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Cedar Rapids, IA, United States, 2005/12/30 - During the month of December in 2005, Mark Rushton's latest podcast of original and live ambient/electronica music has logged over 3000 downloads. Here's a recap of Rushton's year of podcasting, along with plans for 2006..
2005 has been a thriving year for podcasting - the internet's equivalent of syndicated radio shows - and ambient/electronica podcasting pioneer Mark Rushton rode the wave to considerable success.
Rushton's last podcast for 2005, released in late November, has logged more than 3000 downloads in the final month of the year.
That's double the number of downloads that his October podcast received.
During the year, Rushton took a number of chances with his podcasts. In September, he and bass player Jon Harnish put out a 34 minute long piece of improvised music that was recorded live. At the time it was the most popular podcast Rushton had ever released with nearly 1000 downloads in the first month.
Rushton has also assisted Jon Harnish with setting up a web site and podcast for Harnish's other musical interests, which include experimental jazz recorded with drummer Nik Gerboth, as well as profiling the leftfield pop music that Gerboth has recorded over the past 20 years. It's called Avant Anomaly and can be found at avantanomaly.com
In early January of 2006, Rushton plans to release a new podcast with a theme called "What Does An Iowa Winter Sound Like?" The podcast is based on five piece of music created in 2005, four of them with Harnish. Rushton calls the music, "Really stark. Most of it is very very quiet, so you'll want to get a set of headphones and enjoy the music in a private space."
The theme for "What Does An Iowa Winter Sound Like?" was spurred on when a newspaper reporter inquried about Rushton and Harnish's monthly recording sessions at the Ambient Matyk Cafe, located in the New Bohemia section of downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
"I have a 60 mile round trip commute every day down back roads and state highways to my job," says Rushton. "I get to see the snow-covered fields just before sunrise and just before sunset because of our short days this time of year. Most of the music is inspired by thinking about those landscapes."
"What Does An Iowa Winter Sound Like?" was also inspired by Rushton's repeated listening to the 1988 album "Plight and Premonition" by David Sylvian and Holger Czukay, particularly the Plight track, which is subtitled "The Spiralling Of Winter Ghosts."
The music for the podcast is mostly based on atmospheric loops created by Harnish and which were later edited and arranged by Rushton. During the production of the tracks, Rushton added pieces of live recordings from the Ambient Matyk Cafe as well as numerous field recordings captured at The Ark, a private residence and hermitage north of Cedar Rapids. The one piece solely authored by Rushton is "Minus Eleven" - a recording he completed in early 2005 and is on his latest CD, called Hum And Drift - has more rhythmic elements and is located near the end of the podcast.
With a large number of iPods and MP3 players sold during the holiday season, Rushton thinks the audience for what he calls "esoteric music" will continue to expand.
Rushton's goals for 2006 include creating more music, having more live appearances, making better recordings, and continuing with the podcasts. He'd also like to expand to allow more commercial uses of his music.