In refining the schtick for Pattern Repeat I listened to a lot of what could be termed ‘ambient motorik’, a not-quite-house-not-quite-ambient chugging music, zipping along an imaginary autobahn, at night of course, illuminated by neon blips and spacey bleeps, the synthetic rush providing a sensation of forward motion. Cast back to the likes of Neu!, Harmonia, Michael Rother et al and the original sense of the motorik, even Kraftwerk’s iconic Autobahn, and perhaps more so to the original NY Minimalists – Riley especially but early Glass too, repeated arpeggios evoking endless space and sense of movement. Add in the recent rediscovery of new age synths, the bucolic edges of low-fi industrial music, traces of synthetic Balearic disco, Patrick Cowley soundtracks … No shortage of early versions to explore.
In the present day there’s masses of stuff in this mould, too much perhaps, but also too much of quality to write off completely. Stretching from the new new age synth and guitar dudes of LA and beyond, of which there are very many, to the possibly kookier ends in Europe and elsewhere … Again, nothing really new here, and no need to lasso all this together aside from the fact that there is much fun to be had zinging across these sounds, stringing mixes together taking in these tangents. Here’s a few recent highlights:
From recent Opal Tapes collection (May 2014), Holvr’s “Space Weight” was a highlight and perfectly representative, acid for beanbags:
Postmodern Autobahn update:
Drifting into actual house rhythms but hardly dance music, everything Steve Moore does is smooth gold:
Getting more bucolic, Vermont is exemplary, and hopefully influential on future Pop Ambient collections:
Jurgen Muller - Science of the Sea – A homage/pastiche of an imaginary soundtrack to a 1970s Jacques Costeau figure, said to be the work of LA’s Norm Chambers…
… aka Panabrite, which his Sub Acquatic Meditations removes any doubt:
Much great stuff in this realm can be found on house and techno B-sides and album fillers, such as this:
… And the godfather of techno b-side motorik synthscapes:
And back further, this Michael Rother track is superb:
The net is wide but such beautiful music all this, and masses to explore.