Austere | Convergence

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Abstract Audio Systems Philip Glass Steve Reich

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Austere MusicIsHere Apple iTunes GreatIndieMusic

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United States - Oregon

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Classical: Minimalism Electronic: Ambient Moods: Type: Background Music
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Convergence

by Austere

A minimalist "process piece" composition ala Steve Reich and early Philip Glass. Ambient electronic music good for meditative or relaxing moods. A single, long track made for continuous play. Similar in concept to FM-3's "Buddha Machine" for meditation.
Genre: Classical: Minimalism
Release Date: 

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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Convergence is a minimalist "process music" composition; one continuous track that gradually drifts out of phase while building to the apex, then slowly subsides back to its starting point. This organic ur-drone is perfect for trancing out, meditative moments and continuous background play.

Reviews:

...a gorgeous example of droning ambient soundscape. Well-done ambient sounds, I might add. On this disc they achieve a cathedral-like vibe, building somber waves of sound like a dying pipe organ. The disc is just one long track, nearly 48 minutes, of drones that ebb and flow in regular waves. The ambient sound never really goes anywhere, and thus is the closest thing i've heard to a "true" ambient album in some time... A fine disc for background music... droning, soothing, even relaxing... Strongly recommended for those who think the entire ambient genre has drifted from its original intent and focus.

Dead Angel

... leads off with a repeated muffled ringing sound resembling that of someone playing a pipe organ deep inside a cave, far away. Slowly, the constituent parts of this sound start to appear and fall into their own distinctive patterns. Convergence is a very intriguing and interesting work from an artist who has drawn from diverse influences and started to develop his own unique voice.

Ujamaa's Ambient Experience

When I finally got around to playing this, I immediately recognized that this was not something in the vein of, say, the KLF's "Chill Out" or other such more rhythmically... and listening... oriented ambient works. Rather, this was the real deal, a work very much in the vein of "Discreet Music", etc. So... listening to it really defeated the purpose. Instead, over the past couple of months, I've been instead living with the work, dropping it in along with other 'classic ambient' works, putting it on long cycle-plays, and dealing with it at the 'ignore' level of volume. It functions very well, with the piece's process never getting to a level where you're really forced into listening to it actively, and this makes it very ideal for Eno's original intent of 'acoustic coloration'.

DAC Crowell

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Austere
A Biography
By Bill Binkleman (Wind & Wire magazine)

Austere is an enigmatic duo who record some of the more interesting ambient music I've heard in my six plus years of reviewing. From the swirling drones (I was gonna say "dark" drones, but...) and eerie melancholy of Monodia to the warmth and beauty amidst minimalism of Fade to the cool glitch beats and samples of one of Austere's side project's The Mystifying Oracle's Quintessence (see my review here:
http://www.windandwire.com/may/quintessence.htm)

Austere are less concerned with following the path and more concerned with breaking new ground. However, they are undoubtedly enigmatic, as one would glean from the above, and shun the spotlights of media and personality. However, in my many communiques with them, I have found few artists in this industry who are more polite, engaging, genuine or friendly. If only some of the more "exposed" artists in ambient music were as humble and humane.

Check them out at http://www.austere.org and read more reviews of their work by yours truly here at http://www.windandwire.com.

There, now you and others know as much about Austere as anyone!

Bill


Reviews


to write a review

Wayne Dolman (Scintillating Spelling Bee)

True Minimalism: Music to Sleep By
This album is unabashedly and honestly based on Steve Reich's manifesto "Music as a Process" where the idea is to create musical pieces based on some kind of process (Reich's original experiments used two tape players that would go out-of-sync while playing the same recording.)

The difference here is that Austere has taken a lot of time to piece together a huge number of layers of three different "phrases" (as Reich calls them), each a distant ringing sound resembling something like playing a pipe organ deep inside a cave, far away, repeating slowly, fading in and out, building up layer after layer of these tones, each very slightly out-of-sync each time they play, creating a gorgeous and expansive droning ambient soundscape reminiscent of caverns and cathedrals.

An added interest is that this disc is "brain-wave encoded" and is meant to induce a "alpha" state of mind that is very relaxed, for meditation, falling asleep or while sleeping. While one can question if this kind of encoding actually works, this reviewer has found this disc to be the very best to play while going to sleep and while sleeping (for those who like to listen to music during their night.)

It's also very relaxing even when just played, and is a single 50 minute piece that "loops" and can be played on repeat, continually, as background music, which is works very well as, rather than trying to actively listen to it. Very much following the ideal of Brian Eno's original definition of 'acoustic colouration' where music is played at a barely audible level, and is meant to "colour" the environment rather than be an active part of it. This makes it the closest thing to an honest and true "ambient" album after much misuse of the word, probably the best thing since Eno's Discreet Music.

All this said, this is a very peaceful, relaxing, ambient music and would not disappoint those who can appreciate minimalist compositions, but is very specific to these concepts so isn't something that will appeal to those who must have lyrics or choruses or can't live without guitars. But for those whose tastes run in these circles and who appreciate the music and concepts described above, you will love this classic album.

Jinsai

Soft Electronic Tones That Ebb and Flow
This entire CD is one single, 47-minute piece. Soft electronic tones ebb and flow. No real themes are introduced, but the piece does slowly evolve and change over time.

Convergence is the musical equivalent of laying on your back outside and staring at the clouds in the sky. Evocative, suggestive, fun, soothing. Slow. A little bit silly. You notice your own breathing.

It's also not something everyone wants to do for 45 minutes. But if you're in the right mood and have the time, it can change your outlook.

Fans of Brian Eno's Discreet Music will enjoy this, as it has a similar sonic palette and listening suggestions ("minimal volume").

marcus

strangely relaxing
i own about fifty ambient CDs, and this one's the best for sleeping. this album is so minimalistic that it's almost not music, or not like anything else i've ever heard. nevertheless, the way it relaxes you is unique. i usually put it at the end of the playlist for whatever i'm listening to when i go to bed, and i wake up noticeably more relaxed than when i listen to anything else.

rik - ping things

A single continuous long form track, a fabulous introduction to the beauty of Au
This 1998 release from the enigmatic duo is a single track built upon the idea of minimalism and the connection between sound and mental states. Using a bare minimum of effected sound elements combined with theta waves (noted in wikipedia as inspiring focus and senses of both exploration and spatial navigation), "Convergence" creates a wonderful meditative environment that does an excellent job of engaging the listener throughout it's length. Perhaps it's a result of subtle brainwave manipulation, perhaps it's well crafted music with an attention to detail and an appreciation for nuance. More likely it's a combination of the two. Whatever it is, "Convergence" is a fine example of Austere's work, and I encourage you to check it out.

Gordon Danis

One of the best minimalist works One of the Best Minimalist Works Ever
The beauty of repetition. One of the best minimalist works
ever, and a reliable sleep inducer. Couldn't stop playing this when I got all of their works, along with "fade".