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Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Nicsperiment's Work Listening Station: Volume 1


I've been back behind a desk for almost six months now, enjoying my job, and my work environment. Having my own office again is also great, as I can listen to tunes to help hone my focus during the workday. I am rediscovering the great pleasure of Youtube discoveries. Yes, that's right, I am discovering discoveries. I'd like to post my favorite ones of the week, just as much to help me remember them, as showcase them to others. However, I first feel like I have to go back to some earlier finds, stuff I found before I had the idea for this post. Also, I feel like saying that I am going to post this every week is putting pressure on myself that is not necessary. How about, "I'll post one of these whenever it's apt?" Best to start with something I have been listening to almost daily.
At three hours, "Nordic Ambient Music," compiled by a Youtube member who goes by the name of "moonasha," is a great work mix. It can fill out a morning, or the post-lunch afternoon block perfectly.
The playlist is composed of four artists, Ulf Söderberg, Sephiroth (Söderberg's older act), Empyrium, and Tenhi. The playlist begins with Söderberg's work, which mainly consists of deep ambient tones punctuated by cathartic spiritual chants and tribal percussion, best exemplified by "I Vargamens Tid" at about the 27 minute mark. Another highlight is "det vakande tinget i nordväst," which changes the mood with a sort of Celtic, victorious homecoming-type flavor. This is followed by a short, Middle-Eastern flavored fast-paced sort of segue track that leads into the Sephiroth pieces.
Sephiroth is far darker, features heavier ambient tones and chanting, and longer track lengths. The high-water mark for me comes 54 minutes in, on "Now Night Her Course Began," a dark-river, slow-moving, but unyielding and beautiful. From this point, "moonasha" alternates between more meditative Söderberg and Sephiroth pieces, perfect for aiding focus on any task. When the weight of these sounds become nearly too much to bear, Empyrium arrives at the 2:20:00 mark. Empyrium's work consists of relaxed, minimalistic, guitar-based pieces that bring a more Western feel(I mean old, cowboy Western, not "America and Europe" Western), like waltzing into a lazy, lonely town in the middle of the desert. Tenhi follows suit with similar pieces, giving the feeling of a period of rest after a long, illuminating, yet tiring journey.
These tracks bring "Nordic Ambient Music" to its closing track, an encore by Ulf Söderberg that features some lovely chants, bringing to mind completion, and yet a desire to continue onward.
I don't know who this "moonasha" is, but they have compiled a transcendent musical experience. Thanks.
POSTSCRIPT:
Due to copyright infringement arguments by some of the artists featured near the end of the playlist, the list was taken down. Moonasha has re-uploaded the list with the offended parties removed, but this unfortunately means that the restful, guitar-based pieces that give the mix such a delightful emotional arc are gone, and that "Nordic Ambient Music" ends in darkness. Here is the re-uploaded mix. The old mix still has a tracklisting, if you'd like to attempt to recreate it for yourself.

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