Daniel Copeman discusses his Angstkiste project, his favourite ambient music and the genre's enduring fascination with water.
When I first started making ambient music, I was immediately struck by how constant water was as an inspiration for me.
I unconsciously found myself attempting to sonically emulate the feelings that bodies of water evoke in people and in myself.
As I dove deeper into the world of ambient music and became more immersed in making my own, it became apparent to me that not only was I seemingly constantly inspired by water, but so were numerous other artists.
It has crept into almost all of my pieces in various ways, culminating in my committing to a whole album inspired by bodies of water. Even my first record "Like Stars in a Furious Sea" was inspired by the lights from boats bobbing on the north sea as seen from a plane window.
"A Body of Water", my second record is entirely inspired by and devoted to water and its influence on our lives and moods. Water has historically been both a point of refuge, a place to find solace, a source of life and a bringer of death to human beings.
For me, it resonates most as a place for peace and reflection, whether its the babbling nature of a brook, the rushing of a stream, the calm of a fresh water lake or the endless expanse of the sea water. Experiencing it feels like something magical and out of my control; Cleansing, refreshing and boundless.
The Monk by the Sea, 1808-1810 - Caspar David Friedrich
As previously mentioned, I am not the only electronic musician to be inspired by the water, in the fact the list is absurdly long, however I thought I would finish this piece by pointing you in the direction of a few other compositions I love.
Kelly Moran > Water Music - Kelly Moran is excellent always but on "Water Music" she captures the cascading, fragmented quality of water as struck by light. Falling and creating as they go, the compositions evolve and meander, settling in a delicate pool at the end.
Emily A.Sprague > A Lake - From the album "Water Memory" created entirely using modular synthesis and entirely disproving the notion that modulars cannot be used practically and emotively in music creation. 'A Lake' is expansive, tranquil and shimmering. It invokes the calm and serenity and I love it. Everything Emily A. Sprague creates is beautiful but this is a highlight for me.
Forest Management > Lake Shore Limited - Chicago based Forest Management plays with the more meditative side of water while also referencing the way that travel affects not only his but probably all of our lives. Lake Shore Limited is the name of a long-distance passenger train that runs from Chicago to New York which runs alongside both Lake Michigan and Lake Erie. Listening to this piece all I can imagine is drifting away staring out of a window on a slow moving train. Dreamy.
Chihei Hatakeyama > Prince of the Sea - An utterly stunning piece of music. Hatakeyama has many pieces referencing water but most specifically the ocean. For me this is all about waves. Waves of sound, lush and alive and enveloping. The soundtrack to sitting on a beach alone watching the sun rise and shimmer over the waves as they relentlessly but supportively roll towards the shore. Just beautiful.
Faten Kanaan > Night Tide / Anteros - Loops of synthesizer drenched in reverb sweep across the speakers on this piece before a series of tight, insistent keyboard patterns introduce an urgency which quickly dissipates. Referencing the sea at night (which is a fabulous, terrifying beast) and Anteros the Ancient Greek God of requited love, there is a drama and intensity to this piece which mirrors the human condition and our relationship with water.
Ocean, 1975 - Vija Celmins