With a rich catalogue reaching back to the early 1980's, Tim Story remains a highly distinctive voice in American ambient. The 90 minute mix spans his first album (1981) to his most recent (2014) and touches on most of the styles he's worked in during that time.
Listen to enough of his music and you'll be struck by two, seemingly contradictory, things: a curious and experimental musician with a penchant for darkness and ambiguity, yet one who's never forgotten the value of structure and a melodic line. Perhaps this is why his unique "21st century chamber music" attracts such diverse listeners: his sounds are lauded by fans of ambient, new age, classical chamber music, indie rock and electronica alike.
Comparisons have been made with Californian pianist Harold Budd, not surprising given that both Story and Budd are influenced by the music of late-19th Century French composer Eric Satie (1866-1925). Satie was consciously anti-dramatic and shunned the pompousness of Romantic symphonic music in favour of complex, spacious, melodic music for solo piano and small ensembles.
Story's own "miniatures" echo many of those qualities, but he also has something Satie never had: the endless textural possibilities of the synthesiser and recording studio - tools which he explores with a child-like curiosity - along with production and engineering smarts to match.