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News, links, articles, photography, inspirational quotations, and random musings from the founder and lead curator of Ektoplazm, the world’s leading free music service for psychedelic trance

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Ektoplazm 10 Year Anniversary

Blog | July 18, 2017 | Posted by Basilisk

Today marks ten years since I slapped a counter on the site and started tracking downloads. Ektoplazm had already been running for quite awhile—and even spent some time as a BitTorrent tracker—but July 17th, 2007, is the precise day the official download count began and things really started to take off. Since then Ektoplazm has served 21,149,066 releases and 4,700,590 gigabytes of data. If we make the modest assumption of around 8 tracks per release something like 170 million tracks have been download from Ektoplazm over the last decade (and that’s to say nothing of actual plays, a statistic I haven’t been tracking). Not bad for a little music blog still managed by a single individual with the generous support of a global community of creators, patrons, and fans!

Today I’d like to say THANK YOU to everyone who has supported the project over the years. To all the artists, label owners, party organizers, disc jockeys, mastering engineers, graphic artists, radio show hosts, listeners, dancers, runners, coders, gamers, poets, critics, haters, lovers, freaks, and characters, thank you for your passion and inspiration. I look forward to another ten years of working to expand the horizons of creative expression.

If you would like to support the project the best thing you can do right now is make a pledge through Patreon. Every little bit helps! You’ll also find this update on Facebook; please share it widely!

Artwork by Lhean Storm; find more of her work on Instagram.

Ektoplazm Update: Summer 2016

Blog | August 16, 2016 | Updated: December 24, 2017 | Posted by Basilisk

Hello everyone! I hope everyone out there is having a great summer in the northern hemisphere—and a fine winter down south. It’s time for another update of what’s going on behind the scenes here at Ektoplazm.

Ektoplazm t-shirt sample from Redbubble

First up, last summer I had to close the Ektoplazm t-shirt shop after the manufacturer I had been working with discontinued the service. Since then I have tried several alternatives but none really satisfied until I discovered Redbubble. So, I am happy to announce that Ektoplazm t-shirts are once again available, albeit from a different supplier—which means different garments, print quality, and so on. They aren’t exactly the same t-shirts but based on what feedback I’ve received the quality is comparable so I encourage everyone to check out the new Ektoplazm t-shirt shop on Redbubble!

By request I have also opened a page for Ektoplazm on Patreon, a web site that makes it easy to support content creators, movers, and shakers. For years Ektoplazm has accepted donations via Paypal and Bitcoin but this approach isn’t particularly transparent. Since people don’t know how much it costs to operate and develop Ektoplazm nor how much money is coming in it isn’t uncommon for there to be a shortfall that I end up covering out of my own pocket. Patreon offers the potential for more transparency. Here I will be able to set funding goals and everyone will be able to see how much support the project receives. At the very least, having Ektoplazm’s monthly web hosting expenses covered would be a great first step! People sometimes joke that if everyone who downloads from Ektoplazm chips in a dollar or two I wouldn’t have money problems any more but there’s more than a little truth to that—and Patreon makes it possible. If you support free music and my ongoing work on Ektoplazm 2.0 please feel welcome to make a pledge!

Finally, a word for my label and artist partners: these days I am only accepting a limited number of new applications with several conditions outlined on the distribution policy. I regret having to make these changes but I am limited in how much I can work on the project at the present time and being more stringent with what applications I accept will allow me to help more labels and artists than I would be able to otherwise. I am trying to devote more of my time to the redevelopment effort. Feel free to hold back as your releases will still be welcome when the site moves to more of a self-serve model. You are welcome to drop me a line and talk about it if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for your understanding! And thanks to everyone else for your continued support. That’s all for this time and stay tuned for more great music from Ektoplazm!

Streamlining the Distribution Process

Blog | November 12, 2013 | Updated: December 24, 2017 | Posted by Basilisk

This update is for label owners, artists, and other people interested in distributing their music through Ektoplazm. Please review the recently updated distribution overview as well as the newly published distribution requirements. All new release applications must adhere to the process and requirements outlined in these documents.

These changes are meant to reduce my workload so that I can focus the majority of my time and energy on the Ektoplazm metamorphosis project. To achieve this aim I have streamlined the release application process, published the requirements I work from to prepare releases, and instituted an application fee to encourage everyone to adhere to those requirements.

The new process involves more work for the labels and artists submitting releases but there is an upside to doing things this way: anyone in the community can step forward and help prepare releases. Previously this was impossible—only one person could operate the distribution machinery at a time. I have had to turn down many offers to help prepare releases simply because it wasn’t feasible to bring anyone else on board. Now that isn’t such a problem!

If you would like to help out please contact labels and artists directly or offer your services in the comments on this post or on Ektoplazm’s Facebook page. Get involved! Anyone with time on their hands and technical know-how can do it—all the requirements are here.

The contents of the distribution requirements will likely change in the near future as certain points are clarified based on feedback I expect to receive from labels, artists, and fans of the site. Be sure to check back to see the latest version of the requirements before submitting any new release.

As always if you have any questions or concerns you are welcome to use the contact form to leave me a private message.

The Making of Ektoplazm’s Greatest Trips

Blog | July 23, 2013 | Updated: September 3, 2014 | Posted by Basilisk

I prepared this post to provide some insight into the making of Ektoplazm’s Greatest Trips, a “best of” compilation highlighting some of the finest music I have had the pleasure of distributing via Ektoplazm, the free music portal I launched in the mid-2000s. The site has grown from humble beginnings to become a major focal point for psychedelic trance online with more than 50 million tracks served to music fans all over the world. (Not familiar with the background story? Check out this beginner’s guide to Ektoplazm.)

I began to lay the groundwork for a “greatest hits” project in 2011. I went about it methodically, working my way through every release on the site to identify some of the best tracks in every style I have made a home for on the site. I ended up with a huge pool of candidates, far more than I had imagined I would have to work with. It took countless hours of patient, considerate listening to reduce that initial pool to just a hundred songs or so. Eventually I arrived at a set of balanced and complementary set of songs that I feel faithfully represent the sound of Ektoplazm.

My intention is for Ektoplazm’s Greatest Trips to be, as the name implies, a real journey into sound, not just a disjointed collection of tracks. This required me to make some difficult decisions, some of which may prove to be unpopular. Not only are some of Ektoplazm’s most beloved labels and artists not featured here but entire styles are missing or underrepresented. It is my hope that most people understand the trade-offs involved in a project of this scope, or at least appreciate that I did my best to be inclusive. I encourage everyone to treat this particular tour of the site’s history as just a starting point. There is much more to discover by digging through the archives.

The musical progression of Ektoplazm’s Greatest Trips follows a classic model mirroring the passage of time through night and into morning. It begins with a downtempo introduction before building up through techno and techtrance into darkpsy and forest music. From there it shifts into full power psychedelic trance with twilight and Suomi influences. Next up is an exploration of the modern synthesis of old school Goa trance spirit and new production techniques. Quirky and unusual morning music follows, leading into deep trance, psy dub, glitch, and other forms of music at the deeper end of the spectrum to ground out the trip.

Each and every song included here is previously released on Ektoplazm but several have been fixed or remastered. This is noted in the full credits (available below).

Even though you may have heard many of these songs before I am very excited to share this project with the world. Ektoplazm has been incredibly fortunate to host so many brilliant artists, many of whom are featured here. I genuinely hope you enjoy every minute of this journey into the music of Ektoplazm! Continue reading the rest of this post »

Ektoplazm Metamorphosis Postcard Project

Blog | November 24, 2012 | Posted by Basilisk

I am happy to report that virtually all of the postcards from the Ektoplazm Metamorphosis campaign have been shipped! If you were expecting one but haven’t received anything yet please drop me a line. I have a few extras in case any get lost along the way.

This project was more of an undertaking than I had imagined it would be! In total I designed nearly 20 different postcard designs and wrote out, by hand, more than 150 different addresses and personalized messages. I realized—somewhat belatedly—that it would have been helpful to have a spreadsheet linking everyone’s online identities with their real names, for there are many people I know only from message forums and such. I apologize in advance if you were the recipient of a postcard that seemed impersonal despite our shared history. Hopefully everyone is happy with what they received.

I’ll be posting another batch of updates very soon so stay tuned… and thanks again for your support!