Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Brian Grainger - Live On Phoning It In

There's this really unique radio show out of Davis, CA called Phoning It In, where they call an artist up, talk to them for a couple minutes, and then have them play live over the phone. Being as into the lo-fi as I am, I couldn't say no when they asked me to come on the show. The whole drunken conversation and live piece were caught on tape and uploaded to the Phoning It In website, so if you like some heavy midrange in your stereo from time to time, this would be for you. Here's what they had to say about it:

Brian Grainger phones it in from Columbia, SC. Ridiculously prolific doesn't even begin to describe Brian's work ethic, with almost two hundred releases under at least eight different names (Milieu, Coppice Halifax, Teenager, Vhom, Pink Space, etc.); to top it off he also has a hand in three labels and a mailorder distro. But that's all beside the point: what's on the phone? Dense, beautiful drone that resolves satisfyingly into emotive, detuned guitar. Noise devolving into song, instead of the other way around. So good!

The End Of 2009 / The End Of AB

Well, it's official: The Analog Botany series has ended. I might be tempted to pick it up again sometime in the future, but for now I'm leaving you with over four hours of material to digest. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I have!


The eleventh EP in the AB series. Two long tracks of super-warbly dub chords, soaked in the usual mile-long reverb and phased out to infinity. These two tracks show a marked slowdown from the pace of the previous EPs, sticking more to deep atmospherics and repetition to the point of near-hypnosis. Intended to be released in November, but pushed up a month. Better late than never, and limited to 50 copies.




The last chapter of the Analog Botany excursion, bringing the total runtime of the 12-part series to a staggering 4 hours! It's been a really fun and enlightening project, one that has yielded music I never thought I'd make. In a stately fashion I'm ending the series on a beatless note, providing some finality and contrast to the previous EPs. Think Rod Modell meets those Torsten Profrock releases on Chain Reaction, and you're probably fairly close. Intensely washed-out synths bouncing softly and slowly off one another to create a swirling opium fog. Limited to 50.




To cap off the AB series right, this disc is the REAL sendoff. An hour of botanical bliss, featuring eight songs from throughout the year that, for one reason or another, were left off of the EPs proper. Three dub-rebuilds based off of source from my good friend Pat Benolkin (aka Eluder/Electricwest), alternate versions of "Luxury", "Forest" and "Dusk II" and finally two early tracks conceived for an upcoming album (Halifaxian) that were also omitted. What you get is a very tight hour of melodic ambient dub music, done exactly in the fashion of the AB series, and probably what I'd consider as some of my personal favorite material from 2009. Limited to
50 copies in stamped paper sleeves.




Also grown in the AB pastures this year was a split with Norwegian melodic genius EOD, appearing here as CN. I've opted to summarize my moniker to CH for a super-confusing tracklisting, and what you get is 5 tracks (two originals, three remixes) of raw, melodic braindance. Acid lines abound and collide with classic 707s, 808s, 909s and thick 101 bass. Add to the mix my own flavor of dubby chord stabs, CN's sine tone lead melodies and you end up with a whole lot of funky electronic grooving for just half an hour. Definitely one to take to your next house party. Limited to 50!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Milieu - Phosphene Weather 12" LP

After much deliberation and work, Install is proud to unveil its first vinyl release: Milieu's Phosphene Weather LP. Notable for also being the first time Milieu's work has appeared on the vinyl format, Phosphene is a special affair, limited to 150 copies on randomly colored vinyl inside custom silk screened sleeves with hand-numbered inserts, sporting a modern design by David Tagg. Musically, Phosphene Weather inhabits a similar universe as previous Milieu ambient output, such as A Warm Wooden Hollow, Of The Apple or Brittle Paper Cathedrals. The record's three songs walk slowly through an Autumnal landscape that is as colorful as it is eroded, and over the course of 40 minutes the listener is treated to liquid sunset immersion, surrounded on all sides by soft wind sweeping red leaves over orange fields and cloudlike formations of chords that arrive right on time with the warm hum of a pedal bass. Swells of log cabin isolation, woodwind and guitar drones and pure sleepy thought filter through the horizon line. Phosphene Weather is total night music, and quite possibly the pinnacle of Milieu's ambient output to date.

This is now available for pre-order, Install states it will ship the week of November 23rd. Don't miss out!



Saturday, October 31, 2009


For everyone's drawn-n-quartered All Hallow's Eve enjoyment, myself and three friends of mine have banded together to release a four-way split of what we imagine is the perfect music for the night of the 31st.

German Shepherd kicks things off right with a 15 minute doom-dirge cover of Samhain's "Human Pony Girl" (with special guest BOG MAN)...then I'm up to bat with three black-sludge-noize-walls, summoned from the grave and assembled from Bach's "Toccata & Fugue In D-Minor", Jandek's "Down In A Mirror" and Bauhaus' classic "Bela Lugosi's Dead"...axe-strangler Millipede, hailing from Chattanooga TN, shoots fake blood from his guitar via the tracks "October" (first Millipede with vox!) and "A Forest" (originally birthed by The Cure)...to close up our little shop of horrorz, MOTH (that's Meditations On The Holy for ye late folk) lights a kerosene pentagram on fire while singing a spooky rendition of Sabbath's "Dirty Women" and finally burying the trick-er-treaters alive with "A Room".

If all that slaughter isn't enough for you, we're bringing it to your door for FREE. GO AND DOWNLOAD IT! SCARE KIDS ON YOUR STREET. FREAK OUT YOUR PARENTS. OR JUST SMOKE SOME WEED AND HAVE A GOOD TIME. IT'S ON US!

Made possible by Sunrise Acoustics, ignoring fidelity since 1991:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Milieu - Eufloria

After a year and a half of work, the fruits of my first real soundtracking job have now arrived. Being the project that essentially reinvigorated my interest in making ambient music as Milieu, this commission is very significant for me. Initially named "Dyson" when it was first created, Eufloria is an ambient strategy game that has gone through a number of changes and has been nominated for several awards as well as winning some. I signed on to design sound effects and compose unique music for the game's modern and surreal atmosphere. This album, containing 2 and a half hours of new music spread over two discs, is the result. Lovingly packaged in full-color artwork from the game itself, and limited to 100 copies. This disc is sure to please longtime listeners as well as newcomers to the Milieu sound.


Additionally, any of you reading this who are gamers should definitely check out the final released version of the game! It is currently available from a number of places, including Steam, Direct2Drive and also the Eufloria developers themselves. I cannot stress enough how unique the game really is, and it really makes the music I did come to life!


Milieu - Translucent Forestation

A new 3" CD-R EP containing one long track from the recording sessions for to-be-released Milieu album. Recorded in spring, left to settle on a cassette, then fixed up in summertime. Musically similar to something like Of The Apple or the upcoming Phosphene Weather LP, this piece has lots of deep humming bass, raindrop-organ lines and sweeping dusky chords. Perfect for a cool night with the windows open and a cat napping on your lap.


Coppice Halifax & Radere - ABX2

A double-dose of Analog Botany this month with special guest Radere (known elsewhere to some as Carl Ritger, hailing from camp Wood-Land in PA). Mr. Radere stepped in to do two exquisite and long remixes of the unreleased Coppice Halifax track "Inlets" and I constructed two rebuilds of his track "The Sunrise Ruby" to even it out. Carl's tracks are deep and foresty, but cleaner and opened up, almost like a cross between Intrusion and On Land-era Eno. My pieces pick up where you'd expect them to, one being more in the vein of the AB series and the other inhabiting circa-2008 Halifaxland (see: EEDCD08).


Coppice Halifax - Beach Glass

Number 10 in the ongoing AB series here. Named after a sound that David Tagg christened in 2006, AB10 brings more of the deep dubby minimal techno that the AB series has come to embody. Followers of the imprint may recognize some new elements introduced on this EP, such as Rhodes pianos, making it a truly "beachy" and "glassy" experience.


Milieu - Shade Versions EP

I've updated the digital shop with another release: the Milieu EP Shade Versions, which was previously only available with the first 25 copies of Swaying Palms. Now available in high-quality MP3 format with high-res artwork, those of you who couldn't get in on the first copies of Swaying Palms can now check out this EP of alternate "ambient" versions of songs from the sessions for only $5!


White Kingdoms / White Dust

The stellar experimental Australian label Sound & Fury have given me the honor of releasing something with them! Limited to a scarce 75 copies in their trademark wax-stamped letter sleeves, White Kingdoms is some of the most monolithic, massive drone I've ever laid to tape. Born from thick slabs of sawtooth waves, organ pedalbass and a healthy dose of glimmering reverbs and washed out flangers, the album contains three giant tracks that are best enjoyed at either very loud or very soft volume levels. I really worked hard to venture outside of some of the sounds I normally work with for drone music, and I think the White Kingdoms sessions opened up a lot of new terrain for my music. Go grab this release before it disappears!


From the same sessions as White Kingdoms, I'm releasing this EP in tandem with the album's arrival, intended as a companion piece. White Dust contains two tracks, both more on the more ambient side, but still really thick and droned out. I really like these two pieces but their more atmospheric and bodiless nature seemed a bit out of place alongside the very statuesque pieces on the album proper. This EP is also a "first" for Milieu Music in this detail: I'm releasing it both as a hard-copy 3" CD-R as well as a digital download, so you can take your pick between the two formats. Check it out!



Friday, October 2, 2009

New Mixset Online For Free

The electronic music blog A Strangely Isolated Place kindly approached me about a month ago to assemble a mix for them to post (They previously posted a pretty stellar mix by Ulrich Schnauss as well).

Opting for a selection of songs both new and old, but altogether something that would take me down 'memory lane', I put together One Last Push On The Swing - nearly 80 minutes of some of the best electronic music ever!

So, for those of you in the mood to hear some of my personal favorites, which have in effect gone on to influence and inspire my own work, mosey on over to the blog and check it out!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

David Tagg - Established Trees

I've recently been given the happy privilege of introducing David Tagg's music to the cassette format for the first time ever! Out now at the super-DIY cassette-only imprint CO_RD Tapes...

Containing what I'd consider to be some of David's finest work to date, Established Trees is thick, organic guitar overload. The A side is a towering piece with long sweeping chords covered in a dusky reverb, while the B side sounds as if it were dug up in a swamp somewhere deep in the southeastern US. Loaded with hidden melodies and rich texture, this tape is sure to be a real treat for anyone who enjoys abstracted guitar music. For David Tagg fans - there are only 25 copies so act fast!


CO_RD 03 / Rainbow Lake / Plume Clouds

CO_RD 03 is now available. Blue C30 with color photo insert and hand-labeling, limited to 25 copies. Features the sidelong songs "Rainbow Lake" and "Plume Clouds".


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Coppice Halifax Vs. Dorosoto

It seems that the good folks at I, Absentee just couldn't get enough of me! I was recently asked by Mr. Dorosoto himself to not only do a remix for his upcoming remix album, but also to master it! I obliged, and so the resulting effort, titled Embryonic Audio Restoration, is now available at I, Absentee for preorder.

In addition to what is one of my personal favorite Coppice Halifax remixes ever, the disc also includes the talents of Tobacco, Lunar Testing Lab, Anders Ilar, Jack Marchment and several others! My personal favorites are the Cru Jonez and Lunar Testing Lab remixes.

Go support these wonderful midwesterners and tell them Milieu sent you!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Milieu - Tidewater Petrol

A brand new Milieu EP, hot on the heels of the Swaying Palms album. Picking up the dancefloor-friendly hints from Palms, this tight little three-tracker shows Milieu in prime four-to-the-floor mode. Possibly more danceable than just about anything else in the catalog, with bouncing uptempo grooves, mental change-ups and planetarium-sized pad swells. Psychedelic club music to liven up the typically bittersweet downtempo party here at Milieu Music. Limited to 50 copies on mini-CD-R.


Vhom - Blackener

A digital-only EP full of abrasive and mental analog drum experimentation. Vhom returns from the brutality of Faalopian Tils with an industrial-strength dancefloor stomper and two weird-out drum jams. For fans of previous output by Vhom as well as complex and gritty dark IDM. Download comes with a free bonus: the Test.Vmx EP (MML017).


Brian Grainger - Noxious Variations

On the beatless side of things this month is a companion piece to thirty catalog numbers back (Porous Variations). Initially intended to come out alongside PV, Noxious was shelved due to PV's length getting absurdly long (3 discs). It has since aged in the blackness, and with a little work to bring it up to date, sounds all the more earthy because of the wait. Recorded in an entirely different process that included distance-microphone setups, guitar playing with two (or no) strings, dying batteries in chained pedals and looping room noises. Crumbled, dark and yet somehow warm and surreal. The deeper end of experimental drones for this month's update. Limited to 50.


Pink Space - Let Me Show You Them

After five webreleases spread out since 2005, Pink Space has finally landed in the shop on a hard-copy release. Sporting a wild 45 track/40 minute runtime, Pink Space plays through dozens of moods and styles in a collection of colorful and playful electronic music. Much more lighthearted than Milieu, but with elements of things that I've not done under any other alias...drum'n'bass, acid, jungle, electro, it's all here. Roll down your windows, turn up your woofer in your trunk and drive down your street blaring some hot pink nonsense. Limited to 50 copies.


Coppice Halifax - Blackforest Dirt

We're now up to number nine in the Analog Botany series, and this time around things get a little more gritty and a little more melodic than usual. Going back to the sound of earlier Coppice Halifax (see: EEDCD-08) texturally, Blackforest Dirt brings a high level of sonic debris into the otherwise clean white audio space. The second track, "Forest" drifts off on a blissful melodic tangent that could nearly be a Milieu moment. Limited to 50.


Monday, August 31, 2009

New Drugs [Luxurious Expanded Reissue]

So the lovely folks at I, Absentee have reissued my 2007 album New Drugs For Nuclear Families Of The Seventies, with 8 bonus tracks (3 previously unreleased), all remastered from the original tapes and packaged up in kinky new artwork (with naked 70's women!). I only pressed 100 copies of this album back in 2007 and it's always been one of my personal favorites, so I'm quite happy to see it back again.

If anyone missed out on this before, or is new to the album, the sound could be described as melodic psychedelic bedroom electronic music with jazz and funk breaks from the 60s-70s and big humming basslines, tied together with some live instrumentation. Two tracks even feature the world-famous Luke Hazard! Here's what I, Absentee had to say about the release:
After appearing on no less than five releases with us already, Milieu had pretty much become an honorary member of the roster. So it seemed a natural leap for him to finally have his own release with us. The 2007 album,New Drugs For Nuclear Families Of The Seventies, seemed like the perfect place to start.

The album, considered by Milieu one of his personal favorite works amongst his vast catalog, has long been out of print and sold out. It showcases Milieu at his most beat-oriented and melodic, with twenty tracks of hazy, nostalgic rhythms clocking in at over seventy-nine minutes. We barely managed to keep it a single disc release.

New Drugs has been freshly remastered, with all new artwork. Eight bonus tracks have been added, including Milieu's complete half of The Tandem Series 5 disc for the excellent Boltfish label. The album is capped off with three previously unreleased tracks from the era.

Anyone who's followed the label should be quite familiar with Milieu at this point. New Drugs is truly one of the standout discs of his prolific body of work and we are excited to bring it back into circulation. Check out thecatalog page for several sound clips and a free download of the track 'Echo Spectrum'. The album should also be available through Norman Records, n5md, Smallfish and, for the first time in Japan at Linus Records.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Milieu - Swaying Palms

Long rumored, delayed, picked up, canceled and revised – Swaying Palms, for better or worse, has arrived! This is the album I labored so hard over in the Spring-Summer of 2008 that was originally slated to be released at Consumers Research & Development before they (sadly) closed their doors.

Containing some of the freshest Milieu ever recorded, Swaying Palms is a tropical trip through bright rainbow melodies, tight clean drum breaks and bass grooves that sound like an Ibiza party slowed down to half speed. Super equatorial music here, virtually dripping with humidity, psychedelic sunsets and exotic locales filled with blue water, mixed drinks, hammocks and free love. Definitely the Milieu record to have for the Summer!

I've only made 100 copies of these, and the first 25 came with a special surprise (which is already gone at the moment I type this), so get in fast if you don't want to miss out! Each copy has been assembled with different designs (following in the Milieu Music tradition of vintage wallpaper) so no two copies are alike.

For MP3 clips and ordering info:

Brian Grainger - Tortoiseshell & Other Improvisations

With this new cassette, I'm introducing the second leg of the CO_RD Tapes imprint - a catalog set called BLUE. Why blue? Well, because it's one of my favorite colors, and so each tape will have blue somewhere on the packaging. These releases will be for named artists, and will likely be splits, collaborations or simply music that is meant for the tape format above any other.

BLUE01 is such a release, compiling 10 improvisations recorded from 2006 to 2007 that were collecting dust on old four track tapes and hard drives. Some songs were recorded during the Eight Thousander sessions and others were simply live experimentations or sketches. Two tracks, "Light Trails 1 & 2" feature the talents of Acreil and David Tagg. The title track previously appeared digitally as part of Attacknine Records' 13 Weeks Of Summer compilation.

There is much more to come in the BLUE catalog, including David Tagg's first ever cassette release, two tapes by The Blue Spaces, a very heavy Brian Grainger tape and a few splits, so stay sharp! Everything is limited to only 25 copies.

Coppice Halifax - Submarine Green

Number eight in the ongoing Analog Botany series that continues to flourish. Complete with radar scanning sounds, bodyboard beats and dub chords filtered through reverbs deeper than the Sea of Green...

As always, limited to 50 copies and $6 in the shop!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lush Q Trax 3 + 3.1

I swear, if nostalgia was a topical anesthetic, it would be called Foamek. This guy stuns me again with his half of our third split together, which could quite possibly be his finest work to date. Incredibly bouncy, warm and beautiful ambient techno on his end, reminiscent of some of my favorite records from the 90's in that vein. Think Voodoo Child's "The End Of Everything" or Twin's "SAW 85-92" and you're close. My half is a bit more updated, with more of the lively yet spacious listening techno I've done on earlier Lush Q releases. For those of you who bought the first two volumes, I promise you volume three will NOT disappoint. Limited edition of only FIFTY copies, half of which are already GONE!


As a small, quaint companion piece to the Lush Q Trax III album, Foamek and I have assembled a five track mini-split containing outtakes from the LQ3 sessions. Available only as a digital download EP for a mere five bucks! Comes with hi-res printable artwork and MP3s encoded at 320 KBPS. All material here is exclusive to this EP!


Brian Grainger - Black Curtain Warmth

Black Curtain Warmth is a hazy, hour long trip through warm drone, minimal guitar work and crumbling textures. Somewhere between Autumn Soil Feedback and Yellowed, and definitely perfect for the hot summer nights. Available now at Milieu Music Digital for a mere five dollars!


Milieu - Bent Appletrees 5 & 6!

Available now for download in the digital shop are the fifth and sixth installments to the ever-eclectic Bent Appletrees series. Containing forgotten tracks from 2004-2008, these records are chock full of outtakes, demos, live and alternate versions. For those of you wanting more stuff from the earlier Milieu days (Night Currents, Our Blue Rainbow) these two volumes are ripe with material from those sessions especially. Tracks like "Treebark Honey" and "Red Balloons Over A Blue Shore" are real gems that I'm almost mad at myself for leaving off of proper albums!


R.I.P. EED - 2004-2009

The time has come to end the Expanding Electronic Diversity label that I've helped founder & friend David Tagg maintain since late 2006. The label started five years ago out of David's parallel interests in music and modern graphic design, and we've decided that its time has come to an end. Many of you have supported our fine label through the years and are no doubt familiar with the output and image that EED retained. I can assure you that both David and myself will continue to bring you the same level of artistic and musical expression through Install, Second Sun Recordings and of course Milieu Music, for what we hope will be years to come. David had some closing words on the subject:

"After 5 years, countless hours of hard work and dedication I have decided to cease all operations at Expanding Electric Diversity and dissolve the name into the ether. It has been an amazing ride, one that I would not trade for anything. I have met so many amazing people and created friendships that will last a lifetime. To the fans. Thank you for being so supportive. You have been there every step of the way for every release, always gushing with excitement and support. I have always strived to bring you a product that you were proud to present and give a home on your record shelves. I thank you for your steadfast dedication and honor.

It is important to me that I thank in specific my friend Brian Grainger. He always respected what I was doing and really made EED what it is today. Brian and I's successful partnership continues at both INSTALL and SSR. We will continue to bring you only the best experimental music and design."

With that said, don't be sad! Onward! There's simply too much awesome new stuff that David and I have in store for Install and SSR. This isn't so much an ending as it is a continuation into the second phase.


That's right. Everything we have left is now up at Milieu Music, and when those are gone, they're gone forever. Thankfully, for sake of simplicity, all we have left are about 30 copies of the SEAS 12" LP and about 40 copies of the EED's Summer Vacation compilation disc. For those unfamiliar with these items, I strongly urge you to check them out! The compilation is the perfect summer companion, with loads of beats and melodies in crisp high-fidelity. The 12" LP is our first ever vinyl pressing and contains some of the deepest minimal dub-techno you'll ever feast your ears on!

V/A - EED'S SUMMER VACATION '08 (Featuring exclusive songs by Milieu/Coppice Halifax/Am-Boy/
Mrs Jynx/EOD/Yimino/Ten And Tracer/Electricwest/others!


SEAS - SEAS 12" LP (Deep techno project by myself & David, reminiscent of Coppice Halifax
and influenced by Rod Modell, Yagya and Basic Channel


Friday, June 5, 2009

First Post In Forever

So I have seriously neglected to update this space since returning from San Francisco. The trip was certainly exhausting but not THAT exhausting! Needless to say a lot has transpired since then so I think the best way to get everything caught up at once is a bulleted list!

  • EEDCD-09 / SEAS / SEAS CD-R in swivel-case released at EED (Already Sold Out!)
  • EEDLP-01 / SEAS / SEAS 12" Vinyl LP released at EED
  • MU01 / Brian Grainger & Ophibre / #3 (Split 40m Cassette) released at Mirror Universe
  • MMD005 / Milieu / Brittle Paper Cathedrals CD-R
  • MML056 / Brian Grainger / A White Light In The Woods 3" CD-R
  • AB4 / Coppice Halifax / Falling Ovals 3" CD-R
  • ABX1 / Coppice Halifax / Scarlet Cmx 3" CD-R
  • GS6.5 / Brian Grainger/German Shepherd/MOTH/Millipede / Traveling CD-R released at Sunrise Acoustics
  • CO_RD 02 / Silverhome / Wendesel (30m Cassette) released at CO_RD Tapes
  • AB5 / Coppice Halifax / Southland Mirror 3" CD-R
  • MML057 / Milieu / Dialogue Five 3" CD-R
  • MML058 / Milieu / Live At 114RKD CD-R
  • AB6 / Coppice Halifax / Cinnamon Smoke 3" CD-R
  • AB7 / Coppice Halifax / Pine Yellow 3" CD-R
  • MML059 / Milieu / Leaves Painted Purple CD-R
  • MML059B / Milieu / Leaves Painted Purple (Limited Edition Cassette)
  • PILL-N2 / Brian Grainger / Winter Triptych 3" CD-R released at SSR
  • PILL-O2 / Brian Grainger / Sunken Swamp Wisdoms 3" CD-R released at SSR
  • SSRO-13 / Brian Grainger / Naked Sound Seven (Free Download) released at SSR
Last but not least is the massive announcement of MILIEU MUSIC DIGITAL! You read that right! Milieu Music has finally gone digital. Starting now, you will be able to purchase both new and out-of-print releases in high-quality 320 KBPS MP3 file format for a low price. Each purchase comes with high-resolution printable album artwork and you can rest assured that 100% of your purchase goes straight to Milieu Music. No middlemen taking an enormous cut, no big companies, no adverts, no spam. Support the music you love the independent way!

All music is of course DRM-free, and what would a launch announcement be without NEW EXCLUSIVE STUFF? In addition to over 30 titles from the MM catalog now being available digitally, there are also THREE brand-new titles: an epic 2CD set of reconstructions from Brian Grainger & John-Paul Kramer, a brutal new Brian Grainger EP called "Oubliette" and a beautiful VCV live set from the SSR archives. Check it out!

Friday, March 27, 2009

SF Blog #4

Finally, a lazy day, much needed after the exhausting day we had before. Woke up late, Soph took a long bath and caught up with Angie on the phone, and we got to the GDC about an hour and a half before it closed up.

While there, I made the rounds and asked nearly every booth on the expo floor if they were hiring any audio designers or composers. Handed out lots of business cards and CD-Rs, shook a lot of hands, got some prospects and some "check the website for open positions". Hopefully something pans out and I get called by a few of these places!

Picked up as much swag as we could, including a rad rubber bracelet that is actually a 1GB USB thumbdrive with royalty-free audio samples on it, some buttons and stickers, and a couple t-shirts too. Caught up with Rudolf and Alex, gave them the rest of my sampler discs to give out at the booth, and asked everyone how they recovered from the night before. Good thing we ducked out when we did, as everyone went to a third bar after we left and Alex supposedly had to be manually steered across the street so as not to walk into traffic!

Things on that end were going well, with the guys working all sorts of rad Dyson magic on everyone who came by. Soph and I had the munchies and nothing to do for an hour or so, so we went back up to the Samovar tea lounge for something real light and snacky. I got a really great grilled cheese sandwich on ciabatta with sundried tomatoes and pesto and a chilled masala chai, and Sophia got a curried egg salad and apple sandwich with a red tea. We traded sammich halves and it was very nice. Rudolf and Alex joined us for some tea and from there we all shared a cab back to our hotel, where we had made plans to meet for dinner in our hotel's restaurant with the crew from the night before.

Had an awesome dinner with everyone. We ordered two sampler plates of appetizery stuff like baba, hummus, olives and so on, and then I picked up a really cool seafood twist on kibbeh (with crab meat inside instead of beef!) and a tapas sized dish of kofta with spicy salsa. Fantastic all around. Sophia got a really tasty lamb dish as well, which came with a little tub of creamy hot stuff that was sorta like shuta with goat cheese mixed into it, and I had a ball dipping all my kofta into that. Signed off with everyone after a long meal, and ate a really fantastic dessert of of filo dough layers and cheese all covered in honey.

Hoping to get together with everyone tomorrow afternoon for some thrift shopping, food, pictures and hugs goodbye. Ready to go home!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

SF Blog #3

Wednesday, the big day. I've got a bit of blood in my alcohol as I type this so please bear with me. It was a huge huge day...which started with us at the teency tiny Dyson booth on the expo floor.

Rudolf and Alex were already there, completely overwhelmed by people coming over and asking about Dyson every 2 seconds. I stacked up a modest pile of my sampler discs and business cards there for them to dole out as needed, and Sophia and I decided to start around the expo on our own after sitting next to them for a while, feeling sort of like a third and fourth wheel (we didn't actually make the game so we were just kinda caught staring off when someone had a question). Unfortunately for me, there weren't many audio people on the floor today - mostly programming-type stuff, and so it became a bit redundant to stay there and hand the occasional card out to anyone who spoke to me, especially as insincere as that comes off. It sorta bothered me after I did it a few times. Sarah later told me a good rule of thumb is to not try to hand anyone a card unless they've had a discussion with you for ten minutes.

We took a break and Soph discovered she had really horrible blisters on her feet from all the walking we had done, and that even worse, they were bleeding. We decided it was best to split from the scene and head back to the hotel to regroup until the awards ceremony at 5:30. Upon arriving, we almost immediately passed out, including myself in my dress pants, dress shirt and tie, which if you have never done this it is not recommended for being extremely uncomfortable. I managed to set my cell phone alarm for an hour before the ceremony just to be sure, and thankfully we got up and out in perfect time. We walked halfway there in search of some food, gave up on that and grabbed a taxi to the center where we caught Rudolf and Alex on their way out. They had not yet changed into their formalwear for the ceremony and we were already sorted on that end, so they went back to their hotel while we anxiously shoved down some low-grade turkey sandwiches and bottled water at the expo stand (ridiculously overpriced, but when you're starving and only have 15 minutes, that's what you do!).

Upon arriving at the entrance for the ceremony, there was a reception hall of sorts with a red carpet down the middle and a desk of people with an RSVP list sort of eyeing everyone. No sooner than 3 minutes after setting foot in the place do they announce "Everyone who is a finalist please line up on the red carpet, everyone else please form a line to the side"...the funny part is we were two of about five people in the entire room who stayed on the carpet. We felt so leet. Haha. Struck up a conversation with the lad behind us who asked what game we were a part of, and when we said it was Dyson, he immediately complimented us with "Fucking awesome game!". We said our names and our game, and were promptly escorted to table 12, which was right next to a table marked "Valve", and seeing this gave me some chills. Then, turning to see how close to the stage we were gave me even more chills, as I knew Tim Schaefer and Hideo Kojima were going to take the stage tonight.

So for a good while there was just a lot of oohing and aahing at all the people who we knew were going to be in the same 20 feet as us, and I grabbed a mini-quiche lorraine and a glass of cab before things got too hectic - had to stay mellow. I started to freak out a little when I realized the OTHER table right next to us was for Little Big Planet. Finally Rudolf and Alex arrived and we all got settled in for what was sure to be an exciting night.

After this, it was a blur of very interesting commentaries and introductions, some really funny moments involving people's award speeches and a cropping error on one of the big screens (which made every clip they showed of a figure speaking in a game look like they were zooming in on their chests). It doesn't even need to be said how rad the little vignettes Mega64 did were, including one music video for "If You're Not Indie Fuck You" which was totally brilliant, and their final vignette which involved them spoofing MGS4 a la their normal antics, only to run into Hideo Kojima on the street, with him shaking his head in disgust for a minute, calling his agent to cancel all his appointments, then lurking around the streets with the Mega64 guys imitating Solid Snake. Genius! Beyond this, Tim Schaefer's entrance was insane - they ran a short 8bit video game mockup of Tim in the back room behind the stage, out of jokes to tell to the audience. So he had to search the room to find some, and ended up leaving with one joke out of a "potential 22" he could've found. On stage, the man could work a crowd more than just about anyone I've seen, totally unassuming and really genuinely hilarious. My kinda guy to be sure, as if I didn't already respect him enough! Kojima kept his spot very short and sweet, and promised to make video games until the day he dies, which is reassuring to lots of us who were aware of him not wanting to do any more titles in the Metal Gear series, and pretty sad about it.

I know, I know, what all of you who even read this want to know is - did Dyson win? Well, I'm sorry to say no, we didn't win any of the three awards we were nominated for. To be honest though, as sad as that seems on paper to say right here, you can't possibly believe how positive all of us are about everything. We are having a blast, we've all made friends with so many really great talented people, and we're getting offers and publicity just the same. Besides, like I wrote before, just being considered as one of the FIVE games out of over TWO HUNDRED for the grand prize was surreal enough. The voice over lady for all the nominee bits before they announced who won even said my name, which was kinda funny. I've been telling every I speak to that I'm just shocked still that this was my very first video game ever and to have it even get this far is crazy.

The good news (or part of it at least) is that Valve has picked up Dyson to sell via their online distribution company Steam, which is a giant step forward for us. The game has already been announced on the Steam site if you'd like to check it out, and we're all collectively hoping to have the game completed and fully released by the end of Summer. In addition to this, I'll be working very closely with Alex and Rudolf to make possible a hardcopy proper release of the music I've done for the game, for those of you who are into it. It may turn out to be a bigger deal than some of my other records, considering the publicity Dyson has received, even now!

Anyway, after the awards show, we banded together with the super-awesome Cletus Clay crew, of Alex, Alex and Sarah along with our own Alex, Rudolf and myself and Sophia, as well as two other folks from Cletus Clay from New Zealand (I actually did not get their names) who were equally rad and are going thrift shopping with us tomorrow! We all ended up in a Jillians, buying each other round after round and having a fantastic time. We decided to break it off to another bar called XYZ and upon arriving realized how insane it really was. Sophia and I were pretty beat, so I downed a shot of tequila with Alex and Sarah and said goodnight. Gave everyone a big hug as we made our way to the cab back to the hotel, where I sit now typing with heavy fingers and a fried brain, ready to shower, have some water, play some Warcraft, and sleep...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SF Blog #2

Second day in San Francisco was very tiring but loads of fun! Rudolf and Alex were attending seminars at the GDC most of the day so we ventured out on our own. First stop was to get our passes sorted so we could actually go check everything out, and that went well enough. Initially there was some resistance because Sophia's name had been registered wrong and so I showed them my business card (which mentions my work on Dyson) to prove that we were indeed part of the development team. One of the ladies sorting us out was really impressed by my "ambient Shakespeare" t-shirt and wanted to know how she could get one. They misspelled my name as "Brain" on my pass but we all laughed about it and decided to keep it that way since it's sorta funny.

From there we went up a level to this really neat tea lounge called Samovar. We hadn't eaten yet but wanted something lighter so it was perfect. Sophia got a small pitcher of mint tea with a big salad spread, and I went for some tofu in curry with basmati rice (with peppercorns and golden raisins in it) and a hot chai. Quite nice.

We decided to head toward Union Square as there were a few places we wanted to go shop at there, and along the way we found some really cool photograph opportunities, including a really oddly shaped building that ended up being a Jewish museum. Walking further, we arrived at Rasputin Records, an epic 5-story mammoth of a media store, and went straight to level 3 - you guessed it - the vinyl level. We found a remarkable amount of used and cheaply priced wax from all across the spectrum - from an early Bowery Electric EP to Adam Ant's "Friend Or Foe". I even managed to pick up Falco's single for "Der Kommissar", Yello's "Oh Yeah" and the classic "I Wanna Be A Cowboy" by Boys Don't Cry for dirt cheap.

From there it was off to one of Sophia's favorite cosmetic carriers Sephora, and I won't really go into great detail about that since it was all makeup and fragrances and not really anything else! From Sephora we went to Lush, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Lush is a sort of all-purpose bath and body place only all their products are totally organic and unique. I actually feel a bit girly for liking it but they make some really nifty stuff to be sure. We stocked up on some Lush stuff to take home, and started making our way back to the north hall lobby of the Moscone center.

Once there, we sat down (at long last!) and ran into Andrew from Cletus Clay again. It seemed neither of us could get in touch with Rudolf or Alex yet so we hung out for a bit and split since Andrew was way hungry. By this time, we were starving too but we wanted to wait until Rudolf and Alex met up with us to eat. After a little bit, the two joined forces with us and showed us to where our booth will be on the exhibition floor tomorrow.

We headed out to Office Depot and Radio Shack so the guys could get some supplies needed for the Dyson booth, and I made some copies of the inserts for my GDC sampler discs, and bought more blank CD-Rs and sleeves for them too. I get the feeling 50 discs aren't going to last as long as I thought, especially after seeing just how many people are here.

Finally, we ended up in a waiting line at the Cheesecake Factory, which is the first chain restaurant we'd eaten at since arriving, but it never fails to satisfy, with its novel-thick menu and huge portions. Plus, Rudolf and Alex had been after something uniquely American, food-wise, and had already been suggested the place.

We were seated outdoors and since the restaurant was 7 stories up it was a beautiful view. I ordered the first fried food of the week (a buffalo chicken sandwich and some french fries) and Sophia went with a massive chicken salad. I sipped on a coke until I realized it was actually diet coke and that sorta shocked me. We discussed lots of Dyson related ideas, specifically what we'd like to do regarding more detailed sound effects, for the final build of the game. I also explained that I'd like to record possibly even another hour of music and then shape it up with some edits of only the best material.

We split off after the meal, and Sophia and I grabbed a taxi back to the hotel. We were invited to a cocktail party at a bar down the street called Cellar that I really wanted to go to, but we ended up passing on it out of exhaustion. Better to party TOMORROW night, depending on what happens in the awards ceremony. You heard right - tomorrow night is the awards ceremony, so we'll see how well we're going to really do! I'm trying not to let myself obsess on it. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SF Blog #1

So...after a long and tiring day...MILIEU HAS ARRIVED! Finally good to say it. For those of you who were afraid I'd die in a plane crash - fear not! I am alive and well.

The trip started on a chaotic foot though - first, we stayed up ALL NIGHT the night before our flight, packing and worried that we'd forget something important. After finally sitting down to sleep for 30 minutes, my cell phone rings: it's Sophia's mother telling us our dog Morgan (who had just boarded at the kennel the day before) had been sent to the emergency vet after having three seizures! We immediately went to the vet to see what was up, and apparently, between the ages of 2 and 5, a dog who has epilepsy can do what's called "unmasking" with their first seizure via any triggered event (in our case it must've been the stress of us leaving town) that will then make her full-on epileptic for the rest of her doggie days. Thankfully, she's been in the vet's care since then and has shown no signs of any other problems and the epilepsy is under control. Beyond that, the treatment is a simple inexpensive prescription that she'll need to take daily from now on. Phew!

So from there we ate some food and I didn't even bother trying to sleep any more considering we had to leave in 2 hours to drive to the Charlotte airport and fly out. Once we got through the airport security and all that, the flight turned out to be one of the worst I've had! Despite being a bearable 5 hour trip, these three catty girls in front of us cocked their seats back as far as they could go, wreaking absolute hell on my claustrophobia and rendering me nearly unable to move for the entire ride. There were also horrible pressure issues and for the last hour of the flight it felt like someone was grinding forks into my eardrums. Not cool!

Finally upon landing and shuttling from the airport to our super hotel, we unwound a bit, ordered some FANTASTIC pizza from a place called Napoli's (we ordered "The San Francisco" which comes with pepperoni, ham, beef, green olives and feta cheese on it) and promptly passed out.

So today we slept off our jetlag and tried to get in touch with Rudolf and Alex (the masterminds behind Dyson) to see how and where we could meet up, which proved harder than we expected! They were already at the GDC and we had a good deal of trouble working out how exactly we had to add their numbers in our cell phones so we could text or call them. Finally we met up and decided to find a place to eat, which ended up being a fantastic restaurant called King Of Thai. I ordered a sea bass in green curry and Sophia got a really interesting pumpkin curry, and we all had a great time. From there we went across town and ended up at a bar called Brick which is conveniently right next door to our hotel. At Brick we met a very nice couple from England who are also in the running at the IGF for a different award than Dyson is. Had a BLAST just talking and laughing with everyone and all in all, just a wonderful time in this new huge city.

Rudolf and Alex, it must be said, are really fantastic guys who I am even more proud to know now that we've met in person. It will be a really great week to hang out with people this rad! I also have a bit of good news regarding Dyson which I'll withhold until I can clear it for public posting by Rudolf...but things are happening!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dyson At The Independent Gaming Festival

So I'm leaving town again! This time, I will be in San Francisco, California for a week to attend the Game Developers Conference. As unbelievable as it sounds, Dyson, the video game I did music and sound work for, has been nominated as one of the five games up for winning the coveted Seumas McNally grand prize at the festival! This could be a huge break for me as a musician looking for a job in the gaming industry, and so even if Dyson doesn't win, there's too many opportunities and too much information at the GDC to pass up.

If you haven't played Dyson yet - you should! It's a totally free downloadable game and there are builds for PC and Linux, with a Mac build on the way. Go to the official site to download the newest build here. Additionally, if you have played Dyson and you like it, please please PLEASE vote for us! Yes, you! You can vote for Dyson online in the competition for the audience award at the IGF by clicking here. Every vote counts and so if you liked the game or the music or both, give us a nudge!

Much like my trip to Germany in 2007, Sophia and I have been able to cover most of our travel expenses for things like flight and hotel, however all the little things still remain, like food money, parking fees at the airport, and boarding my dog Morgan for the week we're gone. The support you give Milieu Music never goes unappreciated, ever, and that's why I am offering anyone who donates $8 USD or more to my little fund will get a TOTALLY EXCLUSIVE MILIEU ALBUM! That's right, this is the very first ambient Milieu record since A Warm Wooden Hollow and the donation drive is the only way you can get it! For more information about donating and the Milieu album I'm offering in return, please click the link below this message.

A pre-emptive THANKS goes out to all of you, whether you donate or not, for supporting my work - it means way more than you know! Also, if any of you reading this would like to meet up with your neighborhood friendly Milieu while I'm in your state, just drop me an email and we'll work it all out.

Three New Coppice Halifax Releases


A very special album, hinted at since Summer of 2008, has finally arrived for preordering. The first Coppice Halifax full-length recording since 2008's tropical-overdose Ocean Lion, Bedroom Carpet brings a much different vibe to the table. Largely ambient but not without some very beat-based tracks, Bedroom Carpet is very warm and humid with lots of sleepy-eyed melodies blipping across a thin line of tape hiss. Written and recorded using only two drum machines, an old Casio keyboard and a four-track tape deck, this is some of my most cozy, playful and analogue music ever made. Very heavily influenced by records like Cylob's "Cylobian Sunset", Aphex Twin's "Selected Ambient Works II" and the "Melodies From Mars" album, as well as things like Kinesthesia, Bochum Welt and even friends of mine Thisket and EOD. This record is currently at press, and will be released on no more than 100 copies in a jewel case with full-color printed artwork (much like Colortone was). ALL ORDERS SHIP ON OR BEFORE APRIL 20.


MML055 / 3" CD-R EP

To hold you over until Bedroom Carpet arrives in your mailbox, this 3" CD-R EP should do the trick! Recorded during the Bedroom Carpet sessions using the exact same equipment, the Moss And Green EP delivers more tape-drenched low-key ambient goodness. Three tracks that get a little more drum-heavy than the album itself does, but still packed to the brim with fuzzed textures and sunny melodies. Music for sitting under a tree in a park while you read a book. Something you might want to bring along for the Summer months this year! Inspired more by things like Mike & Rich, Freescha and Polygon Window, and limited to 50.


AB3 / 3" CD-R EP

The third installment of the new and ongoing AB series, Red Valerian brings you two deep deep tracks of dubby hi-fi ambience. "Red" is quite possibly the most reggae-dub sounding track I've ever done, complete with delayed piccolo snares and thicker-than-honey atmospherics. An elastic bassline rumbles around and textures dress the mix up, making you feel like you're walking through a smoggy city after dark. "Valerian" completes the EP with an almost polar opposite shift in dynamics. Clocking in at almost 14 minutes long, this track bounces along building and building with inviting colorful pads and watery synth stabs, painting a more tropical setting. Limited to 50 copies.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

February's New Releases

3" CD-R EP

The second single from the forthcoming Swaying Palms album, Waverider presents seven starry-eyed feelgood Milieu tracks full of funky basslines, sex-on-the-beach synths, big breaks and melodies sweeter than a Capri Sun on LSD. Some crusty tropical crunk for those of you who can remember those family vacations in the 80's, building sandcastles, getting pulled down the shore in the tide, baking in the sun. Put on your shades and grab your board - it's time to go! Think "Theme From A Nude Beach" meets Casino Versus Japan meets Henry Mancini at 16 RPM. Limited to 50 copies.


3" CD-R EP

Kicking off a brand new catalog set (which you can read more about here) is something of a new "era" of the Coppice Halifax sound. Entering for the first time into truly deep and dubby territory, this three track EP is the beginning of what will be the charted course for Coppice Halifax in the 2009 year. Taking heavy influence from pioneers like Basic Channel, Wolfgang Voigt, Monolake and Pole, as well as newer favorites such as Rod Modell, Yagya and Anders Ilar...these three tracks are bouncy, minimal and clean, yet not without a very notable texture and atmosphere. Roomy reverbs phase in and out over the mix while skittering delays dance all over a punctuated drum sequence. Sometimes subdued, other times four-to-the-floor, but all around deep and minimal. Expect this series of EPs to grow throughout 2009 in a hopefully new and interesting way.


3" CD-R EP

The second EP in the AB series, and even more minimal than Ganymede Icecaps. Pristine open spaces are filled with intricately placed rhythms and micro-melodies. Off-white, clean and full of reflected fluorescent light. "Porcelain" is the closest to the Berlin techno sound Coppice Halifax has come so far, while parts one and two of "Icecaps" bring a little more familiar funk into the picture. Simple music for those who like it that way.


New Sublabel - CO_RD Tapes

You read it correctly - I've started the first proper "sublabel" of Milieu Music: CO_RD Tapes! This label will be cassette-only releases of ambient/guitar-based music with a very cozy home-time aesthetic. Think lots of pastoral field recordings under sometimes-pretty, sometimes-sad, sometimes-droney guitar playing, soaked in 10-acre reverbs and bundled up in a warm analog format with some colorful photographs to get your listening mind in the right place. These tapes will be STRICTLY limited runs of 25 blue tapes each, and the music is totally new and exclusive. For people who enjoyed things like Sun White Sun, Eight Thousander or Of The Apple, these tapes are a must-listen! The first cassette, Appalachian/White Deer, is already out, so check it out!

Monday, February 23, 2009

January Shop Updates!


Can you believe it's been four years already, since I started this whole thing up with a small mailing list and no website? It seems to have gone by so quickly, and it's pretty much a perfect coincidence that with the start of 2009, we've landed right on catalog number 50! I can imagine how daunting this catalog must really look to a newcomer, so for that reason (among others) I've
decided to commemorate #50 with Milieu Music's first ever compilation. This disc is a look back all the way to the very beginning of Milieu Music, with me hand-picking some of my favorite tunes and including two brand new unreleased ones as well. Packaged in the "old school" format of a blue papersleeve with inkstamped cardstock inserts, and bargain priced at only eight dollars. A perfect introduction to Milieu Music for the uninitiated, as well as a worthy collection of Milieu tunes for the collectors out there.


3" CD-R EP

You may have caught me hinting on the mailers about 2009 seeing the release of lots of new Milieu, and so appropriately with the new year starting, here is the first. A three track 3" CD-R containing some of the bounciest tropical punch Milieu sounds ever laid to tape. This single serves as a precursor to the forthcoming album (no definitive date yet) Swaying Palms, which will be equally tropical. The title track may make some listeners recall the dubby tropical atmosphere of "Sway Leaf" (from the In Hills Made Of Clouds 3" at Earstroke) only this time it has been seriously expanded upon and drawn out to a lazy 10-minute affair. Limited to 50 copies.



Three extended live improvisations that I did in late 2007, using David Tagg's then-unreleased album Dulcimer Studies as a principal sound source, buried under a setup including a twelve-string acoustic guitar and several effects. The result is bright and slightly dissonant at times, but altogether pretty much a straight drone album. For those of you who enjoyed Porous Variations, this will be quite to your liking. A bit dark at times, a little pretty even, but very monochromatic and hazy. Limited to 50 copies in white papersleeves with patterned sepia-paper inserts.


3" CD-R EP

The first Coppice Halifax release of 2009, which, like the Milieu EP, will preface a handful of new releases under that moniker as well. This 3" single sees some really psychedelic ambient techno happening, somewhere between the tropical-clouds of Ocean Lion and the crackly wash of the self-titled EEDCD-08. "Luxury" samples Delius and builds a smoky dubby limo-drive through the boulevard at night...you can even roll the window down and see everything moving in super-slow-mo. Two versions of "Dancehall" follow, the first sounding like an ocean-faring cousin of "Nettles" with bouncy house beats and crackly seafoam melodies, and the second bringing to mind influences of Gas or Basic Channel with some liquefied drum sounds pooling around a rich symphonic drone and a huge sub-bassline. Limited to 50 copies in clear plastic sleeves with rad lazer-80's paper inserts.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Milieu - Colortone

This was quietly announced for a preorder a month ago, and now this long-awaited Milieu CD-R is officially released and shipping! For those of you who dig the flavor of Milieu records like Our Blue Rainbow or New Drugs - get this one! Loads of psychedelic grooves over a 10 track/forty minute disc. Think absolute LSD melody overload! Only $12.50, housed in a snazzy jewel case with full-color photos taken over Spring/Summer 2008, and available in a quite limited quantity directly from me!

On a side note, there are those of you out there probably wondering what happened to the vinyl release of this album that was supposed to happen earlier in 08...well sadly it just didn't work out and we didn't really want to sit on the album any longer as it is now already a full year old! There are only 100 of these in existence and more than half of those are already gone, so this announcement may actually be the last you see of this album...


P.S. - This is just the beginning of what is shaping up to be a big year for Milieu again! Another album already completed (Swaying Palms) will be released at EED by Summer or so, and there are TWO more in the process of being completed now. Stay tuned!