Ned Milligan’s inspirations for Enter Outside

Ned Milligan - Enter Outside - Mood Talk - Inspirations
Each track on Enter Outside offers a gentle immersion into Ned Milligan's environment and gradually encourages it to become yours as well.

ned milligan's inspirations for enter outside

In recent years, Ned Milligan has pursued composition almost exclusively through chimes and cassette tape. Emphasizing live performance, this music was defined by equal parts improvisation and careful curation. On Enter Outside, he demonstrates the tonal and textural qualities found on those recordings while expanding his palette with the inclusion of a singing drum.


The title of this album – which can be interpreted as a directive, suggestion, or invitation – embodies the feel of these pieces and how much the music employs outdoor elements not as a mere backdrop, but as a collaborator. Each track offers a gentle immersion into his environment and gradually encourages it to become yours as well, while the gentle racket of the world hums along. There is a fundamentally bristling beauty to this album’s core and its ability to let the listener experience its space as a living thing.


As we celebrate the reissue of Enter Outside as a cassette exclusive through Objects & Sounds, we’ve invited Ned to share with us a few inspirations behind this album and his musical direction going forward.

Ned Milligan - Enter Outside - Mood Talk - Inspirations
Kazuya Matsumoto - OchiruChiruMichiru

This is an album that encouraged me to embrace elements of chance in composition. Essentially an hour-long recording of dripping water in caves hitting separated bars from a glockenspiel, this piece feels like it asks the listener to engage with the sounds using patience, humor, and reflection. It’s an immersive atmosphere and one that finds a great balance between exploring a physical space and a musical one.

Nadi Qamar - The Nuru Taa African Musical Idiom

I usually work with a fairly limited palette in terms of instruments and sound sources, so I am drawn to albums that do the same. This album exclusively features mbira (or specifically this collection of them that Qamar called the Mama-Likembi). It’s just about 30 minutes long and has some different approaches, so even though it’s based around just this one instrument, it works very nicely as a complete statement.

Peggy Lee - Sea Shells

I think Peggy Lee is a really underrated singer and I enjoy plenty of her jazz records, especially those where she’s backed by smaller groups. This album is a very specific project that meant enough to her for her to spearhead it against any popular trends in music. It’s an album of poems and traditional folk songs accompanied only by harp and harpsichord.


On Sea Shells, she uses silence and intimacy in the recording of her vocals to great effect. It’s frequently disarming and makes you lean closer as a listener. There are “better” albums of hers, sure, but this one is truly unique and special and while it’s likely not an obvious influence on my music, you can hopefully hear a connection.

Laraaji - Celestrana / Deep Chimes Meditation

You might think the piece here titled “Deep Chimes Meditation” would be my catnip, but it’s “Celestrana,” with its perfectly fragile motifs and slightly compressed fidelity, that wrecks me here. This is a slow, lyrical half-hour of music that I put on when I really need sound to be tender. It’s rare that music can take on such a seemingly compassionate quality. The moments when things fall to silence only to start again are quite meaningful and this piece will continue to guide me.

Theodore Cale Schafer - Patience

This album has a weird hold on me, one that is emotional but also hard to explain…when I reached out to Theo and told him I loved it but thought it was a bit of a mystery, he replied, “It’s a mystery to me, too.”


Trying to put it into words will likely just have me coming up short, but I’ll try. Patience is often disorienting, but always beautiful in a nocturnal way. It reminds me of time I spent traveling decades ago, slowly realizing the difference between solitude and loneliness.


Though not really making gestures to anyone outside of its own world, it nevertheless has me asking questions—why does “No Piano” have piano on it? Why does the final track feel anticlimactic but also necessary, a slightly indiscernible secret? Why does it sometimes feel like this album articulates parts of myself I can’t put into words? I’m fairly certain that this will be an album I continue to return to years from now.

Taylor Deupree + Marcus Fischer - Proem

These two are making quietly tremendous work.


Taylor is the person who I’ve asked to master my music for almost a decade now–that’s not just because I appreciate many releases on his label, 12k. The textural detail in his own work is always so impressive, especially when coupled by the brushing, brittle melodies he excels at. It’s ambient music with integrity. Marcus has created so much fantastic solo work as a visual and sound artist, but he’s also (in my opinion) Taylor’s most sympathetic collaborator.


This is a lovely release and for anyone who’s looking for more should check out their triple cassette Februarys.  

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