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MUSIC, AMBIENCE AND SOUND ART => Independent Music Reviews => Topic started by: richardgurtler on July 04, 2015, 10:08:07 AM

Title: My review of "Splendid Labyrinths" CD by Max Corbacho
Post by: richardgurtler on July 04, 2015, 10:08:07 AM
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Max Corbacho "Splendid Labyrinths" CD

Time flies so fast, already two and a half years have passed since the release of breathtakingly monumental "The Ocean Inside" double album. "Splendid Labyrinths" mark the return of Spaniard Max Corbacho, one of the leading forces behind the pure atmospheric driftscape. Self-released at May 15th, 2015, and packaged in a glossy 4-panel digisleeve presenting cover design and layout by Spanish-American visual artist Michael Rodriguez Pletz, the album reflects The Flowing Path, a journey through the life as revealed by the artist.

And it's "The Flowing Path", with 16:37 the longest labyrinth, which ignites this exquisitely effortless, nearly 74 minutes long glide. Max Corbacho activates all his soundscaping insignias, utterly graceful drifts smoothly arise and shift the listener into a genuinely atmospheric splendor, where infinitely expansive washes gently free-float through hauntingly nuanced sceneries. Colossally fascinating soundwalls are precisely counterpointed with magnificently intensified billows. A truly exciting gateway to "Splendid Labyrinths". 12-minute "Towards The Center" unfolds more tranquil, less dramatic, although as much amorphously spacious with its rather monochromatic drift layers, which inconspicuously transmute into heavier deluge of drones, intricately amalgamated with ear-tickling swirls and transcendental dissonances. Quietly emerging, yet profoundly immersing "Earth Womb" straightly dives into tremendously unfathomable depths, revealing all spellbinding enigmas and showcasing Max Corbacho at his most subterranean. Obviously, he couldn't have chosen a more fitting track title for this adventurous odyssey. But it's "Wave Of Reflection", where Max Corbacho fully exposes his genius soundcarving. Sweeping monumentality of gracefully drifting layers is simply jaw-dropping!!! A parade of gossamer cyber-biotic traceries smoothly permeates through the undulating massive washes and continuously glimmers this aural grandeur. Pure magic!!! I only have one problem here, and it's a very crucial one, the length of this masterpiece. With nearly 6 minutes it's the shortest one on this album, I can't help, but to me it's way too short. However, "Wave Of Reflection" immediately enters the Pantheon of epic sonic canvas, just right beside the phenomenal compositions such as "Light-Matrix Portal", "Towards The Bottomless Sea" or "The Talisman". Bravo, Max!!! "Wonderheart", another 16-plus minutes long track, safely glides through warmly spacious realms, majestically waving and authentically evoking dazzlingly overwhelming immenseness. The closing "Shaping The Endless" keeps on free-floating, yet massive and tense path, although during the first 10 minutes I am somehow missing more engrossing scenario, when comparing to "Wave Of Reflection" or "Earth Womb". Fortunately towards the end the track clandestinely metamorphoses into more mysterious quietudes guiding your journey through "Splendid Labyrinths" into the finale.

No wonder, after two magnum opuses such as "Ars Lucis" and "The Ocean Inside" the expectations of all aficionados of atmospheric soundscaping were prodigiously high. With "Splendid Labyrinths" Max Corbacho has again delivered a high quality album, although it doesn't exactly reach the stunning magnificence of its two predecessors. It certainly depends on the theme covered and The Flowing Path can't always be grandiose and graceful with its sinuous ways. However, "Splendid Labyrinths" album is a very solid recording by Max Corbacho, featuring delightful glimpses of aural grace and tranquility he is persistently praised for. Good job, Max!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jul 02, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)