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Bryan Carrigan | Below Zero

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Electronic: Chill out Electronic: Down Tempo Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Below Zero

by Bryan Carrigan

An expansive musical landscape of electronic downtempo and chill out.
Genre: Electronic: Chill out
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Below Zero
4:13 $0.99
2. Premise
3:55 $0.99
3. New Day
4:57 $0.99
4. Twist of Lime
4:07 $0.99
5. Thespian
4:11 $0.99
6. Runway
4:09 $0.99
7. Detour
4:48 $0.99
8. Almost There
4:07 $0.99
9. Frisky Martini
4:30 $0.99
10. TGV
4:05 $0.99
11. Catalan
3:33 $0.99
12. Slinky
4:04 $0.99
13. Ditto
2:56 $0.99
14. Carousel
2:53 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Below Zero won the 2103 ZMR award for Best Chill / Groove Album and was also nominated for Best Ambient Album.

All music composed, performed, produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Bryan Carrigan.



to write a review

Daria Murphy

5 stars for 'Below Zero
Bryan Carrigan's music is like something I have never experienced. I own all of his CDs, yet each album is filled with unique and totally new ambient sound.
`Below Zero' is filled with so much fabulous rhythm that I find it hard to keep myself still when listening ~ and I don't! ~:)
It is the "structure" in each piece that most impresses me. Each track holds a melody that is a well thought-out and complex composition.
An attentive listener will indeed recognize and appreciate the work of an experienced professional musician!
Bryan's attention to detail even includes beautiful icy, crisp art-work on the CD cover and a label in the color of a perfect "frosty gray" to align with the theme.
Five-stars to `Below Zero' ~ another must have Bryan Carrigan addition to one's music collection!

Michael Foster

Ambient Visions Reviews Below Zero
I think that after listening to music for the last 50 years or so I tend to appreciate an artist who is able to break free of the artificial constraints that the “genre” label tends to put on a musician in regards to what they will compose and record and release. People change and grow as the years pass so why in the world would we ever expect that an artist would never expand the types of music that they were comfortable in composing and releasing? With the release of Below Zero at the beginning of October 2013 Bryan Carrigan is changing things up a bit from what you heard on his last release Windows and I find it refreshing that as an artist Bryan doesn’t feel compelled to release the same music album after album. In the old music industry that has ceased to exist it was considered normal business practice to find a musical formula for an artist and then release it over and over again until the public quit buying what they were selling. I don’t miss that part of the business at all.
There are 14 tracks on Below Zero and they cover quite a bit of interesting musical territory and show that Bryan is able to create music in a wide variety of styles that showcases his talents as a multi-faceted composer. While I would not classify this album as ambient music it still has much to offer to a listener who wants to put on an album in the background and relax after spending a hard day in the work trenches making a living. On the other hand I would say that Bryan has crafted a wonderful chill-out release with Below Zero and the music could also lend itself to more focused listening as Bryan has done a great job with arranging the music so that it holds your attention and engages the attentive listener. One of my favorite tracks on this album is a song called Frisky Martini and it combines a wonderfully laid back synthesizer, some soft keyboard work along with a steady beat that just flows over you like a slow fog coming in off the water that blots out all your surroundings until you are left with nothing but the music acting like a lighthouse in the subdued environment shining to show you the way forward. To top that off he throws in a muted trumpet a little ways into the song and at that point you become aware of exactly how much thought that Bryan has put into this recording and how he wanted to layer this song to entice the listener to enter fully into his vision. Well done Bryan.
When I listen to an album like Below Zero each song represents a slice of the whole project but each song is very unique and individual when it comes to its mood and what the composer hoped to communicate to the listener via that composition. Not every song is a laid back piece but that is what I like about the album as a whole. Some of the more memorable tracks on the album include Slinky which has a darker feel to it than most of the other songs on this album, Runway which has a stimulating beat that gives this song an invigorating vibe and also shows the elasticity of Bryan’s talents in regards to the music he composes and finally Twist of Lime as my last favorite song which spotlights Bryan’s synth work and his arrangements. Twist of Lime was painting on two distinct musical palettes during its four minute run as it brought to mind some late night jazz club music and blended that with some mysterious and haunting slow beat chilled out atmospheric synth sounds.
All in all Bryan’s latest release is well worth the effort to listen to and then to listen to it several more times so that you truly appreciate the work that has gone into the creation of the music. All too often we as listeners tend to put an album on and then think of it in terms of the length of the album instead of thinking about the time that the artist has spent working on this music tweaking it so that it truly represents just what the artist felt when they composed the song. Feelings are a tricky business to communicate and even though we only spend about 60 minutes or so listening to that finished product we should appreciate the effort that has gone into it. You will find much love encased in the music on this album as Bryan has shown himself to not only be a talented musician but a great arranger as well who translates his inner vision of the music into a tangible release that allows the music to speak for itself.
Below Zero is a great follow up album to Bryan’s last release and leads me to believe that we will be hearing a lot more from Bryan in the future. Considering that the music spanned several styles during the 56 minutes on this album the level of production on this release was impressive. This album simply proves that Bryan is an innovative musician who will continue to grow with each new release and that no matter what he might be recording today he will always have his eye (ear) set on exploring new territories with his music in the future. The album as a whole has a mellow feel to it but it is filled with nuance and emotional texture for the listener who decides to spend the time with it unraveling the sensations that Bryan has embedded in each of the songs. This one is definitely on the Ambient Visions recommended list of new albums.

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Below Zero" is Bryan Carrigan’s fourth solo release in a little more than two years, following 2012’s "Windows," which was nominated for ZMR’s Best Ambient Album of the Year award. Four albums certainly isn’t the extent of Carrigan’s music career, however, as he has worked behind the scenes on a multitude of award-winning recordings for other artists as well as music and sound work on more than 100 films. On "Below Zero," Carrigan is credited as composer, performer and producer along with recording, mixing and mastering. In addition to his synths, samplers and drum machines, Carrigan plays the piano on most of the fourteen tracks and trumpet on two. Impressive! Calling the music “chill out” and “downtempo” might be accurate genre-wise, but this music is vibrant and very alive. Often strongly rhythmic and energetic, some tracks are ambient but not without a pulse. Easy music to have in the background, it is also fascinating to listen to with full attention. I especially enjoyed it while driving through the woods on the Oregon Coast.

"Below Zero" begins with the title track, an ambient piece with a strong electronic groove and a catchy beat. Very cool! “Premise” also has a compelling rhythm, but it’s slower and more relaxed with just a hint of mystery. I like! The Euro-pop flavor and higher energy level of “New Day” gets the toes tapping effortlessly. Going much darker, “Twist of Lime” features Carrigan on trumpet as it suggests shadowy figures and something nasty going down somewhere - very visual and atmospheric! “Runway” kicks up the intensity to an intoxicating level that really moves - definitely a favorite! “Detour” reminds me a bit of early James Bond music at the beginning and then veers off into a different direction. Darkly mysterious and very vivid, Carrigans’ film music experience is showing on this one (and others!). “Almost There” makes me think of dancers moving slowly and freely to the music, perhaps expressing loss or searching. “Frisky Martini” is one of the more unusual song titles I’ve seen recently! Without the rhythm track, this would be classic film noir music, complete with muted trumpet, but the rhythm updates it and gives it a groove. Slipping back into the shadows, “Slinky” contributes an intense and hypnotic bit of musical drama - love this one, too! “Carousel” brings the album to a close on a lighter note, revolving slowly and gracefully.

"Below Zero" will very likely bring Bryan Carrigan a new set of awards and commendations to add to his growing collection! Highly recommended!

philippe felez

Beautiful electronic downtempo chill-out album !
Hello everyone
I just got the new album from this very talented composer and performer of electronic music and I must admit that once again, Bryan offers us a very beautiful new album!
if you value just like me, melody, emotion, rhythm and originality .. .. with delicacy and nuance, with this wealth and inspiration that characterizes this album comes in a timely multitude albums that inundates the market we feel we have already heard 100 times the same thing ..
not complicated and tight music, no! Bryan .. offers us EVERY time a music accessible, authentic music, inspired, responsible for grades and melancholy of the very beautiful "ambient music" .. but varied by no drone tall .. it sometimes moves well supported with beats, but always with elegance .. EVERY Albums Bryan is different .. is different and each songs in his albums, including all sorts of noise climates, sometimes ethereal and organic, sometimes melancholy, sometimes flamboyant .. helped a number of securities of traditional acoustic instruments here which gives a whole new dimension with a certain richness to the piece in question (for example, to mention only two, the fifth song "thespian" absolutely superb and last piece that closing the album, effectively and skillfully combining all these different sonic textures, rich in harmonic .. pure listening pleasure!
In addition, Bryan Carrigan who once worked and worked in the field of high-end hifi terms of audio equipment; This artist does not disappoint us in our ears a caregiver taking audiophile sound!
in short, a patchwork of different soundscapes for our greatest musical enjoyment .. another beautiful journey that we offer this talented artist
once a very nice discovery ..
has strongly advise if you value me as artists such as Richard Bone, Bob Holroyd, Urich Schnauss, Saul Stokes, Harold Budd, Darshan Ambient, General Fuzz, etc. ..
(Ps: sorry for my english approx (google translate french/English language beta)

Bill Binkelman

Wind and Wire review of Below Zero
In the short span of four releases, electronic music composer Bryan Carrigan has established himself as one of the brightest rising stars in the chill-out, ambient, world fusion, and electronica genres. For his latest venture, Below Zero, Carrigan unfurls his sails and sets out for dub and chill-out land, eschewing (for the most part) his flirtations with world and new age from his last two albums. What stays the same from the past is Carrigan's adept layering of his mélange of keyboards and synths, incorporating both retro and contemporary musical and rhythmic elements as well as his knack for crafting infectious melodic refrains and catchy beats that entice toes to tap floors and fingers to rap table tops.

When I first spun Below Zero's opening tracks, what came to mind were the assorted A.D. compilations on Waveform, as well as a few other recordings on that ground-breaking dub/downtempo/chill label. The same high level of production quality on that label's releases is mirrored here by Carrigan. Nothing on Below Zero is cut-rate: synths sizzle, beats pop, and keyboard melodies caress the airwaves. Even though Carrigan's previous three albums (Windows, Focus, and Passing Lights) all exhibited a high degree of quality in production and engineering, on Below Zero he ups the ante to where this self-released album is the equal of any label release. This guy clearly knows his way around mixing and mastering technologies.

Another trademark component of Carrigan's music (unlike some similar artists, such as Ryan Farish) is how his tracks can be quite varied while still maintaining a noticeable Carrigan "sound." Some artists in the chill-out and lounge genres craft one or two templates and stick with them. Carrigan re-invents himself over and over on Below Zero. First up on the disc, the title track slides out amidst shuffling dub beats, echoed piano, and spacy synth effects. "premise" glitters with shimmerings juxtaposed with an eerie, melancholic lead keyboard melodic refrain, offset by moody background ambient textures and anchored by a slow tempo dubbish rhythm. "new day" ramps the tempo, energy, and mood up to a pleasant level of daytime cruising in the sunshine (this is one of those great put-the-convertible's-top-down songs), with peppery synths, pumping synth bass notes, and a catchy keyboard refrain. "twist of lime" does an about face and veers into a deep, dark, downtempo cyber-jazz landscape, with layers of ambient keyboards underneath a bluesy trumpet line (a real trumpet, played by Carrigan himself), matched by a wailing synth co-lead and a funkified beat. Later in the CD, Carrigan dips his toes into semi-glitch waters on "runway" melding those contemporary elements with some quasi-Berlin touches (nice hybrid!). "detour" opens with a spooky series of sparkly synth notes, adding in a dub-like beat and thumping bass line - Carrigan has a knack for fashioning uptempo pieces that have a darkness embedded in them, music that has bite, tension, and a foreboding sense of moodiness. "frisky martini" brings back Carrigan's bluesy trumpet, but opens with cascading, twinkling piano and synth notes, before dialing in iridescent bell tones and mid tempo trap kit drum rhythms and bass. One of my favorite tracks on the CD is "tgv" which, if you don’t know it, is the acronym for the high-speed rail line in France. Obviously, this song moves at the fastest pace of anything on the album, and gone is any moodiness, replaced with an exhilarating feeling of great speed and giddy cheerfulness. The song begs comparison to Farish's work, but is not in any way imitative (it's much faster paced and, frankly, simply more fun to listen to than most of Farish's work, as well as densely layered with more synth elements).

Below Zero should be the final piece of evidence needed to cement Bryan Carrigan's place among the best purveyors of electronic keyboard instrumental music working today. His versatility and creativity apparently know practically no bounds (I wonder what he will tackle next?), his studio wizardry is as good as it gets, and his acumen when it comes to composing songs which combine memorable melodies and catchy beats is evidenced throughout his four releases. I mean, honestly, what more do you need to convince you that this guy is the real deal?

George Miler

A Reset Button for the Soul
The solitary, reflective walker struts through the dark city snapping his fingers – and then, pure ecstasy. Metaphors and analogies blown. Man dig that ultra-classic piano echoing from a nostalgic time that never existed; slow and easy, like the part of town that also cannot be located except in the sort of dream that the club scene tries to recapture in a shrill and frenzied way. The crackling vinyl is almost erotic – or was that mood already present? I think of October nights in France: lovers kiss in the archways of medieval carriage doors; the misty streets near the Seine glow; the precocious shadows suggest magical deeds. There are no lutins or syphides here, but there’s no sense of disappointment. After an evening spent canvassing the music groups on Facebook, Bryan Carrigan’sis medicinal.

The magic continues after the title track “below zero” concludes. Now I am puzzling out the instrument accompanying the flute in “premise.” A cimbalom? The image of a dancing Romany girl persists in my mind’s eye.

A commanding piano leads the way into what turns out to be a buoyant, sophisticated piece that would match the mood of a couple of friends of mine, who are starting – for the first time or all over again – in the bright cities. This is “new day” and it sounds like it. It’s time to abandon pessimism and snap out of my grumpy mood. Nobody likes a humorless verbalizer.

But first an uncanny yet not sinister pensée called “twist of lime.” It evokes what I call the Far Call. No, that isn’t Oster on the horn. It’s the redoubtable Carrigan himself. That’s him on every instrument. I’m well aware of the depth of his past experience, but I’m willing to wager that he swiped that trumpet from Alfheim on a historic quest that will never be documented.

In “thespian” Bryan creates a veritable musical ensemble consisting of cimbalom, café accordion, even classical strings to depict one last performance in the limelight. Or so the pathos of the dissonance makes me think. If this is thinking. i admit when I first spun this cd I made an effort to be critical, but my mind started acting like a starship’s navigation computer plotting a course through the gigatons of icebergs in the comet cloud to fly free. So first time out I just rode the music. (Synchronistically the pen I was using for taking notes went dry about this time too.) After I came back to earth I did a sharper job of listening, but I was on a different earth, one that offered a jazzy uptempo “runway” that made me picture a swank revue with plenty of backstage drama, a “detour” with a Bondish xylophone which made me ask: Just who crossed Bryan’s path?? The heart beats fast for a reason. The session “almost there” wakes me up aboard a train with a feeling of anticipation.* It isn’t morning, however. Not when I hear those happy drops in “frisky martini.” The ride is so smooth that the bar doesn’t jostle or sway. I must have bought a Eurail Global Pass if “tgv” is any indication, with its exuberant pace and efficiency. Part of the itinerary is romantic Catalonia, home of one of my favorite peoples. In “catalan” the brisk guitar, drum, and cymbals beautifully capture the mood of Barcelona. Following this are some big drums in “slinky” – and it is. Get all sinuous as you wriggle. Believe it or not but our remote ancestors evolved this method to go upstream. Where are we heading now? The sprightly and self-confident “ditto” does leave me wondering about the change of pace. The title makes me think of a final flourish at the end of a pleasant romantic adventure. The album doesn’t end there however. I know you won’t believe the story about my flashback to Sunset Park when I heard “carousel” – I knew the track was on here but my eyes were closed and I couldn’t see the track number. There is something bittersweet here, not nostalgia, not yearning. Something’s over. Just remembrance. This isn’t mawkish. It’s a mature composition with ample precedent while remaining unique. I couldn’t help but think of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical by the same name. It makes me wonder what my first love is doing right now.

As I mentioned earlier, the night after I received below zero was coming up empty. It’s possible to try too hard to have a good time; it seems that way around here sometimes. below zero was a different experience. I think there were times in the past when the feeling-tone was different, the style, the Zeigeist. Not tense but happy, not confrontational but playful. Enough had been settled so that people could inspect the higher life at their leisure, explore – not because they had to but because they wanted to. They were in a better position to appreciate what they found because they had a great base to build on. Or maybe this is just memories of a carefree childhood (which is assuming a lot). I wonder what parallel universe Bryan Carrigan returns to after he visits our jammed-up one.

*This set has a great finish.