Seren Ffordd – Fractured III – ShardsrM_0045
Seren Ffordd – Fractured III – Shards
August 2014

Shards is the third album in a trilogy titled Fractured.
 

Chris Russell – IlluminoidrM_0043
Chris Russell – Illuminoid
July 2014

Illuminoid is a journey into the realm of the spirit.
 

Steve Brand and Roy Mattson - MeltstreamrM_0042
Steve Brand, Roy Mattson - Meltstream
May 2014

Amazing beatless ambient. Roy and Steve both have a strong affinity with nature, especially the mountains, and this music grew out of those moments, immersed in nature…and sound.
 

Robert  Scott Thompson - ArcanarM_0039
Robert Scott Thompson - Arcana
April 2014

A carefully crafted, subtly nuanced ambient album. Languidly drifting textures, prepared piano, and an array of synthesized and acoustic sounds make this a rewarding listen.
 

Arbee & Specta Ciera – Elemental GatheringrM_0041
Arbee & Specta Ciera – Elemental Gathering
March 2014

Delving into techno, drone, experimental, dub and more - Arbee & Specta Ciere's debut on rM will move you.
 

Steve Brand – Because We Were Once Covered in Goldpl0011
Steve Brand – Because We Were Once Covered in Gold
February 2014

Re-working of 2009 release, fascinating and exceptionally detailed, full of subtlety and delicious sonic twists and turns.
 

Relaxed Machinery Artists - reBOOTrM_0040
Relaxed Machinery Artists - reBOOT
January 2014

17 tracks, 2.25 hours of new music from some of the best names in the industry.
 

Steve Brand - Over-soulpl0015
Steve Brand - Over-soul
November 2013

61 minute long form piece, divided into three seamless expanses of driftscape, created entirely with keyboards and medicine drum.
 

Chronotope Project - Event HorizonrM_0033
Chronotope Project - Event Horizon
October 2013

An earthy foundation of sustained drones and rich chordal soundbeds, flowing watery melodies, the scintillating sparkle of fiery sequences.
 

Steve Brand  - She Covers The Skypl0014
Steve Brand - She Covers The Sky
September 2013

Re-imagining, re-working, re-mastering of the 2009 release, now with two new tracks.
 

Zero Ohms - 369rM_0036
Zero Ohms - 369
July 2013

A journey of what seems to be an unending ascension of shifting drones and wind-synth chords which take you to the very edge of space and beyond.
 

Steve Brand – The Great HooprM_0038
Steve Brand – The Great Hoop
June 2013

Music inspired by Native American cultures, their history and pre-history, the spaces, colors, flora and fauna, and wide variety of landscapes of the American Plains.
 

Relaxed Machinery Artists – Butterfly EffectsrM_0034
Relaxed Machinery Artists – Butterfly Effects
May 2013

An album comprising remixes of material from several James Johnson albums.
 

Frore - ShadowlandsrM_0035
Frore - Shadowlands
March 2013

Frore's first album on Relaxed Machinery. Hints of tribal and modern ambient take you on a thought provoking journey.
 

Steve Brand – Bridge to Nowherepl0010
Steve Brand – Bridge to Nowhere
February 2013

Bridge to Nowhere is a spacious, slow-breathing exploration of a meditative state, and nowhere in Brand’s work is the ritualistic element more present than in this case
 

Chris Russell - PortalrM_0037
Chris Russell - Portal
February 2013

Other worlds, other dimensions and glimpses behind the veil.
 

Steve Brand - Our True NaturerM_0029
Steve Brand - Our True Nature
December 2012

A soundtrack for hope, growth and expanded ways of being.
 

Chronotope Project – ChrysalisrM_0032
Chronotope Project – Chrysalis
November 2012

Deep ambient textures infused with gentle rhythm and soulful melody -- introspective soundscapes to relax the mind and gladden the spirit.
 

Broken Harbour – The Geometry Of ShadowsrM_0031
Broken Harbour – The Geometry Of Shadows
October 2012

Light and shadow, past and future, distance and time, informed the creative process and inspiration of this album.
 

Steve Brand – Sunprintspl0007
Steve Brand – Sunprints
September 2012

Five quiet and sometimes intimate atmospheres focused around nature.
 

Andrew Lahiff – Inner Worlds ReturningrM_0030
Andrew Lahiff – Inner Worlds Returning
August 2012

Synthetic and mechanical notions overlaid on an organic yet detailed landscape.
 

Shane Morris / Disturbed Earth – Suburban CatacombsrM_0028
Shane Morris / Disturbed Earth – Suburban Catacombs
July 2012

What goes on under suburbia, the day to day, literally, the pipes, storm water drainage, electric cable, communication, internet.
 

Steve Brand – CatalystrM_0026
Steve Brand – Catalyst
June 2012

Four cavernous, ethereal, sentimental and lilting inscapes timing in at just over an hour.
 

Chris Russell - BloomrM_0027
Chris Russell - Bloom
May 2012

Warm and peaceful zones inspired by nature. All carefully sculptured using a combination of field recordings and electronic atmospheres.
 

åpne sinn – en seierrM_0025
Peter James – Landfall
April 2012

Part of a journey. Not the final part or the start. Just a part of it. A mixture of long and short form ambient.
 

åpne sinn – en seierpl0004
Steve Brand / Ishq – Spiritual Science
March 2012

Easy and organic multiple disc release of several long form ambient pieces. Re-mastered during 2011-2012 for this special re-release.
 

åpne sinn – en seierrM_0024
åpne sinn – en seier
February 2012

"en seier" from the Norwegian meaning “one victory”. Rhythms, ambient soundscapes, and multiple collaborations. All straight from the heart.
 

Austere – EuterperM_0021
Austere – Euterpe
January 2012

Honed sonic goodness that covers every style or genre Austere is known for (which is many) but mostly brand-new ground broken, no paths retraced.
 

Peter James – MementorM_0022
Peter James – Memento
December 2011

Musical pieces kept as simple as the moments they depict so as not to blur the memories they evoke.
 

Steve Brand - Subtle Movements InsiderM_0011
Steve Brand - Subtle Movements Inside
November 2011

“Subtle Movements Inside,” was inspired after re-visiting a group of old poems and by recent events in my life.
 

Steve Brand - SoulSpiralpl0003
Steve Brand - Cahokia
October 2011

A three-song journey into one of the deeply mystical places of America’s heartland.
 

Bob Ohrum - All Around MerM_0020
Bob Ohrum - All Around Me
October 2011

In the sky and the trees,the sunlight and the breeze, in the buildings and the windows that surround me... they are all around me.
 

Zero Ohms - Worlds, AfterworldsrM_0019
Zero Ohms - Worlds, Afterworlds
October 2011

We constantly stand on a precipice of the unknown without the possibility of reversing. This seemingly unknowable void looms, beckoning. And flight is the only, albeit inadequate, response.
 

Steve Brand - SoulSpiralpl0002
Steve Brand - Upwelling
September 2011

Upwelling is collection of epiphanies, experiments, singular moments, remixes and re-discoveries.
 

Lowell Levene-Sims - <br>A Thing of Beauty to an Object of RegretrM_0017
Lowell Levene-Sims - A Thing of Beauty to An Object of Regret
August 2011

Cover Painting: There are No Wrong Notes by LLS, 2010.
 

Chris Russell - HomerM_0013
Chris Russell - Home (double album)
August 2011

recorded june 2010 to march 2011.
 

John Koch-Northrup - Temporal ArcrM_0002
John Koch-Northrup - Temporal Arc
(reissue w/ bonus track)
July 2011

Originally released on Red Antenna on 2001. Re-released July 2011, with one additional track.
 

Disturbed Earth & Steve Brand – What is Memory?rM_0016
Disturbed Earth & Steve Brand – What is Memory?
July 2011

This release is a 69-minute aural exploration of the nature of memory and time, utilizing keyboard atmospheres, flutes and voice.
 

Max Corbacho – Lost LinksrM_0018
Max Corbacho – Lost Links
June 2011

Deleted, unreleased and forgotten tracks.
 

Steve Brand - SoulSpiralpl0001
Steve Brand - SoulSpiral
May 2011

First in a series of re-mastered, re-worked, re-releases and special releases to come on Steve's own label, Pioneer Light.
 

Bob Ohrum – Subliminal ListeningrM_0014
Bob Ohrum – Subliminal Listening
March 2011

A collection of organic soundscapes created by capturing various field recordings, and then creating music to accompany them.
 

I’ve Lost – Scáth M’anamrM_0010
I’ve Lost – Scáth M’anam
March 2011

Scáth M’anam is a Gaelic phrase, which can be translated as “Shadow of My Soul”. The artist, aka Bobby Jones, chose this title by looking to his Irish roots.
 

Relaxed Machinery Artists – sleepMODErM_0009
Relaxed Machinery Artists – sleepMODE
March 2011

Relaxed Machinery presents sleepMODE, a snapshot of the rapidly-growing label celebrating its first anniversary.
 

åpne sinn – espiritistarM_0015
åpne sinn – espiritista
January 2011

By turns drifting and ethereal then beat driven, this debut recording spans many musical types and genres.
 

Leonardo Rosado – for rrM_0012
Leonardo Rosado – for r
November 2010

 

Chris Russell and Disturbed Earth – The Approaching ArmadarM_0008
Chris Russell and Disturbed Earth – The Approaching Armada
October 2010

The Approaching Armada is all about Chris’ electronics that have been soft soaked, the brittle remaining dark and edgy and Disturbed Earth’s presence in the sound.
 

Beta Cloud – The Book of Five RingsrM_0007
Beta Cloud – The Book of Five Rings
October 2010

All tracks recorded reflect “aural essays” of the concepts Musashi defined in his text of Go Rin No Sho.
 

Steve Brand - ConiunctiorM_0006
Steve Brand - Coniunctio
August 2010

Coniunctio is the joining of two longform ambient works. Pale Blue Orb is very celestial, spacious, glowing in the warmth of enveloping light and consciousness while The Beginning of Days is more terrestrial, Earthy.
 

Bob Ohrum - ElevatedrM_0004
Bob Ohrum - Elevated
June 2010

Elevated is a journey through heartbreaking loss and the celebration of a spirit set free from a broken body.
 

Chris Russell - FrozenrM_0003
Chris Russell - Frozen
July 2010

Frozen recalls the stillness and silence of a winter snowfall transitioning into spring, celebrating the rebirth and renewal of life.
 

Steve Brand - Circular ScripturesrM_0001
Steve Brand - Circular Scriptures
June 2010

Circular Scriptures is charactarized by beatless, diaphanous, semi-transparent layers of sound that flow and overlap, layered with deep earth-shaking timbres and near orchestral and choral allusions.
 

Interview – Blake Gibson on “The Geometry of Shadows”

We decided that it would be a neat idea for artists to interview artists about their new albums. All of us at Relaxed Machinery release music, we all respect each other, we don’t all know each other well – some do, some don’t.  What brings us together is the love of the music.  In fact, I think it was Blake that first suggested this – and I thought it would be fun to get to know Blake a little better.  What follows is a conversation from late August 2012 via email.
John Koch-Northrup

Blake,

Let’s jump right into your new album “The Geometry of Shadows”. What inspired this album title? How long have you been working on it?  And would you like to talk a bit about your working methods or process?

John

Hi John,

I started work on the album immediately after I finished recording ‘Gramophone Transmissions’ in the fall of 2009. I had a full albums worth of material all about space communications, it was a long form piece entitled ‘Ansible’ and I’d recorded it over a few months. At the time I felt is wasn’t quite up to scratch, then I took a break from music a few months after that and shelved it.  After I decided to finally release Gramophone Transmissions last year, I dusted off the old material and found alot to like about it. In December last year I started re-working ‘Ansible’, and by the time I was finished in early August, I had actually taken out everything from the original album and created something all new around it.

I actually stole the album title from a cult sci-fi show partly as an homage, and partly because it really fit the albums new sound. ‘Ansible’ didn’t really work anymore as my inspiration had shifted from faster-than-light space communications to a more philosophical idea about the interplay of light and darkness, physically, metaphorically, and spiritually.  The spirit of the original recording is still there though, so there are bits where I get all ‘spacey’ on the listener.

As far as the process goes, there’s actually only a few synth patches used across the 5 songs. I have a really large 88-key midi controller I use to play soft-synths with, and I found it amazing how different a single patch or sample can sound across all those octaves. Several of the songs all use the same 4 or 5 sound layers but played on wildly different parts of the keyboard.  They were also mixed and processed in such a way to make them sound dramatically different.

Plunking around on a keyboard and recording the results is actually quite different than the process on previous albums, which were much more about sample-manipulation as on ‘Gramophone Transmissions’.

-Blake

 

Blake,

I’ve done the same thing – where a track I’d recorded didn’t quite feel right. I’d shelved it for a while – and then came back and took the idea and went in a new direction with it, but almost abandoning the original piece.  I’m a big believer in following where the music takes me – sketching out a vague road map beforehand of melodies or soundscapes or chord progressions – and then going off course as needed, turning off my brain, and letting my instincts take over.

“’Ansible’ didn’t really work anymore as my inspiration had shifted from faster-than-light space communications to a more philosophical idea about the interplay of light and darkness, physically, metaphorically, and spiritually.”

Tell me more about your idea behind the album.  Did the idea come first?  The music first?  Why *this* idea. What speaks to you about the interplay of light and darkness in its various forms?

-John

 

It all came at the same time, it was something on my mind that I was thinking about at the time. I find it interesting how humanity can be capable of such incredibly bright ideas (space travel, communications, art, culture) but it always seems tainted by darkness (space weapons, constant surveillance, violence over differences). Space, the universe itself, is the most extreme polar opposite thing of all, from the heat and intense luminosity of stars, to the dark, cold extremes of what lies between galaxies.

The flow of the album came pretty naturally, about 2/3rds of the way through writing, I had 2 lighter songs, and 2 darker ones, I ended up writing a song that slots in the middle that sort of ties the two halves together. It wasn’t really intentional, it just came out that way. My previous album had the same quirk too, so perhaps it’s a reflection of my personality. I tend to like all kinds of music extremes, ambient and drone music is an extreme, it’s generally minimal and quiet, take Stars of The Lid for example, they write some of the most bare bones, minimal and gorgeous music. But I also love really complicated and technical metal music as well, like Opeth. That tends to take people by surprise, as they are incredibly opposite in sound. My music is a reflection of me, and my experiences and interests.

-Blake

Very nicely said. Most artists I know that are really into music – are into many kinds of music. So liking technical, complicated metal doesn’t surprise me at all. I think it’s natural that artists explore other areas of music and creativity.

How’d you get into music? When did you start? How old? What instruments? Were you a “band geek” in school? Play in any garages / bar / club bands?

-John

 

I was a teenager in the 90′s. The 90′s a really great decade to get into music, there was so much great stuff flying around, especially in rock. I’ve outgrown some of it now, but when I was 13 or 14, I was hearing stuff like Soundgarden, Bush, Our Lady Peace, The Tea Party, Metallica, and thinking `I could do that’ so I bought some guitars and took guitar classes through my high school. I’ve been playing guitar ever since. (I’m actually pretty good if I say so myself!) Since then my musical tastes have broadened quite a bit, but I still like to listen to that stuff every once in a while. It’s fun.

It wasn’t until 2008 when I bought a midi board that I’d ever plunked around on a keyed instrument. So I’m learning quite a bit, I know where all the notes are and stuff, but don’t ask me to play a piano solo or anything! I’m years away from anything like that.

I’ve never actually played in a band, I’ve tried to get a few things going in the past, and I have a pretty much dead side project with a drummer friend where we did metal/industrial stuff. It was super-heavy, and a lot of fun, but things came up and we never finished it. One day I’d like to revisit it and get it out on Bandcamp or something. Broken Harbour is my current priority right now.

I would love to actually just play guitar and sing in a cover band, there’d be a real lack of pressure in just performing other people’s songs and that kind of appeals to me. Brain out – just rawk!

-Blake

I gigged out for years when I was younger – yes there’s fun and excitement – lots of great things with playing… and then the dark side of late nights, long practices, and inflated egos.  Hahahaha.  ;-)

Silly question – if you’re a guitar player – are you planning to incorporate guitar into your Broken Harbour work?   If no… why not???

Let’s talk about gear… what do you use, hardware, software, effects. Do you have favorite “go to” instruments or processes?

-John

There’s guitar all over the first album, most of the elements in Beauty in Desolation Pt.1 are guitar, and Pt.2 is ALL heavily processed guitar, actually. I have a few outtake tracks that didn’t make the album that had a lot of guitar as well. I’d like to farther, I just bought Steve Roach’s `Dust to Dust’ album, so maybe that’ll provide more inspiration. Right now I have major tendonitis in my picking hand/arm, so I’m taking a break from stringed instruments for a bit.

I use Sonar 8 as my DAW, and its juuuust unstable enough to be annoying. Many a perfect take has been ruined due to a crash! For `The Geometry of Shadows’ I used a few NI soft synths and Omnisphere mostly. Oddly for an ambient album, it was all recorded `dry’, I didn’t use any Reverb or after effects like delay, just some hefty EQ for the most part, a little compression when needed. It gives it a unique sound, like `Ambient Grunge’ (ha ha), often in this genre everything is buried in 8 layers of delay and reverb, and sounds really produced, which is great, I love that sound and I’ll probably do that on future albums, but I wanted to see what it could sound like without it.

I don’t use any outboard effects or analogue synths or anything, it’s all `in the box’ as they say. It’s mainly a simplicity and cost effectiveness measure. Having said that, I might make a switch to Apple Logic and a new iMac as my current system is starting to get a little flaky and will need to be replaced in the next year.

-Blake

I understand and appreciate the tendonitis issues. One of the main reasons I rotate what I play is due to weak hands and wrists – I played piano a lot when I was younger, but switched to playing bass. Rule #1 from my neurologist was “if it hurts, don’t do it”… ha! Such simple advice. So I try not to overdo it and think about ergonomics more.

I hate computer crashes… I had too many and shifted over to mac / logic a few years back.  I still haven’t really recorded enough since the switch to feel comfortable with it – but I’m getting there.

An ambient album without heaping piles of multi-layered reverb?  Heresy! Since at this point I’ve heard the version before it went to Peter James for a little of his mastering magic… I can say that your approach works for this album and that was a good goal. I can’t wait to hear the final version shortly.

Before we turn this into a sprawling multi-page interview…  let’s wind this down with some non-music bits and pieces…

  • Married?
  • Kids?
  • Pets?
  • Favorite book?
  • Favorite movie/tv show?
  • When you were a kid you wanted to be a _______.

Thanks, Blake, for joining the label – I’m very happy to have you releasing with us!  Do you have anything else you want people to know about your new album or about you?

-John

 

I’m very happy to be here John, I just want to thank everyone involved, this album wouldn’t have seen the light of day had it not been for you, Geoff Small, Peter James, Steve Brand and various friends who listened to each of the squillion revisions of the album.  Most of all, thanks to the many people who’ve supported Broken Harbour in the past.

  • Married? – Yup
  • Kids? – No, I’m really bad at caring for living things
  • Pets? – See above, I have fake plants because they’re the only ones I won’t kill
  • Favorite book? – (Just one?) ‘The Gone Away World’ by Nick Harkaway, ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’, ‘1984’, anything written by Jeremy Clarkson
  • Favorite movie/tv show? (Just one?) 2001: A Space Odyssey, Babylon 5, Alien, Blade Runner, the first 15 minutes of ‘Prometheus’, Top Gear.  Way too many to list to be honest…
  • When you were a kid you wanted to be a _______. – Astronaut, Batman, James Hetfield, Optimus Prime and ruler of my own banana republic.  (Yes all at the same time.)
Blake – thank you so much! Good luck with “The Geometry of Shadows” and I truly am happy to have you on Relaxed Machinery.
John