Welcome to the wonderful world of Professor Chill

This is the home page of some amazing chilled ambient music making. We hope you enjoy it

New album Dub Archaeology out now

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In 2015, electronic music producer Professor Chill achieved a top 20 classical chart position and international media attention for his work on indie label Delphian’s series of ancient music releases. Fast forward to 2018 and his latest Album ‘Dub Archaeology’ is an individual project exploring unique ambient, chillout and electronica infused with leftfield dub techno and world influences. He has re-imagined the intriguing performances of the Delphian project, which were played on reconstructions of the oldest instruments ever discovered, and combined them with inspired new recordings. The end result is the haunting sound of our ancestors woven together with contemporary roots-minded soundsystem, laid back beats and minimalist glitch.

Recorded in caves and studio locations across Europe, the album features what is most likely the only Ancient Scandinavian Dub Reggae track in existence… It includes collaborations with Mercury Award winning artist Stef O’Connor formerly of eclectic folk outfit The Unthanks, Egyptian Nay maestro Mina Salama, and Berlin-based flautist Anna Friederike Potengowski, formerly part of the renowned Berliner Ensemble. Professor Chill’s other work includes the EMAP Soundgate app and he can be found playing music in caves on the Discovery and History channels, as well as featuring in the BBC TV series Civilisations. He is performing a live laptop set in Hungary at the Samsara Festival on August 11th this year.

 

Corona Virus Playlists

Like many of you I’m locked away at home much of the time right now. The radio is full of the same gloomy news stories, my son is not at school and climbing the walls, no one is sleeping well as we’re not getting out enough, and my diet is not as healthy as I’d like. We can’t redecorate every 4 minutes, but music can change our environment through the day, so time to work on those playlists.

According to Spotify’s website people are reaching out to 3 types of songs. There are a lot of families trying to cope with locked up kids home from school, so songs popular with kids are one style, another is apocalypse songs, and a third is happy, uplifting songs to raise your mood. But music can go further than that to help guide you through the day. Here Professor Rupert Till (aka Professor Chill) has curated a set of playlists to help you through the current crisis.

Good Morning World! The wakeup playlist: Lots of people are not sleeping that well, it’s tempting to stay up watching the next episode of that box set on Netflix, or playing one more level of that game. Or perhaps you just don’t feel that tired, as you are not getting out enough. So waking up and starting the day is important, it’s vital to keep a structured day, getting up at the same time as normal, so that you can get to sleep at night. So here are a set of songs to put on in the morning, to help you get out of bed and get started with the day. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2521Xe9v0R0R60YJIV0C74?si=NymfUQt6QJCJng2uznR1QQ

Songs to Lift Your Mood: The happy playlist: When researchers analysed why people listen to music, lyrics were way down the list, but setting mood was out in front. Songs have the power to change our mood, set the environment, the provide an acoustic ecology, a soundscape that surrounds us and envelops us. These tracks have been chosen to lift you up and help you feel positive.
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7wYzHIKuZDgYxOg2warySq?si=AsiyoZx8SyiJV_EyyCxNqQ

And Relax: Chilled and Ambient Tunes to Soothe Your Mind: At some point you are going to need to chill out, slow down, get some mental space. With so much going on in the world, time to calm down, recover, and process what’s going on has never been more important, along with the need to relax and spend a little “me time”. So these are some tunes to help with that, to slow down your heartbeat, and rest.
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2h21diUxbVhz17lberfUMb?si=4B3SbdafQ3uIWZ1jW1PyCw

Welcome to the Apocalypse: A little tongue in cheek this one, here’s a set of songs that reflect in one way or another some of what’s going on in the world right now. For those who want to embrace these troubling times, or who just don’t want to avoid them but run headlong into it’s hurricane winds.
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1av27spuAlmrnczUySZ1vi?si=95ufDtuSSYOwlyFLznsHNw

I’m sure you can all come up with better more personalised playlists, but here’s something to get you going.

Professor Chill Live at Yellow Arch, Sheffield

Professor Chill’s next live gig is in Sheffield, at Yellow Arch, 16th June 2019.

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The gig is with 3 other acts, Manchester’s Marconi Union and Bing Satellites, as well as North Wales’ very own Antonymes. Professor Chill adds home town Sheffield sounds. It’s a Sunday, so Professor Chill’s set starts early at 7.15pm, so don’t be late!

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Yellow Arch was originally a recording and rehearsal studio, and more recently expanded into live gigs as its Neepsend surroundings became increasingly the coolest part of Sheffield. Richard Hawley records all his albums there, produced by one of the owners Colin Elliot, who has produced everyone from Hawley through to Kylie. It’s also home to Planet Zogg club nights, and where the Arctic Monkeys used to rehearse before they achieved planetary orbit. It’ll be a great event, and we hope to see you there.

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Professor Chill Lecture on Ambient Music

Professor Chill gave a lecture in 2018 at the Ambient @ 40 conference, which celebrated 40 years since Brian Eno released his Music for Airports album, and first coined the term Ambient Music. It discusses the ancient roots of ambient music, as well as the development of electronic dance music versions of ambient in the early UK rave scene of the late 1980s. You can see this talk on YouTube here:

Professor Chill talks to the New European Newspaper

https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/prehistoric-music-david-attenborough-lascaux-montignac-france-1-5818209

By 17,000 years ago, with Neanderthals having long since died out, Homo sapiens had triumphed as the only surviving species of the human family tree, and their dominion over the Earth was truly beginning. But their manipulation of the world around them began not with farming, which came some 5,000 years later, but with art.

(…)

This strange world of prehistoric sights and sounds has been brought to life by the project Songs of the Caves, which brought together academics from Britain and Spain to investigate the archaeo-acoustics of five painted caves in northern Spain. In doing so, the project began to give some idea of what Prehistoric music may have actually sounded like. Using reconstructions of the Hohle Fels flute and a vulture bone flute from Isturitz, as well as cow horns, drums, a bullroarer (a flat piece of antler, swung by a cord to create a humming sound), and the human voice, they powerfully evoked the soundscapes that Paleolithic man may have created, recapturing an ephemeral artform that is easily lost and forgotten in the face of vivid and iconic cave art.

Rupert Till, professor of music at the University of Huddersfield, led the Songs of the Caves project. He got a step closer to the reality of sound for early man when he recorded the replica Isturitz flute being played in the very cave it was found in. The recordings were used on Till’s Dub Archaeology – an attempt at ‘sonic time travel’, he says – taking Leftfield’s Leftism and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon as key influences.

Reverie situated those recordings in ‘a wash of electronic sounds’, while the single Isturitz used a recording of the flute made in another cave over a chill-out track, giving it a world music feel. Egyptian musician Mina Salama, performer on Isturitz, is a player of the ney – a long, open-ended flute from the Middle East of 5,000 years provenance – and was instantly able to play the tens of thousands of years old flute, suggesting the universal nature of basic music technology. In melding the very ancient and the very modern, Till has created music that forces us to think about the common characteristics that make us human.

Till was also instrumental in the production of a series of CDs released by the European Music Archaeology Project (EMAP), an international project supported by the Culture Programme of the European Commission, which sought to trace the sounds of Prehistory through to traditions which still survive today. Volume Four, titled The Edge Of Time, featured reconstructions of flutes from Geißenklösterle, Hohle Fels, and Isturitz being played by flautist Anna Friederike Potengowski, with accompaniment from percussionist Georg Wieland Wagner, to explore “the eternal musical truth of breath on bone”. The results are often mournful, and incredibly haunting.

David Attenborough’s recently-released two-CD set My Field Recordings from Across the Planet includes bone flutes being played by indigenous peoples in South America only half a century ago. In this we see – or rather hear – a collapse of time, the gap between us and Paleolithic people narrowing dramatically.

Ultimately, whether used for leisure, work or worship, music was a means of social cohesion for early man, and the EMAP project put the emphasis on finding ‘sound-evidence’ of Europe’s ancient common roots where “musical instruments played a key role in creating a network of interconnections, cross-references and shared features among the various European cultures”.

Music binds us to our neighbours and, as such, it is a means of survival. But above all, prehistoric instruments movingly remind us that whether over tens of thousands of years ago or today, music is so often how we keep the darkness at bay.

Professor Chill Live Performance @ Jabeerwocky in Sheffield

Professor Chill is performing Live in Sheffield, playing material from his album Dub Archaeology as well as new material. It’s a laptop set using Ableton Live. This software’s interactive structure allows him to essentially remix the music live, mixing in material from synths, drum machines and effects. Jabeerwocky is a cool new bar in Professor Chill’s home town of Sheffield, and a perfect venue. He’ll be followed by DJ John Muir spinning tunes and getting the dancefloor’s groove on.

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Professor Chill on The Quietus

There’s a great piece on The Quietus music website on Dub Archaeology, telling some details about the background of the album.

“I wanted to explore sonic time travel.” How Martyn Ware of the Human League, acoustic models of Stonehenge and bits of bone tens of thousands of years old led to one of 2018’s oddest albums tquiet.us/PC

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Using Ableton Live 9 with Roland MX1 Mix Performer and a Mac

I’m getting my live set together, and am using Ableton Live 9 on a Mac laptop, and want to use my Roland MX1 Mixer as the main output device. I set everything up as instructed in the (rather pathetic) manuals, but got no sound from the Mac on the MX1. It took me at least half an hour of searching manuals and reading posts to work out what was going on. After installing the drivers, setting the sampling frequency to be the same, putting the MX1 in mixer mode, connecting the laptop to the MX1 PC input, setting the sync settings still no joy. The MX1 will only play the main outs from Ableton if you set Live to output its master signal on channels 17&18, rather than the more common sense, preset, 1&2. So you have to set the master channels to output on channels 17&18. It’s not so easy to find out how to do that in the Live manual, but it is quite simple once you know, and solved my problem.

Ableton Master Section  Ableton Master Secion io

In the bottom right corner of the Ableton screen, there is a button labelled I-O which is probably greyed out as you can see above left, unlit. If you click on it, the button lights and the input output settings will appear. Set the Master Out to 17/18 and you should hear the Ableton master output through the MX1. I’m using this system in a couple of weeks in a Professor Chill set at the Samsara Festival 2018 in Hungary.

 

First single Isturitz released from Dub Archaeology

The first single is out from Professor Chill’s new album Dub Archaeology!

Isturitz Single Cover

You can stream it on Spotify right now.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/1mWWBTWbiQ0apMLVGIEIv1

You can also download it from iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/isturitz/1394920043?i=1394920390

Please also like the track, and follow Professor Chill

It features a recording of the Isturitz Flute, an archaeological reconstruction of a 30,000 year old vulture bone flute, found in the Isturitz cave in southern France, as well as grooves, funky guitars and electronic soundscapes.

Mina Salama is playing the flute. Technically it is not a flute, it is a bone pipe, as it is open at each end, not closed at one end like a flute. This design is similar to the Ney or Nay, an Arabic instrument. As a virtuoso Ney player, Mina was ideally suited to playing this ancient instrument.

The Quietus has featured the track, you can read the article here.