The new Sensitive Chaos CD Seeker After Patterns was released on June 7, 2011. This fourth solo effort from Atlanta-based producer and performer Jim Combs contains eight new tracks (plus two radio edits) extending the eclectic, electronic palette he established on his first three albums, Leak, Emerging Transparency, and Meditation Modulation Manipulation.
"The album title is a multi-entendre and as it relates to my music, the new CD explores figures of patterns in different settings, both studio and live recordings of both ambient and sequenced material, on my own and in collaboration with some talented friends from around the world."
Combs once again collaborated with Ohio-based soprano saxophonist Brian Good for the title track “Seeker After Patterns” and also incorporated Good’s EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument) soundscapes to the album’s closer “Simon Stilites Dreams of Rain (Chaotic Remix)”, which also features co-writer Tim Walters (San Francisco) Super Collider sound design/percussion, Helsinki multi-instrumentalist Otso Pakarinen on synthesizers, bells, and sound effects, and Atlanta indie rock stalwart John McNicholas on surf and lead guitars. “A Piece of Stars”, one of the album’s live recordings, is an improvised collaboration from the recent April 30, 2011 City Skies Electronic Music Festival with Nashville musician Tony Gerber on EWI and synthesizer, Milwaukee’s Paul Vnuk Jr. on electronic percussion, and Atlanta’s Christian Birk (aka Suicide Lane) on synthesizers.
Multimedia artist Demi Pietchell contributed extraordinary photocollages for the album cover art. “Demi’s work is incredibly inspiring and truly helped me solidify the overall album concept, mastering, and sequencing of the tracks. I have been staring at this artwork for months now, and keep finding something new. Hopefully the tunes are like that, too.”
Radio and Internet Plays
Qualified in 4 categories for the 2011 ZMR Music Awards; Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, Best Electronic Album, Best Ambient Album, and Best Cover Art.
#79 on the Zone Music Reporter Top 100 Airplay Chart for 2011, out of over 2300 recordings.
KSBR 88.5FM Morning Breeze show in Mission Viejo, CA played "L'Ascension" on January 22, 2012 and January 15, 2012, "A Piece of Stars" on January 7, 2012, "Seeker After Patterns" on January 1, 2012, "A Piece of Stars" and "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire" on December 4, 2011. "Seeker After Patterns" on November 26, 2011, November 20, 2011, October 1, 2011, and August 14, 2011 and "A Piece of Stars" on July 10, 2011, and lists the album at #6 for October 2011, #5 for September 2011 and #3 for August 2011.
WRBC 91.5FM Tangents show in Lewiston, Maine played "Seeker After Patterns" on January 22, 2012.
KCBX 90FM Last Jazz Show in San Luis Obispo | 89.5 Santa Barbara | 91.7 Paso Robles to Salinas 90.9 Santa Ynez, Avila Beach, Cambria | 91.1 Cayucos | and 95.1 Lompoc played "Sensitive Chaos" on January 17, 2012, "Seeker After Patterns" on December 6, 2011 and "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire" on October 25, 2011. The album is #16 for November 2011.
WMSE 91.7FM Instrumental Saturdays with Mary Bartlein show in Milwaukee, WI selects this album as Top-10 for 2011, and played "Simon Stilites Dreams of Rain (Chaotic Remix)" on January 14, 2012, "Seeker After Patterns", "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire", and "A Piece of Stars" on January 7, 2012, "L'Ascension" on December 31, 2011, "Seeker After Patterns" on December 17, 2011, "A Piece of Stars" on November 19, 2011, October 1, 2011 and September 24, 2011, "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire" on November 5, 2011 (fund drive), "Thoughts of Home in a Sand Storm" on October 15, 2011, "Seeker After Patterns" on October 8, 2011, "Seeker After Patterns" on September 17, 2011, "Seeker After Patterns" and "Sensitive Chaos" on August 20, 2011, and "Seeker After Patterns" and "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire" on July 30, 2011. The album is #8 for November 2011, #14 for October 2011, #9 for September 2011, #8 for August 2011, and Top 20 for July 2011.
WYSO 91.3FM Alpha Rhythms show in Yellow Springs, OH played "A Piece of Stars" on January 8, 2012, December 4, 2011, November 20, 2011, October 23, 2011, October 16, 2011, October 2, 2011, August 7, 2011, and July 24, 2011. The album is #17 for October 2011, #8 for September 2011, #4 for August 2011, and #14 for July 2011.
Montana Public Radio's Oasis show (KUFM 89.1FM in Missoula, KUKL 90.1FM in Kalispell, KGPR 89.9 in Great Falls, KAPC 91.3FM in Butte, KUHM 91.7FM in Helena, KUFN 91.9FM in Hamilton, KUFL 90.5FM in Libby, and KPJH 89.5FM in Polson) played "A Piece of Stars" and "Seeker After Patterns" on January 1, 2012, and ranks Seeker After Patterns #10 on their Top 20 for July 2011 list.
#35 on Zone Music Reporter Top 100 for December 2011.
WUTC 88.1FM Saturday Morning Sunrise show in Chattanooga, TN played "A Piece of Stars" on December 31, 2011 and "Sensitive Chaos" on December 3, 2011.
#44 on Zone Music Reporter Top 100 for November 2011.
#14 Song and #50 Album on the Zone Music Reporter Playlist Spin Count for November 2011.
#17 on KCPR Audioscapes for November 2011.
WWSP 90FM Ambient Aether show in Stevens Point, WI played "Seeker After Patterns" and "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire" on November 27, 2011, "Seeker After Patterns" on November 13, 2011, "Sensitive Chaos" on October 23, 2011, "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire" on October 2, 2011, "L'Ascension" on September 4, 2011, "Thoughts of Home in a Sand Storm" on August 28, 2011, "A Piece of Stars" on August 21, 2011, and "Psychic Twins of Gemini" on August 7, 2011, and "Sensitive Chaos" on July 24, 2011, and lists the album #14 for November 2011 and October 2011, #3 for September 2011 and August 2011.
YLE Radio 1 Avaruusromua (Space Junk) Finnish Broadcasting Company radio played "L'Ascension", "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire", and "Thoughts of Home in a Sand Storm" on November 20, 2011.
#36 on Zone Music Reporter Top 100 for October 2011.
#14 for November 2011 and #8 on CKUW Shades of Classics Top 20 for October 2011.
#8 on KRSC Spectral Voyages show Top 20 for October 2011.
WPRB 103.3FM Music With Space show in Princeton, NJ played "L'Ascension" on October 20, 2011, "Psychic Twins of Gemini" on September 3, 2011, "Thoughts of Home in a Sand Storm" on August 20, 2011, and "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire" and "A Piece of Stars" from Seeker After Patterns on July 23, 2011.
KUAC 89.9FM Nightlight show in Fairbanks, AK played "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire" on October 16, 2011, "A Piece of Stars" on October 2, 2011, August 21, 2011 and "L'Ascension" on July 24, 2011, and lists the album at #4 in the Top 20 for November 2011 and October 2011, and also Top 20 for September 2011 and July 2011.
KCUR 89.3FM Night Tides show in Kansas City, MO played "Seeker After Patterns (Radio Edit 2)" on October 16, 2011, "Sensitive Chaos" on October 9, 2011, September 18, 2011, "Simon Stilites Dreams of Rain" on September 4, 2011, "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire" on August 28, 2011, "Psychic Twins of Gemini" on August 21, 2011, "Seeker After Patterns (Radio Edit 1)" on August 14, 2011, "L'Ascension" on July 31, 2011, "Thoughts of Home in a Sand Storm" on July 31, 2011 & July 24, 2011, and "A Piece of Stars" on July 10, 2011, and lists the album in the Top 20 for September 2011 and August 2011.
KDNK 88.1FM Carbondale, Colorado (88.3FM Aspen 88.5FM Basalt, Redstone 93.5FM Leadville 94.9FM Thomasville) added Seeker After Patterns and has it in light rotation.
#31 on Zone Music Reporter Top 100 for September 2011.
#25 on Zone Music Reporter Top 100 for August 2011.
#9 & #29 & #47 Song and #12 Album on the Zone Music Reporter Playlist Spin Count for August 2011.
WFIT 89.5FM Future Echoes show in Melbourne, FL played "A Piece of Stars" on August 21, 2011, "Seeker After Patterns" on August 14, 2011 and June 5, 2011, "Psychic Twins of Gemini" & "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire" on August 7, 2011, "Sensitive Chaos" on July 31, 2011, "Thoughts of Home in a Sand Storm" on July 24, 2011, and "L'Ascension" on July 17, 2011.
WEVL 89.9FM Audio Exotika show in Memphis, TN played "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire" on August 21, 2011, "Seeker After Patterns" on August 14, 2011, "L'Ascension" on August 7, 2011, "Sensitive Chaos" on July 31, 2011, and "Thoughts of Home in a Sand Storm" on July 24, 2011.
WRSU 88.7FM Machine Age Voodoo show in New Brunswick, NJ played "Psychic Twins of Gemini" on August 10, 2011.
#36 on the Zone Music Reporter Top 100 for July 2011.
#29 & #65 Song and #44 Album on the Zone Music Reporter Playlist Spin Count for July 2011.
KKUP 91.5FM The Contemplation Connection show in Cupertino, CA ranks Seeker After Patterns #2 on their Top 20 for July 2011 list and #13 for August 2011.
Montana Public Radio Oasis show ranks Seeker After Patterns #10 on their Top 20 for July 2011 list.
Echoes (NPR syndicated radio show on 130 stations in the US) played "Seeker After Patterns" from Seeker After Patterns on their July 27, 2011 program "1130C", July 18, 2011 (and July 23/24, 2011 weekend) program "1129A", July 13, 2011 program "1128C" and July 7, 2011 program "1127D". Echoes lists the album at #24 for July.
WVKR 91.3FM Secret Music show in Poughkeepsie, NY played "L'Ascension" on July 24, 2011, "Sensitive Chaos" on July 10, 2011, and "A Piece of Stars" on July 3, 2011. Seeker After Patterns listed as #9 on July 2011 Top-20 report.
WDIY 88.1FM Galactic Travels show in Bethlehem, PA played "L'Ascension" on July 21, 2011 and the title track from Seeker After Patterns on June 9, 2011. The album was Top-20 for Galactic Travels for July 2011, and #16 for June 2011.
#29 Album and #6 Song on the Zone Music Reporter Playlist Spin Count for June 2011.
Radio Despi 107.1 FM La Otra Orilla show in Barcelona, Spain played "Seeker After Patterns" on June 27, 2011.
WPNE 89.3FM/WHND 89.7FM At The Edge show in Green Bay/Sister Bay, WI played "Seeker After Patterns," "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire," "A Piece of Stars," "L'Ascension," and "Sensitive Chaos" on June 27, 2011. The album is ranked #6 on the Top 20 for June 2011 and #18 for July 2011.
WTUL 91.5FM Cheezmuzik show in New Orleans, LA played "Psychic Twins of Gemini" on June 26, 2011, and the title track from Seeker After Patterns on June 19, 2011.
OneWorldRadio.org.uk in the UK added Seeker After Patterns to their playlist on June 22, 2011.
WRSU 88.7FM in New Brunswick, NJ added Seeker After Patterns to their playlist.
Hearts of Space (NPR syndicated radio show on 200+ stations in the US) played "L'Ascension" from Seeker After Patterns on their week of June 17, 2011 program "Blue Sky Blue".
AstreauxWorld.com played the songs "L'Ascension"and "A Piece of Stars" from Seeker After Patterns on June 13, 2011 and is now in rotation.
StillStream.com Zen Caffeine show played the album Seeker After Patterns on June 11, 2011 and is now in current rotation.
WMLB 1690AM What's The Frequency, Georgia show in Atlanta, GA played the title track from Seeker After Patterns on June 10, 2011.
John Shanahan, Hypnagogue Reviews Podcast June 3, 2011: "A Piece of Stars" is featured in the Hypnagogue Reviews podcast #55: http://hypnagoguepodcast.blogspot.com/2011/06/hypnagogue-podcast-55.html
John Shanahan, September 6, 2011, Hypnagogue Reviews Blog
Jim Combs is back in his Sensitive Chaos guise, quite intent on fully captivating you with a mix of uptempo electronica, world-fusion accents and lush ambient spaces. Seeker After Patterns is filled with deft switches of identity that showcase Combs’ range of expression. He also pulls in contributions from a handful of electronic/ambient heavy hitters. As always, Brian Good is on hand with his electronic wind instrument (EWI) and saxophone, lending sweet lines that still pull up embedded memories of Shadowfax every time I hear him play. Good’s sax absolutely flies in the opening/title track, breathing swirly smooth-jazz grooves over Combs’ right-angle sequencers. (The disc also contains two shorter radio edits of this track, the second of which puts Good right in the forefront from the start.) On “A Piece of Stars,” one of several live tracks, Combs is abetted by veterans Tony Gerber, Paul Vnuk Jr. and Christian Birk. This improvised track is a twisting road of silken sound; Vnuk snaps out rhythms on electronic percussion and Gerber spins his own airy EWI web while Combs and Birk handle synth duty. Simply stunning, with touches of exotic romance. On “Simon Stilites Dreams of Rain,” Otso Pakarinen co-pilots with Combs on electronics while John McNicholas unleashes a psychedelic mind-melt on guitar. McNicholas’ playing could liquify your brain at 50 paces as he grinds away over the pulses and flows beneath him. Combs himself goes wonderfully ballistic with the remastering of “Sensitive Chaos,” originally recorded in the mid-80s. Here he piles four tracks of bass, 12-string guitar and drum machine into a mad tangle that comes to sound like Hell’s own dulcimer, played at speed over a casually funky bass line. Can’t get enough of this one. Combs’ solo work on Seeker…. is also superb. “L’Ascension,” played on a Roland JD-800 worked through a looper, is a hushed and melancholic piece with a story to tell. “Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire” is a straight-up drone-based floater, waving slowly through the air and shifting form in its own good time.
Seeker After Patterns is a true look at how diverse and talented a musician Combs is. On his own, he can churn playful electronics like “Psychic Twins of Gemini,” which is just plain fun and which reminds me of my favorite Sensitive Chaos track, “Nightshift at the Baby Mecha Nursery” from Leak, or craft ambient flows with a soft hand. He collaborates beautifully and is obviously very much in his element in a live setting. Outside of all that, Seeker After Patterns is just a great listen that stands up to repeat plays thanks to its variety and quality. Which is why it’s a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.
Kim Ware, August 1, 2011, Pretty New Songs Blog
Sensitive Chaos is the brainchild of Jim Combs, who also plays keys in The Good Graces. The best, most accurate review I can give of Jim’s record is what I told him after the first time I heard it. I was driving to my friend Nina’s while listening to it. And I got lost. Three times. Not because I didn’t know where she lived, but because I was that lost in the music. Hypnotic, atmospheric, and very relaxing, it’s the perfect soundtrack to chilling out after a hot day. Or, driving around aimlessly.
Sylvain Lupari, Synths&Sequences Blog, July 19, 2011
Sensitive Chaos is the musical project of the multi-instrumentalist Jim Combs who lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area. Seeker After Patterns is his 4th album, an album which navigates between delicate, very Southern rhythms, with a little tribal touch, and ambient structures. Rhythms are mainly minimalist grafted to a palette of very heterogeneous tones, giving to Seeker After Patterns a rich musicality which pokes through in every listening.
The discreet hopping chords which introduce the title-track, "Seeker After Patterns", are fast harpooned by bass notes which juxtapose a slightly zigzagging rhythmic approach. A metallic synth with hedging chords is joining this rhythmic while dropping some fluttering pads to give "Seeker After Patterns" a strange harmonious envelope wrapped up by silky synth lines and twinkling electric piano notes. This jerky rhythm which livens up "Seeker After Patterns" evolves by following its minimalist cycle to which is added diverse instruments as the suave and melancholic saxophone of Brian Good which precedes a very ambient moment where electric piano notes dance in a mellotron mist before that the rhythm, which moves stealthily, takes back its tempo with a more incisive approach...
Sylvain Lupari, Guts of Darkness, July 18, 2011
Sensitive Chaos est le projet musical du multi-instrumentaliste Jim Combs qui habite Atlanta en Georgie. Seeker after Patterns est son 4ième album. Un album qui navigue entre de délicats rythmes très sudistes, à saveur quelque peu tribale, et des structures ambiantes. Des rythmes majoritairement minimalistes où se greffe une palette de sonorités très hétéroclites, donnant à Seeker after Patterns une riche musicalité qui attise l’ouïe à chaque écoute. Les discrets accords sautillants qui introduisent la pièce-titre, Seeker after Patterns, sont vite harponnés par des accords de bases qui juxtaposent une approche rythmique légèrement zigzagante. Un synthé nasillard aux accords louvoyant se greffe à cette rythmique tout en y échappant quelques nappes voltigeuses afin de donner à Seeker after Patterns une étrange enveloppe harmonieuse emmitouflée par de soyeuses lignes de synthé et de scintillants accords de piano électriques. Ce rythme saccadé qui anime Seeker after Patterns évolue en suivant son cycle minimaliste auquel s’ajoute divers instruments comme le suave et mélancolique saxophone de Brian Good qui précède un moment très ambiant où accords de piano électriques dansent dans une brume mellotronnée avant que le rythme, qui avance comme de furtifs pas de loups, ne reprenne son tempo avec une approche plus incisive. Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire est un doux titre planant aux fines oscillations qui volent dans de délicates boucles échoïques aux subtiles et différentes variations. A Piece of Stars suit avec de délicats arpèges sautillant sur une ligne de synthé binaire, dont une qui échappe un suave souffle continue alors que l’autre lance des oscillations un brin menaçant. C’est un très beau titre avec une délicate approche tribale avec ses tam-tams et ses souffles amérindiens qui évoluent sur une structure minimaliste où les percussions dansent avec ses arpèges légèrement spasmodiques, de par leur tempo nerveux, sur de suaves souffles de synthé giratoires et des instruments qui façonnent les mouvements des vents (EWI)...
Jeff Clark, June 2011, Stomp and Stammer Magazine
A more atmospheric vein of electronic music is created by Sensitive Chaos, the brand name under which Atlanta composer Jim Combs and select fellow tech-heads operate. Combs' latest CD, Seeker After Patterns, takes the listener on a journey through the caress of bliss, with eight longish instrumental pieces (and two additional edits of the title track) that range in design from the coldly intricate to the warmly spacious. Several of the tracks were recorded during live performances at Kavarna and Aurora Coffee, and one recording – a track actually called "Sensitive Chaos," after which, one assumes, this group is named – dates from the mid-80s.
ABOUT THE SONGS
The title track “Seeker After Patterns” was originally composed for and performed live at Atlanta’s EyeDrum art performance space in April 2009, about three months after the release of the Emerging Transparency CD. The version here has an added middle section, and features another in a long line of wonderful signature soprano saxophone solos by Brian Good.
“This is another one of those homage pieces like the ones on Emerging Transparency, but this time, the inspiration was Jean Michel Jarre. Though it sounds nothing like it, I was definitely influenced by Oxygene (Part IV) with a little Pink Floyd thrown into the middle.”
“Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire” is a drone piece with slow modulations and evolving harmonic repetition.
“A Piece of Stars” is from an improvised performance with Christian Birk (Suicide Lane), Tony Gerber, and Paul Vnuk Jr recorded live at the recent April 30, 2011 City Skies Electronic Music Festival at Kavarna in Decatur, GA. This section of the performance featured Jim’s sequencer work, Christian’s ambient pads and effects, Tony’s lead Electronic Wind Instrument (EWI) melodies and atmospherics, and Paul’s digital percussion.
“L’Ascension” is an excerpt of a January 10, 2009 performance at a City Skies Electronic Music Event at Kavarna. The entire piece was composed using sounds from a Roland JD-800 through a Lexicon Jamman looper, with a JD-800 solo as well. “I liked the way the solo turned out for this one.”
“Sensitive Chaos” is a remixed and re-mastered track originally composed and recorded on 4-track reel-to-reel in the mid-1980s in Brooklyn, NY using a Roland TR- 606 drum machine, a Vox Phantom iV bass, and Takamine 12-string electro-acoustic guitar. Four tracks, four live takes.
“Thoughts of Home in a Sand Storm” is an excerpt of a live performance from May 26, 2007, this time at Aurora Coffee in Atlanta, GA. “I liked this solo, too, even the mistakenly looped first part.”
“Psychic Twins of Gemini” is an excerpt of a live performance from April 10, 2010 at a City Skies Electronic Music Event. “This was one of my first recordings using my Yamaha Tenori-On and the switch-over from my Sequentix P3 sequencer to the Tenori-On had an interesting jump/stutter quality, even though both sequencers were set to the same tempo. Psychic happy twins go to the toy carnival.”
And closing out the album is “Simon Stilites Dreams of Rain (Chaotic Remix)”, a remix of a tune originally done by Tim Walters and Jim Combs as part of their 2005 Phosphene Grid collaboration (http://doubtfulpalace.com/artists/PhospheneGrid/index.html). This remix went back to the original tracks and added new guitar tracks from John McNicholas (The Low Days, The Good Graces, Supervisor of the Loveless Average), synth and sound effects from Finland’s Otso Pakarinen (Ozone Player), and EWI tracks from Brian Good. “I don’t know why, perhaps John’s surf guitar part, but I get this David Crosby If Only I Could Remember My Name/Cowboy Song feel from this track. Throwing together such disparate influences and musical backgrounds yielded a really nice result. It is definitely two steps beyond ambient, however.”
With the exception of his collaborators’ original tracks, sessions for the CD were done at Combs’ Common Sound Studio in Decatur, GA. “I rely upon my custom Sequentix P3 sequencer for creating most of the initial compositions, then record track-by-track into MOTU Digital Performer for arrangements and mixing. The sounds come mostly from my current live rig of a Roland JD-800, Novation SuperNova, Roland JV-1080, and Korg Electribe drum machines, plus my collection of old hardware keyboards like my Yamaha CS-50 and Fender Rhodes. And there’s a few softsynths in the mix, mostly MOTU Electric Keys, Propellerheads Reason, and Korg Analog Legacy.”
ABOUT SENSITIVE CHAOS
Sensitive Chaos, a solo project of Atlanta-based producer and electronic musician Jim Combs, was voted Atlanta's "Best Local Electronic Act" 2007-2008 and Runner- Up in 2009 by readers of Creative Loafing, has received several ASCAPlus awards, and has gotten radio airplay from both US and international public, college, satellite, and internet radio stations.
2009’s Emerging Transparency received national airplay on Public Radio’s Hearts of Space and Echoes syndicated programs.
2006’s Leak was the first album from Sensitive Chaos and was selected as a "Top Visionary Music of 2007" by KKUP 91.5 FM in Cupertino, CA, and as New Age Reporter's "Top 12 Best Ambient/Spacemusic/Electronica Recordings of 2006".