Tag Archives: ambient

Maesycrugiau Castle and Church in West Wales

Maesycrugiau Church overlooks a strategic bend on the River Teifi

With music by Nostramus: “Optimum Singularity” a new single available at Bandcamp

Today we present another “Drone Egg” ~ What does that mean?

A “Drone Egg” is a short movie of Cinematic 4K footage of spectacular scenery, involving fly rounds and other neat cinematic moves. Not necessarily in this case Hillforts or Cairns, Stone Circles etc but features within the landscape that exude a sense of ‘Genus Loci’ ~ the spirit of place. In other words very special locations that mean things to aeons of humanity and somehow give off a vibe to those sensitive enough to feel it.

So , no messing , this is an ambient treat. Footage contains some stunningly beautiful rural views of a peaceful Church, nestling on a tree covered craggy rock on the River Teifi in Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion border in the West Wales former territory of Dyfed St Luke’s Church is depicted as St Llonio’s Church on historic (1889-1905) Ordnance Survey mapping.

A motte, Llanllwni Mount is adjacent to the church, its western section ranging from 10-40m to the east and is partially obscured by the churchyard to the west. The Jones Family Mausoleum is sited in this area, and cists containing burials were encountered during its construction. I had the feeling that I was visiting a really ancient place here, yes there is the old Church, but that is built over a Medieval Motte and Bailey Castle. The Cists that were found would tend to suggest a much older origin, perhaps Bronze Age or possibly even Neolithic?? I would put money on there once also being a Hillfort on this location, which was obliterated when building the Medieval Castle.

Once upon a time the village of Maesycrugiau had a railway station on the Aberystwyth to Pencader line but today that has long gone, but traces still remain close by in the landscape. In the fair weather we have been experiencing this spring in this part of the world we took ‘Buzby’ (It’s what I affectionately call my DJI Mini 2 Drone) for a spin in this enigmatic location to hopefully catch the peace and tranquillity, far away from the polluted, noisy, busy, crowded Towns and Cities.

The so called ‘Golden Hour’ before Sunset is a photographers dream, casting warm golden colours and spreading long shadows. I particularly like the trees shapes in winter when they have lost their leaves. Using a drone really brings into focus the magnificent distorted and twisted shapes spread across the fair meadows with Sheep relentlessly chomping like there is no tomorrow. I kept hearing ‘Moo-ing’ ~ Cows no doubt but extremely close by whilst I was piloting ‘Buzby’ It was only when watching the footage back that I spotted the field 100 metres across the other side of the Gorge from the Church where I was. You can spot the young cows running up and down the field there.

For the soundtrack I present a new Nostramus ambient track ‘Optimum Singularity’ which is now released as a single .

I will be posting up more ‘Drone Eggs’ as well as more Movies in my Ynys Prydein Hillforts and ancient Ruins channel.

Crystalwytch

Nostramus #Ambient #Drum and Bass #ChillOut

A new single by Nostramus.

“Crystalwytch” is the second of a trio of singles I am releasing over February, March and April before a brand new album is released this summer.
Depending on the style of each track from now on in I will be suffixing my Nostramus moniker with either #Ambient, #DarkAmbient #Drum&Bass #Glitchcore #Trapstep #OldSchoolDrumAndBass #Tribal #Cinematographic etc.
The above should distinguish the genre’s I work with. I am not a DJ Producer I am a musician Producer but I realize that DJs and listeners will like to know what genre I am producing.
I don’t see why I should select one genre as has been suggested in the past. I have an eclectic taste in my productions which are all broadly speaking ‘alternative’ and ‘underground’ rather than music produced purely for a commercial market. I make music that firstly I enjoy making and secondly if I feel good about a production I like others to enjoy as well.
So ‘Crystalwytch’ what is it about?
Continuing the theme from “Multiversal” here the work is played out to Helen J Street’s lucid and phantasmagoric poem “The Crystalwych” which is whispered as in the breeze on a moonlit night. The ‘Crystalwych” could be described as analogous to a night time version of the ‘Green Man’ of the woods or a Druidic gathering in the Grove. Riding a chariot with seven jewel incrusted horses into the white marbled and sparkling heavens. A pagan allegory for what in realty is yet another alternative universe or simply a gentle attempt at autonomous sensory meridian response? In the poem things might not be the way they seem to be, the ‘Crystalwych’ may actually be a visitor from the other and the chariot and seven horses a craft sent from a far distant but mourned future. Who knows?
Moving on from the previous single ‘Multiversal’ I now re-enter the world of ambient and jazz flavoured drum and bass. I am not sure whether or not this would make a hard core floor filler, rather than attempting a mesmerising transcendent auditory meditation, or perhaps better still both. I have sat here with this song playing back in a loop and have been absolutely tripped out on it, of course I would say that but hopefully this will work the same way for at least some of you.
I am much indebted and would like to thank Ella Jo for her input here, for her whispered oratory. Also Tony “Redfish” Gee once more for his magnificent and succinct trumpet playing.
Tony recorded his trumpet remotely and I felt as always, quite confident that he would deliver. As a scientist in his day time job, he has that heightened empathy and love for the great British eccentricity that makes for a true thinking-outside-of-the-box, musician. Hopefully there will be much more “Redfish” collaborations in the future.
I enjoyed playing electric piano on this, which is how the idea kicked off. I laid down the chord progressions and then played a lead pattern over the top of the chords. The overall effect I was looking towards was ‘soft’ and ‘jazzy’ although I would be the first to admit that I am simply not good enough to play ‘proper jazz’. I do go for the mood that works and once I obtain something like the desired performance, I record it warts and all. I then refine and edit it into place.
Quantising? I think that subtlety and nuance is vitally important in performance. I used to quantise the f*** out of everything I played and eventually I came to realize that in certain cases there is a danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I was super conscious of allowing as much free style playing as possible without severely quantising the vitality out of my performance. So I left as much heart and soul as possible in the played keyboard parts. However to counteract I sequenced a triad of quantised but hypnotic moving pads that nail down to the Drums and Bass.
I then plugged my guitar into my pedals and created some jagged but ephemeral washes that gently glide over the rhyme. Initially I had the guitar much louder over the song but I came to realize that ‘less is actually more’ at times when working on composition. When I turned them down in the mix , the whole song lept out of the speakers at me. So we are left with just a hint of their former glory. Who knows I may do a remix at some point with the guitars featured more. I am known for my guitar playing in post punk band UK Decay and IN Excelsis so its probably right to point the above out for those that may expect my usual guitar performance’s.
Recording? I use Cubase and a host of plugins these days to produce my music. I have recently upgraded my set up so now I have the added possibility of working my sound to moving video, which frankly adds another layer of inspiration to my work. Working to video blimey but it does open ones eyes to landscapes and soundscapes and all betwixt.

So I see “Crystalwytch” as part two of a trillogy, a further invitation to journey between musical dimensions. I hope it does it for you.

UPDATE: May 2021: You know, I am just going to carry on releasing solo or single tracks, hopefully monthly but my target is ten new tracks a year.

Thanks to everybody who has supported Nostramus. 

lyrics

Words to poem coming soon…..

credits

released March 5, 2021
Conceived, written and produced by Steve Spon for Nostramus.
Lyrics: “The Crystalwytch” by Helen J Street
Whispers: Ella Jo
Trumpet: Tony “Redfish” Gee
Electric Piano: Steve Spon
FX guitar Steve Spon
Thanks to Diamond Seeds Media Productions.

license

all rights reserved

A drive round Llyn Brianne

Llyn Brianne is a man-made lake or reservoir in the headwaters of the River Tywi in Wales. Built in the 1960’s and finished in the early 1970’s the water provides many of South Wales larger urban centres. The dam is the tallest in the UK at 300ft (91M). The river Towy which flows through it is the longest river flowing entirely within Wales at 120 km (75 mi)

One a perfect September afternoon we primed up the Diamondseeds mobile, gathered our acutraments and set off for the mountains in West Wales. We had recently invested in a supposed HD Dashcam, which on the day we didn’t actually think about as we drove roud the lake. A lot had happened in our lives since the Coronavirus pandemic kicked off in early 2020. The lockdown had been severe for many people including ourselves gradually and dubiously over the summer the restrictions opened and we were tentatively allowed out once more. Knowing that this “freedom” may only be a brief respite before further lockdowns and dodging the showers, (yes it does rain a lot in Wales), we unleashed ourselves to explore Wales Green Desert. For us Llyn Brianne would be the first episode with many more to come. But boy what a spectacular drive.

Th scenery was gobsmacking but we had a perfect day weatherwise.

It’s not far round the lake but we took a slow meandering drive stopping often to take in the vibes. I would imagine the hippy bus with a bunch of tripping stoners taking all year driving round this lake and convincing themselves that they were abducted and carried off to an alien planet. At least that’s what my imagination threw at me, too much Cheech and Chong in my youth I expect. Anyway the scenery here on a sunny day may not be the Himalaya or Peruvian in scale but Roerich would have been at home, every twist and turn, every scene floating by with golden sunbeams flickering off the waters below and lighting up the reddened bracken on the hillsides. Then the disasterous monoculture of the Fir plantations which sadly have now been seen to have been a grave environmental mistake as the fungus has ravaged parts of the Tywi Forest which surrounds the Llyn.

Turn on and up your speakers and enjoy our roadtrip around Llyn Brianne. Music by Nostramus

This area is also one of the last habitats in the UK of the sadly endangered Red Squirrel, although unfortunately we didn’t see any that day. Forest management have been trying to curtail the spread of the infected trees by bulldozing tree free areas, combined with a longer term plan to return the forest back to a more sustainable variety of decidious native trees. This all adds to it’s own kind of corrupted beauty in the golden hour as the Sun sunk lower, often getting in our eyes. This happaned at quite some inappropriate moments whereby my passanger felt rather uncomfortable looking overperilously close, steep drops on their side at times, but the sheep – those white fluuffy things you see everywhere in Wales – didn’t seem bothered by heights.

This kept happening luckily no steep drop this time

Anyway the road trip continued and neatly placed at regular intervals were laybays that one could pull in as many did with campervans (some with surfboards). Also dotted around were little encampments scattered here and there with a fire and hippy looking characters that looked like they got lost somewhere after Woodstock or the Isle Of White Festival or maybe the Vietnam war. My mate J reckon’s there is a lost crew of a once popular sound system lost somewhere beyond this expanse of hills, which incidently is one of the most remote and uninhabitted areas of all England and Wales. On foggy days it is often remarked that once the RAF and USAF have stopped their daily war games if you listen hard near certain standing stones it may be possible to hear the faint tomes of Hawkwind or the earthy baselines of Bob Marley or even wild techno that in its isolation from normal society had evolved into an entirely different and independant species unkown to humanity. So we are going to intrepidly explore an area that is known as a blank space to the outside world.

Daylight was rapidly drawing to a close and we had some wild moorland to traverse, in fact miles of it, before we reached anywhere near civilisation, so we had to keep moving near the end.
It was a great trip!

We will be back to explore further so if you would like to accompany us you would be more than welcome – click the video link to see this amazing journey with added music by Nostramus and friends.

Steve Spontaneous