Many an artist do their own thing these days, not just music wise but start their own label too and run it's sales and marketing that's a lot on one man's plate. And as the music should take center stage and sales largely on line automated these days marketing provided by sites like 3six.net, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, mixcloud.com - all connection places that do need regular updating and as todays artist is supposedly somewhat shy not much is shared about the person behind the music, luckily the odd interview offers up some clues as to what drives the artist ..N'Joy
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36 (pronounced three-six) is the ambient/experimental project of Dennis Huddleston from the United Kingdom. Since 2008, the focus for the project has been to develop warm, hugely emotive loop-based compositions, with particular emphasis on melody and atmosphere. He also runs the label 3six Recordings, which is used to publish his self-released works.
'Dream Tempest' is the most recent release by 36. In your own opinion, what makes it different from your previous works?
I'm pretty rubbish at describing my own music really, as it's just not something I ever consciously think about when making it. I've used the words "more optimistic" in the press-release, but it's still a very melancholic album. I don't know really, my intentions and the end-results are often two very different things! Hopefully the album still sounds fresh, without alienating what attracted people to my music in the first place. It's a 36 album!
Ambient music, is it about saying much with less?
I guess so. Even though people describe my music as ambient, it's not really a term I personally use much, at least for my own stuff. I mean tunes like 'Sun Riders' would definitely fit that "less is more" description, whereas something like 'Hyperbox' is quite the opposite. The thing I do like about ambient is that it can encompass so many things, especially these days. I mean, would you classify Tim Hecker's recent albums as Ambient, compared to say... Steve Roach? They both share a genre, but couldn't sound more different to each other. It's an interesting collective of music, if nothing else.
Even the brighter 'Dream Tempest' still has 36's distinctive sound. In a time when nearly everyone can release their music online, is style the only way to stand out?
I think that as an artist, the only thing you should concentrate on is making honest music. Don't follow trends or try to imitate your favourite artist; instead, just make music from the heart and try to make it as close a reflection of yourself as possible. I think you can easily spot the pretenders from the people who genuinely put everything into their music. In 2014, where the sheer amount of tools available to artists is so abundant, there is no excuse for any 2 artists to sound completely alike. What is the point in that anyway?
You made a name for yourself out of the "traditional" music industry. Is it hard to work on your own?
Not really. It's just more natural for me to make music and release it myself, as I don't have to worry about other egos or expectations. I'm not trying to be this maverick, loner-type who refuses to work with other artists/labels etc... I just get on with it, doing my own thing, not really worrying too much about the industry side of things. I just like making music. The rest is just noise, some of which can't be ignored, sadly.
Have you ever been approached by record labels to sign with them? Would you do it, or do you prefer freedom over mass-promotion?
Yes, quite a few times. "Signing" is a pretty redundant term now, as being under a fixed, exclusive contract with a label is an archaic practice that rarely happens now, unless it's a huge label. I like the freedom of releasing my music whenever and wherever I like, under no fixed schedule, which is why running my own label is perfect for me. I've got no expectations, other than to release the kind of music I enjoy. I don't even need to do that. If I wasn't 100% confident with the music, then I can just scrap it and move onto something else. If you've got deadlines and contractual obligations with other people, then this simply isn't possible. It's a stress I can do without.
In this sense, would you give any advice to new musicians trying to find their way on the digital media?
Labels still have their place in the world and can be particularly beneficial to people when they're starting out. They often have an existing fan base and all the promotional/distributional channels are usually already in place. If you're new to releasing music, then it can be quite daunting and many artists have zero interest in the business side of things, other than just making music. If this describes you, then finding a label to release your stuff is still probably the best option. If however you like the challenge of making something from nothing, as well as wanting complete control over who and where your music is heard, then by all means, look into the self-releasing/make your own label route. Just don't do any half-measures; It's a huge undertaking and isn't something you should do on a whim.
Which are 36 musical influences, if any? What artists do you listen to?
I always have trouble answering this question, because essentially, you're asking me to compress 30 years of music I've listened to, into just a few names, which is like reading a book, but skipping to the last page. It's a basic, shallow way of looking at things. Artists, much like anyone else, evolve their craft over the years and even though I don't necessarily listen to the same music now as I did when I was 15, it all had an impact on me, if only on a sub-conscious level. In this respect, every single piece of music I've heard is important, even the rubbish, forgettable stuff. It just meant I could avoid it in the future and concentrate more on the music I did like.
I would say that 36's albums belong more to a scandinavian sound (I am thinking about Biosphere, for instance) than a British one. Do you agree? Is there an ambient music scene in the UK? If so, what do you think about it?
I'm not sure if there is a particular "British" sound, at least in this genre. All I see are a bunch of different people, making music under an umbrella tag, that encompasses loads of different things. As I say, I try not to worry too much about other artists or my place in any scene etc.. It doesn't really mean anything to me as an artist, as all I can do is concentrate on my own stuff and let the listeners pick it apart/discuss it's relevance etc. I will say that I personally think the ambient genre as a whole is in a very healthy state in 2014. I hear great new music all the time. Bandcamp in particular has been amazing for finding new artists.
You didn't put your name in the beautiful cover of 'Dream Tempest'. Is it to say that music itself is more important than the person behind it?
Well, I mostly sell my music direct and enough people know me now that I don't need to plaster my name/face over everything, just so they can recognise it was me who made it. A simple "36" on the spine/back is more than enough for me. I'd rather separate the ego and just let the imagery and the sound do the talking.
You release your music digitally, on Cd and also on vinyl. Do you have a favourite media to listen to music? Do you believe the Cd format is on its last days?
Vinyl is my favourite, but every format has its own quirks and charms. I still enjoy tape for example, because I love how it compresses/saturates the sound, and it was the format I grew up listening to the most. CDs are important because they defined the modern album-length/duration and they're a convenient way to listen to music on a physical format. I think that the CD will be around for quite a while yet. As for digital, well I like it simply for the ease of use and convenience, but I hate heavily compressed MP3s. Nothing is more annoying than listening to your music being butchered by a crappy 96/128kbps stream. Just listen to "Hyperbox" on the 3six Bandcamp preview stream and compare it to the CD master for example. The high-end is ruined. It just sounds nasty!
Have you ever played your music in a live concert? How would be the perfect 36 concert?
No, I've been asked to do loads of live shows around the world, but always politely decline. I'm just not ready to present my music in a live environment yet. I think it would definitely have potential, but I'm not massively into the live performance thing, at least for this kind of music. It doesn't help that I still get pretty significant motion sickness when travelling, which just makes me feel really crappy for a few days afterwards. After an 8 hour flight, the absolute last thing I would want to do is stand in front of a crowd, playing music! It'd have to be a pitch-black room, because I'd look like a complete mess haha.
What are your plans for the future? Are you already working on new music?
I have learned over the last 5 years not to make any definitive plans, as I always end up breaking them and doing something completely different! For now, I'm still in down-time mode after finishing the new album and not really making much new music. The breaks always do me good and make me more inspired when I eventually get the urge to make music again. Anyway, I have a few tracks that will appear on various labels and compilations over the coming months, that are quite different to anything I've done in the past. Keep an eye out for them!
© 2014 The rest is noise
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"Hypersona", produced over a span of three years, is an ambient soundscape work by an English independent musician who prefers to stay anonymous, being part one of a trilogy. The sonic content with occasional experimental elements feels like a warm blanket, offering chill-out, uplifting and drifting soundscape tapestries and quiet piano. The real beauty and immersion comes to full blossom on pieces such as "2249", the melancholic "Inside", "Nephyr", and "Beacon",although one should pass the few short, rather abstract and rough edged interludes next to them.
The title track sure is the best track, a very nicely rendered repetitive excursion with a great, smooth flow, although the haunting and melancholic impact of the closing piece "Forever" is not to be missed either.
The "simple" soundings of "Hypersona" are exquisite and very effective, both a real treat for the ears and something to make your mind gently settle down. Nicely done indeed.
36 - Hypersona (flac 207mb)
01 Signal 1:32
02 2249 2:54
03 Inside 5:22
04 Intercept 0:54
05 The Box 4:55
06 Nephyr 5:31
07 Beacon 3:04
08 Hypersona 5:46
09 Juliet 3:04
10 Dream Window 2:01
11 Forever 5:27
12 Untitled 0:50
36 - Hypersona (ogg 88mb)
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"Hollow" is the second studio album by 36, also marking the second part of a trilogy (as the cd cover states Part 2 of 3) which was started by the impressive "Hypersona".
Well, at first glance it seemed the sonic journey continued in a similar manner, but here the dreamy, textural soundscapes also occasionally feature a good portion of heavily processed guitar and vintage string pads, such as in the opening title track.
But there’s also the introspective, reflective side of the music by 36, very nicely displayed on e.g. "Find me" or "Home", which are both so delicately rendered. The music moves into more minimal territory on "Tunnel", followed by the ghostlike, organic flavoured spherics and washes of white noise of the slow morphing "Geiga".
This hypnotizing ambient music with grainy elements nicely shifts into the moody spheres of "Ghostfields" and "Freefall Peak" or the short fairytale realm of "Fiona’s Room".
"Siren" submerges in dense, cloudy soundscapes, followed by the heavy distorted and noisy sound worlds of "Darkroom distortion". Heavily processed guitar and vintage strings return on "Equassa", lending it a bit more aggressive, but still minimal vibe. The 7-minute "Arc", the longest piece on the cd, is another epic beauty. This very nice atmospheric and morphing sonic dwelling slowly expands in volume. Hypnotic sonic perfume indeed. Thereafter, "Hollow" is nicely concluded by the warm textural washes of "Lightout".
36 - Hollow (flac 273mb)
01 Hollow 3:54
02 Find Me 2:06
03 Home 4:56
04 Tunnel 4:35
05 Geiga 6:06
06 Ghostfields 3:53
07 Fiona's Room 1:05
08 Siren 4:42
09 Darkroom Distortion 2:44
10 Equassa 3:34
11 Freefall Peak 1:30
12 Arc 7:35
13 Lightout 2:33
36 - Hollow (ogg 104mb)
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"Memories In Widescreen" is the first vinyl-exclusive album from 36, aka UK-sound designer Dennis Huddleston, offerings 13 ambient tracks spanning 70 minutes of material. Again, it’s a dreamy and celestial recording, featuring expansive dreamy (drone)soundscapes in a minimal style, culminating in intense and highly imaginary ambient music.
Strong moods of melancholy, spaciousness and the longing for the eternal drip through the albums veins, as beautifully visualized on the deep "After Time", "Drifta" and "Disappear". The smooth journey, a stream of thought, through clouded spheres, white noise synth washes, soft crackles and noises is immersive, hypnotizing and captivating. Beside the soft lingering title track, the massive bass drones of "Vesl" preclude the album’s last intense highlight "Revert Time". It all makes "Memories In Widescreen" another epic recording I’d highly recommend.
36 - Memories in Widescreen (flac 387mb)
01 Before Time 5:33
02 After Time 9:06
03 Drifta 6:20
04 Drowning 5:18
05 Disappear 4:54
06 The Mirror 3:19
07 Lucid 4:43
08 Memories In Widescreen 5:11
09 Melt 5:48
10 Slide 4:46
11 Vesl 7:03
12 Revert Time 4:29
13 It's You (It's Me) 3:26
36 - Memories in Widescreen (ogg 157mb)
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