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MP3 Walter Ehresman - The A.D.G. Project

Dark ambient soundscapes using highly-processed electric bouzouki, sitar, theremin and oud. Exotic trance for going to the Deep Places. A snorkel won''t help you.

3 MP3 Songs in this album (53:00) !
Related styles: ELECTRONIC: Ambient, AVANT GARDE: Electro-Acoustic

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The latest release from long-time Austin multi-instrumentalist Walter Ehresman, "The A.D.G. Project" is a major departure from his previous 10 solo albums, and 3 albums as the leader of Snipe Hunt. Always a diverse and restless artist, Ehresman just sees this album as another facet of his musical personality.

"I''ve always loved electronic and experimental music, going way back to when the term ''electronic'' didn''t mean dance music like it does today.....We used to listen to what we called ''head'' music back in the late ''70s......Tangerine Dream, Synergy, Jean-Michael Jarre....Along with bands like Amon Duul II, Brainticket and, of course, Pink Floyd.......Also, I have always been a big fan, since I first heard it in the late ''70s, of the 1970 Aphrodite''s Child album ''666''....This was Vangelis'' group in Greece before he went solo and more mainstream....The album is a bit of an underground classic, and many people were no doubt scared off by the title (although it was evidently one of Salvador Dali''s favorite contemporary recordings, and for a time there were plans for he and the band to stage a multi-media event based around it).....It''s not at all a satanic album....Thematically, it''s the Book of Revelations put to music, but the lyrics are more abstract and the music is astounding.....there are many different musical forms on this double album, but there was something exotic and mind-bending about listening to the whole thing...the cutting-edge keyboard work, blending with the use of exotic instruments like saz and kunun, had a profound musical effect on me." These early electronic recordings, along with what later became known as "space rock"--mixed in with the world music hybrid sound from the Aphrodite''s Child album--were hugely influential in forming Ehresman''s musical tastes and charting where he would eventually go as a musician, producer and recording artist.

Fast-forward to "The A.D.G Project," which features strange, rare instruments used through heavy digital processing to form long, improvised soundscapes of exotic dark ambient music. "For some time," says Ehresman, "I''ve been composing and recording pieces of instrumental music for use with large-scale art installations at the Burning Man festival in northwestern Nevada." Over his 9 years at the event, Ehresman performed on various stages on guitar/vocals and as a DJ, as well as hosting radio shows on the pirate Radio Electra FM station on the playa, and building art pieces of his own construction. "As anyone familiar with Burning Man will tell you," he explains, "there are teams of people from all over the world who bring huge, magnificent art installations to the playa......Often, they solicit music from within the Burner community to play as part of these pieces." This was the genesis of "The A.D.G. Project." Before the 2007 event, such a team put out the call for original music for an installation called The Ambient Dream Garden. This would be a building constructed out in the deep playa of the Black Rock Desert, with corridors that lead to a central area. The corridors were lined with optic sensors that, when triggered by a person entering, would play pre-recordings of Burners narrating their dreams and nightmares. Different ambient music would play in the background on a continual loop. "When I read about this project," Ehresman says, "I immediately knew that I could contribute some appropriate music....something unique that hopefully the artists would like and want to use......Luckily, they did like it and did use it for the installation that year."

"The A.D.G. Project" is made up of 3 long instrumental pieces, totally 53 minutes of music.

Track #1, "Goodbye, Pluto," features a custom Dio Dinos solidbody electric bouzouki(https://www.tradebit.com For those who don''t know, a bouzouki is a long-neck 8-string instrument in the mandolin family, with the strings in double-course. "The title," Ehresman explains, "came from the fact that, around the time I recorded the piece, Pluto lost its planetary status.....which is a big re-ordering of the universe for those of us who have lived quite a long time thinking we had nine planets," he laughs.

Track #2, "Trench Sitar," features a Jerry Jones electric sitar (https://www.tradebit.com along with what Ehresman characterizes as a "cheap theremin from the back of Rolling Stone." Much of the piece is solo improvisation on the sitar, through extensive effects processing. "Around the middle section," Ehresman explains, "I switched my right hand to the harp drone strings on the electric sitar and kept a sound bed going there while, with my left hand, I created sweeps using the theremin.....It was all still done in real-time, with no overdubs."

Track #3, "My Oud is Unspooling," features a Najarian solidbody electric oud (https://www.tradebit.com The oud is an ancient instrument from the Mediterranean area that is the precursor to the lute and ultimately the guitar. In its ordinary configuration, it features a short fretless neck with 11-strings, 10 of which are strung in double-course, and a deep bowl back. However, Lebanese luthier Najarian has radically reconceived the instrument as a solidbody with open frame, while maintaining the 11-string and fretless elements. "Recording an ambient piece on the oud presented unique challenges," Ehresman explains, "because it is not really a chordal instrument....Oud music is, traditionally, constructed in a linear manner, with melodies and improvisations within strict, complex musical structures called maqams or taksims, depending on which oud tradition you''re talking about." Because chords are not formed on the oud, everything is a series of melody lines. "Western music is based on harmony, and so is constructed more vertically, if you will, and this is even true with, say, a solo guitar piece....with the chords forming the harmonic elements," he continues. "So I couldn''t use drone techniques for this piece of music....I had to find a way to let single melodic lines, fed into the digital effects box, create the washes and soundscapes I was looking for." In the end, "I wasn''t sure if it would work, but I''m pretty pleased with the final result....and it provides a nice constrast to the more drone-based harmonies at the core of the first two pieces on the album," he says.

Ehresman has actually performed these pieces live on a couple of occasions around Austin, covering the instruments with battery-operated LEDs and electroluminescent wire for nighttime shows. "People didn''t really know what to make of it," he laughs, "but it was fun to do....I wish there were more avenues around Austin to put on experimental performances like this, but this is a town deeply devoted to genre and it doesn''t typically know what to do with music that doesn''t fit into a niche." He adds sardonically, "this problem has, of course, dogged my entire musical career."

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