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 James Johnson & Aperus - Ecotone

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Aperus
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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 10:47 pm    James Johnson & Aperus - Ecotone Reply with quoteBack to top

JAMES JOHNSON & APERUS - Ecotone

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Ecotone (released March, 2013) is now available as a limited edition CD and digital download from the following locations. The limited edition CD features pressed CD's (not burned CDR's) with inserts printed on 100% recycled post consumer paper. The first 250 copies ship with photos chosen from each artist's catalog of landscape photography. You can support independent music by purchasing here:

"Ecotone" Limited Edition CD:
http://www.geophonicrecords.com/page.php?menu=music
http://www.james-johnson.net

"Ecotone" is also Available at Amazon, Band Camp (search for "Aperus"), CD Baby, Google Play and iTunes.


REVIEWS

"... Both composers gave a lot of attention to detail, while implementing percussive samples, contact microphone recordings, many surprising animals sounds and vocal tones. It’s a slow moving and profound organic offering of sensitive environmental sight and sound paintings venturing into dense, darker but always spacious territory. Its minimalist, melodic nature and introspective impact occasionally remind of ... Robert Rich, Brian Eno or the gamelan works by Loren Nerell.

But then again, it digs deeper as the lush, mesmerizing textures and surreal sound patterns spread their wings and take off. To me, the most impressive are the two tracks opening ("Descending Arc", "Cycle 17") and the three pieces closing the album ("The Moth Jar", "Transmigration" and "Traces"), as they really run underneath your skin, evoking a hypnotic state.

The soundings on the contemplative and cinematic "Ecotone" simply resonate the clear voice and the many dimensions of the natural environment. It ends up even more impressive when heard with good quality headphones.

All in all, "Ecotone" (a limited edition release coming with great art work) makes most interesting and intense listen. Highly recommended to all who appreciate deep-listening ambient."

Bert Strolenberg - Sonic Immersion




"I just received this in the mail on Friday... The first thing I noticed was the very attractive and tasteful packaging. But beautiful packaging will annoy me in the end if the music doesn't live up to it.

Happily, the music is wonderful. This music is varied. At times it is benevolent, lighter, and gorgeous. At other times it has a darkness, a doubt, a discomfort. But be clear, while these tracks clearly can challenge the listener in ways, it is never difficult to listen to. Even in the darker sections it is beautiful, not jarring, and very listenable. While most ambient music is created by single musicians I think this CD is a testament to the benefits of collaboration. It feels more rounded, it feels like someone was there to cover the blind spots of each musician.

This is not a retreading of the earlier work of either musician. The sound of the disc as a whole feels like a clear statement of intention to do something new, but it is still familiar. With the tremendous quantity of ambient music available, I find that there is a small percentage that I really, really value. This will certainly be in that category."

Matthew J Harris - Hypnos Forum




"Ecotone is a masterwork, one of the best of 2013!!!"

Richard Gurtler - Hypnos Forum

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Aperus
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Age: 54
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:29 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Got a great review today. Wanted to share.

"Ecotone" by James Johnson and Aperus

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http://www.geophonicrecords.com/page.php?menu=music
http://www.james-johnson.net

PING THINGS REVIEW

I think that James Johnson and Brian McWilliams (aka Aperus) are both very talented musicians, each having produced some truly stunning work over the last few years. So it would stand to reason that by working together they would make something even more stunning in collaboration, right? "Ecotone" by James Johnson and Aperus is a beautiful and brilliant release that proves that theory, capturing all the best qualities of each artist and building on their separate gifts to create a truly impressive album.

"Descending Arc'' opens the disc with metallic percussion and other percussive sounds, a feeling of mysticism that plays over top a subtly droning pad. As the track progresses other elements are added, slowly building an engaging and involved aural landscape for the listener to explore.

"Cycle 17" follows, with oscillating tones running in randomly spaced sine waves. It makes for an interesting aural experience with a number of short patterns and appealing motifs being randomly formed throughout the course of the track. A very interesting example of generative music.

"Nostalgia and Memory" is a short track that uses a distorted warble as an anchor for a number of sounds and moods. Add some sparse piano playing a rather forlorn melody and you end up with a particularly emotional piece of music, a decidedly moody track that I quite enjoy.

"Crow Over Walnut Canyon" is another piano piece, slightly more melodic in character with a slightly brighter feel to it. There's some nice use of echo and delay here that give the track a vaguely haunted feeling, but more of a pleasant haunt, the feeling of being watched over, taken care of. A really lovely piece of music...

"Long Goodbye" features a number of nicely elongated pads paired with some struck metallic objects that naturally reverberate, a combination that results in some very tasty dramatic moments. I really enjoy the way this track illustrates the musicality inherent in the unexpected, and that sense of discovery that plays throughout really connects with me as a listener.

"Ancestral Voices" has a vaguely unsettling feel to it, a disorienting swirl of sounds and voices that rotate around the soundscape alternately building and falling in volume. That's not to say that it's not a good track though, I actually find it to be quite impressive in it's ability to inspire unease.

By contrast, "The Moth Jar" has a very delicate beauty to it, lovely piano matched with percussive metallic tones and treated electronics, all working together to create a very beautiful piece of music. Definitely my favorite track on the album.

"Transmigration" has a large cinematic quality to it, a big sound that suggests vast open spaces and long panoramic vistas. Certainly an excellent piece of work for use as a soundtrack or perhaps as the inspiration for a short film.

"Traces" closes the album, a quick don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it ambient piece that really embodies the ideal of active listening. There's a lot to discover in this two minute track, a wealth of ideas compressed into a very tiny space. If you choose to listen passively you're sure to notice some of it's charms, but if you actively involve yourself in the track I'm sure you'll be suitably rewarded for your efforts.

There's no question that Johnson and McWilliams compliment each other brilliantly on this album, and the end result is an impressive collaboration that's already circling around the top spot on my year end list of groovy music. Take some time to explore "Ecotone", you'll be glad you did.

Rik - ping things

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Thomas
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2021 9:45 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

I have been searching several times over the years for a release by James Johnson called Lost At Dunn's Lake, which was one of the first compositions that really got me into ambient. I just now found this thread. This album sounds beautiful! Is the collaborator here the same James Johnson that I have been searching for? I can see that the website is rather minimalistic: http://www.james-johnson.net/
Would be nice if anyone have som more info on James Johnson, and especially the Lost At Dunn's Lake CD. In the meantime I am now listening to Aperus on Bandcamp. Smile

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SolarPlexus
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 11:39 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« Thomas » wrote:

Would be nice if anyone have som more info on James Johnson, and especially the Lost At Dunn's Lake CD. In the meantime I am now listening to Aperus on Bandcamp. Smile


A good friend of mine; Bert is a real connoisseur in this music genre.

You might wanna check out more info on James Johnson's music and Bert's blog/website at: https://www.sonicimmersion.org/james-johnson/

You can also contact Bert through this website

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Thomas
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 11:55 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« SolarPlexus » wrote:
« Thomas » wrote:

Would be nice if anyone have som more info on James Johnson, and especially the Lost At Dunn's Lake CD. In the meantime I am now listening to Aperus on Bandcamp. Smile


A good friend of mine; Bert is a real connoisseur in this music genre.

You might wanna check out more info on James Johnson's music and Bert's blog/website at: https://www.sonicimmersion.org/james-johnson/

You can also contact Bert through this website

Thanks for this! I see James Johnson has several more releases also. I did not know, because his music is hard to find. Nice to see Lost At Dunn's Lake mentioned there. It says it is available as digital download, but the Bandcamp site linked to seems to lead to a different James Johnson, unfortunately: http://jamesjohnson3.bandcamp.com/

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SolarPlexus
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 4:23 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« Thomas » wrote:
but the Bandcamp site linked to seems to lead to a different James Johnson, unfortunately: http://jamesjohnson3.bandcamp.com/


Must be a typo or something...
I don't know this music. So get in touch with Bert if you wish to know more. He is in direct contact with plenty of artists or might know how to do so...
And according to Discogs, this guy seems to release a lot as "James Johnson Self-released"

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:02 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Today I took the opportunity to point out this thread to Brian McWilliams, and that's what he replied (not sure if this answers any unanswered questions though...):

"I can confirm that is the same James Johnson that did Lost at Dunn’s Lake. Ecotone is a good album. Physical copies available at my band camp here https://aperus.bandcamp.com/album/ecotone"

Then I did a little research and found (at least) this...

https://youtu.be/X08xWCloHCI

.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2021 2:36 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« BruecknerAmbient » wrote:
Today I took the opportunity to point out this thread to Brian McWilliams, and that's what he replied (not sure if this answers any unanswered questions though...):

"I can confirm that is the same James Johnson that did Lost at Dunn’s Lake. Ecotone is a good album. Physical copies available at my band camp here https://aperus.bandcamp.com/album/ecotone"

Then I did a little research and found (at least) this...

https://youtu.be/X08xWCloHCI

.


Thanks for this info, and for the YouTube link. Then I can at least hear what it was like again, although a CD or official download would be better. Strange that this album is so hard to find. But thanks again. Smile

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BruecknerAmbient
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2021 6:17 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« Thomas » wrote:
« BruecknerAmbient » wrote:
Today I took the opportunity (...)

https://youtu.be/X08xWCloHCI

.


Thanks for this info, and for the YouTube link. Then I can at least hear what it was like again, although a CD or official download would be better. Strange that this album is so hard to find. But thanks again. Smile


You're welcome, Thomas! Smile

Well, we all grow older, and so do great artists who we appreciate, and some of them probably lack the interest or energy to take care for the availability of their work any longer from some point on...

.

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Aperus
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2021 7:08 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi - just wanted to check in personally. So yes, first off Ecotone was created by James Johnson (Lost at Dunns Lake) and myself (Aperus)... We probably pressed more copies of Ecotone than necessary thinking that the album was quite good and might take off. We got great reviews but sadly, it did not catch on or take off. You can get copies at aperus.bandcamp.com.

I can share a little about James Johnson, but don't want to speak for him. As well as releasing quite a few great albums (I was a fan), he ran a label many of you might remember called Atmoworks. I'm pretty sure Lost at Dunns Lake came out on Atmoworks as a self produced CDR. No idea if you can find this on Discogs.com. This was one of my personal favorites along with The Butterfly Chamber and Surrender. Ok, just checked, there a few for sale on Discogs:
https://www.discogs.com/sell/list?master_id=454359&ev=mb

If you are interested, I met James (he was also part of Ma Ja Le) opening for Robert Rich in Milwaukee, WI quite a long time ago. At the time, I hoped he would release an upcoming album on Atmoworks, and gave him a copy of Remanence "Lamkhyer" (I was also part of Remanence back in the day). We kept in touch after that exchange and he did start selling Aperus and Remanence through Atmoworks. He even mastered Aperus "Tumbleweed Obfuscated by Camera Failure" for me and it's still one of my favorite mastering jobs.

After that album, we discussed doing an album together. He travelled to my studio in Michigan (at the time), stayed for about four days and we recorded a bunch of material to digital tape. A bunch of good material. I thought James was kind of a genius. He brought only one or two synths and a laptop with music software running on it. He could generate new ideas on the fly, almost in an instant. I worked much slower. Somehow our styles and differences clicked. I felt like i pulled him in a slightly darker more experimental direction on that album and he pulled me in a highly textural, musical direction. But, much credit goes to him. He had a sophisticated way of creating progressions, ideas, textures and ideas and actually could play his instruments. He often lead, and I would try add the shadows to the proceedings.

At some point James started working in the music industry doing sound design and software for the software division of a large company. If I imagine that for myself, working on sounds, music and software all day long, and then looking for energy to work on more music, I think it might be hard. Perhaps this is what affected his output. Anyways, thought I'd share this info. Working on Ecotone with him was a definite highpoint and I cherish the memories of recording that project together.

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BruecknerAmbient
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2021 9:06 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« Aperus » wrote:
Hi - just wanted to check in personally. (...)


Thank You very much for sharing this memories and insights, Brian - very interesting! Smile

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