Star Crossed Others is the first release from what I hope will be an ongoing collaboration with Oleg Gaponov and Oleg Tolstolutsky of Rostov-on-Don, Russia. These contemporary songs and meditations on time, memory and loss are flavored with the rich musical traditions of the Cossacks, ranging from straight-ahead folk-rock to exotic sound collages. You can download the album here. The two Olegs are accomplished multi-instrumentalists with rich musical resumes; their current band is Don Romance, a project that sets the lyrics of exiled Cossack poets to new, traditional music.
Sara Ayers: Ambient Collaborations is a compilation of ambient works I've created over the past ten years with stellar musicians from around the world, including Ryuta.K, Falling You, Jeff Sampson, Mindspawn, Nebula Drone and Star Crossed Others. It's available as a free download on Endless Ascent. Sonically, it's all over the map as well, with pieces ranging from wistful, barely-there motifs to dark and wailing walls of sound. This release is a free download as well, although if you enjoy it, you might make a small donation to Nathan, who has been offering free album downloads of unconventional music gems since 2002, to help support his hosting costs.
Kyzyl To Samarkand, a 5-song, 51-minute collaboration with Japanese dark ambient experimentalist Ryuta.K. A year in the making, the music is foreboding, ethereal, disturbing, plaintive and dense; diaphanous vocals float over surreal beds of field recordings, molten noise and nervous guitars, evoking the sound of an ominous journey on a pan-Asian silk road. Also available on CD and via high quality MP3 or FLAC download.
ONE Golden Warrior Prince of Saka – An uneasy balance between lust and anxiety in the face of the unknowable.
TWO Invisible Cities – A sonic journey through an imaginary landscape; as time goes by, one sees the world with new eyes.
THREE Shirley Collins – Dense, dense, dense. A mixture of horror and ecstasy.
FOUR This Is What I Wanted – Dark and foreboding lyrics about disillusionment and alienation, over a gurgling bed of noise. But a little creepier than that sounds.
FIVE Kyzyl To Samarkand – Standing at the edge of vast expanse under darkening skies.
ONE Thrice Thy Heart Shall Broken Be – dark chanting, ringing overtones, and ominous vocal washes combine in a sinister yet sparkling atmosphere.
TWO Not Even All The Stars – a plaintive meditation featuring gossamer vocals.
THREE Thrice Thy Heart … (Sleepwalking Mix) – an alternate treatment of the lead track that evolves into a hypnotic and dreamlike journey.
ONE Adumbratio - a shadow or outline of a figure.
TWO Cruse - a small jar or vessel.
THREE Induration - a hardening process.
FOUR Cumber - to restrain or hold back.
FIVE Motivity - the power or ability to move.
SIX Extravasate - to escape or pour forth.
SEVEN Attrahent - that which attracts.
EIGHT Lucida - the brightest star of a constellation.
ONE Strand of Pearls - a dreamy, elliptical journey into memory.
TWO Dark Dark Empty - a haiku of a recurring dream I had as a child, told by spinning, spiraling voices.
THREE But You Can't - a spare, bittersweet meditation.
FOUR Blood Music - warm noise evolving into chaos.
FIVE Drowning In Light - a waterfall of silvery voices cascading into a deep, bittersweet pool.
SIX Night Hounds - loneliness has a familiar sound, and the hounds will come nipping at your heels.
SEVEN There Is No World Outside - foggy nights, when you can't even see across the road.
EIGHT Klangmoan - as the name implies, enough wailing and clattering to wake the dead...a fever dream from a very faraway land.
NINE Days Go By - and one day you realize it's suddenly several years later...
TEN Interiors - a surreal, rushing cascade of voices, constantly shifting focus and reality.
Figura: The Sara Ayers Remixes: Figura is a trio of electronic musicians from Rostov-on-Don, Russia, who created these richly textured, cross-cultural remixes using my vocal samples. Also available on CD or via high quality MP3 or FLAC download.
ONE Falling Silent features upbeat, percolating percussion and a driving bassline that propels this piece ever forwards -- music for train rides.
TWO Lachrymatory starts with hypnotic, rising spirals of trance-inducing washes followed by an insistent bass line and floating vocals in an unknown, mysterious language.
THREE Nighthounds - East meets West in this cross-cultural gumbo of folk melodies and synthesizer swirls. This is a small symphony that changes mood from fast, driving pipes and drums to slow plaintive spoken word and vocal smears and back again.
FOUR Of The Woods - features a playful piano and angelic vocals, with a fast and syncopated but slightly melancholy feel.
FIVE Winter And The Sound Of Nothing is down tempo music with an attitude -- fresh-sounding, and just a little spooky.
SIX Nico's Dreaming starts with big washes that fill up your ears like the background of a painting. Then melodies start appearing all over the place, floating around each other, lifting you up until you're floating in the clouds, above the world. Dark, dreamy, bittersweet and ultimately transcendent.
Sylvatica: no pop songs here, no story lines, very few lyrics, just dense masses of sounds, mostly vocals. It's like painting with a palette knife, or with a chainsaw. Music for the right-hand side of your brain, music for dreaming, music for nightmares. Also available on CD and via high quality MP3 or FLAC download.
ONE Winter And The Sound Of Nothing - everything in a moment...icestillnessgloatingremorselonelinesssparkle.
TWO Sylvatica - what I know about the forest.
THREE Starless - black seas, logarithms, superstitious sailors.
FOUR Flight - when I was a child, I loved to spin and spin and spin around until I was dizzy and fell down. Now I realize it was all research.
FIVE 21 Years - seven vocal samples, looped to different lengths, play out their destiny against each other. Inspired in part by Brian Eno's "2/1," this was the first piece I completed in this group.
SIX Falling Silent (Crushing Mix) - a study of density, this was my my first Big Guitar song. It's not silent in the least, but whorling, dark, circular guitar so dense you can almost mold the sound in your hands.
SEVEN Are You Coming Home? crush the bones, burn the body. A collage of sounds that weave in and around each other, all relating to a central theme of disenchantment and alientation. But a little more upbeat than that sounds.
EIGHT Lachrymatory - a lachrymatory is a narrow-necked vessel found in sepulchers of the ancient Greeks and Romans containing the tears of the deceased person's friends. This is the sound of loss.
TEN Dream of Noise - the ecstatic rush of warm noise...
ELEVEN Of The Woods - languidness...this piece always reminds me of sleeping in the sun.
The Voices series was originally about building dense masses of harmonies, but I kept getting bogged down writing the lyrics that all those voices would sing. Then I heard The Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir and realized one of the things I loved most about them was the fact that I have absolutely no idea what they're singing about. It forces you to consider their voices as just instruments working together, undistracted by content, so that you focus on the timbre and emotional coloring instead of the meaning of the lyrics. Available on CD.
As a series of experiments, I began recording vocals singing nonsense syllables. I also grabbed a bunch of previously unworkable tracks and played them backwards, listening to my voice singing now unrecognizable lyrics. What I ended up with are a group of vocal sketches that I used to tie the songs together and lead the listener on an emotional journey, from premonition to loss to acceptance.
There are traditional "song-like" songs on this CD, in fact, they comprise the bulk of the music. I recorded myself playing guitar for the first time and there are some electronic pieces as well.
ONE I Once Remembered Everything - full of bewildered regret, capturing a single moment when I realized that I could no longer remember the face of someone I had once loved.
TWO Voices 9
THREE A Man Of Words is based on a rather gruesome nursery rhyme I found in Bartlett's Quotations, ending with the refrain "you're dead and dead and dead, indeed."
FOUR Voices 10
FIVE The Choosing - every moment is a choice.
SIX Voices 8
SEVEN Every Day We Die A Little - a sound sculpture -- the sound of a memory of a dream.
EIGHT The Waiting Room - living dangerously and and being very, very lucky.
NINE Voices 4
ELEVEN Time and Tears
TWELVE The Lighthouse - a stream of consciousness exploration of loneliness and growing old alone.
THIRTEEN Voices 6
FOURTEEN Things Change - the world changes in a heartbeat.
FIFTEEN Voices 7
SIXTEEN Voices 2
SEVENTEEN I Once Remembered Everything (performed by The Reno Brothers)
Collaborations with Mindspawn, a dark ambient magician:
Fog - an atmospheric excursion into the unseen.
Clouds #1 - a gorgeous, hopeful, slightly hallucinagenic view of the clouds that watch over us.
Clouds #2 - dark excusion into a astronomical nebula.
Collaboration with Nebula Drone, a trio from Cologne, Germany.
Excerpt from EMIL-Live-03/15/2003 - this was a live improvisation that used samples from "Drowning in Light." Here's what Guido Kopp said "A lot of people told me that they had have a curious feeling listening to these sounds - we call it in German Kalt 'den Rücken runterlaufen' -- that means 'a cold shower running down the back.' It is hard to describe. It was a very emotional moment."
Blood Music - live at the Larkin, April 28, 2002.
What is the Past But a Dream of the Future? In November, 2005, I participated in the Edison Groove XChange at the Schenectady Museum. During this exploration of music and technology, Peter Dilg recorded my music on wax cylinder. The following track is (keep up with me here...) an mp3 of a CD track of a digital recording of a wax recording of me singing live and processing my vocals through a laptop and a PA. Check out the noise made by that rotating cylinder.
There are many mp3 files on this page, but due to server space limitations, most of them are fairly low bitrate files.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Click on the logo above for more information.
Metroland (July 21, 2005)
BEST AMBIENT MUSICIAN, 2005:
Imagine a dark hollow in the woods. Detritus suggests that other people might have been there recently, and that their intentions might have been less than wholesome. You suspect they may be returning soon. The air is thick and humid, and large, unseen insects buzz in the canopy. You look to the ancient trees, and are struck by their grandeur and beauty. Then, in the corner of your eye, you see something rushing at you from the bushes. God will choose to soundtrack this moment in your life with a Sara Ayers CD..