Archive for the ‘Soundtrack’ Category

Mr Robot show overview

September 6, 2016 Leave a comment

Even though what you did was wrong, you’re still a good kid, and that guy was a prick. Sometimes that matters more.

In Mr Robot, the critically acclaimed new tv show created by Sam Esmail, we meet Elliot Alderson, a mixture of Dexter Morgan, and hacking vigilante at night, who also speaks to his dead daddy, and Tyler Durden in Fight Club, as he has a split personality. Rarely, have I watched something and thought it was addressing accurately current social, moral and health issues such as Mr Robot. Depression, social anxiety, work stress, corporations, capitalism, hacking culture, loneliness, OCD, this show has it all. With a righteous tone, it would be an understatement to call it clever. And not a tad pretentious. Just the right tone in my opinion. The tone of helpless people, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the 1 %, us…vs them.

Them are the villains, in the story and in the real world : the corporations. It’s no wonder why Tyrell Wellick, the psychopath nemesis character opposite Elliott is named Tyrell. Tyrell corporation ? In Blade runner. A coincidence, I think not. It’s just one of the many Easter eggs found in this show…

Mr Robot directs strong criticism toward corporation and the world of suits. I found that often, the show attempts to address these subjects :

  1. Greed (Corporations are like Sarlac (the living mouth in the desert in Return of the Jedi) : their greed for the green is endless and will go through any lengths ; Evil corp has a sociopath mentality that echoes that of American psycho
  2. Paranoia (One of the greatest leverage our employers have toward us is the threat to fire us : characters in the show live in constant fear of losing their jobs and climbing up the corporate ladder, furthermore, the CEO’s exploit that vulnerability in their employees, fully aware of their own personal financial cupidity)
  3. Oppression of small people / workers (We learn that Elliott’s father, played by Christian Slater, was killed due to toxic waste. Those companies use people as pawns : they are nothing more to them than usable and disposable commodities, but they also don’t hold on grudges : it’s bad for business so we learn! Anything can and will be solved with money for them, echoing the sentiment delved in the documentary The corporation, that these entities are sociopaths)
  4. Reality vs dream world (The world of hacking embodies the dream world, the world of freedom, what Edward Snowden has called the Golden age of the Internet, before social media became the guardian state police for the states because it was spinning out of control. Hackers are outcasts, drug addicts but those drugs they take are just merely different than those used by the corporate drones (alcohol, cigarettes, coke)
  5. Violence vs peace : Evil corp uses threats, murders and any violent deeds in order to threaten or impose their will. Often, the gentle characters embodies us – the powerless citizen – although that trend has become far less present and rather the opposite in season II.

Mental illness 2.0

Another pool of subjects in which Mr Robot delves deeply is mental illness and I personally related heavily on the show as I have had 2 major depressions, social anxiety, and the latest : avoidant personality disorder. Even though Sam Esmail, the creator of the show hasn’t said anything about Elliott having such disorder, I strongly suspect this could be added to his paranoïa and split personality. Often, people who are plagued by this disorder tend to be very meticulous but also quite reclusive, by choice. They choose to remain aside of society’s bourgeoisie, often struggling to maintain relationships with the opposite sex and display awkwardness with others : family, co-workers, friends, bosses.

‘’Things are awkward between us. I’m ok with things being awkward between us’’. Caption here!

Elliot Alderson also struggles with clinical depression and extreme bouts of loneliness. He wishes he could grasp a taste of happiness, but for some reason, he cannot. That’s why he sees the world as an outcast but his outlook is also, mostly, spot on most of the times : he reads people and deciphers them through hacking but with a stunning and uncanny accuracy. The scene where he analyses his shrink, Krista, is quite simply an outstanding outburst of awareness : could Elliot act as a mirror of what’s wrong with society ? A mirror that acts like a boomerang toward us as he tell us his story, or, our story.



Sam Esmail has acknowledged several major influences on the show, such as American Psycho, Taxi Driver, and The Matrix. In particular, Esmail credited Fight Club as the inspiration for a main character who suffers from dissociative identity disorder creating a new manifestation of his deceased father in the form of a hacker, as well as for the anti-consumerist and anti-establishment spirit of its characters. Commentators have also noted the parallel in its plot on the erasing of consumer debt records to the film. In an interview, Esmail explains how playing the song that David Fincher used to underscore the climax of Fight Club (“Where Is My Mind?”) when Elliot initiates the hack in episode nine is intended as a message to the audience that he is aware of the inspiration they took from the film. The narration by the protagonist was influenced by Taxi Driver, and other influences mentioned included Risky Business in its music score, Blade Runner for the character development, and the television series Breaking Bad for the story arc.

Media & voyeurism culture (everyone watches everyone)


In short, there is absolutely 0% filler stuff in Mr Robot. Every scene, every line, every character is relevant to future episodes / future seasons. I have a feeling that when all is said and done after the planned 4 or 5 season run, this will go down in history as one of the greatest stories ever told on TV. Mr Robot captures the existential crisis of the millennial generation. The world that has been passed off to us is morally decayed and wrong on many levels.  How is it that we are more connected and yet further apart than ever before?

And the soundtrack by Mac Quayle, drifting between electro and ambient is top notch, just two more reasons to watch this incredible, essential and more than ever relevant show!

‘’Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank. Give him a bank and he can rob the world’’…TW.


KLF @t 3 am eternal : a tribute mix to the Chill-out era

March 14, 2016 Leave a comment
CAFQ61Z7The KLF, an initialism for “Kopyright Liberation Front”, and “Kings of the Low Frequencies” (also known as The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, furthermore known as The JAM. Following the February 1990 release of Chill Out, sheep had recurring roles in the duo’s output until their 1992 retirement. Drummond has claimed that the use of sheep on the Chill Out cover was intended to evoke contemporary rural raves and the cover of the Pink Floyd album Atom Heart Mother. Drummond and Cauty’s work often involved notions of ceremony and journey. Journeys are the subject of the KLF Communications recordings Chill Out, Space, “Last Train to Trancentral”, and also Adventures beyond the Ultraworld.


The Chill Out album depicts a journey across the U.S. Gulf Coast. I took that approach in making this tribute mix. Some British friends suggested I make this mix but in the beginning, I had no idea what to do, and more importantly how to do it. Most of what you’ll hear on the mix, is random and improvised. I only used one track from Chill out, most of the material is bootlegs, fan mixes by Bovine boy, El Strawb, samples used by KLF, remixes, moon landings, all accompanied by the movie The Rites Of Mu (Narrated By Martin Sheen). I hope it will be a rewarding voyage to you! At 3 a.m. eternal… ♫♫♫♫!


═••••>CLICK & PLAY<••^_^


Top ambient records of all time part II : 11 to 50

September 22, 2015 5 comments


gpw-20061021-NASA-GPN-2000-001097-Earth-sunburst-clouds-ocean-robot-arm-STS-77-Space-Shuttle-Endeavour-May-1996-mediumPart 2 of some of the most essential ambient records of all time. Part 1 can be found here. As I did the first part 5 years ago, my taste in ambient has evolved quite a bit since then. I became aware that some readers rightfully pointed that I forgot Lifeforms which is a total brain fart I ll admit. I have since became a fan of Loscil, Mick Chillage (and his Autumn of communion project with Lee Norris aka Norken) A lot of people wrote me to ask for a part two so here it is. I’ve put number 11 to 30 here and number 31 to 50 is in another post on the blog and can be found here. My list was inspired by my personal taste but also 2 surveys done by hyperreal.

11) FSOL : Lifeforms / 1994

What can be said about Lifeforms that hasn’t been said before ? It’s an epic ambient-techno album that has stood the test of time. Truly gorgeous samples such as Klaus Schulze AND Ozric Tentacles. The album is mixed and is meant to be listened from start to finish, so seamless. It has a couples of samples from b-movies like Millenium (You will awake now, remain calm) and Repo men (Miller explains the weirdness in the world). It’s probably one of the most well reviewed album of his genre and by countless of people all around the world. The peak of FSOL career.

But the greatness of Lifeforms lies in the fact that, much like great sampling artists like DJ Shadow or DJ Premier, FSOL were able to grasp just a few seconds of a Andrew Grossart lush track and make it into an even bigger, more brooding track. The atmospheres here are dark, sharp, crisp, and cunning. They were meticulously crafted with dexterity and ingenuity. Those samples here often only last 5 or 10 seconds. To take these quick snippets and make them into epic ambient-techno tracks takes some bloddy geniuses. The vision, the artwork, the seamless, floating tracks that makes this album flawless as a whole ; when combined (Much like Bytes by BDP), it’s sheer brilliance.

Other breaktaking samples :

Ill Flower : at 1min10 : samples The Venus Wearing the Space Uniform Shining in Florescent Light Color by Tomita

Omnipresence : at 0,01 samples Airlight by Klaus Schulze here.

Flak samples : at 0,06 Paul Williams  and Andrew Grossart Shining Ice here.

Flak also samples : at 1,01 William Thomson and Trevor Nightingale Cloud Formations here.

12) Robert Rich : Somnium

somniumRobert Rich, is an American composer that made music for the last 30 years and release a DVD release called : Somnium, a single continuous track separated into three parts, a 7-hour sleep concert recording. For the record: this is the longest piece of continuous music ever produced. Over 7 hours of Robert Rich’s best, beautiful ambient works. the music on this album was composed to influence the dreams and pre-REM hypnogogic visions of the listener. For this purpose it is suggested that the volume be kept down to the threshold of perceptibility, ideally with speakers surrounding the listener’s bed. Rich also recommends this album for conventional listening. For a brief period at the beginning of the album there is a slightly more active texture while the listener adjusts the volume and settles down to sleep. As the music progresses it slowly drifts through a variety of electronic drones as well as acoustic source material and nature recordings. The third and final track gradually fades into a morning atmosphere filled with bird songs.

Water effects drift in and out of heavenly chords. Birds sing and nature calls. This piece of music is wonderful, absorbing ambience. There is nothing decayed or dead here; everything is working in harmony. Changes in sound are so subtle that you find yourself in different landscapes without realising it. Part 1, a perfect countryside walk which lasts for days. You slowly venture into a mutating forest… Part 2: a visit to underground caverns filled with sparkling crystals and unknown wonders. Part 3, you are floating through space on an endless voyage to nowhere, occasionally being brought back down to Earth to enter calming forests with the alluring sound of birdcall brushing your conciousness. In order to allow for the album’s seven-hour length it was released on the DVD-video format instead of DVD-Audio. For insomniacs or just ambient heads alike…Essential.

Robert Rich : Somnium / Hypnos : 2001 : Part 3 (Divided here in IV parts it is the part IV) 144:45 minutes

13) Lustmord : The place where black stars hang

Dark as hell, “The Place Where the Black Stars Hang” was first released in 1994 on Side Effects, via Soleilmoon and while the earlier Lustmord album “Heresy” gave birth to the dark ambient genre, it is “The Place Where the Black Stars Hang” that defines it. It’s a work regularly cited by critics, audiences and musicians as being amongst the very best and most influential albums of its decade. The album has a more nuanced feeling of space and detail than ever before. Based on recognition established through recordings such as “Black Stars”, Brian Williams, the man who is Lustmord, went on to provide music and sound design for numerous major motion pictures, with credits on over 40, including The Crow, The Negotiator, Pitch Black, The Saint and Underworld. The track Metastatic resonance especially stands out as track that sounds like an endless void or a vortex taking us into another dimension.

14) Shades of orion 2 / Fax +49-69/450464 / 1995

If Aliens listened to music this is what they would be bumping in their spacecrafts. I’ve been playing this endlessly i don’t know how many times by now since it landed on my collection. The whole album is mixed, seamless and the sound is hypnotic and puts you right to the edge. A spiritual album that takes the listeners on a dazzling journey. Clearly one of FAX best albums. A prime album with no beats, and a deep collaboration between Pete Namlook and Tetsu Inoue.

15) Electro harmonix : Electro harmonix / 1994

Probably my favorite FAX release especially for Morphing clouds, one epic ambient track of 47 minutes that morphs and uses a soft swirling synth and shifting atmospheres that come back and forth. A truly great collaboration between two great artists : Jonah Sharp aka Spacetime continuum and Tetsu Inoue. The album only has 3 tracks : Morphing clouds, Replay and Floating sync.

16) Higher intelligence agency & Biosphere : Polar sequences / 1995

This is a live recording from the 1995 Polar Music Festival, in Tromø Geir Jenssen’s hometown. Recorded on the top of a mountain above the town, the music uses only samples sourced locally – people speaking at the festival, the cable car which brought people to the performance, the melting snow and ice, et cetera.

The result is a stunningly accomplished and balanced piece, musically, technically, emotionally. It bridges uplifting, glacial sounds with a dark moodiness without ever becoming tired and clichéd, neither natural nor electronic, but somewhere out on its own. An absolute essential for all ambient heads and discerning listeners out there. This album is without any doubt one of the greatest electronic piece in music history. Pure electronic bass and drum with floating sounds that come from any side around you. A true masterpiece.

17) Autumn of communion : Autumn of communion

Sadly the last album on FAX, as Pete Namlook died soon after. I e-mailed Peter one month before it came out in 2012 and he send me a copy of this gem. We had agreed for an interview but in the mean time he passed away. A testament to the quality Mr. Namlook put out there on his label. It’s a beautiful journey from Mick & Lee, very reminiscent of 90’s ambient-techno such as James Bernard, Air Liquide, and Namlook’s output itself. You can see that a lot of endeavors went through this album, it’s very mature but yet so smooth in its execution. Analog synths and very warm soundscapes. I am posting a preview but if you’re an ambient buff, you owe it to yourself to buy this album.

18) Biosphere : Cirque

CAUNCPEVEach Biosphere album has its own atmosphere. Microgravity sounds more aquatic to, Cirque is more dubby, Autour De La Lune (which means Around the Moon) is composed with bits of silence from the space. Le “Grand Dome” sounds like being trapped in a deep, frozen fjord. Towards the end the listener will still be floating on the Arctic Ocean. This album was inspired by the true story of a young North American explorer (Chris Mac Candless) who lived a brutal dream of ascetism but fatally lost himself in the dense forests of Alaska. I would like to specify that words you can weakly listen to in the 2nd track are in french. The man is talking about northern lights and the return of the sun, seemingly during an exploration in the North Pole. Originally, to me Biosphere’s best release was Substrata & in every respect it still remains a classic but Cirque just has that something extra, a real journey into the glacial sound that Biosphere creates, a journey that one takes with the explorer to which it is inspired from.

19) Robert Rich & Lustmord : Stalker / 1995

I found about this nice collaboration between dark ambient and music film artist Lustmord and Robert Rich entitled Stalker, in 1995. One of the greatest dark ambient albums ever. The album is based liberally on Andre Tarkovsky’s 1979 film of the same name, and the mood of the film is captured admirably by Rich and Lustmord. But any resemblance to the arc of the film seems almost inconsequential, as the compositions stand well alone from any existing pretext.

20) Brian Eno : Apollo : Soundtracks & atmosphere / 1983

Trainspottingsoundtrack[1]Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks is an album by the British ambient musician Brian Eno, released in 1983. It was written, produced, and performed by Brian Eno, his brother Roger and Daniel Lanois. Music from the album appeared in the films 28 Days Later, Traffic, and Trainspotting, whose soundtrack sold approximately four million copies. This music was originally recorded in 1983 for a feature length documentary movie called “Apollo” later retitled For All Mankind, directed by Al Reinert . Eno said of the album : …. Well, I love that music anyway…. What I find impressive about that music is that it’s very concerned with space in a funny way. Its sound is the sound of a mythical space, the mythical American frontier space that doesn’t really exist anymore. That’s why on Apollo I thought it very appropriate, because it’s very much like “space music

23) Steve Hillage : Rainbow dome musik / 1979

Released after ‘green’ in 1979, this album of what was then considered experimental electronic music, now called ambient. It is a seminal document in the field. More joyous and uplifting, and more engaging principally than others experimenting in the field at the same time, these two performances contain beautiful and melodic synth textures over which Hillage provides some liquid guitar work. It would take 12 years before Hillage would pursue this direction again in System 7 and climb the electronic heights. This is a whole album of mostly sweet, gentle, soothing and high toned new-age music. Recorded for the London Festival of Mind Body and Spirit which played in April of 1979, it is a very trippy, yet consistent recording – Hillage often on glissando guitar as well as that distinctive Gong (and Pink Floyd) delayed echo-rhythm, as well as keyboards, accompanied by Miquette Giraudy on keys, synth and Tibetan bells. In fact, the first composition, “Garden of Paradise” is very soothing and meditative. For me this is perfect background accompaniment for doing things around the house – like cooking and cleaning or artistic activities, but its a bit too intense to read to or concentrate on something else with. A spaced out ambient classic.

24) Loscil : Endless falls / 2010

A rainy concept album but my fellow Canadian Scott Morgan from Vancouver. Subtle and powerful, persistent with being imposing Loscil’s “Endless Falls” is another beautifully crafted sonic experience. Waves of soft sounds come and go, while subtle details create a sense of rythm and texture. My highlights are “Lake Orchard”, a kind of slow motion trance, and the deeply emotional “The Making of Grief Point”. Stylistically speaking this album resembles previous Loscil works, but at the same time it is a new and unique experience which I highly recommend. Meditative, focused and highly therapeutic. Quite simply stunning in his results but his musings are so simple.

25) Pete Namlook & Richie Hawtin : From within 1-3

richie3A wicked collaboration between the spacy synths of Namlook and the 303 acid lines of Richie Hawtin. The album has long, delving soundscapes and build ups. Incredible dense layers from volume 1 to 3. I originally bought the 3 cd’s in 2000, but to think they were released a few years just tell about how forward thinking they were – and still are, to this day. The beauty of this collaboration is they have completely different styles that really complement each other. Plastikman was quite keen on using the Roland TB-303. But here we have Namlook adding more sonic depth. Alone it may not work out, but together their gestalt does vault to the “awesome” level. The outstanding voyage that is ”A million miles to Earth” reminds me of my endless nights of solitude, whilst studying at the university. All 3 CD’s were lined up in my stereo, focusing on boring matter but often daydreaming of the landscapes I could see while I delve into the music…

26) Brian Eno : Ambient 4: On Land / 1982

Ambient 4: On Land is a 1982 album by British ambient musician Brian Eno. It was the final edition in Eno’s ambient series, which began in 1978 with Music for Airports. On Land is a mixture of synthesizer-based notes, nature/animal recordings, and a complex array of other sounds, most of which were unused, collected recordings from previous albums and the sessions that created them. Despite the music’s dark leanings, it is in a sense still highly ambient in that the tracks tend to blend into each other and thus fulfill all of Eno’s original expectations of what the term means. Eno also had something to say about how music—this album in particular—should be listened to. In the liner notes, he suggested (even going so far as to draw a diagram) “a three-way speaker system that is both simple to install and inexpensive, and which seems to work very well on any music with a broad stereo image”.

27) John Foxx : Cathedral oceans / 1997

Cathedral Oceans (after 2003 also referred to as Cathedral Oceans I) is an album of ambient music by John Foxx, ex-leader of new wave band Ultravox and synth pioneer. Released in 1997, it marked Foxx’s return to the music scene after an absence of seven years. It was also his first solo album since 1985’s In Mysterious Ways. The album’s artwork consists of collages by Foxx himself, overlaying various pictures and textures with the faces of statues. Cathedral Oceans is a long ongoing project by Foxx, the first recordings that appear on this album were made as early 1983. In 1987 Cathedral Oceans material was played live by Foxx in various buildings, gardens and cathedrals in England and Rome. As a result of the long genesis of the album it does sound somewhat fragmented in places, but the overall effect is soothing, almost pastoral ambience created by extensive usage of reverb and echo coupled with gregorian chanting.

28) Vangelis : Blade runner / 1982

Blade runner is by far my favorite movie of all time. And its soundtrack is also my favorite of any film ever released. It is mostly a dark, melodic combination of classical composition and synthesizers which mirrors the futuristic film noir envisioned by Scott. The original soundtrack release was delayed for over a decade, until 1994, despite the music being well-received by fans and critically acclaimed—nominated in 1983 for a BAFTA and Golden Globe as best original score.

blade_runner_idArriving 12 years after the release of the film, in 1994, the soundtrack to the 1982 futuristic noir detective thriller Blade Runner was as bleak and electronically chilling as the film itself. By subtly interspersing clips of dialogue and sounds from the film, Vangelis creates haunting soundscapes with whispered subtexts and sweeping revelations, drawing inspiration from Middle Eastern textures and evoking neo-classical structures. Often cold and forlorn, the listener can almost hear the indifferent winds blowing through the neon and metal cityscapes of Los Angeles in 2019. The sultry, saxophone-driven “Love Theme” has since gone on as one of the composer’s most recognized pieces and stands alone as one of the few warm refuges on an otherwise darkly cold but beautiful score.

Fans of Ridley Scott‘s groundbreaking film (as well as those interested in the evolution of electronic music) will warmly take this recording into their plastic-carbide-alloy hearts.

Vangelis wrote this music to perfection, capturing all the emotions and feelings you need to feel when you are looking at a beautifully atmospheric electronic landscape capable of highlighting the weirdness and the beauty. The music also captures well the epic proportions of the special effects. No other soundtrack that I remember have managed to capture quite as perfectly the rich imaginary of science fiction and the sense of otherworldly metaphysical angst. Aphex Twin, Global Communications, FSOL and DJ Krush are just a few of the names that owe something to this historical album. The overall impression is of a dark and troublesome future with brief glimpses of hope and great beauty. As a musical score this truly captures the moods and feelings inspired by reading the novels of Philip K Dick, far more than any other adaption of his material to date. An album that showcased how important the right music & sound effects are to make a memorable film.

29) Tangerine dream : Phaedra / 1974

This 1974 masterpiece from Christopher Franke, Edgar Froese, and Peter Baumann ebbs and flows with richly dark soundscapes of electronic sounds and synth. Phaedra was a progenitor for much ambient–and some dance–music, influencing such artists as Steve Roach. After listening to Phaedra it’s easy to understand why. The signature pulsing of thick, beautiful Tangerine Dream synth falls across the ambient treasures here, pulling along the orchestral dreamscape before oozing aside for thick washes of expansive sound. The now-classic title cut is both soothing and ghostly, throbbing with subtle sequences and twisted metallic calls before diving into a swamp of nightmarish whistles and hoots. “Mysterious Semblance” soars and swoops like a lovely electronic eagle, bringing tripped-out light and cosmic dignity to the collection. This and the follow-up Rubycon are juicy pieces to the Tangerine Dream pie. This is the first Tangerine Dream album to feature their now classic sequencer-driven sound, which launched the Berlin School genre. It also earned the group a gold disc in seven countries, and yet in their native Germany it sold barely 6,000 units. Writing in his 2000 Ambient Century, Mark J. Prendergast describes the title track: “At over 17 minutes it conveyed feelings of the cosmos, of giant suns exploding, of huge ocean movements, of mythological lands, of eddies and drifts. Layer upon layer of futuristic sounds piled one on top of the other until the whole thing climaxes in some interstellar void.”

30) Manuel Göttsching : E2 E4 / 1984

e2E2-E4, was recorded in 1981 but released in 1984, and was not the first solo recording album by Manuel Göttsching but his 5th after Inventions for electric guitar, followed by New age of earth, Blackouts and then Dream and desire. The album itself consists of a minimalistic hour-long progressive electronic track that is subdivided into single tracks according to the stage of the song. The second half of the record is notable for Göttsching’s guitar playing. The album is named after the most popular opening chess move, 1. e4. Maybe its legendary status is due to the fact that as the story is sometimes told, Göttsching stopped in the studio, while touring with Klaus Schulze, and invented techno. In a concert mood, in december of 1981, he entered his studio armed with only a korg synth and a guitar, his favorite asset. And then, he started playing. He improvised. But thanks for us, he decided to record the whole thing on the spur of the moment. And an hour of music was born. But he did not even intended to release it. After many reflections, doubts and afterthoughts, and only after the counsel of usual pal Schulze and especially three years later, he decides to publish the session. E2 E4, covered with a chessboard on cold and brown, sees the light and its light changes the course of history. E2 E4 is the most compelling argument that techno came from Germany. And even more so than any Kraftwerk album. Over a heavenly two-chord synth vamp and simple sequenced drum and bass, Göttsching’s played his guitar like a percussion instrument, creating music that defines the word hypnotic over the sixty minutes of the single track. Nonetheless, even though E2-E4 is very famous within young people (Say Carl Craig and Derrick May) and most notably of the DJ generation and those who like minimalistic music, it is not as much known by those who love Krautrock.

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