. It’s cool to personally know someone who’s creating exactly that.
Rainbowdrone is available for €7 from This Winter Will Last Forever’s store.
Kendall’s been busy again, keeping up the releases from our band Shadows on the Snow. This one has sounds mostly by me, recrafted and textured brilliantly by Kendall. This is the kind of thing I like about our collaboration – how we each bring in something new.
You can download Ganymede for free from archive.org.
With some upcoming writing news any day now, it’s cool to have some music news.
By day I’m a writer, by night I tinker with ambient music as Venus Vulture. There are a few Venus Vulture releases around, as well as numerous collaboration albums with Kendall of December Nightskies as Shadows on the Snow. I’m also grateful to Kendall for steering me toward some compilations (like this one).
The lastest Venus Vulture track, ‘Basalt Arches’, is out now on the Xernex compilation Into Hidden Visions – a free download from Bandcamp. My track’s a slight departure for me; less drone, more busy-ness. There are even some drums.
There’s quite a line up of artists there. I’m pleased to be able to discover some new people and new sounds.
Here’s the list, taken from discogs (link also includes more images).
Various – Into Hidden Visions, Label: Xernex – XE40
1 –December Nightskies – Then Darkness Covered The Land 05:29
2 –Badrich – Bog Corpse 06:15
3 –Grodock – Abgleiten 04:21
4 –Visqueen (2) – Downers 03:35
5 –ELMA – The bridge 03:35
6 –BERTHELOT Perturbateurs endocriniens 05:53
7 –Jimmy Watt – Caronte on the banks of the seventh sea 06:36
8 –ZUMAIA – Intense Drama 02:11
9 –Twilight Of Emptiness – Black Stars 03:24
10 –Paranoid Movement – The Hunt 05:12
11 –Venus Vulture – Basalt Arches 03:32
12 –Nebelwächter, Thomas Bannier – Birdtalker 05:24
13 –Thlaaflaa – The Gospel 04:46
14 –Goat tunnel – Last Sorrow Drained 06:29
15 –VAULT (6) – Eridamus Weeping 06:10
16 –[ówt krì] – Attention 04:33
17 –Krāllār – Faster 02:29
18 –L_Arsenne – Âme noire 05:19
19 –No-Joy – Sperma 05:11
20 –PKWST – Untitled 04:06
Kendall Keeler of December Nightskies has put together another compilation of ambient and dark ambient tracks.
Behemoth has 21 tracks by various artists, including my own Venus Vulture track “Components From Air Filter Residue, Daytona Speedway, February 2016”. One of my longer pieces – a little over 14 minutes – that I hope covers a lot of ground, while still being very unobtrusive.
I also sneak in with a Shadows on the Snow (my collaboration with Kendall) track “The Snake is on the Prowl”.
This follows Kendall’s Leviathan compilation from October/November last year. Many of the same artists return. This is shaping up to be a fine series of eclectic sounds. I’m honored to be a part of it.
Behemoth tracklisting – total time is almost 3 hours
1. BERTHELOT – La caverne du Behemoth
2. December Nightskies – Heaven Or Hell
3. Ari Porki – A Great And Mighty
4. Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt – Short Poem For Aretha Cooper
5. eisenlager – NCC-1701
6. Venus Vulture – Components From Air Filter Residue, Daytona Speedway, February 2016
7. Everything From Nothing And Head Joint – The Revolutioner’s Dream
8. Gun Urrainn – Discontact
9. Globoscuro – The Glowing Eye Of NGC 6751
10. Something Like Squids – Imaginary Fireflies (Excerpt)
11. Pixyblink – Observer J
12. nobodisoundz – blakk solarsolstice
13. Shadows On The Snow – The Snake Is On The Prowl
14. Hilyard – Exodus
15. Robert G. Rough- 42 Days (Part 3)
16. CNTV – Renace
17. December Nightskies With Scott Lawlor – The Judgement Of Satan (Excerpt)
18. Mach Feedback – A Fool For Illusions
19. Oystein Jorgensen – Cold Wave
20. VAULT – Presents for Katherine
21. Sir Edgar Carpenter – Perversis
No writing news lately, but the Zenapolæ netlabel has just released my Venus Vulture ambient album Nudibranch.
On a visit to the small but cool Santa Monica Aquarium, I saw these wonderful, graceful and peaceful creatures, drifting and swimming. Their langorous movements and transparent bodies inspired some tranquil music and I’m glad it’s found a home.
The cover is from a photo I took at the aquarium. These are Lion’s Mane nudibranches, one of dozens (well 2300 maybe) of species. Nudibranches are molluscs that shed their shells when they move into adulthood.
In between writing furiously and developing some new Venus Vulture music, I’ve created another drone-ambient piece. Well, four tracks. The music is even less busy than the usual Venus Vulture fare, especially the direction VV is taking now, with more beats and melody, so this new work has been released under the name Cheval Cheval. The 30 minute EP titled This Night Reflection is out now on Zenapolae, as a free download. This is a quiet work, best listened to a low volume, perhaps even while going to sleep. One of my favourite cover pictures too. Enjoy.
My thanks to Arnd and Zenas of Zenapolae for the release.