I like to spend my mornings relaxing at my kitchen table, listening to music over coffee and just acclimating to the day. Frequently I have music playing in my kitchen, this week it's mostly been Steve Roach's Structures from Silence and Harold Budd's La Bella Vista, but today I took out a recording that I haven't listed to in probably five years - Stephen Philips' Desert Landscapes.
We all know Stephen Philips as the only guy more prolific than Steve Roach, and certainly Stephen does some great work, but his prolific output, I feel, overshadows some of his finer works, particularly Desert Landscapes, and some genius Deep Chill Network stuff. Time and again, I'm blown away by the originality of his work, the timbres, and the textures. I guess my point is that for anybody that's familiar with Stephen's work, or even better, not familiar with Stephen's work, let Desert Landscapes be an addition to your collection, if you don't already have it. Desert Landscapes has a quality that I liken very much to Steve Roach's original release of Quiet Music, which for me, is one of the finest recordings of his or any artist in or out of the genre. It's just a very satisfying listen. Stephen's use of quiet, layering, and textural overlap makes this a recording that can do the sonic wallpaper thing, or can be as engaging as any piece of non-ambient music. I think that this recording has been really overlooked. There's a warmth with this disc that doesn't at all have a desert feel, but instead reminds me of the warmth near the hearth as one peers out beyond the window at the falling snow and blowing treetops while listening to a soothing piece of music.
I think it's been the recent positive feedback that Bill Binkelman gave to Slobor's Manitou, that made me think about the fact that in 2000, during a conversation about Huronic Minor, Bill recommended Desert Landscapes, which I promptly bought; so now I guess that would be nearly 10 years after its initial 1998 release, and eight years after I bought it, and Bill's recommendation is still solid. Now, it's my turn to HIGHLY recommend Desert Landscapes - http://www.darkduck.net/artists/art_dcn_desert.html