Feb 12, 2012

Sundaze 1207

Hello, the American music world is in shock tonight as Whitney Houston has left the building today, she'd been holding up at the Beverly Hills Hotel with rapper Ray J (18 years her junior) for the last 4 days, cause of death as yet undetermined. Not my kinda music really although she undoubtedly had a phenomenal voice, she's sold 170 million albums and picked up hundreds of awards and yet an aura of sadness was never far away, abuse of negative drugs as cocaine and crack surely attributed to that...her life has ended at 3.55 PM ET, may she rest in piece. Tomorrow the Grammy's will be dished out i suspect I will always love you will be performed.

Reasons to take in todays Sundaze, today and next week i will post what has become the rather rare works of The Higher Intelligence Agency (Bobby Bird) a musician/dj that burst on the scene with 2 well received albums , subsequently released a number of co authored works and then kinda disappeared from the scene in 2001.

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The Higher Intelligence Agency was formed around the Oscillate Sound System, a collective of music producers and promoters with an affinity for those downtempo techno sounds of the early 90s. The Birmingham-based Higher Intelligence Agency is composed of DJ/musician Bobby Bird and occasional collaborator Dave Wheels. Musically, they pitch their creative tent somewhere between the ambient and experimental techno camps, with breakbeat, electro-style rhythms and a song-oriented melodic and harmonic base informing the bulk of their most recent work. The group formed in 1992 as a live experiment performing at Bird's Oscillate parties (which played early host to such acts as Autechre, Orbital, Mixmaster Morris, and Scanner), and has since grown into a full-on creative force, releasing a pair of albums and as many EPs. Although perhaps not as prodigious as many of their peers, HIA's focus is on quality rather than quantity, and their released material is uniformly well-produced and meticulously crafted. In addition to constant touring and the ongoing Oscillate schedule, HIA have also performed commissioned work for museums and festivals. While still bent on working together, Bird has largely taken over HIA's reigns while Wheels pursues a solo project, and has completed remixes for Freeform and Obconic. Collaborations in 1996 with Frankfurt's Deep Space Network and Geir Jenssen of Biosphere also produced an album apiece, the former (Deep Space Network Meets Higher Intelligence Agency) on DSN's Source label and the latter (Polar Sequences) on Beyond. Another collaborational series, S.H.A.D.O. with Pete Namlook, began in 1997 and resumed two years later.

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Bobby Bird’s ambient project The H.I.A.’s profile grew in prominence as Bird's tracks were even held in the same regard as Aphex Twin, The Orb, and The Future Sound Of London. Unfortunately, a lack of promotion after the initial ‘ambient dub’ surge relegated him to the underground. And although he’s cropped up in collaborations with similar space ambient names like Pete Namlook and Biosphere, finding new material with the H.I.A. tag has grown increasingly difficult. And now it seems getting his old material is tough as well.

The album you are reading a review on is H.I.A.’s debut, and appears to be out of print now. Although Bird does ambient music as well as anyone, he also has a tendency to allow a quirky sense of humor into his works. Probably most apparent of this is the breakout track Ketamine Entity. Throughout the entire track is a silly 808 bassline that bobbles about; it does drop in a few some wonderfully thunderous booms as well, but still lends the track to a goofy tone. Throw in some tongue-in-cheek spoken dialogue (“This is from the Higher Intelligence; We have concealed the vital evidence; Of the reasons for your existence) and chirpy bleeps and bloops in the background, and you have an ‘anthem’ that’ll make you giggle. That’s probably the most extreme example though. Other tracks like Delta and Speedlearn, while lighthearted, aren’t quite as thick on the stoner humor.

Most of the tracks on Colourform tend to stick to ambient’s strength: easy-going, unassuming, and quite calming. The middle section of the album dwells on such themes, where flowing pads, subtle melodies, and hypnotizing loops glide on gentle rhythms. Aside from the odd vocal sample, all of Bird’s arrangements rely on the most synthetic of sounds. Most chill music, especially these days, attempts to keep an organic texture in their atmosphere; it keeps us feeling human in our moments of downtime. Bird thought differently though, figuring even the most cold-hearted sounds of technology could bring us the same feelings. And tracks like Influx, Conoid Tone, and Orange make a strong argument in his favor. That overall uniqueness, though, is what makes Colourform the intriguing album .

The Higher Intelligence Agency - Colourform (flac 342mb)

01 Delta 6:19
02 Speedlearn (Empathymix) 7:34
03 Influx 6:20
04 Spectral 6:40
05 Conoid Tone 5:45
06 Orange 9:15
07 M+T=E 1:20
08 Re-echo 6:01
09 Ketamine Entity (Axiommix) 9:27

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One of the finest examples of ambient electro released to date, Freefloater manages to be at once complex and accessible, laying melodic hooks over funky, often syncopated rhythm patterns and austere bass figures. From beggining to end, this recording never fails to please the ears. Funky rythms and deep beats flow under the electronic pops and swells from another dimension. Warm and detailed, it's easily HIA's best work.

The Higher Intelligence Agency - Freefloater (flac 399mb)

01 Elapse 6:47
02 Hubble 6:51
03 Fleagle 7:59
04 Thirteen 6:17
05 Skank 9:35
06 Tortoise 7:15
07 Ting 7:06
08 Pinkgreen 7:48
09 U.H.I. 0:30
10 Taz 9:36

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David Moufang, along with figures such as Pete Namlook, Victor Sol, and Uwe Schmidt, is one of the more active members of the German experimental techno scene. His Source label has released single- and LP-length works from Vulva, Deep Space Network, Yoni, View to View, Move D, Reagenz, Spacetime Continuum, and Multiple Void Enjoyment. His own role in some of those projects (View to View, Reagenz, and his main ongoing collaboration with Jonas Grossman, Deep Space Network) has given him a high profile in the global experimental electronic music scene, resulting in his works being reissued by a number of labels.

Deep Space Network's David Moufang and Jonas Grossman team up with Birmingham ambient techno duo Higher Intelligence Agency for a deliriously funky foray into deep space ambient electro. Like HIA's summit with Finnish techno soloist Biosphere (released just prior by Beyond), this album is heavy on the synthetic textures, with bleeps, bloops, and otherwise treated electronics supporting a barrage of abstract, mostly breakbeat machine-born percussion.

The Higher Intelligence Agency Meets Deep Space Network (flac 382mb)

01 Psyphonic 5:48
02 Hexametre 8:03
03 P.A.K. 6:14
04 E-Z Wider 8:49
05 Under Water Looking Up 8:46
06 Zener Diode 4:26
07 Ramp One 6:59
08 Chai 8:28
09 Baikonur 6:15
10 Majoun 8:19
11 T. Mat 4:56

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The first release on Higher Intelligence Agency's Bobby Bird's Headphone imprint (a sublabel of Frankfurt ambient powerhouse Fax) is System Error's Nothing (featuring Bird with Alphanex partner Brian Duffy). The album charts a similar and wonderfully diverse path through the sort of spacy deep ambient-electro as other of Bird's recent releases (Deep Space Network Meets HIA, S.H.A.D.O.) and is, of course, exceedingly listenable, utilitzing an interesting array of odd-shaped beats and handcrafted sounds and atmospheres. About two-fifths beatless, Nothing is some of Bird's most focused, consistent work to date.

System Error - Nothing (flac 225mb)

01 Enter To Exit 7:06
02 Something Strange Has Happened 7:03
03 Exhaut 4:50
04 Are You Sure? 5:54
05 Enough Already 4:51
06 Nextone 4:59
07 Convolving 7:02
08 Expunged 5:11
09 Scan Queue Overflow 4:31
10 Time To Go 4:23

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bobbysu said...

thank you so much

kieran said...

amazing post, i've been looking for that 'system error' album for quite a while now so many many thanks to you, keep up the good work with this great blog.

Higher Intelligence Agency said...

Hello Rho!

A re-up of the Higher Intelligence Agency recordings would be awesome. Thank you!

Inertia from Oz

Rho said...

Well Inertia looks to me you should have moved over here at Rho'-Xs years ago you seem to have missed a lot the first time these were up for grabs..ah well these are all back up again. N'Joy

Roger Murphy said...

Hi Rho

Many thanks for these superb and very rare Uploads of Bobby Bird and Deep Space Network.

Did you recently re-up these? I was hoping to download "The Higher Intelligence Agency Meets Deep Space Network", but sadly the "Unlimited" host reports "File Not Found".
Would it be possible to re-up just this album?

Very kindest regards

Roger P Murphy : )

Roger Murphy said...

Hi Rho

Thank you for re-upping "Deep Space Network meets Higher Intelligence Agency".

You are the best!!!

Kindest regards

Roger P Murphy

Inertia from Oz said...

Hi Rho, Still hoping to get a lossless version of The Higher Intelligence Agency - Colourform. All links are now dead unfortunately.


Intro from Oz

Anonymous said...


Can you re-up Higher Intelligence Agency?