Dust Bowl Faeries is an avant-garde, electro-acoustic dark folk trio with a gypsy-punk flair. Accordion, lapsteel guitar, three-part vocal harmonies, singing saw, ukulele and keyboards combine to create their unique, other-worldly music. Ryder Cooley, Sara Ayers and Karen Cole are the musical faeries of this all-lady band. Hazel, a taxidermy sheep, joins the Dust Bowl Faeries as a mascot/spirit animal and occasional go-go dancer.
My adventures with Ryder Cooley continue in Dust Bowl Faeries, with performances scheduled this fall for Troy, Albany, North Adams and Brooklyn. See upcoming shows here.
It's been a while, eh? I hope you're doing well. I'm working on new music and hope to have something for you soon. Meanwhile, here's two quick things:
First, a number of works in my back catalog have found a permanent home at the Internet Archive and are now available for free download.
Second, I'm playing keyboards and singing some backing vocals with Ryder Cooley this Friday, March 15 at Club Helsinki in Hudson, NY. The show start at 8pm and tickets are $10.00. Come on out if you're nearby and so inclined.
This special evening, hosted by Ryder Cooley, will feature a bevy of performers, including Ryder Cooley, Lady Moon and Pocatello.
Ryder Cooley is an inter-disciplinary artist, musician and performer. Weaving together chimeric visions with songs and projections, her work reveals a terrain of lost dreams and phantom memories. Most recently, Ryder has been developing Animalia/XMALIA, a musical performance series about human-animal relations and extinction. She is currently collaborating with Hazel, a taxidermy sheep. Together they will serenade you on accordion, ukulele and singing saw.
Lady Moon, also known as Ngonda Badila, is a singer/songwriter, performing artist and auto-harpist who conveys the sound of beauty and the words of life to inspire and entertain. Born in Paris and raised in a performing arts theater company called Diata Diata International Folkloric Theater, founded by her parents Andre and Pamela Badila, Ngonda is the founder of several ensembles including Lady Moon and the Eclipse, and she collaborates with many music groups including Black N Gold, Loumingou Night and Male Room.
Pocatello is Liv Carrow, Baby Willis & Sasha Pearl, an old timey foot stomping rag tag lady farm band out of Germantown, NY. They will entertain you with songs on banjo, mandolin and acoustic guitar.
As some of you may already know, I've been preoccupied with the Nippertown launch this year, so I haven't had much time to work on music. I'm happy to announce, however, that two different music projects have come to fruition, and I now can offer some free album downloads for your listening pleasure.
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.
I'm also pleased to announce that Nathan Larson's Endless Ascent netlabel has released Sara Ayers: Ambient Collaborations, 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. 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.
Aaaaaannnd, a special bonus: Last year, I released Kyzyl to Samarkand, a collaboration with Japanese dark ambient experimentalist Ryuta.K. Now Ryu and I have agreed to offer it as a free download. The music of this 51-minute, 5-song project is foreboding, ethereal, plaintive and dense; diaphanous vocals float over surreal beds of field recordings, molten noise and nervous guitars, evoking the sound of an ominous yet ecstatic journey on a pan-Asian silk road.
I hope you enjoy the music. Please let me know what you think, and best wishes for a happy, healthy and creative New Year.
I'm on a roll, compilation-wise.
La Tache Politique Actuelle (The Real Political Task) is a track I created for the compilation CD Un Nuit Dystopia, an homage to French philosopher/social critic Michel Foucault, produced by Japanese experimental musician Henry Gwiazda, Ryuta.K, Ergo phizmiz, Makryham, Bunk Data, Kol Sonzlgn.
Speaking of downloads and compilations, I've just released Organica, a nine-track, 57-minute compilation of some of my best work, including a new, unreleased piece called The Bridge to the Palace. It's available (download only) from: iTunes, Rhapsody and eMusic.
Here's the track listing:
1. Starless (from Sylvatiaca)
2. Cumber (from A Million Stories)
3. Winter and the Sound of Nothing (from Sylvatica)
4. Lachryamtory (from Sylvatica)
5. The Bridge to the Palace (new track)
6. Nico's Dreaming (from Sara Ayers: The Figura Remixes)
8. Strand of Pearls (from Interiors)
9. Interiors (from Interiors)
Big Ears Festival
Bob Deck sent word of the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee on Feburary 6-8, 2009. They've got a monster lineup of musicians performing; they are "presenting a variety of adventurous, exploratory concerts and performances, installations, discussions, and interactive experiences by artists possessed of singular and unique visions that stand apart from the mainstream. Confirmed artists performing over the course of the weekend are Phillip Glass, Antony and The Johnsons, Fennesz, Matmos, Michael Gira (Angels of Light/Swans), The Necks, Jon Hassell + Maarifa Street, Pauline Oliveros, Negativland and many more to be announced.
"The event will occur in multiple venues located within walking distance of one another throughout downtown Knoxville. In addition there will be lectures, art installations, films and much more. "
For more info, visit their website.
I'm on two different compilations out this week:
Hypnos Recordings, probably the best known ambient label in the world, has just released Echoes of Polyhymnia, an all-female compilation which includes a track of mine entitled "There Was No More Time." The CD was curated by ambient musician (and Hypnos manager) Lena Griffin and runs the gamut from pretty and ethereal to dark and spooky. Listen for yourself - it's available on the Hypnos website.
Track listing with mp3 sample clips:
A-Frame Media, a UK electronica label, has released Framework, an international down-tempo electronica compilation CD that includes a track by The Glimmer Room called "Don't Tempt Me" that used some of my vocal samples. They did an amazing job on it and the entire CD is an introspective, melancholic mix of synthpop reminiscent of the early eighties yet very modern-sounding.
You can read about it and listen to mp3 samples on the A-Frame website.
I'm very pleased to announce Kyzyl To Samarkand, a 5-song, 51 minute CD 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.
Ryuta.K (oVdk & Bunk Data, Overdose Kunst, Ryu) is based in Tokyo and Chiba, Japan. He creates electronic and electro-acoustic sonic textures that he describes as “post sampling kinetic non-hierarchical nonlinear non-equilibrium forth world muziq!"
Working with him has been challenging and inspiring. I hope you like what we've come up with.
If you're a fan of Edgar Allen Poe, or even if you're not, check out this new film adaptation of The Raven that uses my music. Mejpye's visuals and Urgelt's narration are both first rate, and it all comes together in a delightfully creepy little work.
I'll be performing with The Axe Iron Suns, along with The Beige Channel and Twisted Pair, at this night of bold live music and trippy, eye-popping projected visuals.
It's free and open to the public, so I hope you'll brave the cold and join us for a night of dreamlike, hallucinatory and surreal sound and vision.
Friday, January 25, 2008, 7:00pm
Chapel + Cultural Center at Rensselaer
2125 Burdett Avenue, Troy, NY
The Beige Channel creates sound art from outmoded, obsolete, unimportant and even undesirable sound sources, framing them within compositions to draw attention to the inherent characteristics of sounds that may be heard but are usually not listened to. Working with the listener as a collaborator, this focus on the overlooked and the secondary elevates it to a level where it may be examined and celebrated.
Twisted Pair acquired their notoriety as Albany's premiere visual team in the area's burgeoning electronic dance scene. Their show is a cutting-edge presentation consisting of video sampling and looping, audioreactive psychedelia and 3-D imagery, running the gamut from raves to progressive hip-hop to ambient and experimental performances.
Axe Iron Suns boldly mix musical conventions of improvisation, song form, groove, sampling, music for film and visual media with modern studio wizardry to produce a unique psychedelic fusion of avant-rock-improv-tribal-jazz that varies from quiet meditation to a joyous cacophony of sound.
The New Shiny Things is an electronica band I started with the late Bill Harrigan waaaay back in the early eighties. We released two songs, "Changing Colors" and "Breadlines and Dissidence" as a single in 1982. It's long been out of print, but it will be re-released as a vinyl-only single (with an additional bonus track by Billy's later band, Operation Pluto) on Monday by Anna Logue Records:
I'll be appearing with The Axe Iron Suns on Performance Place, radio station WAMC's live musical performance program, Thursday, January 3rd, 2008 from 11:23am-Noon.
As part of Loop Sanctuary: Dreaming A New Real, an art and performance series I'm curating that runs through the month of January, I'll be performing with The Axe Iron Suns, along with The Beige Channel and Twisted Pair, at this night of bold live music and trippy, eye-popping projected visuals. Come on down and wig out with us:
Friday, January 25, 2008, 7:00pm
Chapel + Cultural Center in Troy, NY
2125 Burdett Avenue, Troy, NY
I'm in a band.
We're playing a gig next week.
And no one's more surprised than me.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
197 River St., Troy, NY
Al Kash drums
Sean Mack - bass
Terry Plunkett - guitar
Steve Lynch - saxophone
Sara Ayers - voice/processing
We will play a unique psychedelic fusion of avant-rock-improv-tribal-jazz, including selections from their recently released CD, Lunaberry Soup, at the River Street Beat Shop in Troy, New York, on Saturday, July 28 at 2:00 pm. Admission is free.
And if its not raining, you can expect to hear our hypnotic, experimental grooves reverberating down River Street as they play out on the sidewalk in front of the store. Come on down to River Street and enjoy the scene!
Filmmaker Jeff Knight has created a 40-minute art film based on my CD, A Million Stories. It's an abstract, experimental look at the human mind and spirit. And it's a puzzle - you really have to watch it a few times before the narrative becomes clear. You can see the trailer here: Knight Owl Entertainment
Jeff wrote it, directed it, shot it and edited it. We still haven't figured out where and when we're going to premiere it. I'll keep you posted on that.
Speaking of A Million Stories, I finally got the rest of the mp3 files posted on the web site. They're fairly low resolution, to save some server space, but they give you a good idea of what the CD sounds like.
DrewK, whom I met (virtually) way back in the Mp3.com days, has created a remix based on samples from my web site. Trapped In Ayer is a hypnotic, beat-filled excursion through the land of dreams. You can download it here: Drewk.org
As I teased in the last newsletter, Embracing The Glass vocalist Jeff Sampson and I have collaborated on a three-song CD, Thrice Thy Heart Shall Broken Be, eighteen minutes of pure vocal bliss. It's available in CD format or via download.
Here’s the track listing:
1. Thrice Thy Heart Shall Broken Be dark chanting, ringing overtones, and ominous vocal washes combine in a sinister yet sparkling atmosphere.
2. Not Even All The Stars a plaintive meditation featuring gossamer vocals.
3. Thrice Thy Heart … (Sleepwalking Mix) an alternate treatment of the lead track that evolves into a hypnotic and dreamlike journey.
Please note: I got Jeff’s website wrong in the last newsletter.
Last November, I participated in the Edison Groove Xchange at the Schenectady Museum, a one-day celebration of creativity and technology. My performance was recorded on wax cylinders. I’ve posted a short piece, entitled “What is the Past But a Dream of the Future?”
The absurd use of technology makes me grin uncontrollably; what you’ll be listening to is (keep up with me here...) an mp3 file of a CD track of a digital recording of a wax cylinder recording of me singing live and processing my vocals through a laptop and a PA. Check out the noise made by that rotating cylinder.
Happy anniversary! It's been almost a year since I sent one of these... chatty little thing, aren’t I? I'm in grad school right now, learning how to write papers summarizing Big Thoughts (so you'd think writing a summarizing email would be second nature by now, wouldn't you? Yeah, me too... sad how that works out.) But I am still working on music, so here's the news...
3 Pin Recordings has just released “Electricity Is Your Friend,” a multimedia compilation featuring an exclusive track of mine, “Leaving the Land of Before.” Here is an excerpt of their official announcement:
Electricity is Your Friend is comprised of 16 tracks of musical pleasure and 4 of visual entertainment in the shape of videos and short films (accessible on the CD Rom part of the disc.) It features the cream of the international experimental and underground music scene, crossing all genres, but more often than not defying genre altogether.
The release is strictly limited to 300 copies, with a full-colour 16 page booklet. The CD is housed in a trigger case and comes in an exquisite printed cloth bag that is hand stitched by 3pin elves who have been whipped into shape with polystyrene.
A couple of notes: they’re not kidding about “genre-defying:. This is one of my favorite sorts of compilations: stylistically it’s all over the map, a real ear-cleaning, mind-expanding, eye-opening sort of CD. And the packaging IS exquisite. Check out the 3-Pin website for sound clips, additional information and other releases.
Some of my music was featured in Euthyphro’s Dilemma, a riveting feature-length psychological thriller by Jeff Knight’s Knight Owl Entertainment, which has been picked up for worldwide distribution by Imaginites. The amazing thing is that he made this engrossing, professional film with absolutely no budget to speak of, and based on how well it turned out, he's in negotiations with Big Financial People for some new big budget projects. You can see film clips and find out more at www.knightowlentertainment.com
Jeff Sampson is the vocal genius behind Akrude, Embracing The Glass, SanRenSei, Woosh and Tsuru as well as his own solo work.
He and I have collaborated on a 3-song EP.
It’s comprised entirely of vocals.
We’re in talks with a high-profile boutique label to release it.
And that’s all I’m going to say about it right now.
As embarrassing at it might be, I must own up to the fact that in an anti-spam frenzy I accidentally broke my website contact form for a few months. If you wrote to me and didn't hear back, it wasn't because I don't like you, just that sometimes I’m completely clueless - please resend your missive.
Sunday, November 6, 2005
15 Nott Terrace Heights
Suzanne Thorpe has tempted me out of temporary retirement with the promise of recording my music on wax cylinder, a technology I haven't seen since I was a child.
I will be participating in Groove Xchange, the first in a series of related projects under the umbrella of the Edison Media Project, which celebrates the creativity and innovation of the region, from Thomas Edison to today's scholars and inventors. If you've never heard a wax cylinder recording, come on out and coo at the technology.
12:45-1:15 The League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots' GuitarBots perform; recorded on wax cylinder by Peter Dilg
12:45-3:00 Drop-in, hands-on activities for families
1:15-1:45 Collecting Sound: a lecture by Joseph and Raeann Rieping
1:30-3:15 Sara Ayers performs and the community gets vocal; recorded on wax cylinder by Peter Dilg
3:45-4:30 Bob Gluck performs on electronically expanded instruments; recorded on wax cylinder by Peter Dilg
There are a million stories, and just one.
I'm very pleased to announce the release of my new CD, A Million Stories. It's 38 minutes of everchanging dark and bright voicescapes. Hear for yourself: a new download of an excerpt entitled "Cumber" is available on my download page.(More downloads are on the way.)
And, Sylvatica is back in stock. It's now being offered as a regularly manufacturedCD with a handmade, limited-edition cover, still only $10.00
Sara Ayers Dennis Herbert, Michael Eck, G. C. Haymes
August 3-20, 2005
Reception: Thursday August 4, 4-8 pm
292 Lark St., Albany, NY 12201
My new CD, A Million Stories, is almost finished (big exhalation of breath); I just have to finish the CD cover art. I'm planning a June release.
It's a cross between Are You Coming Home (from Sylvatica) and Interiors (the title track of Interiors) -- a 38 minutes sound collage alternating between despair and exhilaration. This one's more on the experimental side, and not so pretty as some of my earlier works. Or you could think of it as a greatest hits package, with all the self-sampling I did.
If you'd like to hear a preview, you can download "Induration" from my download page. More details (and downloads) as the release date approaches.
A sample from Everyday We Die A Little (Voices CD) appears on the new Chemical Brothers' album, Push The Button.
A small segment of Soundtrack to Angel #3 Sylvatica CD) was used on VH1's Behind The Music - Britney Spears (yeah, it seems a little surreal to me, too).
Saturday, November 20
8:30 pm / Free / All Ages
The Chapel and Cultural Center at Rensselaer
2125 Burdett Avenue
Troy, NY 12180
This is also the closing reception for the Loop Santuary art show, which includes dreamlike, hallucinatory and surreal works by Robert Gullie, Dana Rudolph and Sergio Sericolo.
Angel #3, (www.gchaymes.com/angel3.php) a sculpture by G. C. Haymes that I created the sound for (an excerpt is on Sylvatica) will be on display for one night only at:
The River Street Art Show
444 River Street
Troy, New York
5-11 pm Friday, November 12 ONE
I'm a little thin on news about me right now, but I will mention my new favorite CD: Messiah Remix; it's absolutely, honking fabulous - if you like adventurous music, (and if Handel doesn't make you run, screaming, for the hills) you'll love this: Phil Kline, Scanner, Eve Beglarian and others do deconstructive remixes of Handel's Messiah. Occasionally a "hallelujah" pops out, but mostly it's exquisite orchestral, vocal and bell textures, sometimes rhythmic, sometimes glitchy, sometimes rapping, sometimes ambient. (www.cantaloupemusic.com)
Sorry to inundate your mailbox with extra copies of this newsletter last time -- it had been so long since I sent one out that I forgot how to do it. (Hmmm, am I really that pathetic?)
Saturday, September 18
12:50 - 1:20 in the Multimedia Tent
Free / All Ages
I'll be performing solo with projected video.
Ambient Night at the Chapel
Saturday, November 20, 8:30 pm
The Chapel and Cultural Center at Rensselaer 2125 Burdett Ave. Troy, NY
Performing solo and together: Sara Ayers, Twisted Pair and Embracing The Glass (from Worcester, MA) with stunning, trippy visuals by Twisted Pair.
This is the closing reception and concert for the second Loop Sanctuary art show, featuring new hallucinatory, dreamlike and surreal artwork by Robert Gullie, Sergio Sericolo and Dana Rudolph. The exhibit runs from Sept. 22 - Nov. 22 with an artists' reception on Sept. 22 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm. Stop by if you can -- I'm curating it and the work is jaw-dropping good.
As I mentioned last time, a new work of mine, “I Sewed The Feathers To My Arms,” is included on the newly released Ping Ambience Vol II. This is the second in an ongoing series of compilations of music from Toronto's AMBiENT PiNG performing artists. Available online at ping things.
It's a great mix of adventurous music at a very reasonable price, including music by: dreamSTATE + Susanna Hood, Alpha Wave Movement, Sylken, Paul Royes, Anomalous Disturbances, earotica, Solipsystem, karmafarm, Aidan Baker, Styrohead, URM, James Johnson and me.
I know, I know ... you think I fell off the edge of the world. Actually, this is an interesting place to be ... the sea monsters are pretty cool.
I have been quietly (and not so quietly) working on new music, art and video, but I'm going to take a break from all that and do a short live performance as part of a very impressive lineup of musicians:
The Brick Elephant
12 Emily Street, Valley Falls, NY
Saturday, June 26 at 4 pm,
Free and open to the public.
This concert will inaugurate the old Catholic church in Valley Falls as a performance space run by Re:Soundings and Mary Jane Leach. Ms. Leach has been a member of The DownTown Ensemble for many years. The Ensemble has performed a wide variety of contemporary music, from Robert Ashley to Peter Zummo, and all of the other letters and styles in between. This concert will feature purely acoustic work such as Daniel Goode's "Petra's Thrush" for clarinet and organ to a piece for piano and twelve ebows (!!!!) by Richard Lainhart to work for processed trombone by Monique Buzzarte.
Friday, August 22, 2003
North Pointe Cultural Arts Center
Kinderhook, New York
8:00 pm / all ages (it's a coffeehouse) / $10.00
Live solo performance (unfortunately, Twisted Pair has had to cancel this date, but you'll get to see our cool slideshow instead.
Fulton Street Gallery
408 Fulton St., Troy, NY
Hours: Wed-Sat noon - 5pm, Fri noon - 7pm
Reception: Fri, Sept 5, 5-8pm
I'll be debuting a new sound/video piece as well as some photos and sculptures.
Saturday, September 6, 6:30 PM and Sunday, September 7, 4:30 PM
Live solo performance at The Philadelphia Fringe Festival
The Festival Cabaret at the Hub
205 Race St, entrance on Florist Street under the bridge
also appearing: Kaktus
Saturday, September 13
Live solo performance at Ambitention
Worcester Artist Group, 38 Harlow Street, Worcester, MA
9:00 pm / All Ages / $5.00
Live solo performance with Embracing The Glass, a duo of ambient musicians who create ethereal ambient atmospheres from guitar and vocal loops. We'll be performing separately and then play together at the end of the night.
I thought it might be time to weigh in with my thoughts on filesharing, which is becoming a controversial issue these days.
As you might guess from the amount of my music I've posted online, I'm in favor of filesharing -- I think of it as the new radio. It's a way for people to discover new artists and musicial genres, outside of the iron promotional grip of the major labels. Filesharing has been a great resource for getting my music heard.
I also believe the RIAA is making a fatal mistake by suing music fans who offer downloads from their shared folders -- the modern day equivalent of taping a song off the radio. Their attitude is both arrogant and shortsighted.
I support filesharing as a musician, because it allows people to hear my music, find my website and buy my CDs, which allows me to make more music.
I support filesharing as a consumer, because it's allowed me to find, sample and buy music by other obscure artists such as Sussan Deyhim and Mary Jane Leach.
Anyway, let's be safe out there -- the Electronic FrontierFoundation has an article, "How Not To Get Sued by the RIAA," that you might want to read.
Thanks to all at Metroland Magazine for this award....
Metroland (July 17, 2003) Best of the Capital Region, 2003
BEST ELECTRONICA: Sara Ayers
Live or in the studio, Sara Ayers continues to awe us with her haunting blend of the organic and the electronic, the pastoral and the powerful, the hypnotic and the exotic. It's a rare artist who can evoke both pure Norwegian black metal and ambient Enya-tinged pop, sometimes in the same album. Or song. Or second.
Nebula Drone is Guido Kopp, Peter Schueller and Clive Eggington, a trio of ambient musicians from Cologne, Germany. They recently contacted me to ask permission to use some of my vocal samples in a live show. You can hear some of the results here (near the bottom of the page).
I can't tell you how strange it is to hear these familiar phrases in such a different setting, but I like what they did very much. I do hope they offer the full-length version to the public -- it's a great listen, similar to Tangerine Dream, late Roxy Music and Philip Glass. You can hear more of Nebula Drone on their web site: www.nebuladrone.com