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I’m pleased to announce that commencing in May, Ultima Thule will be heard coast-to-coast across Australia’s community FM radio network.
The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia – the country’s peak body representing community radio and television – recently offered us a late night spot on its Community Radio Network – a shared programming service distributed via satellite to over 180 stations across the nation.
As a consequence, UT will become the first ambient music show to be heard across the length and breadth of the continent in nearly two decades.
UT will be heard immediately on the 50 stations who already rebroadcast CRN programming live via satellite, while other stations in the network have the option of picking up the show by recording the satellite transmission for later broadcast.
So, if you wish to hear UT on your local community station, be sure to contact them and let them know that there’s an audience out there for ambient music – as well as a ready source of quality ambient music programming to satisfy that audience thanks to UT and the CBAA.
As we approach Sunday-week’s 700th broadcast of UT, I thought it might be a good time to answer a question that many people have asked me over the years: how did you first become interested in ambient music?
Well… a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there lived a 16 year-old schoolboy named George. One Thursday “activities day” afternoon, George was listening to the radio while painting a mural on the wall of the art room at De La Salle College, the school he was attending in the southern Sydney suburb of Kingsgrove.
Suddenly George’s attention was seized by the sounds of an extaordinary piece of music, the likes of which he’d never heard before, emanating from the speaker and swirling around the room; music that consisted of a wash of gorgeous synthesiser sounds above which floated the strange, nonsensical words of an ethereal female vocalist. George was entranced.
Then, 3 minutes later, the song finished, and he soon forgot all about it.
Returning from a trip to town on the hot, overcast Saturday afternoon immediately preceding the beginning of semester, one of George’s newfound friends pulled an audio cassette out of the glovebox of his car, inserted it into the cassette deck and hit the play button.
Suddenly the vehicle was filled with – you guessed it – a wash of gorgeous synthesiser sounds above which floated an ethereal female vocal.
George quickly discovered that his friend not only knew the name of the artists responsible – but owned a huge collection of recordings by them – and other similar artists as well. It was the beginning of an infatuation with electronic, ambient and related atmospheric music that continues unabated nearly a quarter of a century later.
So what was the piece of music that started it all? See (and hear) for yourself…
Coming up this week on UT 699 is the Australian radio premiere (yes, another one!) of the newly-released extended 3-CD soundtrack to Ridley Scott‘s Blade Runner, by the lord of the symphonic ambient cosmos – Vangelis Papathanassiou – who coincidentally celebrate his 65th birthday this month. Here’s a tiny sample of what’s in store…
…and as if that wasn’t enough to get you quivering with delight, Nev will also be serving up a selection of pieces from the Vangelis soundtrack to the new historic epic about the life of another famous child of the Hellenes – Domenicos Theotokopoulos – known to history as El Greco. The film promises enough heaving bosoms, evil inquisitors, passionate artistic histrionics and fabulous Baroque dancing to satisfy just about anyone with a pulse…
Welcome to the official Ultima Thule blog.
The UT team intend to use this forum to bring our listeners regular updates from across the ambient universe – including new release information, reviews, interviews and lots of other interesting stuff that we can’t, for one reason or other, put to air on the show itself.
We hope you enjoy it, and look forward to your input.
To kick things off, here’s a sample of funky middle-eastern now-sounds from world citizen Natacha Atlas: Leysh Natarak? (Why are we fighting?)…
…and a classic 1960s concert performance by the great Egyptian singer Om Kalthoum; popularly known as “the Star of the East”, 4 million people thronged the streets of Cairo for her funeral in 1975, and her albums still outsell those of many contemporary performers nearly 40 years later. The track is entitled El Ghazaly…