Tag Archives: NY

Stream – Bam Spacey – “1998”

Released last month, Bam Spacey’s “1998” is an album of layered synths and minimal textures. One moment we’re left floating in a hazy realm emerging from warm extended tones, for example in the opening introduction. Other moments are much more clearly built around pop structures with clear harmonies sung over top of those layers of ambience. A track like “Markbildning (II)” floats lazily between these two worlds; it’s ambient and minimal, while the vocal melody holds to its own regular phrasing, tracing strophes, spaced out with ambient interludes.

Echoes of Tim Hecker, from a timbral standpoint, pop up through the texture from time to time, such as on “Markbildning (II).” That dark ambience is, however, mostly left behind on “Upplyst,” a track featuring prominent drums and a pulsation that approaches traditional electronic dance music. This is also the case with “Ropar Från En Avgrund;” it actually breaches the line straight into more dance oriented territory.

Most of the album drifts across slowly, enveloping the listener in pure sound that languishes for extensive periods nearly undisturbed. The layers of synths are ripples on the water and Bam Spacey uses a delicate hand to slowly add more to those ripples while making sure that they don’t turn into overbearing waves. The ethereal quality of the atmospherics is maintained throughout the album, forming a cohesive whole that manages to straddle the boundaries of synth-driven ambience and dance music.

“1998” is available now as a download from the Ceremony Recordings bandcamp page, and is also available as a limited vinyl release. There will only be 300 copies in the first pressing, so head over to the Ceremony Recordings website to pick up a copy.

New release: Hurricane Bells – "Tides and Tales"

Hurricane Bells - "Tides and Tales"
Hurricane Bells - "Tides and Tales"

Things just keep getting better over at the Hurricane Bells camp, and that’s saying something considering their first major appearance was on a platinum selling album.

Hot off of a successful Pledge Music fund raising project, Steve Schiltz, lone permanent member of Hurricane Bells, is up and running with his Invisible Brigades imprint, a freshly designed website, new merch and (my personal favorite of all of it) vinyl. I’d like to think that he pressed the vinyl specifically because I begged him to do so, but I know that had nothing to do with it, but I’m not complaining and I’m willing to take the credit. Your welcome.

The albums official release was actually a few weeks ago, on October 25, so there’s no time like the present to head on over to the Hurricane Bells bandcamp site and grab the new tracks digitally, on CD or limited edition vinyl.

Equally as important, or maybe more important, see them live! There are several shows lined up for December in California and back on the East coast in Pennsylvania, Virginia and New York. I’m going to miss being able to catch the shows at the Mohawk Place in Buffalo, but that doesn’t mean you should! Now get out there and see them live and grab some tunes.

[audio:http://quartertonality.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Hurricane-Bells-Before-I_m-Gone.mp3|titles=Before I’m Gone]


Of course you can listen to the new tracks at the Hurricane Bells bandcamp site, where you can also purchase the music in any format except 8-track and wax cylinder

And check their site for tour dates, new merch, videos and everything else you could want.

Don’t forget twitter and Facebook


Taking action from far away

Facebook can be just about the most annoying website/application in existence, or so it seems. Every time I log in I am inundated with a myriad of stories of the time wasted by my friends and acquaintances, which magically turns into time wasted for me as I sit for 20 or 30 minutes reading about all the stupid, pointless quizzes, tests and pokes and other mindless garbage that goes on.

Every single day I consider abandoning facebook, just like I did with Myspace. The über-connectivity of the internet gets to be a bit much sometimes, especially for someone like me that finds great enjoyment during weekends spent alone, completely alone, cut off from the world and locked in my room listening to music, reading a book or watching Alton Brown and learning about the history of pasteurization, replete with an actor playing Louis Pasteur.

Then, once in a very great while the hyper-connectivity of it all actually finds a use, and I realize that there is a point to being able to reach out to people for some cause, other than begging you to join their cause (“We want to be teh larg3st groop on teh fac3b00k!!”).

I was looking through my facebook newsfeed and saw that a friend of mine had “attended” an event “An email to help save Gates-Chili’s music” or something to that effect. Seeing as how I grew up in the Gates, NY school district (Gates and Chili are right next to each other, so they share schools), I clicked on the event and read.

The story was nothing new. School district is facing hard times (and aren’t we all these days) and looking for places to cut some money out of the budget. Of course the first thing they look to cut is music. Without going into a crude value-based judgement on what should stay and what should go in this situation I decided that I would immediately write an email, as the group requested, to the address at the top of the page. My letter, that I wrote without much thought, but simply a passionate plea from one music lover/student/active American citizen (a rare breed, indeed) appears below for you:

My name is Adam Shanley. I grew up in Gates. I attended Kindergarten through 4th grade at Neil Armstrong and I still hold fond memories of that institution as shaping me to the person that I am today.

Currently I am finishing up two Masters degrees in Music at SUNY Fredonia, one in Classical Guitar Performance, and one in Music Theory/Composition. I completed my bachelors degree in Music Composition in 2006.

After being in college, and coming into contact with so many people with an astounding array of different backgrounds I have only become stronger in my opinion that music education from an early age has benefits to all involved. I feel so incredibly strongly about this that I have made it my life goal to insist that music education be held in equally high regard with the  sciences and math. Music education and art appreciation go hand in hand, not only forming a more well-rounded person, but it also helps a student to think abstractly.

Mathematics and music have incredible amounts in common. This is so much the case that several universities offer a “Math in Music” course that studies the ratios that are so important to music, tuning systems, the imperfections that arise with each of these tuning systems and all the details that come with it. If mathematics is important for solidifying a skill for abstract thinking because math occurs in everyday life I would have to argue that the same is true for music. Music is not simply “all around us”, but the fact that math exists naturally in the world and humans have been striving to discover all of its intricacies, and music and math share so much in common, wouldn’t it be completely unwise to cutoff this avenue of exploration?

Denying a young adult access to proper music education, especially music theory, would be the equivalent of not teaching algebra in math, or not teaching the periodic table of elements in science. There are so many more reasons to continue teaching music than there are to cease and desist.

Music Technology would be just as big a mistake to get rid of altogether. Allowing students to have access to the programs and tools that are used today in the creation of music, after they have studied the science behind how music is structurally put together (through music theory, history and a general music education) it is of the utmost importance that students are able to create something from that knowledge that they have learned.

Music education should never be thought of as something like a “niche market” that is only valuable to a student that is going to grow up to be a musician. Music education will ultimately strengthen our culture, which is already failing drastically in the world as far as cultural significance goes. Music education would benefit anyone not just as a musician, but as one who appreciates music. A person that learns to appreciate music, and the arts in general will most certainly foster a love for mathematics, the English language, the sciences, art and just being a creative person. Wouldn’t it be absolutely wonderful to have an entire generation of people that are curious about the world?

Imagine a country where people didn’t simply sit down on the couch every day and watch 6 hours of television a night but instead became interested in music or math or science or anything and went out to research anything that they were curious about. Imagine a world where people were driven to life long education because of an instilled interest in the arts and music. Imagine a world where everyone got involved and stood up to make a difference and cared about something deeply and made their voices heard.

It is a fact that music education has all of these benefits and more. Cutting music theory and music technology classes, or any music classes for that matter would ultimately hurt the society that your school should be striving to help flourish.

Adam Shanley

I was informed the next day that this very email, which was not alone – in fact there are emails written by current Eastman School of music faculty and other concerned Gates-Chili alumnus- will be read at a school board meeting in which the fate of the music program will be discussed.

Through the din of useless chatter in the ultra-connected world there is hope that a difference could possibly be made.