These are the early morning albums I like

edited March 2014 in Ambient
It's been awhile since I last re-upped on my early morning music. At long last, some of my regulars like Cinematic Orchestra, Benjamin Koppel, and Brian McBride are starting to show frayed edges... time to search out new stuff.

Here's some things that have been floating my boat...


Elskavon - "Movements in Season"

On Bandcamp =

Drone, quiet, ambient, peaceful... still waters that enfold disturbances and make them serene.


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    Richards-Duvall - "Indian Summer"

    On Bandcamp =

    On the PJCE (Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble) label, though this is clearly not meant to be a jazz recording. Ambient, found sound of nature, the murmuring of guitar and piano, bass & drums equally adept at setting the mood, some cello and brass to add a disparate dynamic, but nothing that risks shattering the serenity. Good stuff.
  • edited March 2014
    I will try to do one a day, as I listen to them.

  • Good idea...I am always in the market for music to give the day a little momentum.

    More often than not it's classical, esp "early music"; or quieter contemporary stuff. However, this morning it's:

    Fred Hersch solo may be next...
  • edited March 2014
    still waters that enfold disturbances and make them serene.
    That's most often my preference first thing also. Went through a phase of filling the house with this every morning, and it's still a candidate:

    Wil Bolton - Chimes for a Wall Drawing

    Also this:

    Wil & Tarl - Angel in the House
    (It was a limited postcard 3"-only release when I got it - I see you can get it at bandcamp now; recommended.)

    And most recently this:

    Darren Harper - Rising Sea
  • @Doofy

    I've never felt inclined to play that Arriale Solo first thing in the morning, but I can easily see how it might work for someone else. I absolutely adore that album. "The Dove" is especially pretty.


    I have a Wil Bolton in my "morning" playlist... "Under the Name that Hides Her." Haven't listened to it for awhile. Maybe have to revisit that recording.
  • When I'm woken in the middle of the night by some god-awful dream, and the idea of falling back asleep just to re-enter that same god-awful dream prevents me from drifting off, I go into the writing room and put this album on...


    Library Tapes - "Fragment"

    A familiar name on eMusers. Peaceful, drifting piano music. Calms me every time, gets me right with the idea of sleep again (though there have been times I just kept listening until the sun came up... that was pretty nice, too.

    It's a short album, maybe 20 minutes in length. I remember grumbling about that when I bought it on eMusic long ago (8 downloads for 20 minutes... arrrrgh!!!). Worth every penny. I don't listen to it much, only when I desperately need to. Good to have some sonic teddy bears like that, y'know?

    On Bandcamp =
  • TETO, of course, but I find it a bit weird to read this - I have no "morning" musical predilections. Anything goes. Late night is another matter.
  • edited March 2014
    I have predilections for several segments of the day. It's far from invariable, but very often something like: Morning: need my mind clear and my spirit unruffled to face the complexities of the day (ambient, drone, meditative jazz). At work: for most tasks any accompanying music must not have a beat or vocals. Late afternoon: brain dead, need rhythms and energy to make my legs move me home (techno, rock, generally upbeat). Late evening: need to mellow (jazz, ambient, choirs, some folk/acoustic).
  • edited March 2014
    My morning routine is to start with one or two CDs - the music starts before the computer goes on and my ipod is often in the car, locked in the garage. Most times it will be something very familiar - the Beatles. George Harrison, Van Morrison, Kind of Blue, Take Five etc. Interestingly I very rarely will choose Bruce Springsteen even though I know those almost off by heart, not sure why. Once the computer is up and running I'll switch to iTunes. Sometimes I am influenced by seeing what others have played overnight, but often it is just how the mood takes me. If I'm working I tend to go for jazz or folk, but there really is no overall pattern.
  • My morning sonic needs have changed through the years, with the music becoming increasingly ambient as the years pass. I don't know if this trend will continue (which, followed to its logical conclusion, would have me enjoying my morning coffee in a sensory deprivation chamber), but in the last handful of years that it's been this way, I do find myself far more centered as I begin my day. It has made life more enjoyable, I think. My guess is eventually that will grow to bore me, and I will begin playing Mercery Rev "Boces" and Art Blakey first thing in the morning one day, again.

    But we'll pretty much have to see.

    For now, I enjoy this ambient stuff. It's really only been the last handful of years that I've listened to it all, regardless of time of day, so there's a music discovery element to it, in the same way that it's a sonic refuge.


    Listening to Library Tapes right now, but the title "A Summer Beneath the Trees." Good stuff. More lively than "Fragments."
  • edited March 2014
    I also like morning Ambient - in fact it is the only time I listen - but not when it gets too ghosty/crashy/jarring. Marcus Fischer's Arctic/Antarctic is in the rotation, for example; also Solmis'olre Domir'emi by Visuelle Musik. Both at the Free Music Archive (which is why I have them).

    As a non-fan, Ambient is interesting to me, because I think it "works" by creating visual images associated with the auditory input. Of course, because so much of it is machine sounds, much of the imagery is machines as well, for me anyway. It reminds me of the experience when you're awake in the middle of the night, especially in an unfamiliar place, hearing sounds and wondering what they could be. (Music appreciation as threat vigilance?) This is probably similar for all music, which of course you hear with your brain, not your ears. But other kinds of music come filtered through other kinds of associations. Especially social and cultural ones--eg, you can't hear a church choir as just "sounds". Whereas ambient/electronic music feels more like a direct auditory/visual connection, with fewer if any other associations. For me anyway.

    So there you go, I didn't even know I had all these personal thoughts about Ambient music. Meanwhile, awake and caffeinated, I am taking Jonah's suggestion and listening to Art Blakey. This album's notable for including Chuck Mangione as a young Jazz Messenger.


    ETA, also Keith Jarrett - ! All of 21 years old at the time.
  • edited March 2014
    it "works" by creating visual images associated with the auditory input. Of course, because so much of it is machine sounds,

    Yes, that's right, at least I think that's true for substantial subsectors of the genre. There also, on the other hand, been a strong move in the last, say, 5 years away from "machine sounds" and towards (processed or arranged) acoustic and natural world found sounds (more piano and cello, more birds and rivers). The trajectory of 12k releases shows this very clearly - compare Occur or Stil. by Taylor Deupree from 2001/2002 (quite austere and definitely machine sounds) to his more recent Shoals, which was created on ancient acoustic instruments (not a radically different aesthetic from the earlier work, but hugely more organic), or Illuha's Shizuku, which is largely acoustic sounds. And of course there's the whole field recordings subgenre that is sometimes entirely "natural". And some of the "machine" sounds are no more (or less) "machine" than processed sound from an electric guitar in other genres.

    And some of it definitely works with images (at least, it does for me, too) but I also think a lot of it (and a lot of the best of it) forces pure attention to sound, to its materiality, not to the story that is being told over the top of the melody or what comes next or the images called to mind but the sheer quality of timbre and resonance and pitch at a given moment. That swathe of ambient "works" for me when it draws my attention to the miracle of sound, like the way an abstract painting might get me to really see a particular color or texture that I would otherwise take for granted. The "wondering what they could be" is, I think, part of this process of defamiliarization and focusing (and is maybe why ambient music has to be really really good not to wear out after a few listens), but sometimes "what it could be" is not something else, but the sound itself, the cosmos singing (that already sounds too new-agey to my own ears, I just mean that sound is its own part of what is, not always a portal to something else). I think this is what you are getting at when you talk about not being able to hear a choir as "just sounds", but maybe one step further (?) - it doesn't have to be the sound of something.

    Not picking a fight here, you're not wrong, but I think the genre is wider. And this interests me. I think a lot about why some of my music "works" when by "normal" standards it should not work at all (no melody, lyrics, beat,...).

    ETA, recent Taylor Deupree interview:
    And in general I’ve been trying to move away from digital things a lot, not totally so but I prefer the hands-on approach. I can do the same kind of music that I was doing before but with guitar pedals, loopers etc and for me it’s just a lot more interesting and maybe for the audience too.
  • I like this, from the Wikipedia article about Brian Eno's album "Discreet Music":
    Brian Eno's concept of ambient music builds upon a concept composer Erik Satie called "furniture music."[1] This means music that is intended to blend into the ambient atmosphere of the room rather than be directly focused upon.

    The inspiration for this album began when Eno was left bed-ridden in a hospital by an automobile accident and was given an album of eighteenth-century harp music.[2] After struggling to put the record on the turntable and returning to bed, he realised that the volume was turned down (toward the threshold of inaudibility) but he lacked the strength to get up from the bed again and turn it up. Eno said this experience taught him a new way to perceive music:

    "This presented what was for me a new way of hearing music—as part of the ambience of the environment just as the color of the light and the sound of the rain were parts of that ambience."

    And I also like this, from the Wikipedia entry on "Ambient Music":
    To quote one pioneer, Brian Eno, "Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting."

    I like to listen to music of all sorts very low at the threshold of audibility around the house like that. As for early morning though, I mostly listen to the sounds of children and pets.
  • Yes, I've been thinking about those Eno comments a lot this last week as well. The definition of ambient music as capable of sustaining focused attention or background/threshold listening has become the standard definition. I've been starting to think about it from a slightly different angle: much of the ambient music I like best has a combination of simplicity and complexity, and of serenity and activity that I think is a big part of what enables it to sustain the focus/background levels of listening. It is at once serene and buzzing with tiny activity, like a still pond teeming madly with tiny organisms.
  • If morning music is ambient music, I'm afraid I don't have much to add. 7-8.30 is dedicating to getting the 7 year old up and moving. The dominant noises are his television shows. If anything, I can listen to Early Music--something with a strong melody and a strong rhythm (without necessarily introducing percussion). Listening on headphone, Renaissance and Baroque cuts through the noise without drowning out all the sounds in the room.
  • After struggling to put the record on the turntable and returning to bed, he realised that the volume was turned down (toward the threshold of inaudibility) but he lacked the strength to get up from the bed again and turn it up. Eno said this experience taught him a new way to perceive music...
    So just think - if he'd had a 160GB iPod there in the hospital with a pair of little rechargeable speakers, he probably never would have made any of those records at all, and we might still be listening to Perry Como and Panfir Master of the Pan Flute for "maximum relaxation" music.
  • edited March 2014
    Discussion of quiet music brings to mind the wonderful compositions of Jakob Ullman, whose pieces work at the periphery of audibility. You can hear quite a bit on Adventures In Sound And Music 22 November 2012 (remember, this is very quiet music!), or sample a bit on soundcloud. Acquiring, I'd start with a catalogue of sounds; the subsequent 3-cd strange time addendum is wonderful too (both on the superb Edition RZ label).

    From one review:
    Ullmann’s instructions to the listener are diametrically opposed to Sunn O)))’s–he asks us to listen to his recordings as quietly as possible, at a volume that barely masks the ambient noises of the room we’re in. In this way, Ullmann hopes to teach us to listen to music in a fundamentally different fashion than we’re used to; by being forced to strain to hear his work, we learn to listen more and listen better to our surroundings. If anything, this is a newer iteration of Brian Eno’s philosophy of ambient music (music that can be “actively listened to with attention or as easily ignored, depending on the choice of the listener,” music that lives on the “cusp between melody and texture”), this time within the idiom of classical composition...

    Ullmann’s compositions (whose scores are written with graphic notation and whose content is derived from both mathematical / scientific theories and the sacred texts of world religions) are well-suited to this approach. They are played at low volumes, in large, darkened, resonant spaces, at distance from the audience. There is an intriguing tension between stasis and change, as the pieces evolve slowly over long periods of time. In the compositions with vocals, the listener may feel as though he or she is eavesdropping on a whispered conversation just beyond earshot. The effect is both beautiful and eerie, spectral and tranquil.
    Special and unique music. Not soothing at all though, unlike much ambient discussed.
  • Hoping to revive this thread, and vow not to contribute any more noodlings about the ambient genre.

    Morning piano favorite
  • I'm so much different than you guys. Just got into work and the first thing I put on is an A$AP Ferg mixtape. Gotta get turnt up!

  • edited July 2014
    Nice morning music.
    - Thanks to Jonah for the reminder on the listening thread.

  • @BN

    That was my first (or second) of the morning album for a very long time. Still gets out from time to time these days.

    Much to my surprise, this album has been getting some early morning play lately, either first or second album of the morning...


    Aisha Duo - "Quiet Songs"

    It's a duo of vibes and marimba, though they bring on frame drums and cello for some tracks. It was their rendition of Orgeon's "Beneath and Evening Sky" that grabbed my ear. It's one of my favorite songs. The rest of the album is all well and good, but I'm surprised it's displaying the staying power that it is.

    I wrote a blog-y column about it recently, with an accompanying synopsis of the album...
  • Pentral.jpg

    - And considering to grab the new one.
  • edited August 2014
    There's nothing like some meditative piano music in the morning . . .

    WOW !

    - "Comprised of three balanced examples of his Continuous Music on solo piano, Three Solo Pieces serves as perhaps the best introduction the Ukrainian-Canadian composer Lubomyr Melnyk yet available. “Marginal Invitation” is a subdued work with a deeply rooted melodic sensibility that is rich in overtones, while “Corrosions on the Surface of Life” exhibits a dissonant fury of patterned note play. The final, side-length meditation “Cloud Passade No. 3” is a chordal work in free-time which functions equally well as furniture music and a meditative exploration of pure light.

    Three Solo Pieces is the first set of new Lubomyr Melnyk recordings produced by Unseen Worlds and his first release for the label since the 2007 reissue of his debut album KMH: Piano Music in the Continuous Mode (1979). Following that reissue, efforts were shifted from record projects to introducing Melnyk’s still-thriving Continuous Music to audiences with a set of memorable and well-received concerts in Seattle and New York in 2009. Since his popular rediscovery through a variety of releases on Unseen Worlds, his own and other labels, as well as being hosted all over the world for concerts, Lubomyr Melnyk has successfully risen from obscurity and emerged as a welcome new entry in the history of contemporary classical music, as well as a vital performer for the 21st Century."
    Unseen Worlds November 2013 - €music

    - first there came Franz Lizst ..... then came LUBOMYR -
  • edited February 2015
    user48736353001... aka. Aphex Twin

    - The Twin at his very best !
    - now downloadable from Soundcloud between 192 and 320kbps but with no tags besides the track title.
  • A thread started by @jonahphll - "We" miss you Jonah . . . 

    - released September 3, 2015 on Lifelike Family (the same label as The OO-Ray)      
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