New release – Zen240 – Venus Vulture – Ecosystem 8
Mostly here I’m talking about my writing – after all that’s my main focus. In the background, though, I’m an amateur electronic musician (good to have hobbies, right?). I record and release under the ‘band’ name Venus Vulture. Ambient electronica. I’ve written elsewhere about coming to make ambient music – enjoying listening to it while writing, but having trouble finding it… that’s changed with the advent of the internet, but in the meantime, I found I enjoyed it, so kept making music.
Some of my albums appear on my bandcamp page. Some have come out on netlabels (Resting Bell, Testtube, Zenapolae), and I collaborate with Kendall of December Nightskies as an actual band – Shadows on the Snow, and we have a bunch of releases both independently and on netlabels.
My thanks to arnd from Zenapolae for his patience and back and forth with me while I put together this release. I like his description – “a delicate ambience made with modular synthesis”. That’s what I’m aiming for – delicate ambience.
I’ll write again about the ‘modular synthesis’ side of it – a shift over the last couple of years from computer-based composition to building a modular synth rig. arnd’s put an image of my rig there on the release page.
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.
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.
Some of you know that while I’m serious about writing, I also have a hobby of making ambient music. There are several releases around the web – some self-released and a few on netlabels. Most of the music comes out under the moniker Venus Vulture, but I’ve used some other names too (though I’m not anything to do with Vultures of Venus, whose music is quite different). This new work, on the Zenapolae netlabel is a combined release with Cheval Cheval – another name I use. It’s kind of like a side A/side B thing. Both are stand-alone three-track EPs, but taken together they combine to make an album-length work. I do see Cheval Cheval as different to Venus Vulture (Venus Vulture is a bit denser, darker and weirder), but Arnd at Zenapolae suggested combining the two and I think it works: two aspects of my music next to each other for the old compare and contrast.
Zen 091 Cheval Cheval – Restless Gases/Venus Vulture – I am lost upon a heartless sea amongst the ice and sharks is free download from Zenapolae.
I’ve been so busy with writing, and jabbering on about writing, of late, that I haven’t been up to much music. But I have been up to some. I have a new Venus Vulture release coming out on Zenapolae soon, but in the meantime I managed to put together a podcast mix that’s out now.
zenCast016 is an hour-long mix of ambient(ish) works from various netlabels – I’ve put a full track list below. As you may know, I listen to music as I write; and this is the kind of thing I would write to. I hope you enjoy it.
I’ll update again when the Venus Vulture release comes out.
Tracks in zenCast016
1. Lump – Kohina#2 – textone\txtn015 – 3 feet down and sinking e.p.
2. Rod Modell – Harmonics Of Ether – sutemos\Flow.ers (Sutemos008)
3. Ingredient – Striations – zenapolæ\zen051 – Ingredient
4. Minus Pilots – Sunshine Final Cut – testtube\[tube010] – Central Industries EP
5. milieu – over hills – [unknown]\milieu
6. Lezrod – Domrich – zymogen\[zym014] – Genki Vol. I
7. Ryonkt – transparence – Resting Bell\transparence
8. Venus Vulture – Times Sq. – [unreleased]
9. Dolby – [B2] Outward – thinner\thn008 – dub expo ep
10. Sleepy Town Manufacture – Kabyn – sutemos\intelligent toys 2
11. Minim.all – Branches – arh021\les mots inconnu
12. Arditi – Struggle for Victory – [equilibrium music]\(Destiny of Iron)
13. Zero a m m 0 – Uncomforting Variations – Resting Bell\
14. Anti- – ewwa – PUBE\ – tufts
15. 833-45 – Säänöttömyys – autoplate\apl004 – Solar Cycle 23
16. Muhr – Le Gouffre En Nous – zymogen\zym010 – muhr drames et precipices
17. Marko Füstenberg – Option21 – thinner\thn031 – option
18. Lys – Tolis – sutemos\Naunee
Not only did I learn I hadn’t placed in Writers of the Future, I got three other rejection slips in the mail. All form rejections. Still that means that those stories can all go out to other editors who might like them. So that’s what I did. Sent them out. Within an hour or so I had my list back up to twenty live submissions.
Then, as I sent off that last one, some good news. An acceptance. Yay. It is in a no-payment, no-copy anthology so it stokes just my ego, but by then it was in need of a little stoking.
And it got a little better too – with some new music accepted for release on Zenapolae. More on that in another post. Right now I’m getting back to writing the next story.
With all my focus on being a pulp fiction writer these days, on occasion I neglect the music side. Many years ago, unable to find enough ambient music to listen to while writing, I began making my own. Most of it was pretty awful – not even listenable by me – but some of it was okay. Over time, I got better too. Even to the point that some of my music has been released on some netlabels and has been played on the radio and by DJs. (This is also the reason why the blog URL is venusvulturenews – the music comes out under the moniker Venus Vulture, and music was why I first started the blog). It’s been a while since Pylon Suite came out on Zenapolae, but it was cool to see it very positively reviewed recently on acts of silence. I am slowly working on new music, but it’s more sporadic these days: more will definitely be coming.
Pylon Suite is about 40 minutes long and is intended to be background music while doing more concentrated activities (such as writing). It’s a free download.
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.
A new Venus Vulture soundscape release doesn’t come along that often – the last were “Heavy Skies” on TurkbyTone Rekkids and “Stick With Me Giselle, Things Can Only Get Better” on Testtube, both in the first quarter of 2009. So after a year and a half of near-silence I’m excited to have a new extended piece released.
Released on the Zenapolae netlabel, Pylon Suite is a set of four tracks, making up a continuous thirty-eight minute movement. The set is deep and brooding, based on a long field recording (which wafts in and out through the album), together with long ambient drones. The tracks share elements, but progress, gradually becoming more complex – track four is the busiest (well, as busy as ambient drone music might be). Probably good to listen to at low volume while taking a bath or reading a horror novel.
The fabulous cover art was created by Arnd Klotz, based on photos I’d taken around the time I was composing the music.