Back in 2006, when I first started to present my music in social networks (MySpace and LastFM were those of the day) I made the acquaintance of a most likable listener named Rick Chase, and we remained good online friends ever since. It's stunning to think that ten years had gone by since then. During these years, Rick had always been a great supporter of aspiring and "obscure" electronic artists like myself, giving them exposure via his YouTube channel and later his Facebook group "ambiOfusion".
Then at some point in late 2009, I think (the year when I had bought my little Waldorf Blofeld synthesizer) in an email Rick remarked something like: "I love how you EM musicians can take a track just anywhere with your synths..." That "taking it just anywhere" stirred my imagination and soon after I recorded some twenty minutes of music in which I tried to live up to that compliment. Starting at some point and then transform the whole thing and take it around some unexpected (and hopefully pleasantly surprising) corners, having a lot of fun while doing so. This track, or "suite" of six tracks, I gave to Rick as a present on his next birthday. And it has remained previously unreleased - until now (these are the six opening tracks of the album).
Then - in late 2014 - something terrible happened: Rick Chase lost his wife Kelly to a rare and aggressive form of cancer. In addition to this loss, he also has to carry a burden of absurdly high bills for her medical treatment.
With the intention of bringing him and his two daughters a little bit of both moral, and financial support, Harald Bertram and Dagmar Salomon have already coordinated a wonderful V/A compilation by musicians who are members of the ambiOfusion Facebook group in early 2015.
Unfortunately, while those listeners who cared to download it were full of praise, that release could not raise a significant amount of donations, and Rick's financial situations is still as dire as one year ago.
For this reason, I suggested to bring the ambiOfusion online label (and Rick's situation) back to public awareness. On the occasion of his recent birthday the idea came up to release the old "birthday present" now on Bandcamp, and maybe add some additional material in order to present a full album.
So a few weeks ago, when I was about to create new soundsets for my synthesizers and return to rehearse for some planned live performances later this year, I recorded a couple of improvisations (again with mainly the Waldorf Blofeld synth) and edited / enhanced them a little bit, which resulted in the other five tracks featured on "Hikari" (which is Japanes and means "light").
The interesting thing is that although I had used much of the same approach now as I did back then in 2009, it became obvious that my style of improvising had developed or at least changed in the years since then. Surprisingly, the older music sounds more modern and contemporary and the new tracks older and more "retro". Still there is a common thread to them (at least that's what I feel) in the sheer joy, playfulness and spontaneity of the performance (although this time I - of course - was also very well aware of the drama, sadness, and seriousness of the situation, and I guess this aspect also is mirrored in the new pieces).
There are plans for some more releases on the ambiOfusion label (actually, there are already some more brilliant albums by Harald Bertram which You may want to check out).
All the proceeds will directly go to Rick Chase and his family. Any amount of support you give him will be MOST appreciated!
Thank You very much!
A special "Thank You" also goes out to designer and illustrator Steven Barber who was so kind to donate some of his exceptional illustrative work for the cover of this album!
See the links below for (much) more examples of his enchanting art...
Please visit visual artist Steven Barber here: