[releases] afe096lcd
horchata: coleoid

  Artist: Horchata
Title: Coleoid
Format: CD-R ltd. to 100 copies in pro-printed cardboard sleeve
Tracks: 4
Playing time: 58:25
Release date: April 2007
File under: Ambient / Dark Ambient


Track List:

1.  Manus  13:43

2.  Dactylus  15:22

3.  Tentacular  11:11

4.  Cirri  18:07



Horchata is the name used by Michael Palace for his electronic music compositions.

His music focuses on four major elements: complex beat music, dark ambient soundscapes, programmed compositional glitch music, and field recordings. Often a composition will include several of these elements.

Palace has worked for a number of years as a research scientist at the University of New Hampshire's Complex System Research Center.

His work there focuses on necromass or dead wood in Amazonia. During his numerous field visits to the rainforest, he has recorded sounds using various microphones and minidisk recorders.

Modification of many computer simulations have yielded some interesting sound generating and compositional programs which are featured in newer recordings by Palace.

Finally, video and images have begun to feature more in Palace's live performances, using video that was shot in Amazonia and generated by computer programs.

After inviting
Michael to take part to our 10th year celebrative on-line compilation in late 2005, we also asked him for a full-lenght release and "Coleoid" is the result.

Exploring the darkest side of Horchata's music, "Coleoid" is a one hour long journey recorded and assembled during 2006. Here's a description of the album according to Michael's own words:

The coleoids are a group of cephalopods and are considered intelligent invertebrates. Usually in Horchata albums, song names and concepts focus on a specific group of organisms (insecta) or a specific ecological or environmental process or component (necromass).

From such a focus my intention is to develop a soundscape that expresses the niche or ecotype that a group of organisms live in or how a component functions in an ecosystem.

"Coleoid" focuses on the extreme depths in the oceans that these creatures can withstand and the alien like world of darkness and pressure.

Sound design and song structure in this album focuses on the development of dark ambient soundscapes that drift and slowly evolve, adding an almost sinking feeling of movement towards an abyss.

These four songs utilized field recordings I have made as well as the development of complex patches using Native Instrument’s Reaktor and a Clavia’s Nord Modular.

In addition, samples were taken from a Synthesizers.com modular and used in soft samplers for added depth of sounds. Composition used Cakewalk’s Sonar 5 and various reverbs and delays.

The stunning artwork of "Coleoid" was created by Dieter von Schramm of Devious Media.


"Coleoid" is a one-hour long immersion into the aural depiction of its namesake. Coleoids are a group of intelligent, invertebrate cephalopods that can withstand the extreme depths of the ocean, enduring perpetual darkness and pressure...
The whole album creates a reverberating hum, as though it's tuned into the metaphysical structure of your chakras... Largely informed by his work as a research scientist at the Complex System Research Center at the Institute of Earth, Ocean and Space, the compositions from Horchata are shaped, in part, by metereology, biogeochemistry, hydrology and forest dynamics. Using analog synthesizers, digital synths, soft synths, his own programmed sound design tools, samples and field recordings of insects, frogs, birds and various Amazonian creatures garnered from his studies in the rainforest, Horchata constructs soundscapes that brod, breathe, slither and glide."
Portsmouth Magazine [more]

"Given the purely ambient fare on offer one could be forgiven for expecting an hour's worth of unmemorable somnolence but the hoary atavism that Horchata presents is intriguing in its ability to present so much with so seemingly little in texture compared to other modern dark ambient projects, and it is this subtlety that is surprising and greatly welcome with the dearth of unique ambient music these days. With Michael Palace as interlocutor one truly gets the sense of the tremendous depths presented as aural pressure and the foreign life-forms inhabiting such an immemorial world.
Given the quality of this CD-R release one would be surprised at the high quality product that Afe Records has delivered, making this quite the jewel to cherish."
Heathen Harvest [more]

"Although these days it seems everyone is trying to get in on the "dark ambient" genre of music, very few do it in such a unique way as Palace. "Manus" is a droning, sweeping soundscape that is very calming and peaceful. The track flows straight into "Dactylus", a 15 minute epic piece that starts in much the same way; a flowing, droning ambient canvas that sweeps you back and forth. "Tentacular" is the shortest of the four tracks on the album, clocking in at just over 11 minutes. To me, this is the one track above all that seems to put me in another place. I'm not sure exactly what it is about it; there is just something hauntingly organic about it. Finally, the final track (and longest track on the album) "Cirri" brings this amazingly beautiful album to a close. There are not enough goods things to say about this album. Where most dark ambience is machine driven and sounds so, this album feels alive. There is a natural energy that seems to resonate in each track, and that has put this album in a place all by itself.
Lunar Hypnosis

"Not just a tasty drink, Horchata is Michael Palace, a scientist at the University of New Hampshire's Complex Systems Research Center. His music dovetails with his work, which studies "necromass" (dead wood) in the Amazon rainforest. There, he makes field recordings, which he utilizes in his music. Environmental and ecological themes run through his music... Coleoids are sea-dwelling invertebrates classed as cephalopods. In Palace's words, "Coleoid" (Afe, 2007) "focuses on the extreme depths in the oceans that these creatures can withstand and the alien-like world of darkness and pressure." Thus, this album is abyssal but polychromatic... Assured, often fearsome, yet sometimes oddly soothing, "Coleoid" has been in heavy rotation for me.
Invisible Oranges

"Coleoid" is a collection of eerier, hope smothering, bell and bass like harmonics drone tracks, which seems to drill deep into ones psyche souring and greying your mood... This has to be one of the bleakest, hopeless and dreary selection of tracks I've come across, really draining every drop of hope, light and joy from around you. A deeply negative and lightless album that should be approached with caution and is not advised if you're feeling particular down or suicidal...
Musique Machine