‘Ora et Labora’ (work and pray) was the saying of the ancient alchemists. Today we don’t pray, but we listen to ambient music to contemplate the mysteries of nature and the cosmos. “Ambient music gives me space to overthink things and/or to get (new) ideas” says Dutch DJ Merites. With the merit of an alchemist he has blended together the 34th FIBER Podcast; an intriguing ambient mix to accompany your lazy Sunday.
Merites a.k.a. Micha Venderbos is someone very close to FIBER’s taste in music. On his label Photic Fields he has released various 12”s from artists who have previously contributed to the FIBER Podcast Series. Think of Lapien, Leonid, Lerosa and recently CCO. So it felt natural to invite him to play in the Alchemical Foyer for the 2017 edition of FIBER Festival.
While the Photic Fields labels isn’t necessarily focused on releasing ambient music, Venderbos newest label First Notions is. “I got more and more into ambient music over the past few years. Ambient music is – in my experience – a calm surrounding: it doesn’t force you really to (do) anything (like certain lyrics or euphoric moods can). It gives space and it’s thought-provoking”.
Merites prefers the more drone oriented forms of ambient over the noisy and experimental forms. “I’m always looking for ambient music with emotional depth. The hypnotic compositions of Koen Holtkamp and the dark ambience by Abul Mogard are two examples of music I’m listening to a lot recently. And Jo Johnson’s ‘Weaving’ is probably the record I played the most the last two years. Beautiful, minimalist and patient synth explorations.”
As a label boss it’s not surprising that he’s a label oriented guy: “Further Records, Spectrum Spools/Editions Mego, Agguire Records and Silent Season. And it was only recently that I discovered a very interesting label from my hometown Nijmegen (Korm Plastics, founded in 1984!). The last track of the mix by Machinefabriek and Andreas Belfi was released on that label and was recorded live in EXTRAPOOL, Nijmegen”.
In terms of visual inspiration sources Venderbos mentions nature photography and cinematography. For this mix he also got inspired by the movie ‘El Abrazo de la Serpiente’, A dreamlike, slightly psychedelic exploration of the Colombian Amazon, shot in black/white. “Inspired by this movie I aimed to convey this immersive, mystical feeling of the movie into this mix.”