Over the past decade, modern ambient music has risen astoundingly in popularity. Amsterdam’s role in this rise is undeniable. Label, Music From Memory resurfaced Italian ambient pianist Gigi Masin and released contemporaries like Terekke. Then there was the trio of Gaussian Curve featuring Masin, Young Marco and Jonny Nash. Nash, who released a full LP on Music From Memory Make a Wilderness, is the other pillar of Amsterdam’s down-tempo, blissed out, contemplative music revolution.
His label, Melody As Truth, which serves mostly as an outlet for himself and long-time collaborator, Suzanne Kraft, is internationally regarded as a textural haven. Each album is a unique standout, showcasing multiple sides of what some claim to be a one-sided die.
Nash’s release schedule is prolific. In 2019 alone he released two full lengths and 2 exploratory jam 12″s known as M.A.T. studio with Suzanne Kraft, the 3rd came in February 2020. In May this year, Nash and Kraft will also released another collaborative LP, following up 2017’s majestic Passive Aggressive. In 2017 for Dekmantel Festival, Nash also scored the first RE:VIVE film ever, the award winning Sky Over Holland.
That’s a laundry list of outputs, each one exploring a new side of Nash’s music capabilities and language. But field recordings rarely find their way front and center of Nash’s work. However, we wanted to hear what his ear for detail and nuance would pick up if we gave him access to the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision’s field recording collection. Unsurprisingly he uncovered gems that we didn’t even know we had in the archive. From a softly beating heart to a full orchestra tuning, his sample pack runs the frequency range, most having the capacity to both work as a whole rhythmic differentiation or be chopped up for instrument racks.
Nash expands on what he’d do with the sounds below. You can download the sample pack yourself at here.
Het rammelen en schuiven van een ketting op een ijzeren dek
A nice dynamic sound with lots of frequencies to work with and a rich natural reverb. This could be cut up to make some nice percussive shots.
Het aankomen van mannen in een kerk
Nice sense of space and depth and I like the sound of the approaching footsteps in this one.
Oude kerk van Amsterdam: negen tot en met twaalf uurslagen
This one is a bit personal as I used to have a studio that faced the Oude kerk and the bells would ring all the time. It could sometimes get a bit annoying but had a certain charm! Would probably layer and pitchshift these for some interesting effects.
Oranjekerk van Amsterdam: luiden van klokken
More bells, this time from the Oranjekek. I like the tonality of this recording and the rhythm of the bells has a hypnotic quality. I can imagine using this as the start of a track and building melodic ideas on top of this. Again it could be interesting to layer and pitch shift.
70 hartslagen per minuut
Great recording of a human pulse with nice low and low-mid frequencies. This is really versatile sample that I would use as a nice rhythmic base for something.
Hartmonitor van een patiënt met een ernstige ritmestoornis
Really like the short pulse of this sample, the dynamic pops and frequencies would be fun to add something like a harmoniser or resonator too.
PTT museum: Baudot-telegraaf
A really nice hypnotic rhythmical sample that could be looped and and used as an interesting percussive element to a track.
Dolfinarium: kreten en sonar van dolfijnen onder water
These sonar sounds are so cool that I had to include this sample in the pack. I’m not sure what I’d use it for but I just enjoy the quality of the sound, the way it moves from long melodic tones to this short percussive sound.
Het kraken van een deur tijdens het openen en sluiten
Nice mix of short bangs and long creaking sounds with great dynamics. You can do all sorts of crazy things with a sample like this, I’d maybe chop it up and make a drum rack with it in Ableton.
Fototoestel met motordrive en diverse sluitersnelheden
Nicely recorded camera shutter sound, I really like the frequencies in the sample and also the variety of the different shutter sounds throughout. Again this could be cool to cut up and make into a drum rack in Ableton.
Het stemmen van instrumenten in een concertzaal
A lot of the samples I have picked are short sounds that can easily be chopped up. This one however is great as a whole piece! I love the sound of orchestras tuning up and can imagine making a composition centered around this, with other parts played on top.
Het borrelen van water
This one is so good! Great character to this sound of bubbling water, it can make a great base layer to something and would add real atmosphere to a track.
Personenlift met automatische metalen deuren
This could sit nicely beneath a track as a subtle texture. I like the way it shifts from more drone-like texture to short burst of noise when the doors open and close.
Het tikken van een oude klok
Great for an interesting alternative to percussion, I would use this to keep time on a track and play over it.
Great raw electronic sound to this sample, especially the first half. Lots of frequencies in this and it would respond well to pitch shifting.
All sounds licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA license by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Cover image via Nationaal Archief, CC0