The man behind our latest Ransom Note Records release, over the last few years Belfast-born producer LOR AKA Lunar Orbit Rendezvous has shown he's equally comfortable dreaming up lush, vintage electro as he is soothing ambient soundscapes.
His 'Faith/Reason' LP, which came out in June of this year, is an ambient tapestry that traverses the boundaries of space that we find during the twilight hours — "when the world stands still for a second and we're reminded of the fragility of the lives we inhabit."
The long player followed a string of previous releases on the likes of Cin Cin, Exit Strategy and Get Physical, as well as his acclaimed eponymous debut album: the inaugural release on his own LOREC label.
For today's Monday Is OK mix, he welcomes us into a fresh week with a collection of ambient influences and discoveries, harmonically mixed for optimum bliss.
Please introduce yourself... Who are you, where are you, what are you?
Gregory Ferguson aka Lunar Orbit Rendezvous. I’m at home sitting on my sofa. It’s a Monday night. I’m a spiritual being having a human experience, haha.
Tell us about the Monday mixtape you’ve put together for us.
This is a loose collection of influences and new discoveries, mostly in the ambient domain. For the potential interest of DJ geeks and such as those, I used harmonic mixing to put this together. I’ve used it for a few mixes in recent times. It’s very effective for this type of music. The harmonic relationship means the tracks dovetail a lot easier. It does mean that I have to sit down with a piano and take some notes before I start mixing. I believe there is an app for it but… well that’s not happening.
If it were to be drawn what would it look like?
The ghost of a jellyfish.
If it were a food what would it be?
Maybe a ramen bowl with miso and a lot of herbs.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
What should we be wearing?
Where was it recorded?
In my living room where I am now.
Are you on the same wavelength as the boomtown rats or do you actually like Mondays?
I used to like Mondays before I got a proper job, haha. To be fair I’m fine with them overall. Suck it up etc.
Who got you hooked on electronic music?
I think I got truly hooked when I got a student job in HMV and heard Aphex Twin on the shop stereo. Then I just started checking out all these records in the shop like Orbital, Kraftwerk and Daft Punk.
Who would you say are your biggest influences and what are you hoping to achieve with your music?
I just mentioned a few there – plus Brian Eno of course, who I’ve mentioned before in the context of this recent album. I must say in more recent times Burial has influenced me – in particular the cohesiveness and uniqueness of the soundworld he has built up. Also, an instrument has inspired me in the last few years, as much as any actual record music has – “Auras” by Slate and Ash. I don’t use it on every track but it definitely pushed me in a new direction.
What were your original aspirations as a musician and how do you think you're shaping up?
I think at this point I’ve decoupled from an “aspirational” mentality. I just do the work. Let’s see where that goes. I think my younger self would be pretty happy with what’s going down right now.
What was the first electronic record you heard and how did it make you feel?
Depends how purist you want to be but I think Technotronic “Pump Up The Jam” might be it. It made me feel… scared and excited.
How does your brain work when making music? How does it work when you aren’t?
I’m reading a book called “The Master and his Emissary” by Ian McGilchrist which discusses the relationship between the left and right sides of the brain. Creative pursuits tend to work the right hand side of the brain more than the left and certainly the brain’s reaction to music is mostly in the right hand side of the brain. I find music work to be an interesting interaction between my more logical, reductive and literal “left brain” and the diffuse, intuitive and more spiritually orientated “right brain”. It’s important that the right brain makes the executive decisions, however it speaks with a quiet, subtle voice so you have to learn how to listen.
How does my brain behave when I’m not making music? Many aspects of modern life force us to be more left-brain orientated. However I think that artistic practice is perhaps a good way to re-balance the brain, thus having a positive effect on the rest of daily life, whatever that may entail.
What were the first and last records you bought?
First record I myself bought was 7” single of “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice. I wrote down the rap and learnt it off by heart. The last record I bought was an LP of Wendy Carlos “Switched on Bach”.
What are you obsessed with at the moment?
See above re: Ian McGilchrist.
If you could travel in time...where in time would you go? Why?
I would go and check out the heat death of the universe in 100 Billion years time. Pretty chill scene I imagine.
Some self help questions for a Monday...
Am I excited to dive into the challenges that I have lined up for the week?
Yes, a little.
Am I looking forward to engaging with the people I am meeting or working with?
Ok, yes I am. This is working. I feel more positive.
Am I going to my dream job?
Am I being compensated fairly for the value I bring to my job?
It’s all relative.
Do I feel energised, rested, and confident?
The last one.
If you were trapped on a desert island with one other person, who would you choose? How long would it be before you eat them?
I’m gonna say Adam Buxton. I listen to his podcast a lot. I’d like to mull over some things with him. I really don’t want to eat him. The answer to the eating question would surely depend on what other resources are available on the island, and if they are renewable.
Your doctor says you need more exercise... what do you take up for exercise?
I’m training for a marathon so don’t really need more aerobic exercise but I can’t touch my toes at the moment, so maybe yoga.
What's your answer to everything?
That I don’t know the answer to everything.
Anything else we need to discuss?
I’m free anytime to discuss synthesizers, marathon running, existence, truth and any good films you’ve seen lately.
1. Tom Rogerson & Brian Eno – Idea of Order at Kyson Point
2. Lunar Orbit Rendezvous – Music for Spaceports
3. Food Foragers - Echoes of a Life Hereafter
4. Tangent – The Origin of Structures
5. Lunar Orbit Rendezvous – Last Program Run
6. Nadis Struwigh – Organic
7. Satoshi Ashikawa – Still Space
8. Yoann Pisterman – Water Groove
9. Visible Cloaks – Toi
10. David Sylvian & Ryuichi Sakamoto – Bamboo Houses
11. Jonny Nash & Gigi Masin - Treasure
12. Lunar Orbit Rendezvous – Aspen Trees
13. Facta – Sistine (Plucks)
14. Ardley – Dawn Hour
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