The North Shore

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dreamstatevsheikiDreamState vs. Heiki The North Shore CD/Download (paplus19)

Recorded in January 2012 by ambient duo dreamSTATE (Scott M2 & Jamie Todd) with electronic
sound-artist Heiki Sillaste “The North Shore” sonically evokes the Canadian winters of their lifetimes –
travels through white fields and deep woods, along frozen rivers and by the shorelines of great lakes.
The CD package is a numbered limited-edition of 250 copies in digipak with glass mastered audio CD
and four signed artcards.
Heiki Sillaste was the special guest for the launch of dreamSTATE’s
Drone Cycle 2012. At the prep sessions the weekend before the
January 10th show, we improvised in deep-winter mode as Heiki
was looking for a new piece to suit the winter theme of the
fourth Quiet Drones compilation.
Reviewing the recordings, Heiki and his sonic cohort Kris Helstrom declared that there was not just
a piece, but an album there. They tackled the mix of the Sunday tech session which became the
epic-length Ice Flow, while I mixed two pieces from the Friday night session and a wintery excerpt
from the Drone Cycle concert.
As Canadians, we know ice and snow in our core. We feel these
soundscapes evoke a deeper winter than actually occured in
Ontario 2012. We hope you enjoy the journey. Dress warmly!
– Scott M2 /dreamSTATE


All music by Scott M2, Heiki Sillaste and Jamie Todd
Recorded at Wright Sounds and at THE AMBiENT PiNG@Supermarket, Toronto, January 10th, 2012.
Iceberg-sized thanks to Kris Helstrom for mix, enthusiasm and encouragement.
We would also like to thank General Chaos Visuals and the PiNG community.
Live group photograph by DJ Mezmerize.
Typography and photography by Heiki Insert artcards by Scott, Heiki and Jamie.


Listen to The North Shore
1 Snow Drifter
2 Expedition
3 Ice Flow
4 Winter Light
Download a free 4-minute preview of The North Shore
Buy The North Shore


You have to love it when a semi-plan comes together. As part of preparations for the kickoff of
dreamSTATE’s Drone Cycle 2012 shows, the Toronto-based duo and sound artist Heiki Silaste
droned their way through a couple improvised sets “in deep-winter mode.” Listening to the
prep sessions later, Silaste declared that he wanted to mix part of it (along with Kris Helstrom),
while Scott M2 of dreamSTATE took on the other rehearsal sessions as well as the Drone Cycle
concert itself. What you the listener get out of all this is the cold, deep, and enveloping drone-
space environs of The North Shore. The centerpiece of the disc is the 40-minute “Ice Flow,”
a shifting epic of drone curving its way in and out of shadow, including short stretches of
upward-arcing pads that wind their way out of some quite-deep sonic caverns. There is, to
mix phrases somewhat, a great patient dynamic at work. Moments are created out of raw
material that change the timbre of the voyage without losing its constant edge. Stretches
of time melt away as these artists cull fresh sounds out of their gear and ease the thing
along. Subtle beats, whining curls of electronic spatter, and whisper-hiss breezes form
the atmosphere. “Ice Flow” alone is reason enough to get this disc. The other three tracks
each have their own distinct character while dovetailing perfectly into the overall feel.
“Snow Drifting” begins with big, comparatively soft ambient pads, edging toward a less
comfortable space as the piece nears its end. “Expedition” picks up that darkening feel;
a low-end drone stretches time across a sparse landscape of sound. Choral pads and
rising wind fill in the details. The closing track, “Winter Light,” rises up out of “Ice Flow”
with a growl, then eases off its rough texture to reveal, in title-appropriate fashion,
a slightly brighter and calmer character. There’s a nice balance of warm and cold here,
the latter brought in with that persistent low-range drone, the former in the high tones.
This is a great batch of minimalist, immersive drone, and you’re going to get lost in it.
It’s a fantastic headphone listen, giving the subtler details more substance. The mix of
mesmerizing drone and underpinnings of uncertainty and shadow works very well.
You can relax with this disc, but you’re always aware of the edges. The way each piece
evolves carries the feel of the organic movement of an improvised piece, with no
mis-steps to impede the flow. Let this one loop for hours.
John Shanahan at Hypnagogue
Awaited for longer time with quite big expectations, but when the mailing finally
arrived and I exposed the album, my eyebrows were raised immediately. A glass
mastered CD, packaged in attractive 4-panel digipak with additional art cards
included and signed by the artists. Wow, I simply couldn’t ask for more!!!
Yes, even if dreamSTATE guys are known as skilled multimedia performers,
who are involved in all kinds of audiovisual projects, I didn’t have any idea
about their landing at Paper+Sound label. Now the mystery is solved, dreamSTATE
aka Jamie Todd, have teamed with Heiki Sillaste, their fellow veteran of the
Toronto electronic music scene, who started his career with Digital Poodle,
an industrial-tekno project, in the late 80’s. Some good old memories from my
pre-ambient era are awakening… Among many other projects, Heiki also founded
in late 2009 Paper+Sound label, so I am really happy about this collaboration.
“The North Shore” CD was released at the end of September 2012 as a limited
edition of 250 hand-numbered copies. Bonus points for the artwork were
awarded already and it took me only few seconds after pressing the play button on
my CD player to raise my eyebrows once again. “Snow Drifter” unfolds with some
of the most splendid winter drones I have ever encountered. 7 minutes of pure
dronescaping ecstasy, colored with assorted eerie, but warmly nostalgic soaring
fragments and processed, let’s say something that evokes seagull calls. I can
easily imagine wandering through the wintery suburban shores of Lake Ontario and
“Snow Drifter” would be my ultimate soundtrack to journey with!!! I have explored
these shores for many times during the period of years 1983-1993 while visiting
Toronto with its suburbs, but unfortunately, never during the winter time. So my
inner journey unfolds now, 20 years later…
I must add, these deep winter soundscapes were explored for the first time during
the preparation sessions for the January 10th, the dreamSTATE’s Drone Cycle 2012.
Originally launched in 2000, when dreamSTATE performed monthly shows of
improvised performances based on the notes of the chromatic scale, with special
guests on each event. Now, 12 years later, beginning January 10th, 2012, dreamSTATE
reintroduced this format again, with Heiki Sillaste as their first guest, for traversing
the scale back downward, so January in C and “The North Shore” is one of the results
of this amazing project.
Back to “Snow Drifter”, besides the fact it’s properly entitled, the drones, slightly
high-pitched, are ebbing, gliding and cascading through the stunningly colorful and
exceptionally beautiful icy sceneries in absolutely fascinating manner. Great piece, Scott,
Jamie & Heiki, an Ambient Hall of Fame nominee!!! “Expedition” leaves the suburbs and
moves towards vast open, freezing landscapes of Ontario, masterfully wrapped by hissy
expansions, outbursts and blankets with deeply evocative, at times strongly ethereal impact.
These panoramic winter vistas are magically beautiful and wondrously tranquil!!! “Ice Flow”,
the long form piece, nearly 41 minutes in length, moves through various transitions, ranging
from more captivating, minimally droning, through more immense, intense and dramatic to
more abysmally freezing and frightening. Yes, it’s an all-inclusive journey adventurously
traversing from cinematic panoramas of quiet “Ice Flow” with snowflakes gently floating down
to harsher, more experimental dronescaping rumbles evoking morning after stormy, freezing
night rain with spectacular ice formations, where the water is frozen on the branches of the
trees or as it dropped from them. Fascinating and ultra-moody tour de force!!! The closing
“Winter Light” reveals with some cyber-tech infusions, but it promptly transfers into serenely
drifting and meandering expanses. Just close your eyes and the following could be one of your
visualizing scenarios. You are walking on the shores of Lake Superior, the night is dark,
sky is clear, it’s time to experience the magic of shimmering green northern lights over the
ice coated landscapes, the Aurora Borealis. A truly breathtaking conclusion!!! “The North Shore”
is utterly magnificent winter postcard from Ontario, Canada, a huge treasure from start to end!!!
Certainly one of my most fave dronescapades of 2012, a must have!!! Once again,
The Ambient Ping gang rules!!!
Richard Gürtler (Feb 23, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)