FFM-027: Simon Slator - Four Patterns

Simon Slator was there at the beginning, back when I first became interested in free ambient music on the web. I’m not sure exactly when I discovered his music, but I know that several of his releases (notably Skylight, 6AM, and Four Patterns) became staples of my ambient music library.

I spent many hours in those days trolling websites to find the kind of ambient music that I loved most–gently drifting pads of subtly shifting tones, very minimal and harmonious. I would download almost anything that labeled itself as ‘ambient’. I quickly learned, however, that the term is very fluid and at times I found it difficult to find the kind of music I was searching for. In this context, Simon’s music was a treasure.

This hunting is part of why I started the Free Floating blog, then radio show, then netlabel. It was to provide a place where like-minded listeners could find the treasures I had unearthed in my digital digging. And I feel that I have been successful in helping connect listeners to this music.

And so it is time to come full circle.

In re-releasing Simon Slator’s Four Patterns as part of my In Hindsight project, I have the opportunity to connect Simon’s music with new listeners, a task I am very proud to undertake.

As you will hear, Simon has a wonderful sense of atmosphere and subtle tonal progression. He creates a lush and serene soundscape in which to lose oneself. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Brad Ross-MacLeod
Vancouver, WA

Released March 20, 2014


From The Artist:
This piece, my third official ambient release, was the first time I’d looked at creating something more mathematical and theoretical – my two previous ambient works both had a theme of some kind. As the name suggests, the piece consists of four distinct patterns of a few minutes each. Each pattern is repeated four times using four different synthesizer patches, but no two patterns were playing at the same time. It was about a weekend’s work in all – the Saturday spent composing the patterns and getting the right sound, the Sunday spent mixing and mastering, and it was released on the Monday!

I’ve been composing music on-and-off for almost twenty years, starting back when I was in my late teens. For the first few years, it was all melodic instrumental music created using very amateur technology; but around 2002, I started learning how to use virtual synthesizers and Digital Audio Workstations. Fortunately, this also coincided with my first experiences of Brian Eno and Steve Roach; and within months, my first proper Ambient piece, “6am”, was born. On release, I hoped that around fifty people in total would download it – the target was smashed in three days! Over the next two years, four more ambient ‘soundscapes’ appeared; but after that, life and family took over and I wouldn’t record anything new for almost ten years. Last year, armed with better technology and a greater musical knowledge, I started making music once again.

All music by Simon Slator

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

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