Aperus (real name Brian McWilliams) is an ambient musician and photographer living near Michigan’s Great Lakes. His material can be found under band names Aperus and Remanence. He runs Geophonic Records, a small label dedicated to documenting and reprocessing sights and sounds found in the natural world and presenting them as audio and photographic works in the ambient genre.

„… as a naturalist, my favorite places to be are along the ecotone. It’s where it’s most alive … usually … the edge of the forest and the meadow. It’s the edge of the ocean and the sand … where the rack line occurs. It’s that interface between peace and chaos. It’s that creative edge that I think we find most instructive. It’s also the most frightening. Because it’s completely uncertain and unpredictable and that’s again where I choose to live.“
– Terry Tempest Williams, American Public Media Interview, Feb 2011

An ecotone is a transition area between two adjacent but different plant communities, such as forest and grassland. It may be narrow or wide, and it may be local (the zone between a field and forest) or regional (the transition between forest and grassland). An ecotone may appear on the ground as a gradual blending of the two communities across a broad area, or it may manifest itself as a sharp boundary line. The word ecotone was coined from a combination of „eco(logy)“ plus „tone“, from the Greek tonos or tension – in other words, a place where ecologies are in tension.

Ecotone finds ambient sound sculptors James Johnson and Brian McWilliams (aka Aperus) at the height of their powers as they deliver a deeply textured environmental sound study using field recordings, electronics and organic instruments.

In the studio, the duo improvised and recorded whatever happened as they worked with a wide variety of compositional techniques. Johnson set up song structures and loops on the fly while McWilliams colored around the edges with additional chords and samples. By time they parted ways, they had recorded over two hours of material to digital tape.

Final curation and mastering was intensive as McWilliams structured songs, added overdubs, and reprocessed some tracks entirely. Reflecting back, both artists feel that „Ecotone“ represents a major milestone in both their catalogs and dedicate it as a strong statement of appreciation and concern for the natural world and its current fragile state.

For more information about Aperus, Remanence and Geophonic Records, please visit

For more information about James Johnson please visit