Amberfern is a composer of meditative healing music signed to Real Music (www.realmusic.com) in California. He lives and works in the heart of England’s New Forest National Park. The name Amberfern was inspired by the ferns that grow throughout the nearby forest woodlands, and in the autumn turn a golden amber colour.
Amberfern works from “The Green Room”, his forest studio, which is equipped to professional standards, and from which his music progresses through composition and writing to completed master recordings for licensing, release and international distribution. He generally works alone, enjoying the flexibility of being able to work calmly, slowly and expressively within his own rural studios, using technology to send the work around the world as required. Whilst this demonstrates a clear benefits in the use of technology, Amberfern contends that it must not be allowed to overwhelm or smother nature, and believes that there is a need for both “computers and campfires” and that, in musicmaking, a balance must be sought between the use of machines and the natural rhythms and sounds of nature.
In the spirit of this, Amberfern will often leave technology aside and integrate ethnic instruments with organic field recordings of sounds from environmental sources into his compositional spaces to evoke liquid essences of mysterious landscapes, with the intention of projecting listeners into unusual, exotic places as they bathe in the music. Although new and experimental in approach, Amberfern’s music benefits greatly from the structuring influences of jazz composition, making it appealing, accessible and easy for a wide cross-section of the public to engage with and enjoy.
Living in a forest, Amberfern naturally considers nature to be the supreme audio resource, and will often use organic field-recorded waveforms as starting points for musical sounds, which are meticulously blended with analogue synthesis to evoke specific tonal colours and reactions. He terms this sound-design technique “electronic ecology”, a blurring of the boundaries between music and environmental natural sounds. He believes that this combination holds a key to provoking strong emotional responses from listeners, as they gently wrap themselves around the resulting unique sonic colours that fuse into the completed musical pieces. The music is always intended to function as aural dream-texts and visions of possible worlds with which to bridge time and geographical location, trigger distant memories or connections and become a healing tonic for the soul.
A primary creative influence is that of landscape, and Amberfern will on occasions compose out in the field in distant locations with simple musical recording tools on an Apple iPad to try to capture the simple essence and immediacy of a landscape in front of him, in much the same way that an impressionistic painter will work. These sound sketches are then taken back to the Green Room for development. An example of this technique in action is the track Paleokastritas from the Quiescence: A World at Peace album, which started life on location on the Island of Corfu in Greece.