Tuesday, December 10, 2013

guest mix: silas

Welcome to another episode of Spaceman's Transmissions with a requested mix from SILAS. I've had the extreme fortune of letting this mix permeate my mind for quite some time now and have picked up on the subtle nuances that flow between sections (although there are realistically no 'sections'; the whole mix is a consistent journey of seamless flow). What we are presented with is a rich wealth of soundscapes, moods, and colors that are contemplative and cerebral. As much as I think most ambient mixes can be a passage into the subconscious depths of slumber, this mix is one that must be taken in while fully attentive of its intensity and directional flow. If Pink Floyd did an ambient-ish concept album, it would sound like this.

Silas has managed to define, establish, and destroy the fine boundaries of music that encompass ambient elements, and has created cinematic brain food. He's rewritten ambient structure in his own majestic style, and weaved such an amazing tapestry balancing depth with sound. His use of darker themes and degraded colors meld with vinyl flavors. When a presentation like this comes along, I can't help but feel as though it's a very long time in the making (edit: I was told it was 5 or 6 months in the making, ouch!). It definitely makes it difficult to keep up with the imaginative minds of mix gurus like Silas. Much repeated listenings on this to be had, for sure.

Silas was initially inspired by Detroit techno (the disputed birthplace) and electronic music to develop his mixing obsession in 1998 while residing in Somerset. Beginning with artists from such labels as NINJATUNE, MO WAX, and WARP, Silas' tastes evolved to include artists like The Future Sounds Of London and Boards Of Canada (I have everything from them). Eventually, Silas moved to Bristol to dig on the scene while DJ'ing and started discover and taking more atmospheric soundscapes of artists like Aphex Twin, Helios, and Jon Hopkins. Eventually, the sounds of The Cinematic Orchestra (one of my top five), Mogwai, and Sigur Ros (again, my top five) began spark his creative mind to explore that side of his mixing palette, and he created NORTH STREET. With the snowball rolling, he began to create mixes with sounds of his cherished sonic past along with current favorites like Burial, Mogwai, To The Future, Wisp, and Sigur Ros. 

Breathwork is a culmination of classical, electronic, field recordings, ambient, dark/light elements, and film scores (which Silas finds very inspirational). Stripped down piano passages are also a listening obsession of his, and you'll hear appropriately timed pieces throughout the mix. Although there are 31 tracks listed, the number is actually around 45 or so. It all came down to getting good transitions, and realizing the concept perfectly constructed in his head (read the last sentence of the first paragraph again). This all started out as a mix that was supposed to be for personal use only, and through encouragement from a few close friends (who were loaned mix), we are blessed with an unreal journey of deep and consistent themes within a blissful aural experience. It goes without saying, but this is Silas' favorite mix thus far.

So, now that I'm shutting my trap, I'll let the music do the talking. Silas, in my opinion, is obviously proven to have a meticulous ear and mind for dreaming such an epic sonic journey. I'm really blown away to have been given the chance to share this, and I'm looking forward to the new year with many more carefully crafted offerings. Thank, Silas! Hear more creations HERE.

Turn on, tune in, sleep...


  • This Messiah Needs Watching - Mogwai
  • Ekki Múkk - Sigur Ros
  • Even Today - Helios
  • Sileo - Rhian Sheehan
  • Nanu 2 - Aphex Twin
  • First Watch - King Creosote & Jon Hopkins
  • Lullaby Machine - Rhian Sheehan
  • Straumnes - Sigur Ros
  • Modern Driveway(Jon Hopkins Remix)/Minnesota WI - Luke Abbott/Bon Iver
  • Reprise/Gemini/Collapse/Telepath - This Will Destroy You/ Boards Of Canada
  • Forgive - Burial
  • Symbol 3.3 - Sam KDC
  • Eg Anda - Sigur Ros
  • Unknown - Unknown
  • In Everything Was Given - Helios
  • The Haunted Ocean 1 - Max Richter
  • The Wider Sun - Jon Hopkins
  • Stolen Child - Volor Flex
  • Brennisteinn - Sigur Ros
  • Abandon Window - Jon Hopkins
  • Sundown - Boards of Canada
  • Recognition - Synkro
  • Background/Four Walls/Be True(Burial Remix)/Loner/Shell Of Light - Bering Strait/Massive Attack vs. Burial/Burial/Commix
  • The Wind Sings - Goldmund
  • Green Withins Brook - Richard Skelton
  • Remaindered/I Miss You - Richard Skelton/Synkro
  • First Dream Called Ocean/Photosynthesis - Helios/The Future Sound of London
  • Martin David - Matteo Zingales
  • Immunity - Jon Hopkins
  • Varúð - Sigur Ros
  • Are You Listening, Clark? - Hans Zimmer

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