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The Cerebral Drones on Burning Shirt Records

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Burning Shirt Records specialize in ambient soundscapes designed to agitate the subconscious while sedating physical attributes. Their releases exhibit a darker sensibility than normal ambient music.

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EMBRACING THE GLASS: Mandala for Chaos (CD on Burning Shirt Music)

This release from 2002 features 56 minutes of pensive ambience.

Embracing the Glass is: Sean Carroll and Jeff Sampson.

Languid harmonics generated by synthesizers, guitar and voice. Electronic textures unfurl and hang like translucent fogs, sighing and indulging in elongated pulsations. The guitars are treated to the point of unrecognizability, with string expressions stretched into droning textures.

The vocals are generally non-lyrical. These choruses achieve a drone status of their own with enduring resonance and nondenominational reverence. The voices drift with ghostly demeanor, generating an organic flavor amid the seesawing ambience. Sometimes actual words are employed, usually falling prey to overlapping loops until the language aspect become supplanted by a lush textural mien.

Softly pittering percussion and a synthetically generated didgeridoo are utilized in one track.

Contrary to this CD's title, the effect of the music is one of subdued contemplation, sedating the chaos with soothing tonalities.

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EMBRACING THE GLASS: From Dust to Dusk (CD on Burning Shirt Music)

This release from 2005 features 61 minutes of nocturnal ambience.

This time, Carroll and Sampson restrict their source instrumentation to guitar and voice, although both are heavily processed to produce a plethora of haunting harmonics. All of this music was performed live.

Eerie sounds waft like spectral entities, generated by guitar and fed through a variety of machines which transform the notes into highly treated otherness. Chords slip and skitter like a young child crossing a frozen lake, achieving a crystalline distinction. There are instances in which the guitar strums untreated, counterpointing a violin-like cadence.

The vocals start out sounding like a cathedral recital, but swiftly adopt a more modern resonance with liquid properties reminiscent of a ghostly opera. The voice trembles and warbles, each expression stretched into a sonorous call that combines humanity with a sense of timeless endurance.

Some of the treatments enter the air with mechanical overtones, like breathing diodes, lending an intriguing seasoning to the overall drone.

Imagine Robert Fripp frippertronics blending with the ethereal vocal stylings of Jim Cole.

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JEFF SAMPSON: Using Two for One (CD EP on Burning Shirt Music)

This release from 2005 features 37 minutes of haunting ambience.

Here, Sampson explores a pair of soundscapes of dreamy constitution.

In "We Used to Be", quirkily manipulated percussion leads to a dense cloud of keyboard-generated textures that swarm with mounting stamina. His haunting vocal stylings enter gradually, harkening a mood of urban shamanistic quality. The warped beats (which now sound less rhythmic and highly synthetic) reemerge, attributing an erratic presence that is less tempo than it is solitary punctuation. A hint of trepidant chords surge from the distance, flavoring the drone with a faint trace of imminent drama. These elements begin to fuse into a seething morass of tonalities that grows increasingly dire.

In "Breather", more mechanical beats accompany a forlorn vocal lament. While the tempo undergoes little variance, the voice loses its melancholy edge and adopts a more reflective manner. A background hum rises, unifying the beats and voice. The beats become more frequent, manifesting into a plodding rhythm, while the voices overlap and swim in a sea of their own resonance.

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SANRENSEI: Ceremony CD on Burning Shirt Music)

This release from 2003 features 41 minutes of dark ambience.

SanRenSei is: Sean Carroll on guitar synthesizer, Brian Goodhue on hardware sequencer, and Jeff Sampson on keyboard synthesizers and voices.

This music ambience is crafted with decidedly gloomy sensibilities, imbuing the soundscape with a tension that is often spooky and foreboding.

Electronic sounds chitter at the periphery of more conventional drones, softly squealing punctuations that inject a sense of flickering lights to the seething darkness. Traditional piano contributes a periodic familiarity to these murky textures.Guitar sounds can be discerned amid a growling foundation of textural twilight. There are times when the processed guitar becomes almost bestial (although remaining unaggressive), grinding like a horde of remote wasps.

Sampson's ethereal voice floats like a specter through this shadowy abyss, providing a connection to the land of the living with its mortal origins, although the electronic treatments do tend to undermine that organic association.

This dark version of ambience is refreshing. So many ambient musicians seek to lull the audience into introspection, while this music accomplishes a subtle agitation that is thoroughly nocturnal without actively striving to be frightening.

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VARIOIUS ARTISTS: Sheltered Shadows (CD on Burning Shirt Music)

This release from 2003 features 67 minutes of modern drones.

Featured on this collection release are tracks by:

Haslam: gritty with guttural machines and industrial overtones;

Tsuru: traversing the depths into an abyss of harmonic proportions;

Embracing the Glass: exploring the sound of particle decay;

Droune: investigating the inside of ambient tonalities;

SanRenSei: the spooky realm of an unformed dream;

Collision Sect: seeking escape velocity through a fog of dense textures;

Circle Tempal: using drones to redefine reality;

Jeff Sampson: an external view comprised of organ and twinkling electronics.

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