Dave Fulton & Giles Reaves - The Range
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Dave and Giles met at the Different Skies festival at Arizona's Arcosanti. The two of them hit it off musically and after nearly 4 years of hard work the CD "The Range" was the result. Why did it take 4 years? The answer is as complex as the feelings behind the music. First there was distance, then life. Many of the songs were written during periods of emotional exile, pain and just general muck. Distance provided an interesting fodder for collaboration. Songs would start off as single cells and fly back and forth over the internet until they had grown into complex organisms. The ability to let go of pre-concieved outcomes allowed the true spirit of collaboration to fertilize the ideas. A decision was made from the start to allow any instrument, tool and any feeling to propel the song. The duo's ability to deal with the technical aspects of a long distance collaboration helped immensely but soon it became necessary to meet again and finish the recordings. In the summer of 2007 life allowed the basic overdubs to be completed in Salt Lake City. Then long distance mixing began. The result is a rich but cohesive collection of songs that range from ambient to progressive rock, and incorporate influences from tribal to electronica to new age.
Description by Chuck VanZyl, Star's End radio host (WXPN):
"American Electronic Musicians Dave Fulton & Giles Reaves,
make their East-Coast concert debut in Philadelphia within the
remarkable setting of St. Mary's Hamilton Village on 21 April
2007 as part of The Gatherings Concert Series. Local
spacemusic duo Orbital Decay will open.
Giles Reaves has to his credit several influential albums of
innovative electronic music, including the genre defining
"Wunjo". Dreamy, trance-inducing melodic textures figure
prominently in his music.
Part mad scientist, part sonic visionary, Dave Fulton's command
of the many custom designed electronics at his disposal is
formidable. Currently playing in two underground rock bands,
Fulton filters this activity through his years of experience with the
Berlin-School inspired ensemble Dweller at the Threshold to
realize a new and unique music.
"The Range", the debut release by The Fulton/Reaves Project, is
a diverse but cohesive collection of songs that range from
Ambient to Progressive Rock, and incorporate influences from
Tribal to Electronica to New Age."
Track listing, with MP3 sample clips:
01. Endless Range and Time MP3
02. Fascination MP3
03. Blinded By Time MP3
04. Troubled Skies MP3
05. Enduring Time MP3
06. Being Within the Range MP3
07. Feeling Helplessly Drawn MP3
08. The Range MP3
09. The Space Between MP3
10. The Walk MP3
"...a diverse but cohesive collection of songs that range from
Ambient to Progressive Rock, and incorporate influences from
Tribal to Electronica to New Age."
--Star's End Radio host Chuck VanZyl
"...richly textured ambience..."
--Jerry Nelms, WDBX radio
"The unique fusion of electronic and acoustic instruments on The Range is evident as "Endless Range and Time" opens the disc.
Spacey electronic passages sit comfortably alongside beautiful classical piano. "Facsination" has a more overtly synthesized sound,
but real drums blur the lines between rock and electronic music, much like Tangerine Dream did during their heyday. It's this seemingly
dichotomous blend of guitars, drums, piano and synthesizers that make the Dave Fulton/Giles Reaves combination work so well,
providing plenty of surprises and a fresh new approach that defies easy categorization or description. "Blinded By Time" is a
beautiful interlude with electronic textures, soft bells, and an oboe-like synth lead. Throughout, the focus is on music to fully engage in
and appreciate, as even the quieter pieces demand attention. "Troubled Skies" begins with an excellent hypnotic sequencer loop, then
adds depth with soft percussion that slowly builds to an emotion-filled crescendo before a dreamy atmospheric finish. "Enduring Time"
continues the pattern of skillfully weaving rock and electronic elements in imaginative ways. "Being Within The Range" has a dramatic
sci-fi opening, but piano is the dominant instrument as it develops with a rather ominous feeling. "Feeling Hopelessly Drawn" is another
good one, a relaxed affair, and an excellent metaphor to describe your likely reaction as you listen to The Range. It only gets better as it
goes, the sweeping epic tracks "The Range" and "The Space Between" leading into "The Walk" which serves as a subdued understated
--© 2007 Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
Review from Synthmusicdirect.com (with comments in brackets by Giles Reaves):
"The tracks on this album are separated into four Parts, the first of which 'Somedays Go On Forever' contains just one track, 'Endless Range and Time'. Lovely piano notes with loads of reverb and a long decay initially float above warbling electronics. The piano then becomes more energetic, coming in flourishes. Meandering organ makes its mournful progress. A sequence starts up for the beginning of the Second Part, 'The First Day' and its opening track 'Fascination'. Aggressive fizzing stabs and a lovely slow melancholy lead line join the pulsations which morph wonderfully, steadily increasing in pace. The drums then start up and the level of excitement increases. This is an awesome driving track with superb melodies- ideal for air keyboard playing. I must admit to have heard nothing like this from either of these artists before. 'Blinded by Time' quietens things down with some sort of ethnic wind instrument taking rather relaxed lead duties, punctuated by tinkling percussion. More rhythms strike up for 'Troubled Skies'. The drum sounds they use on this album are very realistic. I assume they are samples but they don't sound like it. [THAT'S BECAUSE THEY'RE REAL DRUMS & PERCUSSION - GR] A rather percussive sequence weaves around the beats wonderfully. There's a slight tribal feel but overall it's rather mesmerizing, full of energy and angst infused power. Another wonderful one.
'Part 3: A Question of.......' Begins with 'Enduring Time' which features some more impressive drum samples [AGAIN, REAL SNARE DRUMS - GR], this time beating out a more militaristic type rhythm over laid back dreamy melodies. The juxtaposition of these two contrasting elements really works very well. 'Being within the Range' starts with rather breathy electronic effects and deep brooding string sounds. This is really moody stuff enhanced by some sparse percussive piano. Spine tingling wonderful stuff. 'Feeling Hopelessly Drawn' initially carries on in a similar mood but then becomes rather reflective and 'thoughtful' as if looking out from a hillside, watching the passing of another day. The final part 'The long walk away' kicks off with 'The Range'. It has something of a brooding symphonic, massed strings feel with tinkling piano providing detail. Tension builds and builds only letting go in a sea of cosmic twitters right near the end.
'The Space Between' presses the piano into action once more and again it is used in a rather percussive way over lovely moody organ. The piano takes over lead duties and the mood lightens, though again still rather reflective with a hint of sadness. A new slow mournful lead soars above it all, reaching right for the heart then subsides as once again the piano takes over as the main feature. As the rhythms become more prominent the mood changes once more, moving forward positively with hope. This is a simply gorgeous track. Lovely little dripping tones drift into the distance as 'The Walk' gets underway. Flutey synth and strings create a beautiful dreamy atmosphere which is joined by slow drums and bass line. So we have a rather understated track to round up a wonderfully composed and highly enjoyable album."
--Dave Law/ SynthMusicDirect.com.
"In large part I blame Giles Reaves for my addiction to spacemusic. I bought his debut release, Wunjo, on cassette back in the day and was utterly mesmerized by it. It remains one of my favorite electronic works to date. Over the years I’ve eagerly awaited more from Reaves and dutifully rebought the older stuff in CD format. Which is why it bothers me that it took me a while to figure out whether or not I liked The Range, his collaboration with keyboardist/synthesist Dave Fulton. The good news is, I think I figured it out, and I do like it. I must, because I keep going back to it to see what it is that keeps me going back to it. The issue, I think is that the CD's tendency to move from uptempo, hard-hitting pieces to more contemplative, quiet works made it something of an uneven ride. I paid more attention to the stuff that slammed into me—in a pleasant way. For example, I was more drawn to the urgency, energy and funk of pieces like “Fascination” and “The Troubled Sky” than the brief, serene “Blinded by Time” or the easy drift of "Feeling Hopelessly Drawn." This CD is at its best when the amplitude gets kicked up and the duo roar into a bit of a prog-rock-worshipping frenzy. Reaves’ drumming is frenetic and bold in these tracks and the power sends surges through you. Which is not to say the softer stuff isn’t without merit. When they popped up in a shuffle, they warranted the attention I hadn’t afforded them in an album-only listen. Taken as a trio, the last three cuts on The Range--the title track, "The Space Between" and "The Walk"--are an elegant suite of quieter pieces peppered with bits of energy. The closing moments of "The Space Between" have something of an early-Floyd mystique about them. Overal, there's very good chemistry and interplay between Fulton and Reaves; musically the dialogue is crisp and clear. The Range is definitely worth a listen. And if at first you're not sure you like it, give it a few more tries. It'll grow on you."
--Reviewed by John @ Hypnogogue .
"EM purveyors Dave Fulton and Giles Reaves must have sold their possessions to acquire all the gear listed in the liner notes for The Range - twenty-four pieces in all: electronic, acoustic, and what-have-you. In addition to piano, drums and guitar, these two play all manner of synths (including some moogs) and keyboards (and some cool organ harkening back to the glory days of prog's infancy) on this über-ambitious album which comes across as both a homage of sorts to prog fusion and also an extrapolation from it as well.
To my surprise, I enjoyed the more dramatic, forceful and propulsive rhythmic pieces more than the more ambient-like ones (an example of the latter being the opening "Endless Range and Time" with rustling wind, whirly-gigging synth, rolling cascades of piano and prog organ swells). For me, "Fascination" is where the fun starts, with thundering synth booms, pulsing bass beats, wailing electronic keyboard solos and layer upon layer of sequences rushing hither and yon and featuring both real and programmed drums and percussion. The sheer kinetic energy of this track and the amount of unabashed soloing herein stands in stark contrast to most contemporary EM. Up next is the more subdued "Blinded by Time," a well done quasi-East Indian meets EM fusion number which captivates me with its mashing together of temple bells and Middle Eastern-ish keyboards with overt ambient sensibilities.
The remainder of The Range continues this morphing back and forth between prog EM/prog fusion pieces (with a decidedly retro slant) and more ambient electronic soundscapes. As stated above, I preferred the energizing cuts, such as "Troubled Skies" which builds from its gentle bell tones/kalimba-esque opening (anchored by deep bass drum beats and hand percussion) to a full-on chugging assault led by stinging guitar salvos against a thundering rhythm section. I also enjoyed hearing the real drums on "Enduring Time," a harkening back to the jazz fusion days of Return to Forever, circa Romantic Warrior with synths, cool Fender Rhodes, and panned rapid-fire snare beats carrying the rhythm, all with an undercurrent of haunting moodiness.
Less to my liking are drone-centered miasmas such as "Being Within the Range" which, even at just three minutes seems laborious. The title track fares better, intermixing echoed piano with swirling synthesized textures in atmospheric ways (but at seven minutes, it still seems to go on too long). "Feeling Hopelessly Drawn," on the other hand, belies its forlorn title by infusing a rare element of serene beauty via looped keyboard refrain, gentle melodic flows, warm piano, and peppy hand percussion. At ten and a half minutes, "The Space Between" almost crumples under the weight of its own gravitas, moving from one passage (piano and organ morbidity at the outset) through aimless noodling in the midsection and ending with bombastic furor at the end. The album closing "The Walk" comports itself only slightly better, with less excess and a somewhat leaner approach, yet still succumbing to a plodding bass line and prog drum rhythms that characterize the less appealing side of the genre from the '70s.
The Range ends up being a hit and miss affair for me. When they're at their best, Reaves' and Fulton's results are solid and enjoyable, at least for this former progger. When they miss the mark, the CD reminds me why this particular genre lost its appeal for me over the years. Additionally, the few ambient stretches here feel out of place as if from another recording. I respect and admire what Reaves and Fulton are attempting. Even with its weaknesses, the album is still better than a lot of the generic inoffensive stuff that passes for EM these days."
--Bill Binkelman, New Age Reporter.
"Hypnos is struggling for momentum to effect resurgence. Its output since 2006’s reawakening has been mixed and strangely deficient in forward-motion energy. A critique of musical late-modernity’s dearth of “originality”—a red herring anyway—is not this review’s purpose. Nor is it part of a lament driven by denial of the old ambient space ceremony’s continued validity. It’s essentially to point the need for new skin to give a fresh complexion to the body electronic, and revivified voice to sing it. Unfortunately, The Range is not about to address the absence blighting the Portland imprint’s faltering resumption of normal service, unless a mish-mash form of retread fusion is considered revitalizing. A clunky distillate of the well-trained end of electronic space music and the more workmanlike side of prog/jazz rock, it presents with an air of worn-out old hide showing through suspect cosm(et)ic surgery. Swathes of spacey synth-wibble vie with sub-pomp structures to rub up against the real drumming that now and then seeks to enliven dragging proceedings. Arrangements stumble into semi-structured workouts, whose would-be interesting side-roads and turnings presage stale cosmic theme park scenery or end in muso-attended dead-ends. These two seasoned practitioners expend a deal of huff-and-puff on a set that, for all its crafted professionalism, does little more than register its entry to a mounting glut of recent electronic releases of predominantly back-to-the-future appeal. Messrs. Fulton and Reaves likely have busts of the pantheon of mid-70s Emusic and space-jazz-fusion deities in their hallway, but, like other idolators who worship even more zealously at the kosmische altar to the extent of becoming thieves in the temple, they fall considerably short of their touchstones."
--Alan Lockett, e/i webzine.
"This release from 2007 offers 60 minutes of eloquent electronic music.
Fulton used to be with Dweller at the Threshold; Reaves used to play with Spacecraft. Joining them on this recording are: John Duval on keyboards and Jonathon Shults on Tele guitar.
Stately structured keyboards function in tandem with growling synthesizers, creating a tasty counterpoint of classical and technological miens to comprise this distinctly modern compositions. Lavish soundscapes are set in motion as backdrops for more focused demonstrations of electronic wizardry. Eloquent chords swim in seas of gentle drones, describing uplifting motion with remarkable dexterity.
E-perc provides a studious rhythmic presence. As things progress, the beats take on more command, establishing sinuously alluring tempos that eventually recede to allow the vaporous electronics to dominate the mix. While a subtle tribal edge can be detected in the rhythms, they generate a wholly contemporary charm.
Although making infrequent appearances, the guitar contributes a serpentine nature to the music. Softly snarling riffs slither amidst the swelling atmospherics and pattering tempos.
An exotic flavor lurks in these songs, accomplished by periodic finger cymbals and an arid temperament that resurfaces to ground the music's generally aerial flow.
The compositions weave delicate atmospherics with forcefully surging electronics, producing tuneage that is engaging and dreamy at the same time. Calm and power coexist, achieving a comfortable covenant that shines with the best of both states: soothing passages that reek of a congenial vitality."
--Reviewed by Matt Howarth, Sonic Curiosity www.soniccuriosity.com .