Live Dismally EP (Act So Big Forest, 2010)
For: Fennesz, The Books, Tim Hecker
Byline: “Live Dismally” is the new “Live Hopefully”. Download this.
It has occurred to me, in writing these funny little posts about the weird and wonderful world of musical meanderings, that you, the readers, may be interested to know more details about the histories behind some of the artists that we cover here at the TOME. Come to think of it, I myself would like to know more about the histories behind some of the artists we cover at the TOME. Alas, there is sometimes, of course, a problem with this, and that is that often we just don’t know anything about the artists we are covering here at the TOME. These folks are just sending us their records without nary a word, nary a notion, nary a Wikipedia article on who they are or where in the hell they are coming from. They’re wondering if we’re going to read, wondering if we’re going to listen, and then patiently wondering if we’re going to post. Well, our friend Ambassador Engine here is worthy of a post. Likely, if his upcoming full-length on the Fort Collins-based Act So Big Forest Collective’s label follows on the promise of this quite pleasant Live Dismally EP, the dude is worth two posts. He is also, therefore, worthy of probing research, and since there's not a whole lot of info on him or his work, I have decided to do my best to construct the life and times of a young man who calls himself “Aaron,” casually, and “Ambassador Engine” formally. With this, I present to you, a brief history of Ambassador Engine, as pieced haphazardly together through MySpace blog notes and his newest release, Live Dismally.
June 6th, 2007 - In which a child named Sand Castles is born in the town of Greeley, Colorado. His birth is both immaculate and phenomenal, the event occurs with a small spark that builds gradually toward a blinding light charged with kinetic harmonic frequencies, finally exploding into fireworks of beautiful pain—brief, fractal images appear before his mothers eyes and terrorize her ears in manic stereo; It’s her entire life flashing before her in a whirlwind moment where time itself is reduced to a three-second final orgasmic flash. The exhaustive experience is enough to kill her, and after the doctor cuts the umbilical cord he brands something onto his forehead: the words “Save the Date” are written backwards beneath the letters “A” and “E”. Sand Castles is born into sadness. He has no father or mother, and immediately recognizes the smell of death that constantly surrounds him from the meat processing factories that pollute the airs of his hometown. The rest of his life will be barren, hollow landscapes interspersed with colorful characters whose fleeting appearances will guide him through his journey. From the first day of his life, he knows better things are waiting for him, something he’s reminded of every day he looks in the mirror.
July 16th, 2007 - In which the four-week-old child who ages and matures with a magical, fast-forward pace is put up for adoption and shipped over seas to Niigata, Japan where he will spend the early part of his life. He is taken in by a native of the region who teaches him Japanese and explains the healing, empowering and emotional potential of playing the drums. Sand Castles takes his drumset with him everywhere he goes from that moment forth, and records himself playing in train stations... train stations of the future. These are trains that use maglev technology to travel at supersonic speeds across vast distances and at times speed gracefully through underwater tunnels. Sand Castles controlled, linear drumming become a catalyst for his educational career, as he learns the intricate secrets of controlling electronic tones, collected samples, and flickers of static. He can hear his dreams, and he is cultivating skills to document them. He is learning that life is a journey, one that is short in reality, but long and broad in imagination. His destiny is becoming clearer by the second.
September 21, 2008 - In which Sand Castles completes his training in Niigata and returns to Colorado. Realizing his prophecy as previously foreseen by the man who aided in his miraculous birth, Sand Castles changes his name to Ambassador Engine.
September 30th, 2008 - In which Ambassador Engine takes a job driving semi trucks between Ft. Collins and Greeley, Colorado through the night. He does this for two years, living in a world harmonic stasis where time is signified in flashing truck lights whirring by his driver-side window. He is only awake at night. The trucks that pass are ghosts; they’re not really there. Ambassador Engine is sad in his current state of reality, but his drums are there to comfort him. He discovers tempo, and locks into a stately march toward an unknown goal, his chin up. It helps him get by. It passes the time. His prophecy has only been partially fulfilled up to this point. There must be something better on the horizon, and he knows this to be true.
May 17th, 2010 - In which Ambassador Engine has quit his job of driving trucks and time travels to the future in hopes of finding more for his life. Though he’s dropped into a future of a world devastated, one plagued by economic crises across the ocean, and oil slicks dividing the seas into models of filth, he still calls this chapter “Live Hopeful.” His document of the trip paints an expansive terrain that folds over itself slowly, progressively. It’s spliced with diaphanous synths that trickle a lightly beautiful melody, and build in volume and speed. His life is reaching an apex he’s never imagined or envisioned until just this moment. His heart is racing. He wants to help the world, and he knows just how to do it. His scatter-shot drums can give hope to the world. His melodious synths can give hope to the world. His droning guitars can give hope to the world. He sketches his final notes on a sonic tablet of tape and returns home.
April 16, 2010 - In which Ambassador Engine travels back in time to the present, and has just closed the first book in a forth-coming volume about his life that is still currently in the works. It’s a brief, vibrant summation of the first four years of his existence and chronicles seasons of change, growth, maturity, melancholy, creativity, heart, and optimism. His life up to now has been a dramatic crescendo, the first of more to come, he realizes. He gets on his computer, which has just finished mixing down the final cut of Live Dismally, and composes an e-mail...
**Note: Almost none of the above is true. Except the parts about how good this music is.