Wow! - It's the last PiNG of 2005. Thanks to everyone who's been coming out to support the series and the performers. In 2006 I'll be stepping back from the bookings and promo fronts and Jamie Todd will be stepping up to the plate. After 6 years of giving the PiNG my prime-time, it's time for me to focus on completing a few more dreamSTATE albums. Don't miss rik maclean's column later in this newsletter as he delivers his Top 10 for 2005. Peace and Love from all of us at the PiNG. - Scott M2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . THE AMBiENT PiNG http://www.theambientping.com Tuesdays @ HACiENDA - 794 Bathurst Street at Bloor - Toronto (directly across from the Bathurst subway station) Doors open at 9pm - 1st set at 9:30 - PayWhatYouCan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . This Tuesday December 13th - Gnostic Rocket and Paydirt Gnostic Rocket is an experiment in rhythm, repetition and controlled chaos. It is built on a foundation of dub and experimental music, utilising Theremin (channeled through a Korg X911 guitar synth), Yamaha CS-01 analog synth with breath controller, Korg ER1 drum machine, self-generated samples and the Springboard Dub, a custom designed delay/effects/sound-generating unit by Arius Blaze (www.audible-ism.com). No laptops here. Intensive delay and unpredictable analog sound generators with unusual control features allow a unique improvisation between man and machine, each feeding into and leading the other. An attempt to dethrone the tyranny of the mind and reify the body, Gnostic Rocket is a one-man project of Toronto-based Steve Barber, who has performed with a diverse roster of artists including: Keyop, The Weights, Syntonics, Bodega, Alvy, and most recently, Evil Doers. Paydirt is Linux man Daphydd Hughes http://www.sideshowmedia.ca/ along with toy boy Dave Clark http://www.woodchoppers.com/davidjclark/ and stringulator Joe Lapinski. http://www.yummyrecordings.ca/joe/ Together these lads sift, shake and shape sound into smooth and creamy textures one moment and shards of loving joy the next. Each of these characters brings humour and intensity to the Paydirt sound. Paydirt delivers the bread and the cheese directly from the source. Between Sets CD - "PASSAGE" by dreamSTATE It's the end of the year & we haven't featured the latest dreamSTATE release "PASSAGE" yet between sets. The CD is a soundscape journey from the light into darkness and back again. http://www.dreamstate.to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Coming Tuesday January 3rd 2006 - Repair and Self-Service http://www.theambientping.com/thiesen/home.html http://www.repair-lab.com/ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . rik maclean's *ping things* CD Reviews Since this is the last PiNG mail out for 2005, I thought that I'd jump on the year end bandwagon and do a retrospective of some of my favorite releases from the last twelve months. It's a nice way to further promote some of the best work that's come along over the year, and much like clip shows on your favorite sitcoms, it means that I don't have to work as hard to write a new review. It's a win/win situation for everybody! So here is my list of some of my favorite discs for the year. And before anybody gets into a tizzy, please note that the discs are alphabetical. Trying to put them in some sort of order is just too difficult for somebody with my limited intellectual capacity. Better to imagine that all of these discs are excellent & leave it at that. In their own way each one is the best disc of the year. Akumu "Magmas" Akumu's exploration of diverse and beautiful sound sources continues. Using source material from a recent trip to South America, Deane Hughes has created one of the most emotional and moving pieces of abstract electronic work I've heard this or any other year. Sara Ayers "A Million Stories" Sara Ayers' latest release showcases her incredible talents with a moving study of environment and atmosphere. It's a tale spun through voice and sound and music, a true work of art by one of the most talented people I have had the joy of knowing. Nadja "Body Cage" Choosing a single release by Aidan Baker is very difficult, especially in a year like this one where he's put out sooooooo much great music. But when I had to make a choice, I couldn't help but think that "Body Cage", a conceptual disc by Baker's darker side project Nadia, was the best of his 2005 releases. It's a fascinating piece of work influenced by the condition Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva, a rare illness where muscles and connective tissue slowly turn to bone ultimately causing immobility. By way of slowly building tension, a sense of dread and unease, the disc succinctly and powerfully captures the fear of one's body slowly becoming a prison. Powerful and emotive, "Body Cage" is most certainly an excellent example of uneasy listening. The Circular Ruins "Degrees of Separation" The Circular Ruins returned in 2005 with "Degrees of Separation", an inspired and beautiful new work which proves once again that Anthony Paul Kirby is an impressive musical talent with a firm understanding of ambient/electronic ideals. It's a stunning collection that stands up with the best of Kirby's catalogue, continuing and developing on the work that he's done in the past. dreamSTATE "Passage" Fans of Toronto electronic artists dreamSTATE were thrilled by the 2005 release of "Passage", a series of soundscapes specially created for an installation mounted in Goderich, Ontario. Inspired by the poetry of Lynn Harigan from her book Moon Sea Crossing, "Passage" tells the story of Aina, an Irish immigrant who settles in Huron District during the 1840s. Her life during this time is filled with hardship and turmoil, ultimately resulting in a mental breakdown, which leads to her being confined in the Huron District Gaol where her mental state further declines. Through a masterful creation of sound and environment, dreamSTATE is able to draw the listener into Aina's plight and brings her story to life in a powerful and haunting manner. "Passage" proves that dreamSTATE are among the brightest stars in the Ambient/Electronic scene today. The Machine in the Garden "Shadow Puppets" I've been a fan of the Machine in the Garden for some time now, having been introduced to them in the early days through a chance discovery on mp3.com. They've always impressed me with their sophistication, the elegance of their lyrics and their excellent musicianship. I hold them in very high regard and I look forward to each new release with a tremendous sense of anticipation. But nothing could have prepared me for the brilliance of their latest disc, "Shadow Puppets". Summer Bowman and Roger Frace of the Machine in the Garden have surpassed all previous expectations presented by earlier discs & created an epic, beautiful collection of songs that stand among the best I've heard so far this year. "Shadow Puppets" is truly wonderful darkwave from one of my favorite bands in the genre. Mercurine "Waiting for Another Fall" I heart Mercurine and with the release of "Waiting for Another Fall" I heart them even more than I did before. They create nu-wav/pop bliss that is by turns joyous, happy, celebratory, cerebral, intense, tense and just a little creepy, but in a good way. They are a band who have nurtured and developed their already impressive skills and they are a band who are destined for great things some day very soon. Without doubt Mercurine shine on this disc and you owe it to yourself to hear them now so that you can say you knew them when. You don't want to be a bandwagon jumper when they're playing the Enormodome... Numina "Eye of the Nautilus" Another collection of stunning and beautiful works by the brilliant Jesse Sola. "Eye of the Nautilus" is subtle and magical, playing right on the periphery of the senses. I sit very still while I'm listening to it, afraid that any movement or noise might mean that I miss some of it, something crucial. Something important. It requires focus. And it returns that focus with an intense beauty. Shimmering. Wonderful. Sylken "Terraforms" Eric Hopper's collaborative project Sylken released Terraforms" at the end of 2005, and it's a beautiful example of the ambient ideal. Working with some of the brightest talents in the AMBiENT PiNG community including frequent collaborator Steven Sauve, along with Wally Jericho, Jamie Todd of dreamSTATE, Terry O'Brien of Anomolous Disturbances and Gregory Kyryluk of Alpha Wave Movement, Hopper has collected a series of melodic ambient tracks of great beauty and wonder. An astounding work by some astounding artists. Tara VanFlower "My Little Fire-Filled Heart" With "My Little Fire-Filled Heart" Tara VanFlower has created a diverse collection of songs, all of which wonderfully showcase not only her writing and vocal skills but also her eclectic and unique approach to music. "My Little Fire-Filled Heart" is a stunning collection of work by one of my favorite artists. So there you have it. Ten discs that made 2005 one of the best in recent history for musical releases. They're all great, all worth checking out. And if you're interested, they're all available at ping things... Happy Holidays! rik maclean - ping things firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.pingthings.com = ambient + electronic + chill things . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . THE AMBiENT PiNG is a social sound/art event presenting live performances by Toronto's finest ambient, chillout, improv and experimental music artists plus performers from across the continent, every Tuesday evening at HACiENDA - 794 Bathurst Street at Bloor. http://www.theambientping.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Please forward this e-mail to any friends who may be interested in live ambient, chillout and experimental music performances or to any of your appropriate newsgroups. Thanks.