Project Pin Drop: Silence in the Lab

Upon moving Innerspace Labs into the office in the home I purchased, it was instantly apparent that something needed to be done.  The larger open space and hardwood flooring acted as a resonating chamber for my already thunderously loud server.  The resulting noise dominated the room, inhibiting my enjoyment of the sparse, ambient soundscapes I often play as an sonic wallpaper while I work.

Submitted for your amusement, here is an actual recording of my server churning away at idle with accompanying footage of a military subject in a wind tunnel.

I considered multiple potential solutions.  Dampening pads for the tower would only muffle the noise.  Liquid cooling is not my forte.  And replacing the power supply, heat sinks, and case fans was a mess I didn’t want to get into.

And then came the epiphany.  I consulted a few wise colleagues regarding hardware specs and invested in a certified refurbished last-gen HP thin client.  Fitted with an inexpensive wireless adapter, the troublesome tower was tucked away in a spare overhead cupboard well out of earshot of my office. (Don’t worry, I’ll work out ventilation in the days ahead).  The thin client, free of moving parts, operates in absolute silence – a drastic departure from the sonic assault that was my server.

Here’s a look at my desktop – no tower to be seen (or heard!)

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And here, stealth-ly tucked behind Beethoven is the client.

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The server now occupies this overhead cupboard, where it actually drowns out the sound of the massive appliance below it.

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I’m proud to declare Project Pin Drop an absolute success!

Published in: on October 27, 2015 at 7:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Celebrating our 100th Post – Silence and Empty Words

Pencils ready!

Dear readers,

This is officially the 100th entry at The Innerspace Connection.  I have wonderful things planned for the coming month, featuring more great music and original content.  Innerspace has grown significantly in its readership in the last few years, and now I’m looking to you to find out what content you’d like to see in the next 100 posts.

I’m reaching out every active reader and passive lurker who follows this blog to answer this quick-and-easy 9-question survey.  Your responses will help me deliver the content you’re looking for in the future.   Thank you!

Click here and take the survey now!

It was a wonderful weekend.  My girlfriend spend it spinning Franz Liszt LPs,  and I picked up the next installment of John Cage’s lectures and writings for my library.

I queued up one of my new genre autoplaylists of modern-classical piano works while I read.  The list consisted of composers like Zazie Von Einem Anderen Stern, Ólafur Arnalds, Dustin O’Halloran (who you likely know from his collaboration with Adam Wiltzie performing as A Winged Victory for the Sullen), and selections from Reinbert De Leeuv performing the early piano works of Erik Satie.

This put me in a nostalgic Windham Hill mood, so I also threw in George Winston’s simple but enjoyable piano solos into the mix.  I finished off the set with the Interludes LP from Mannheim Steamroller which excerpts all the interludes from the Fresh Aire series of albums.  All in all excellent “thinking music” for a summer afternoon exploring the compositional processes of John Cage.

Mannheim Steamroller - Fresh Aire Interludes

I’m still working my way through SILENCE: Lectures and Writings [50th Anniversary Edition] from last year’s Christmas wish-list.  My girlfriend and I stopped into our local used bookshop and I was delighted to come upon Cage’s Empty Words: Writings ’73-’78 which picks up right where SILENCE left off.

John Cage - Silence and Empty Words

Empty Words is hardly casual bathroom reading, as you can see from the random page selection below.  But in the full context of Cage’s writings it begins to make (some sort of) sense.

John Cage - Empty Words (excerpt)

I’ve just ordered another reference text – Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music by Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner.  I came upon the title quite by chance while researching texts on minimalism, and upon reading a particular review of the book I instantly ordered a copy.  Here is the review – from CMJ New Music Monthly.

“[Audio Culture] is an indispensable primer full of the theories behind noise, Free-jazz, minimalism, 20th century composition, ambient, avant-garde and all the other crazy shit your square-ass friends can’t believe you actually like. With writing and interviews from all the players in question (quoting Stockhausen is five points in hipster bingo), this book deconstructs all the essential ideas: Cage’s themes, Eno’s strategies, Zorn’s games and Merzbow’s undying love of porno.” –CMJ New Music Monthly, 7/04

The humor and wit of the review sold me 100% before I’d even read the item summary on Amazon.  This is particularly noteworthy as I rarely read texts written after the late 1970s.  (I have an affinity for Golden Age science fiction and classics of music non-fiction.)

I’ll be certain to post a review of the title, along with a second modern publication which I’ll keep under my hat for the moment.

That’s it for now.  Stay tuned for more, and if you haven’t already –  Click here and take the survey now!

Happy 100!

An Evening of Ambient Trance Classics

I had a quiet evening to myself, and I took advantage of the free time and finally sat down to explore Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook’s Dark Side of the Moog 12-disc series.

Each of the track titles play off of classics from Pink Floyd’s catalog, such as “Wish You Were There,” “A Saucerful of Ambience,” “Obscured by Klaus,” and “Careful with the AKS, Peter.”

From Dark Side of the Moog I moved on to Pete Namlook’s solo efforts and quickly discovered that he had founded a record label, Germany’s Fax +49-69/450464 (and yes, that is his fax number.) Nearly 450 releases premiered on the label from 1992 until his death in November of 2012, and additional research revealed that Namlook, himself was performing with the ~40 artists and under various monikers which comprised the label’s catalog. FAX earned a reputation for ahead-of-the-curve, timeless electronic ambient music, which still sounds fresh today unlike many of the 90s fad electronic artists who came and went over the decade.

Unfortunately, Namlook released only 500–1000 copies of the majority of the titles on his label.  Then I found a 17 LP retrospective of FAX’s finest work called the Final Vinyl Collector’s Box Set. Sadly, there were only 25 copies produced worldwide.  The set was meant to be officially released, but at that time Fax changed to a non-vinyl distributor and so the boxsets have never been officially released. However, Pete Namlook confirmed that this is an original Fax release. The last copy to surface sold for $550 in 2010.


While scouring the web for more information, I cued up what I had of Namlook in my library, beginning with his 4CD set performing as “Air” from 1993-1996, which was released as a box set in ’97, and then on to 2003’s Ten Years of Silence – a 5CD set of his tribal ambient work as Silence.

Most of my experience with 90s electronic music had been limited to the major downtempo releases from the decade, and the Air Collection inspired me to look deeper into the psychedelic ambient genre.

I quickly found two noteworthy compilations on Namlook’s label titled The Ambient Cookbook volumes I and II.

The first was a 4-disc box set from 1995 which highlighted various artists from the FAX archive.  The second volume, released in 2002, introduced four more discs demonstrating how the ambient genre had evolved over the decade.

If you’re exploring Fax +49-69/450464 Records for the first time, these collections are an excellent place to begin.

Moving onward, ambient trance music led me to psytrance, which I then narrowed further to the psybient subgenre. This was the 90s incarnation of slowbeat space music, described by a RYM user as “Gas on uppers.”

I entered the term “psybient” into youtube and several 1 – 10 hour playlist results populated.  The first track I heard was Russian artist, Cell’s “Audio Deepest Night.”

I loved the minimal beats and sparse, echoey vocal samples. Looking up the artist, I found that the track appeared on disc 4 of a 7-volume series called The Fahrenheit Project on Ultimae Records, released between 2001 and 2011.  The series featured various Russian and French deep techno artists and was released simultaneously in both countries.

I am working my way through the series and enjoy everything I’ve heard thus far.

So ended a productive night of exploration.  The 36 discs described above will keep me busy for the rest of the weekend.  I welcome any recommendations for further listening that you may have to offer.

Additionally, two more rare LPs arrived in the post this week.  Stay tuned for details.