2009. The second release by Steve Brand on our Hypnos Secret Sounds imprint, Children of Alcyone
demonstrates the characteristic otherworldly quality of the artist's best work. Generally quite simple, at times
singlemindedly minimal, this work is nonetheless possessed of a depth and complexity that are revealed upon
repeated listening. Stretched-out drone structures combine with subtle tribal/ethnic elements to create very
effective atmospheres for almost hypnotic relaxation.
Though we're tempted to call Brand one of our favorite "new" artists, in fact he has been
active as a recording artist for quite some time, having released many recordings under the name Augur, along
with a handful of solo and collaborative works under his own name this past year.
Steve Brand says:
"The inspiring energy for Children of Alcyone was/is the books of Barbara Marciniak. Marciniak's books are said to be channeled information from the
Pleiadians, our distant multi-dimensional ancestors from the Pleiades constellation. (Alcyone is the name of the "central sun" of this constellation.) Upon being
introduced to these books, I was immediately taken by their wit and irreverence, the nearly unfathomable timeline of events, and their uncanny relevance to
things that are currently taking place here on Earth (the first of these books were channeled in the early 90's).
The initial sound sketches for "Children" were begun in September of 2007 in the tidal wave of energy that was Steve Roach's "Into the SoundCurrent" masters'
class, and elaborated upon, refined, and re-energized over the intervening 3 years in my own studio. The result is a sometimes murky, sometimes soothing,
sometimes phantasmagorical series of excursions through multiple timelines, and myriad possible half lit universes that other versions of ourselves inhabit.
My friend, and frequent collaborator, Jonathan Benham, not only created the art for this disk, but contributed energy and sounds to a couple of tracks with
his array of homemade instruments during a series of improvisations between he and myself captured at my studio."
Track listing, with mp3 sample clips:
1. Golden Cloud - (08:17) - mp3 clip
2. Light Age - (22:51) - mp3 clip
3. Outside the Grid of Time - (17:15) - mp3 clip
4. Into the Central Sun - (12:30) - mp3 clip
"A supra-terrestrial theme also runs through Children of Alcyone, the second release by Steve Brand (who's also issued recordings under the Augur name) to appear
on Hypnos Secret Sounds. The inspiration for the work came from the writings of Barbara Marciniak whose books supposedly channel information from the Pleiadians,
distant ancestors of ours from the Pleiades constellation (Alcyone, incidentally, the name of the constellation's ‘central sun'). Initial sound sketches for the recording
were produced in September 2007 during a master class taught by Steve Roach and were refined subsequent to it at Brand's studio. The material on Children of
Alcyone is minimal, even simple, by design but is alluring nonetheless. Lonely tones whistle to one another across immense expanses, and a melancholy spirit
shadows the four calming meditations. A brooding epic of long tones and ringing percussive flourishes, "Outside the Grid of Time" forcefully draws the listener into its
murky depths, but the recording's coup de grace is the stirring "Light Age" where minimal synthetic tones unfurl gracefully for an entrancing twenty-three minutes.
Showing a deft and pitch-perfect touch, Brand skilfully weaves the elements into hypnotic form, never hurrying the material along nor slowing it down too much either.
The result is that rare thing: ambient music that's both artful and moving."
--Reviewed by Textura.org
"I have drifted my way through the four pieces in Steve Brand’s new release, Children of Alcyone, four times now–and by that I mean the recent now, in the past few hours,
letting the thing loop quietly through my space, shaping the air, and quite content to have it do so. Children… is a straightforward ambient disc, designed for this sort
of quiet, repeated and almost inattentive listening–but, as can be said for most good ambient discs, offering a lot of depth and interest to the focused listener. The
content here is crafted in familiar, deep-sigh synth pads rolling in slow waveforms toward the horizon. Shifts in tone rise up infrequently to pull attention back to the
music. (Again, as good ambient music does.) Brand shows equal strength in developing calming flows, as in the first two tracks, "Golden Cloud" and lush, 22-minute "Light
Age," and tenser, more dramatic musical scenes, evidenced by "Outside the Grid of Time," which can at times be almost discomforting in its edginess. With the fourth
track, "Into the Central Sun," Brand folds in sparse percussion for a low-level, unobtrusive tribal feel. In handling all these sides of his ambient self, Brand
effectively creates a sense of narrative, movement and completion of thought. Outside of the opener, which comes in just under nine minutes, these are long, patient
tracks. There is movement within each, with Brand exploring and developing their distinct personalities and themes with a certain hand. This is my second exposure to
Brand’s music, and my appreciation for the quality of his work grows, not just with each new CD, but with each listen."
Children of Alcyone is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.
--Review by Hypnagogue