Grouper and Lawrence English's "Slow Walkers" LP

NewImageSlow Walkers is the first release from the hypertalented Portland musician Liz Harris, better known as Grouper, and Australian composer/media artist Lawrence English. It was "born from a mutual fascination with horrific depictions of the human present and future." I can dig that. Slow Walker is a limited edition vinyl of 400 copies from the Peak Oil label. They've sold out, of course, but the record may still be available from your local independent record store. (via OMG Vinyl)

Brian Eno designed hospital room

Brian Eno designed a chill-out room at the private new Montefiore Hospital in Brighton and Hove, UK. It's meant to be a spot for patients to "think, take stock or simply relax." Ortopaedic surgeon Robin Turner orchestrated the collaboration apparently after he saw his mother-in-law finally relax while checking out an Eno installation at a local festival. From The Guardian:
NewImageTurner said they intended to examine any physiological changes to people in the Eno room – pulse, blood pressure, anxiety and so on – and there was anecdotal evidence this week when a cancer patient came out and began telling Eno, not recognising him, how wonderful it was. "He wanted a copy of that room at home," said Turner. "The scientist in me says that's not very scientific but the human in me says that makes it all worthwhile."
"Surgeon prescribes Brian Eno to patients"


(above: Brian Eno, 1974, Wikimedia Commons)

Brazilian Birds: ambient internet radio station of bird calls in the Amazon

My new ambient-sound-while-working internet radio jam: Brazilian Birds.

(Photo: Toucan eye, a Creative Commons image from doug88888's photostream)

Every opening of Beethoven's "Eroica" symphony

[Video Link]. YouTube viewer comment: "I liked the part where they played the opening chords of the symphony."

(thanks, Joe Sabia!)

Tuning in to ambient urban sound: Alex Braidwood's "Listening Instruments"

[Video Link, via LAist]

Los Angeles area radio station KPCC produced this lovely video portrait of designer, educator, and media artist Alex Braidwood. His work "explores methods for transforming the relationship between people and the noise in their environment." In the video, you'll see Alex wearing what I believe may be his Noisolation Headphones, "an invention for mechanically transforming the relationship between a person and the noise that immediately surrounds them." His video about that project is below.

He Walked Among Granite Spires And Heard Celestial Music: short by Joaquin Baldwin

Filmmaker Joaquin Baldwin shares a beautiful new short film with us: composed from footage shot with the Sony HVR-Z5U at some of California's most beautiful wilderness sights.

The title "He Walked Among Granite Spires And Heard Celestial Music" came from a tombstone we found up on a graveyard on a hill north of Mono Lake, contemplated by a Saint Francis statue. It can seen in a few shots of the video. Sigur Rós' heavenly music fit perfectly with that image.

More at Joaquin's blog here, and here's a direct video (YouTube) link. The song is All Alright, by Sigur Rós.

If You Meet the Buddha Machine on the Road, Hack It

chan-fang-01-web.jpg

Looking for that perfect holiday gift for your most sonically adventurous friends or loved ones? Look no further.

The Buddha Machine, introduced in 2005 (and blogged here many many many many times before), is a portable little sound-loop device in a plastic box introduced five years ago by the China-based duo FM3 (aka Zhang Jian and Christiaan Virant). It so resembles an impressively generic AM radio that Muji products look like Prada by comparison.

The first two generations of the Buddha Machine contained short varied loops of ambient sound. Generation two (2008) introduced pitch control, allowing the user to alter the speed of the loops; this was, in part, a nod to enthusiasts who'd hacked the first generation. I always find myself slowing the loops as much as possible, to get them to their drone-iest, which suits the device's zone-out charm and its background-music functionality.

The third generation, newly released this month, retains the pitch control but replaces all those electronic-audio recordings with loops recorded on an ancient Chinese instrument known as the qin. This gen-three Buddha Machine is named the Chan Fang (or 禅房), which translates as Zen Room. (Between the second and third generations there was also Gristleism, a device that resulted from a collaboration between FM3 and Throbbing Gristle, whose longtime member Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson passed away late last month.)

The qin, or guqin, or 古琴, is the ancient Chinese zither. It's a long instrument with seven strings, and its history dates back thousands of years.

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A new video interpretation of Aphex Twin's "Gwely Mernans"

A new video directed by Rino Stefano Tagliafierro for "Gwely Mernans," my favorite track from the 2001 Aphex Twin album drukqs.

Video Link. In the fewest words possible: ambient slo-mo horror kissing.

No idea if this is sanctioned or "unofficial," but it's hard for me to imagine an approach that would fit the composition better. The director, whose name and portfolio are new to me, is a video artist and designer based in Milan.

As an aside, the format reminds me of my friend Clayton Cubitt's "long portraits," which he's been doing for several years now. (Thanks, Susannah Breslin)

Justin Bieber slowed down

"Turn Justin Bieber into Sigur Ros in one easy step," writes in reader Yossarian . Slowed down 800%, the young star's inane "U Smile" becomes a languid, half-hour ambient epic. [via Submitterator] Update: If that link is dead, try this one. Update: hoax claim!

Ambient time-lapse videos of the Alps, set to Beethoven

Our friend Teresa Nielsen Hayden shares these truly beautiful videos of time-lapse photography shot in the Alps, with Beethoven compositions for the soundtrack. They're like ambient video bedtime stories for internet grownups. I feel drowsy and dreamy already, with the full moon overhead this evening.

The videos were created by Michael Rissi of Zurich, whose Vimeo profile describes him as a medical physicist and timelapse enthusiast who is fond of the Canon EOS 50D.

Here is Day, set to everyone's favorite bit of the Seventh. Here is Night, and the Moonlight Sonata. More at magictimelapse.ch/en.

Both HD videos embedded at 970 pixels wide after the jump.

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