Internet radio was the disciplinary backbone of my musical life for a long time, and when I left StillStream some years ago, it was relaxing for a while, but then felt very much like I’d turned from a ship with sails and a rudder to a raft drifting downstream.
I am not a big believer in the idea of music as some great gift from a higher power, for which the individual musician is merely a conduit… music pouring out of a person “like vomit from a drunk”, as Ayn Rand put it (and there, that’s the only Ayn Rand quote anyone will ever see from me, anywhere). There is a place for inspiration, and whether it’s divine or not is a discussion I’ll leave to the theologians and skeptics. But inspiration becomes great music only with craft, and craft takes discipline, and discipline takes structure.
And you know what? A weekly radio show is structure in spades. I didn’t appreciate it when I had it; I missed it when it was gone; and I love it now that it’s back.
On my show, Spiral, I play the music of other ambient musicians, which requires the focus and forethought of listening to and choosing great music that fits my mood or a particular theme. But in addition, I also do what I call “ambient rants”, live improvisational ambient pieces that hopefully entertain and edify my audience. That discipline of trying to play every week and quickly come up with ideas that folks will want to hear is very good for me; I know I was playing better and creating more music during my time on StillStream than any other time in my career, before or since. It’s nice to get back to that.
If you’re a fan of ambient music, you’ll want to listen to StillStream often. It has a huge variety of great music, both commercially available and free under Creative Commons; it’s online 24/7; and I’m only one of a staff of excellent DJs providing special music programming and live performances on a regular basis.
My show, Spiral, happens most Sunday nights, starting at 9 PM Eastern, 8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain, 6 PM Pacific, 5 PM Alaska, 3 PM Hawaii, or 1 AM UTC. You can choose to simply listen or to join me and other listeners in our online chat room (click on the link above and then on “Chat” in the title bar).
StillStream has been the vehicle for my radio experiences up until now, and it’s been a great one; there may be other experiments in the future with other ways to deliver my music, and as they come to fruition, I’ll tell you about them here.