Cool Basil, a downtempo / beats EP by Rushton

I’m releasing a new 3-track EP on Bandcamp as of March 24, 2019, and hopefully on the streamers as of April 5th. Pre-save on Spotify by clicking here. It’s called “Cool Basil” and it’s being released under the name Rushton in order to separate this music from the ambient things I release as Mark Rushton.

When I started making electronic music in early 2000, it was almost all downtempo/beats with occasional excursions into ambient and avant-garde. If you listen to any of my early albums like The Driver’s Companion, Hum & Drift, or Regeneration X, there’s a lot of that kind of music on there. I made a ton of it back in the day, and recently I released most of the old stuff under the moniker Chillout Preservation Collective.

I never quit making the “beats” tracks, but I mostly stopped releasing it. That is, until 2017’s Many Lights (Spotify) as Mark Rushton and 2019’s This Won’t Take Long (Spotify) as Chillout Preservation Collective, and some other singles I released under that name.

If you’re unfamiliar with a lot of this music, here’s a Spotify playlist I compiled featuring downtempo/beats tracks I’ve made since around 2001 or so.

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Self Assessment: March 2019

On the painting side:

I had the opening of my show in Iowa City on March 1st.

Since then I’ve been finishing paintings to take to the Leopold Gallery in Kansas City, hopefully in April. These new paintings consist of:

  • acrylic paint on stretched canvas

  • acrylic paint on canvas that is mounted to wood panel

  • acrylic paint on prepared wood panel

  • acrylic ink on synthetic paper that is mounted to wood panel

All paintings will be framed. All frames will be white matte wood. Some are floating frames. Most are a traditional frame. All are 1.5” depth. Size of the images will be between 11 x 14 inches and 24 x 36 inches.

I’ve temporarily stopped producing acrylic paint on synthetic paper paintings. Those have to be put under glass or plexiglass. I’ve discovered I can achieve the same style and effect using acrylic inks, and I don’t need glazing to protect it as acrylic inks have better resistance to accidental damage than acrylic paints on the same synthetic paper substrate. For now, I’d like to produce new works that can exist openly.

Another thing I’ve done is cut down on the number of sizes. Until recently, I tended to buy whatever looked like fun at the art supply store. These days, I’m a little more thoughtful about it. Here are the main sizes I’ll be working in:

  • 8 x 10 inches

  • 11 x 14 inches

  • 16 x 20 inches

  • 18 x 24 inches

  • 24 x 24 inches

  • 24 x 36 inches

Smaller sizes will likely be acrylic ink on synthetic paper mounted to wood panel. Larger sizes will be acrylic paint on prepared wood panel or acrylic paint on canvas mounted to wood panel.

I’ll work larger in the future. Eventually I’ll have a studio outside of my home where I can easily produce and store larger paintings.

Once I’m done with the next round of paintings for Leopold, I’ll fill up my online store with paintings that fall outside of the above size ranges.

On the music side:

I’ve been releasing a lot of sounds in 2019. Over the winter, I compiled unreleased tracks over the past 15 years, edited and titled them, and moved them into a folder I call the “Stockpile”. From there, I put them into various categories and have been steadily releasing them under my name, Ambient Matyk, Chillout Preservation Collective, and all the various other pseudonyms that I publish “genre music” and “environmental recordings” under. It’s going to take a while to whittle that down. It doesn’t do any good sitting on a shelf, or in my case, a hard drive.

Whenever I feel I need a break from painting, then I go over and deal with some releases. Then I get back to painting. It works for me.

Drop By Drop, 11 x 14 inches, acrylic ink on synthetic paper, mounted to wood panel, white matte wood frame.

Drop By Drop, 11 x 14 inches, acrylic ink on synthetic paper, mounted to wood panel, white matte wood frame.

The Store

I’ve opened a Store on this site.

At launch, the Store contains small paintings and compact discs.

All paintings in the store will be signed, framed, and ready to hang.

I accept most major credit cards and ship only to the United States.

Paintings will be packed in a double-box method. For the first box, the painting will be wrapped in plastic palette wrap, then covered in cardboard which is taped on the ends, and then the cardboard is covered in bubble wrap. This initial package is then inserted into a second cardboard box.

Upcoming Releases from Ambient Matyk and Chillout Preservation Collective

I’ll be releasing a large number of recordings in the next few months. These are tracks I’ve worked on over the years that didn’t fit in with what I was doing at the time, for whatever reason. Or they got lost on a hard drive and then rediscovered. Most of it won’t be under my name. Instead, they’ll be released on various “side” names that I often publish under.

I’m at the whim of various music distributors, but the first one that might appear is “Victory Sweep” by Ambient Matyk. This contains 10 tracks and about 37 minutes of ambient music. Ambient Matyk is a name I’ve used since 2009 to release music which largely improvisational in nature or perhaps more avant-garde. Follow Ambient Matyk on Spotify.

Victory Sweep 300.jpg

Another album due soon is “Do The Ambient Matyk”, also by Ambient Matyk. This contains 15 pieces of music. Most are shorter in length. Some of these are a little noisier than “ambient”. Follow Ambient Matyk on Spotify.

Do The Ambient Matyk 300.jpg

Also out soon (late March 2019) is “The Advent” by Chillout Preservation Collective. It’s 10 tracks of downtempo electronica with and without beats. Most of these recordings are from the 2004 to 2009 era, so if you liked my early albums The Driver’s Companion, Hum and Drift, and Regeneration X, then you’ll probably like this. Follow Chillout Preservation Collective on Spotify.

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Old Post Office Gallery Show

My show of 47 paintings at the Old Post Office Gallery at the Senior Center in downtown Iowa City (28 S. Linn St), opened last night, March 1st, from 5pm to 8pm, as part of the Gallery Walk. The paintings will be up through the end of April.

I’d like to thank Michelle Buhman and the rest of the staff involved with this facility for coordination and assistance. For the Gallery Walk, the facility provided a veggie tray and dip, a variety of cookies, and coffee. If you’re in Iowa City and are seeking a place to show your paintings, either by yourself or with others, I highly recommend this location.

While the number of people visiting was down due to the weather, those who showed up were interested, engaging, and fun to talk with.

During the opening, a selection of my music was playing on the sound system overhead. The playlist is called Ambient Soundtrack for an Art Exhibition Opening and is available on Spotify.

If you visit the show, the “acrylic on synthetic paper - framed” paintings are on the 1st floor, and the smaller “acrylic on canvas - gallery wrap” paintings are on the 2nd floor.

If you want to see all paintings in the show, go here.

Here are some photos of the paintings in the gallery spaces:

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I've Quit Podcasting and Some Other Things

Hi, it’s February 9, 2019.

After nearly 15 years, I’ve decided to quit podcasting. It’s run it’s course.

Along with the 145 shows I’ve produced, I released one final podcast yesterday, a lengthy megamix of various tracks I’ve released or produced recently, but it and the rest of the available archive will disappear after February 28th.

For the past 5 years, I’ve been using Libsyn to publish podcasts. I’ve enjoyed using their service and would recommend them to anybody else thinking of podcasting. Prior to that, I self-published.

Now for Some Other Things…

I’ve also decided to leave an online forum of musicians who, more or less, work in more avant-garde/electronic genres. It was fun for a while, but it’s grown tired as the number of contributors has expanded.

Some people don’t want to do any heavy lifting with their art. It’s easier to just be snarky at encountering relatively constructive business advice. If you have major envy issues, or expect the world to fall at your feet, then you should really get that dealt with before stepping foot into the world of The Arts.

For me, publishing music, sound, and paintings is a way of living, not a contest or race to be won.

I’ve been lucky in recent years that some of the recordings I’ve published, mostly under pseudonyms, have done well on the various streaming services since late 2016 to early 2017. It’s not “quit your job money”, but it’s enough where I’m now using a tax professional and taking their advice. After 15 or 16 years of releasing sounds, it’s a nice problem to have, and I’ve learned a lot about what I should be doing on the “business side” of the music industry. But sharing that knowledge, even at a high level, to strangers online is a bad idea. It’s not like we’re sitting around a table at a restaurant or having a one-on-one, face-to-face conversation. And that’s the problem with “social media” - there’s no context - there’s no human algorithm involved.

Mark Rushton Writing

Hi, it’s Sunday, February 3rd, 2019. Is this microphone on?

I moved my web site from hosted WordPress to Squarespace in the past couple of weeks. I am glad to be moving away from WordPress, which I had used and never liked for over a decade. Squarespace is nice. There was a slight learning curve, but then I quickly figured out the basics.

What am I going to do with this site? I’m a painter and recording artist, so I’ll be displaying paintings, grouping paintings into galleries, writing about the art, and writing about the music and sounds that I regularly publish. I’ll soon have a store for certain paintings and artworks.

Once thing I like about Squarespace is the Events page. It’s good for announcements, and that’s how I treated my “blog” on WordPress in the past. If you want to be more passive about announcements, sign up for my monthly-ish email newsletter. If you only want to know about music and sound releases, follow me on your favorite streaming service.