It’s perhaps an overused cliché for people to describe the creation of a musician as a ‘Musical Journey’. Such a label is often given to a concept that forms, what is in essence, a compilation of musical tales serving as a soundtrack to our daily life. And as brilliant as these collections may often be, do we really truly feel like we were physically transported after listening to them?
Of course as many of us are fully aware, the world of ambient music is often where we can find those who dedicate their thought processes to the creation of something they feel can genuinely take you from point A to point B.
Whilst the concept of ‘Ambient’ music dates back to early affiliations with Eno’s “Music that must be as ignorable as it is interesting” quote, as we sit surrounded by the click and whir of our 24×7 ‘always on’, society it seems more necessary than ever to create music that is “intended to induce calm and a space to think”.
Based in the UK’s West Country, one such individual rising to this challenge is Shane Piper, who’s been producing his own musical journey’s under the name ‘Ambient Shane’. Shane dedicates his very soul to creating a wholly immersive musical experience that results in so much more than a documentary – something you feel can genuinely transport as part of the listening experience.
Borrowing sounds from the environments in which he interacts, his work is a musical collaboration with our technological society, nature and the universe itself. Newcomers to Shane’s world should set themselves afloat on the beautiful ‘Tonal‘ EP. Lovers of the Orb, Biosphere and the Higher Intelligence Agency will find much to immerse themselves here.
‘Tonal’ is essentially a six part Ambient journey, beginning with the uplifting and moving ‘Tonal‘ before slowly evolving towards the Ambient House of ‘Disengaged/Re-engaged‘. This is first class travel for audiophiles.
Similar themes of movement, nature and universal societal interaction run through Shane’s previous album ‘The Orphic Continuum‘. But also a significant element of playfulness exists, as evidenced by ‘I’klektik skism‘: a dub electronic refrain surrounded by ambient textures providing an unlikely backdrop to a Roger Federer and Andy Murray tennis match.
Shane Piper is now beginning to move focus to his latest Ambient project – ‘Stains Of Time’. The early signs from the ‘Rough Sketches’ on his Soundcloud site suggest similar obsessions with musical journey’s and the need to create music for audiophiles, but with our introduction setting the scene, let’s allow Shane himself to describe the motivation and inspiration behind his work…
In the beginning I was inspired by listening to…
The rhyme in motion, the words and poetry, the stylistic vocal delivery, the grooves and rhythms of Hip-Hop from my ‘golden age -1984-1990’.The sound layering and total immersion with the need to listen from beginning to end with the Orb’s ‘Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld‘.
The KLF Chill-out -a journey that would take me to a different place every-time , still now evoking memories for me of Autumn and the changing of the seasons and showing me a way of mixing records together to take people on their own sonic journey.
My Obsession with good sound started about the same time when I inadvertently found myself becoming an Audiophile as I realised listening to Music on great sounding Hi-fi gave me a feeling of audio Nirvana. I thoroughly believe that there are two types of listener in the world- people who listen and people who LISTEN, those that use music as a wallpaper background noise whilst having ‘meaningful conversation’ with friends and family and there are those who listen to music intensely, studying the dynamic range and listening to the details.
That’s the kind of listener I am- sometimes my observations scare me when I listen to music –in terms of picking up on different samples that I have heard elsewhere and I don’t take kindly to people chatting away next to me when I’m having an Audio experience (ask my Wife! !) So I like to create music that will give the listener a profound listening experience –something that is best listened to from beginning to end and not dipped in and out of so that the journey can be completed.
I guess that everything has its time and place as although I remember talking to folk in 1994 about making my own music I didn’t start composing until 2011, strangely though in my head even back in the 90’s I knew there was music inside me and with the advent of all the modern technology like Ableton Live that we have now the possibilities are endless, it definitely talks my language in terms of creating new and interesting sounds, sometimes it comes easily sometimes painfully slow -20% inspiration 80 % perspiration I think someone once said. One day I would like to own synths and groove boxes and other hardware and marry it all together with Ableton to create new sounds and learn new techniques.
My creative inspiration comes from the here and now- I like to record everyday environmental sounds whether that be from inside my house or outside in the village in which I live and then I use these recordings in new an interesting ways. I tend to use nothing more than my iPhone and a Tascam IM2 plug in mic that gives me good enough quality. I love the idea of just recording stuff on my phone rather than carrying a big zoom recorder, at least when you are using your phone you can be discreet and the ‘average man in the street ‘thinks you are just reading a text rather than recording the environment.
I’m also inspired by many Masters of the Machines- Scanner with his controversial cellular phone conversations from his early days, Biosphere’s immersive Soundscapes and the Great man from Japan- Susumu Yokota. I first became aware of Susumu in 2001 and have always been impressed by his recording and panning techniques –they just blow me away, going back to what I said earlier its music to be listened to on a good hi-fi with capable speakers not headphones because his music is capable of giving the illusion of a 3 dimensional sonic hologram within the sound stage.
As in the beginning I am still inspired by the power of words and I mix thoughtfully selected vocal content in to a piece –to be thought provoking, evoke some kind of emotional response or to just to add joviality and wit. I spend many hours listening to vocal material to find something that lends its self to the piece that I’m currently working on.
Listening Inspiration, Creative Inspiration and a more than a touch of Obsession are my motivation in music.
Introduction by LowMan