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Topics - richardgurtler

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1


Jeff Pearce "Follow The River Home" CD

An iconic ambient guitar soundscaper Jeff Pearce returns after two years with his newest album "Follow The River Home". Self-released via his Jeff Pearce Music during June 2016, the album comes in a catchy 4-panel digipak with gorgeously immersing images and graphic design by Rainer Gembalczyk, who already worked with Jeff Pearce on his previous "With Evening Above" CD. Additional credit goes to Jeff's daughter Thalia for her nice photography featured on a CD tray.

4-minute "Under Summer Stars" immediately sets warmly evocative atmosphere with its earmarking, pristinely ear-tickling stringed melodies exquisitely coupled with soothingly free-floating nocturnal washes guarding above. Balmily relaxing intro! "Downstream I" straightly shifts into deeper atmospheric terrains, masterfully sweeping, evanescing and emerging through gracefully panoptic cloudscapes, delicately reinforced by silent glimpses. Strikingly beautiful and splendidly majestic composition exhibiting distinctive soundsculpting elixirs by its creative genius. Bravo, Jeff!!! "Outpost" goes back to more glistening sceneries highlighted by lushly traversing stringed droplets, continuously delighting the listener's ears, while expansive drifts clandestinely awake, permeate across and amorphously counterpoint with persistently spirited gossamer strings. A headphone listening is fully rewarding in this case! Nearly 5 minutes long "Snowfall" introduces Jeff Pearce at the very top of his ingeniousness, when bridging his lyrically colorful and shimmeringly euphonious string insignias with intriguingly flamboyant and blazingly emotional full-bodied post-rock piquancy. Wow, a truly jaw-dropping transmutation awaits here! It's a pity the track isn't longer a bit as this aural splendor passes rather quickly, but otherwise it's an absolute masterpiece meticulously coalescing dreamy stringed magic with rock-infused vigorousness!!! A tour de force effort indeed!!! The next piece, "Downstream II", which clocks over 9-minute mark, returns quickly into warmly grandiose panoramic realms hauntingly coupled with richly euphoric strings. The second third calms down and rides on the wings of ethereal tranquilness before inconspicuously vanishing through mesmerizingly sculpted helixes. Another pinnacle!!! An epic 20-minute composition "Gathering Stars" glides peacefully through heartwarming, yet subtly mindscaping domains, stunningly infinite and intensely enveloping. The listener is constantly overwhelmed by magnificently opaque, powerfully magnifying and thrillingly chameleonic tides. As presented by the artist in the liner notes, this track is made from two live recordings, one from Jeff Pearce's performance at the Gatherings Concert Series in Philadelphia, PA, on October 11th, 2014, while the second one was recorded one day later during a live-to-air performance at famous Star’s End Radio at WXPN studios. This multi-layered wide-screen masterpiece showcases Jeff Pearce at the ultimate peak of his deepest aural meditations!!! The closing composition "Follow The River Home", its title is inspired by Jeff's younger daughter Fiona, incorporates a truly gorgeous, titillatingly sonorous stringed narration, its symmetry with atmospheric blankets hanging above is absolutely gratifying, a true nectar to soothe your body and mind!!!

53-minute "Follow The River Home" CD is another triumphant recording by Jeff Pearce, who is one of the most gifted soundsculptors I know. It's beyond my understanding what he is able to create with his electric guitar and additional effects. I still deeply treasure memories of the day sometime in 1998 when Jeff's "Vestiges" CD arrived into my mailbox after reading a glowing review of his music in Wind and Wire magazine (thank you so much, Bill, you were my hero!!!). Yeah, these were the good old days when sending an airmail letter with a well-hidden USD cash was a quite standard way to obtain your fave CD. That was my first contact with Jeff and his breathtakingly beautiful soundcarving, since then 18 years have passed and I am still as much amazed as I was in 1998. "Follow The River Home" is a superb album and we all must be really grateful for such artistic excellence!!!

Richard Gürtler (Nov 20, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

2


Robert Rich "What We Left Behind" CD

16 months after "Filaments", a spectacular odyssey through fascinating space expanses, one of the undisputable ambient innovators returns with another jewel. On "What We Left Behind" CD, as displayed by its title, Robert Rich transforms his dreams about the Mother Earth when the humankind is gone, with a crow as a spirit guide, into an exquisitely sophisticated soundsculptures, showcasing his continuous musical virtuosity. Out since May 2016 on Robert's Soundscape Productions, the CD comes, as usual, in a really gorgeous 6-panel digipak masterly designed by a frequent collaborator John Bergin exhibiting stunning cover art by Ibizan painter Romanie Sanchez, who has already contributed her amazing art to two collaborative releases by Alio Die & Paralled Worlds "Circo Divino" and "Elusive Metaphor". So with such visual power it's quite obvious the first big points are awarded already, but this is nothing new when it goes to Robert Rich's CDs. Nowadays, when many physical items are released in reduced quality, we must be really grateful for such consistent artful bliss. Bravo, Romanie, John & Robert!!!

"Profligate Earth" unfolds with authentic trademarking insignias, it simply can't be anyone else but Robert Rich! Filigree organic sounds masterfully amalgamate with nebulous blankets and intangibly subtle rhythm motifs, while guarded by abstractions of Chari Chuang's voice (remember Chari Chuang's virtuosic performance on "Medicine Box"?). A very pleasant intro with top-notch sound quality again delivered! Signature flute work returns (after absence on "Filaments" album) and announces "Raku" and commingles with gentle primordial rumblings, gossamer tribal patterns and captivating biotic quietudes. Richly enigmatic composition! "Voice Of Rust" keeps on its primal path, when merging yearning flute with languishingly rumbling artifacts. "Soft Rains Fall" excels with tremendous lap steel guitar artistry, when melting earmarking ethereal choir nuances with balmy beats, while soothing atmospheric blankets are riding atop. This is Robert Rich at the very top of his immersing soundmagic!!! Shorter "Rhizome" dwells in perplexingly primordial terrains. "Transpiration" is awakened by weirdly enrapturing sound fragments of child-like voice, but soon the center stage is stolen by utterly evocative flute, a truly genuine hallmark, which is meticulously bridged with monochromatic drone, phantasmal helixes and magnetizing tribal drumming. Over 5 minutes of pure aural ecstasy awaits here, a Hall of Fame track!!! The next composition, "Corvid Collections", melts mysterious flute motifs, subterranean drum patterns and contemplative tinkles. "Aerial On Warm Seas", with 9:08 the longest piece on the album, is driven by magnificently melancholic lap steel cries, which later metamorphose into powerfully intense, nearly transcendental stratums and then evanescing through bizarrely colored phantasmagoric sceneries back to weeping loneliness. This is a fully rewarding venture into unmistakable sonic domains demonstrating uniquely distinctive artistry of its sole protagonist. Hats off to you, Robert!!! "Never Hunger" reveals with deep drumming, longing flute and grieving lap steel guitar. Credited on last two tracks is Robert's Californian kindred spirit Forrest Fang for used abstractions of his performance on cümbüş (a Turkish stringed instrument). "After Us" dives into unfathomable depths with its static drone, distant hums and diaphanously rustling embellishments. 6-minute title track "What We Left Behind" incorporates pulsing laid-back rhythms coupled with calmly sweeping expansive washes and strikingly poignant lap steel vistas. Beauty!!! "Meeting Face To Face" starts serenely with slightly exotic fragranced strings, which conjugate with panoptic angelic lap steel choirs and warmly cinematic horizons. A truly gorgeous conclusion!

Robert Rich is known for his perfection and consistency and "What We Left Behind" is a perfect example of his superiorly creative musicianship. A quite colorful 62-minute recording, which showcases all essential insignias of this Californian. They are fully blossoming and wealthily infused by 3 and a half decades of his stellar recording career. Thank you, Maestro!!! "What We Left Behind" is another true piece of art by Robert Rich, which will delight your eyes and ears!!! And by the way, since yesterday the newest CD by Robert Rich entitled "Vestiges" is available for order. A new album after 7 months? Wow, that's a quite unusual for this sonic explorer. I can't wait!!!

Richard Gürtler (Nov 18, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

3
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "5 Textures" CD by Simon Lomax
« on: November 14, 2016, 11:04:45 AM »


Simon Lomax "5 Textures" CD

Simon Lomax, in UK based guitar soundcarver is active since the end of the 90's, when he debuted under the pseudonym Maitreya with album "From The Mothership" (1999). On his own Council Of Nine label another two Maitreya releases followed, "Telluric Waves" (2003) and ".74" (2004). Then after longer break, lasting over 8 years, when mostly working as one of the main creators on co-developing the Music Skills System, a music teaching methodology, Simon Lomax again returned to composing and releasing his dronescaping muses through Council Of Nine. This time under his name, the year 2013 saw a CD album "Zone Of Cold", followed by "A Glimmer Of Memory" in 2014 on UK's ...txt label. The most recent album on glass mastered format is "5 Textures" on Council Of Nine, which is out, if I am right, since February 2015. Minimalistic elusive artwork, which is one of the earmarks of each album by Simon Lomax, masterfully displays the atmosphere. I must add that Simon Lomax is also involved in composing music for various TV shows and independent films. So when taking into account all above facts, I have no idea why it took me long time before I have explored this enormously gifted virtuoso. My radars simply didn't work properly in this case, shame on me!!! As far I remember, it was eTripper's review several months ago somewhere on Amazon (thanks, man!!!), which turned me into this composer and since then I am deeply fascinated by truly unique atmospheres Simon Lomax is able to forge with his processed guitar manipulations. "5 Textures" is undoubtedly the best example exhibiting all of his ingenious insignias!!!

"If There's Such A Thing As Nothing" unwraps in a truly jaw-dropping way when revealing with slowly emerging monochromatic, yet multi-dimensional desolations, thrillingly mindscaping, which are soon joined by exquisitely evocative meridians, harmoniously enrapturing and intriguingly ear-piercing. Heavy drone hums join this sonic splendor as well and guarantee a superb workout for your speakers. A pure 8 and a half minutes long aural bliss awaits here, certainly an Ambient Hall of Fame composition, bravo Simon!!! "Waiting For Sunrise" remains on utterly immersing path and incorporates some really captivating crepuscular patterns persistently illuminated by gently spiraling traceries and clandestinely glimpsing piano reflections. Flickering lyrical subtleties meticulously amalgamate with spellbinding hazy solitariness. What a beauty!!! "Sometimes I Disappear", with 9:35 the longest piece on "5 Textures", is announced by enigmatic high-pitched siren, which is soon invaded and counterpointed with euphoniously expansive horizons. Hissy tides inconspicuously sneak in and relentlessly commingle with engrossingly nuanced poignancy. This is another emotional powerhouse rewarding the listener's ear! "An Echo, Unseen" shifts into ambiguously ethereal domains, where ghost-like choirs perpetually coalesce with intensely mind-bending reverberations and intricately fragmented reminiscences. Obviously another phenomenal track in this set! "To Find Stillness In The Waiting" unfolds with interplay of nebulously piquant crescendos and diminuendos, embracing piano blankets and lachrymose bowed strings. A sonic equilibrium masterfully dusting off long forgotten memories. Well-done, Simon!!! Although entitled as "5 Textures", the journey continues with additional closing composition "3 Hours Of Night (The 6th Texture)", which delves into slightly rawer stringed terrains, although again virtuosically reinforced by intensified serenities.

Simon Lomax is for me one of the biggest revelations during the last few years and I am still asking myself how could I miss such creative genius for many years? Well, the more I am delighted now when exploring all these exceptional aural realms. "5 Textures" album is an absolute must-have for each connoisseur of sophisticatedly inventive guitar dronesculpting. The album clocks only over 41-minute mark and that's the only weak point here, because Simon Lomax stands safely shoulder to shoulder with the giants of the genre. That's how gifted is this guy, so don't make the same mistake I did!!! Except above mentioned 6 albums, don't hesitate to explore also digital only release "An Ember Glows", which documents live-to-air performance of Simon Lomax on legendary Star’s End Radio in November 22nd 2015 on WXPN in Philadelphia. And last but not least, a new recording is now in the works, so this time I will definitely keep an ear to the ground!!!

Richard Gürtler (Nov 13, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

4
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Hinterland" CD by Stephen Bacchus
« on: November 08, 2016, 10:32:22 AM »


Stephen Bacchus "Hinterland" CD

Stephen Bacchus, a Canadian composer based in Ontario, is most likely best know for his participation on the famous "The Ambient Expanse" CD, a collaborative project featuring iconic names such as Steve Roach, vidnaObmana, Vir Unis and Patrick O'Hearn, where he appears on "Point Of Safety" track with guest contribution by Steve Roach. Yeah, great memories awake, these were the golden days of ambient movement. This is dated back to 1998, around that time Canadian label Mirage (a division of Oasis Productions) released several highly acclaimed CDs by renowned or newcomer artists such as vidnaObmana & Jeff Pearce, MaJaLe & Vir Unis, Robert Scott Thompson, Danna & Clément or Stephen Bacchus. I am missing so much these good old days. The guy behind Oasis Productions, a label, which is still active, is Grant Mackay and he is also an artistic entity hidden behind the moniker Stephen Bacchus. Stephen Bacchus discography includes around 6 solo albums plus several collaborations and split releases with other artists, like already mentioned fellow Canadian artists Mychael Danna and Tim Clément. Grant Mackay was active also under his real name, when releasing during the last decade numerous recordings on Earthaven (another sub-label of Oasis Productions) focusing solely on wildlife field recordings. With "Hinterland", deeply influenced by Canadian wilderness, Stephen Bacchus again searches for his own composing insignias. Released during September 2016, the CD comes in a 4-panel digipak with extensive liner notes.

"The Undiscovered Country" immediately shifts the listener into tranquilly embracing sceneries, where crystallinely tinkling traceries commingle with warmly nuanced, slightly orchestral vistas. Rather shorter intro shows the path, which leads towards more peaceful new age terrains than those more nebulously piquant. Poetic piano droplets on "When I Am With You Again" merge with nostalgic reminiscences, later metamorphosing into joyfully cascading melodies. The compositions on "Hinterland" are shorter and quite numerous, counting 20 pieces with total running time 66 minutes, thus the overall feel is to my taste less immersing, it rather works like a collection of small introspective stories, although strongly connected by its natural environment, no matter if melancholic or euphoric. "Destination" reveals with ethereal poignancy, magnified by romantic arrangements. "Nostalgia For The Future" attracts with its catchy blend of zither-like strings and bowed strings arrangements, with little touch of Far East fragrances, and hauntingly emerging evocative blankets. Exactly in this 3-minute composition I wish its length would be longer. Among the following pieces, "Beauty In Caves" gets my instant attention due to its more ambient-infused mood, where sweeping cinematic layers commingle with spirited undulations and exquisitely gossamer shimmers. One of my fave compositions so far! "No Regrets" is announced by drifting surroundings, but the scenario is soon stolen by permeating piano notes amalgamated with glimpsing bowed strings and flamboyantly narrative patterns. "My Expression", as displayed its title, brings to the center stage poetic piano minimalism merged with gently illuminating textures. "Up Ahead, There's A Signpost" reveals with more enigmatic subterranean intro, but then again slowly slips into more poetic, yet graceful dimensions, peppered here and there with climaxing traverses and transient spatial embellishments. "Days Of Dreaming" glides on the wings of intangibly expansive sublimity, while undulating lyrical miniatures persistently pervade across. "Friend Of Doubt", with 4:21 the longest track on "Hinterland" again merges more spacious background curtains with expressive nuances and romantic motifs. "Miniature #2" explores calm sounds of piano and harp with some ascending celestial washes riding atop, then inconspicuously transmuting through symphonic glimmers back to soothing cinematic terrains. Hissy nostalgic tides of "Getting Above The Clouds" are counterpointed with lachrymose reflection. "The Edge Of Remote" merges lushly ear-tickling organics with balmy exotic aromas. The title composition "Hinterland" is filled with epic orchestral movements, occasionally enriched by wildlife quietudes. The most melodious tune "All Roads Lead Home" closes this album in a quite delighted tone.

I appreciate so much the glass mastered digipak format of "Hinterland", kudos to Grant Mackay!!! If you are searching for relaxing, new age-driven soundsculptings, don't hesitate to explore Stephen Bacchus wanderings though picturesque untamed Canadian wilderness. Just keep in mind, it's by far more poetic and romantic flavored than ambiguously adventurous. Although "Hinterland" is probably the most matured and sophisticated recording of Stephen Bacchus, to my ears, his most remarkable releases remain "Ambient Origins (Collected Early Works 1983-1987)" (CD released on Mirage in 1998) and "Etherium" (CDr out on Oasis/Akasa in 2006), both for its mostly enigmatically dissonant and contemplatively immersing soundcarving.

Richard Gürtler (Nov 06, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

5


_Algol_ "All These Worlds Are Yours" CD

_Algol_ is a project name belonging to Siberian soundscaper (scientist, traveler, photographer...) Daniil Kazantsev, who is currently based in the UK. "All These Worlds Are Yours" album is out since the middle of June 2016 as a collaborative release between Russian labels Ksenza Records and Infinite Fog Productions. My attention was immediately caught by a catchy 4-panel digipak featuring splendid artwork by Italian artist Michele Carnielli working under his moniker of Seals Of Blackening (also a vocalist and guitarist with doom metal band Kröwnn) and by our kindred soul from the Sonoran Desert, Kati Astraeir, who is credited for additional inner layout. Nice work, guys!!!

4 and a half minutes long "Accelerated Descent" reveals the journey with slightly balladic, nearly medieval-like tides, where persistently spiraling patterns commingle with aeonianly emerging, droning and evanescing, intangibly rawer vistas. "Under The Starlit Sky", clocking to 7 minutes, glides gracefully towards nocturnally fascinating realms, masterfully bridging ethereally enrapturing dronescapes with quietly permeating transcendental glimpses. "Hidden Behind The Light" is invaded by monochromatically immense expanses, intricately guarded by clandestinely sneaking ambiguous siren calls. Breathtakingly infinite sceneries fully unfold here! "Frozen Plateux" safely remains on the path of utterly enveloping amorphousness, splendorously diving into the deepest ends of atmospheric tranquility, meticulously reinforced by occasional cyber-tech breaths. Exquisitely monumental magmas, jaw-droppingly flatlined, are insistently counterpointed by warmly undulating mirages, while intriguing desolate dissonances percolate here and there. A stunningly immersing 10-minute composition, one of the pinnacles!!! The next piece, "The Sands Of Tatooine", dives into enigmatically labyrinthine domains, merging calmly enveloping panoramic quietudes with sinuously twisted reverberating vestiges. A deep space voyaging at its most engrossing continues! "The Windswept Terrain", with 11:33 the longest piece, attracts wit its mysterious dronesculpting, where static surroundings commingle with intenser nuances, displaying evocatively enveloping passages, slightly disruptive hissing undercurrents and euphorically climaxing epic magnitudes. A very good one! 8-minute closer "The Dune Sea" delves deeply into unfathomable depths, superbly amalgamating majestically droning monochromatism with spellbindingly growling and buzzing traceries and thrillingly mind-bending meridians. Enter now the gates to abyssal nothingness!!! Obviously a grand finale!

"All These Worlds Are Yours" CD, which is limited to 333 copies, is certainly a very strong debut by _Algol_ on a glass mastered format, so don't hesitate to grab your own copy, I guarantee you won't be disappointed!!! And the digital version includes 7-minute bonus track "A Fading Planet". If I am right, discography of _Algol_ features another 5 digital albums, one of them "Heaven Debris" (2011) was released also on a CDr format via Snowy Tension Pole label from Poland, but I believe this one is sold out already. And one of the digital albums, "Goldilocks Zone" was released on earthMantra. Not to forget, Daniil Kazantsev is also the mastermind behind dark ambient project Stuzha with two acclaimed albums, "Siberian Sketches" and "Butugichag". The first one was released as a CDr by Snowy Tension Pole during 2011 and now, few days ago, reshaped and reissued on CD format in a 4-panel digipak on Ksenza Records. Limited collector's wooden box is available as well. On the same label is available also "Butugichag" CD album (2015), which elaborately deals with Kolyma Gulag labor camp theme. If you are a connoisseur of venturous dark ambient explorations, don't miss these two powerful works!!! And to make the story complete, Daniil has most recently released via earthMantra his newest digital album entitled "67P" under his newest moniker Black Wanderer. A batch of exciting releases awaits to be carefully examined!

Richard Gürtler (Nov 01, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

6


Space Megalithe "Abstract Dimension" CD

French duo Space Megalithe, comprised of Jean-Claude Gil & Christophe Barbier, debuted during November 2014 with their self-released "Psyché Energy" CD. One year later they participated in Belgium (Heusden-Zolder) on B-Wave festival's main stage with names such as Robert Rich, Radio Massacre International and The Tower Free. A quite good opportunity to reveal their talents. Btw, a nearly 70-minute long recording from their performance is available in digital formats through Space Megalithe's Bandcamp site. Although I have followed all these significant events, it was Space Megalithe's second album "Abstract Dimension", which has really triggered my interest in this emerging project. So I can't forget to send kudos to kindred soul Sonic-Hypnosis for his hint!!! "Abstract Dimension" was released during January 2016, again as a glass mastered self release packaged in a traditional jewel case with 4-panel front cover insert. Another French soundscaper (and anthropologist) Boris Lelong is credited for his participation on the album's art concept.

Nearly 10 minutes long title composition "Abstract Dimension" unfolds this stellar odyssey with grandiosely expansive washes, perpetually drifting and ebbing, and intriguingly illuminated by intangibly gossamer clinks, lushly swirling fragments and enigmatically immersing biotic undercurrents. A top-notch intro, messieurs!!! Then follows a live, 11-minute version of "Psyché Energy", the title track from Space Megalithe's debut album. Cybernetic shimmerings are soon permeated by translucent sequences painting delicately elevated rhythms, exquisitely polished and euphorically sharp, while soothing tides of atmozones are persistently guarding above. Magnifique!!! So no wonder I didn't even notice a seamless transition to "Crystal Landscape 1", which inconspicuously moves into gorgeously nuanced panoramic vistas. A warmly encircling sonic postcard! "Crystal Landscape 2" clandestinely sneaks in, but the center stage is soon stolen by gently pulsing beats, meticulously bridging glistening cybernetic mesmerism with fascinatingly yearning undulations. Awesome bundle, bravo, Jean-Claude & Christophe!!! "Temple Of Andromeda" delves deeply into ambiguously colored terrains, where perplexingly labyrinthine drones precisely coalesce with variety of ear-tickling, industrial-infused traceries, organic glimpses and eerie curtains. Abstract soundforging at its finest!!! "Betelgueuse Station B" keeps at the beginning safely on the bizarre path, but over the course the track slowly metamorphoses into spectacularly immense spacefields, stunningly panoptic, yet enthrallingly piquant. The closing 3 minutes are masterfully magnified by crystalline sequencer meridians. A truly phenomenal piece clocking to 11-minute mark and an exuberantly creative pinnacle so far! Merci beaucoup!!! The next piece, "Waves", with 6 and a half minutes the shortest one on "Abstract Dimension", glides through balmily poetic vastness, where profoundly evocative meanders magnificently commingle with engrossingly ephemeral stillness. A genuine tranquilizer! "Stone Alignment", a 12-plus minutes long composition closes this amazing sonic voyage with expanding tides coupled with transient field recordings, both balsamic and spectral, unlocking the gates of jaw-droppingly monumental horizons. These spellbinding layers are delightfully counterpointed with evanescent trimmings of primordial artifacts, while remotely mesmerizing (heart)beat surreptitiously percolates through. A very strong finale indeed!

77-minute "Abstract Dimension" is a highly accomplished recording by this gifted duo, fully revealing their ingenious insignias, when sophisticatedly amalgamating North-American flavored atmospheric soundscaping with unpredictable Berlin School ingredients. Space Megalithe is a really big revelation from France, no question about that!!! And not only "Abstract Dimension", but also their first album "Psyché Energy" is highly recommended!!! And even if still newcomers, deep respect to Jean-Claude & Christophe for not being afraid of self-releasing their music on a glass mastered format. It's a quite rare move these days. So keep on creating, guys, I certainly stay tuned for all your future spatial installments! Once again, a big round of applause to Space Megalithe!!!

Richard Gürtler (Oct 25, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

7


Dashmesh "The Peacock's Tale" CD

Dashmesh Khalsa, a par excellence didgeridoo player (sound healer, performer and naturalistic philosopher) based in Phoenix, Arizona has notably stepped into the tribal ambient circle during 2010 on phenomenal "Dream Tracker" album with Byron Metcalf and Steve Roach. Several months later on the SoundQuest Fest he joined on the stage Steve and Byron together with another didge player Brian Parnham. Since 2010 several other releases by Byron Metcalf (and Mark Seelig) featured this highly talented musician. I was also fortunate to experience Dashmesh's didgeridoo wizardry live during the first night at The Galactic Center at February 13th, 2015. A truly memorable moments during my "Toward the Dream" journey!!! So it was only a matter of time when this enormously gifted musician will return with his, undoubtedly well-deserved, solo release. Although surrounded by several kindred souls, "The Peacock's Tale" is an absolutely exceptional example of Dashmesh's virtuosity as a performer and composer. Released through Invincible Music, a label located in Dashmesh's home city, during May 2016, the album comes in a really beautiful 6-panel digipak with splendid cover image by a Swiss shamanic artist creating under pseudonym Seelenflug and extensive liner notes about performing artists on each track, quoting humanist philosopher of the 15th century, Marsilio Ficino, and additional explanations as the album is an ode to the Hermetic-Alchemical Tradition. The graphics are provided by the artist himself as well as by Liv Singh Khalsa, the founder of Invincible Music, who is also responsible, together with Dashmesh, for mixing and mastering.

This richly colorful spectacle is ignited by "The Great Work", an exquisitely arranged piece meticulously bridging raucous crow calls, rattles, didgeridoo drones and barks with utterly embracing trumpet (by Gabriel Bey) and shakuhachi (by Yujin Soku-Shin) and banging water drum (by Roman Orona). Spirited downtempos join the stage for a masterful tribal organic splendor with jazzy fragrances thrown in. To complete the guest list on this composition, Submerged also gets credit for addiitional electronics. On rather quieter "Language Of The Birds" Dashmesh melts his electronics, didgeridoo and percussions with gorgeously poignant Bob Iriana's saxophone, piquantly exotic strings of rabab, an Afghan lute-like instrument played by Qais Essar and a large dose of bird calls. Absolutely magnificent and ingeniously sculpted auralscape awaits here!!! A speech by a charismatic lecturer and author Manly P. Hall announces the next piece, "Book Of Nature" on which Dashmesh's didgeridoo, flute and synths are joined by a trademarking drumming by his mentor Byron Metcalf on frame drums and udu. With this duo in full bloom, you simply can't go wrong!!! Heidi Gadd's electric violin and Yujin Soku-Shin's shakuhachi complete another masterful composition on this album, a sonic elixir!!! "Incension" exhibits the sole performance by its creative protagonist, where helically mind-bending monochromatic didge drones relentlessly interplay with nocturnally encircling symphonies. A big one!!! The following piece, "Tree Of Moon" can easily serve as a preview of Dashmesh's collaborative project with Alexis Holland (vocalist, musician, sound healer, yoga teacher and health consultant), acting as Indigenous Soul Movement, where they explore their synergistic visions of a better planet. Calmly sweeping soundscape driven by Alexis' ethereal wordless chants coalesced with gossamer ambrosias of udu and handpan, while groovy traceries with didge glimpses ride enchantingly atop. A true sonic medicine!!! On "Sophic Hydrolith" Byron Metcalf again grabs his frame drum and udu and joins Dashmesh for a truly jaw-dropping performance. Thrillingly vibrant drumming, trance-inducing buzzing, barking and crowing by Dashmesh's drone pipe with Heidi Gadd's squeaking electric violin. What a masterpiece is this 5 and a half minutes long track, this is a primordial electro organic blast at its most extraordinary!!! "Trismegistus" is another solo playing by Dashmesh, dominated by hypnotic groovy downtempos. Dash's crystalline udu and cinematic trumpet by Japanese iconic virtuoso Toshinori Kondo unfold "Beats Of The Sun". Soon mesmerizingly growling didge sneaks in as well and commingle with stunningly spiced interactions of trumpet magic with arising Bob Iriana's saxophone brilliance. A high-spirited escapade showcasing all performing tribesmen at the very top of their peculiarly reinforced musicianship. A Hall of Fame composition!!! "Solar Rebirth" brings back Native American Roman Orona with his shamanic vocal and hand drum performance blended with Dash's buzzing didge and additional strand of luminous opiates. On "Heartfire" the driving force teams up with Byron Metcalf and Toshinori Kondo. Swirling and coiling didgeridoo of Dashmesh is masterfully merged with Byron's thunderous drumming and Toshinori's flamboyant trumpet, which clandestinely transmutes from evocatively enveloping to jaw-droppingly twisted. The three maestros blazingly demonstrating their ingenious instrumentalist bravuras!!! The longest, nearly 11-minute "Transmutation" closes this magnificently spectacular album with soothing ride through atmospheric solitudes, where intangible hums amalgamate with enigmatic calls, contemplative bowls, inconspicuously emerging remote didge and trumpet. Profoundly enrapturing horizons are revealed, bravo, Dashmesh & Gabriel Bey!!!

The limits have been pushed once again, 72-minute "The Peacock's Tale" is undoubtedly one of the most creatively singular highlights of 2016!!! Huge respect to Dashmesh for putting together this thrillingly talented team of accomplished musicians, hats off to all of you!!! Dash, you can be really proud of this album!!! And as hinted above, you definitely might want to check also Indigenous Soul Movement's CD entitled "A Voice For The Voiceless", this album is out since March 2016 on Invincible Music. Alexis & Dashmesh certainly deserve your attention!!! Last but not least, also don't miss Dashmesh's fruitful guest performance on Byron Metcalf's milestone "Shamanic Trance Dance" (released during May 2016)!!!

Richard Gürtler (Oct 14, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

8
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Percipient" CDr by Super Fata
« on: October 06, 2016, 10:41:38 AM »


Super Fata "Percipient" CDr

Jan Roos, the sole wizard behind Super Fata, has self-released "Percipient" album during October 2015 on his newly created label Solipsis. Supported by stunning cover artwork by Polish visual maestro Michal Karcz, this was the triggering point to me for diving into the fascinating dronescaping domains of this highly crafted, yet still well-hidden Norwegian soundsculptor. Even if his debut "Structural Tendency" CD is out since September 2013 on Origo Sound (I reviewed this breathtaking album back in January 2016), Super Fata's recordings, which include also few additional digital albums, definitely deserve to be immediately explored and applauded by all dedicated drone connoisseurs. The CDr comes in a glossy 4-panel digipak and is limited to 100 copies, 50 of them are available via Bandcamp. The packaging is truly a top-notch, kudos to Michal & Jan!!! The journey unfolds...

"Stimulus", a 4-minute opener swiftly swallows my ears and transports me into the splendiferous underwater sceneries, which easily could be the place, where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates face to face. Spellbindingly distant monumental drones are burbling, while diaphanous glitches continuously ear-tickle along with swirling organic undercurrents, rising and ebbing meridians and surreptitiously ear-piercing climaxes. This must be an awe-inspiring subterranean cathedral where cyber-biotic ambient nuances confront with intangible dark ambient stratums. Bravo, Jan!!! "Protoself", which is slightly longer than its predecessor, incorporates more perceptible heavy drone walls permeated and illuminated by silky hypogean traceries with glimpsing transcendental groans. Drifting, sneaking and ascending through intriguing fissures. Another big one!!! "Mycelium", with 3:30 the shortest piece on this adventure, remains safely on magmatic drone path, again meticulously flavored with subterrestrial effects, then clandestinely metamorphosing into earthier jungle labyrinths, but that's already the following track "Membrane", which clocks to nearly 9-minute mark. But more animated blankets over the course transmute into tenser tapestries magnified by dizzy disruptions traveling across the ears before evanescing through calmer, yet abundantly organic terrains into embracing silence. "Psymbiosis", as indicated by its title, invites the listener to take magnificently mesmerizing odyssey. Panoptic drifts slowly pervade across the biotic curtains, but the central stage is straightly invaded by emerging cybernetic grooves, which soon steal the spectacle. The pulsing opiate is rather delicately subtle than vibrantly galvanizing, but always luminously filigree and exquisitely guarded by enthrallingly expansive washes. Then quietly fading away and returning to its enigmatic realms charged by unfathomably immersing insectronics. Wow, this is another mind-blowing ride showcasing potential to even chase milestones such as "Blood Machine" or "Apeiron"!!! "Percipient", the title long-form track closes this absolutely triumphant exploration with arising drone solitudes, which intermingle with flimsy fragments, glimmering gargantuan reverberations and remote ephemeral rumbles. Spiraling choir-like drones are perpetually counterpointed with abyssal monochromatic hums and pinnacling transcendental discordances. Darker than the darkest, deeper than the deepest, enter now the most oracular territories proficiently revealed by this Norwegian soundcarver and fully experience a gamut of his intricate dronescaping bravuras. A pure 32-minute sonic delight unlocking the gates of the Drone Pantheon!!!

Album with a caliber like "Percipient" should be sold out quite quickly if available in smaller run, so the fact this CDr is still available remains a really huge mystery to me, because Super Fata belongs to some of the most talented projects within this thrillingly ambiguous style. It's another miracle from Norway!!! I even think aural and visual bliss like "Percipient" deserves to be exhibited on a glass mastered format, but unfortunately we all know how is the reality and struggles for lesser known artists... It's a shame!!! Jan Roos masterfully navigates Super Fata through spectacularly fascinating gaps and his own, all-intensive insignias are constantly presented in full bloom. Btw, don't forget your headphones! So after "Structural Tendency" we have here another magnum opus by Super Fata!!! Keep on droning, Jan, no matter if scuba, caving or trekking, the gear is always ready!!! I won't hesitate to call you a Maestro!!!

Richard Gürtler (Oct 04, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

9


Forrest Fang "The Sleepwalker's Ocean" 2xCD

"The Sleepwalker's Ocean" double album is the latest offering by Forrest Fang, a Chinese-American virtuoso multi-instrumentalist, who undoubtedly belongs to the most unique electro-acoustic innovators constantly perfuming his sonic sculptures with fascinatingly piquant and exquisitely filigreed Middle and Far East insignias and masterfully amalgamating them with Western-charged atmozones. His two previous albums "Animism" (June 2012) and "Letters To The Farthest Star" (March 2015) are perfect examples of such soundsculpting bravura, but these words can be easily applied to Forrest Fang's complete discography counting around 13 solo albums, one collaboration with Carl Weingarten and additional two recordings released under his Sans Serif moniker. "The Sleepwalker's Ocean" is out since January 2016 on Projekt in limited edition of 300 copies, packaged in a 4-panel eco wallet featuring stunningly gorgeous images by Kinga Britschgi, in Idaho based visual artist. Additional credits go to kindred Bay Area resident Robert Rich for his mastering wizardry, while Projekt's Sam Rosenthal is responsible for additional design work.

Utilizing not only traditional instruments like synths, violin or electric guitar, but also a line-up of richly fragranced instruments such as Marxolin (bowed psaltry), electric mandolin, saron (gamelan instrument), lavta (plucked string instrument) or càntaro (clay pot), this uniquely transporting journey unfolds with 8 and a half minutes long composition "Gone To Ground". A thrillingly exotic palette of magnificently weeping and mesmerically tinkling strings is precisely coalesced with soothingly embracing blankets hanging above. A truly nectarous listening experience, Forrest Fang is back at the very top of his extraordinary musicianship!!! "Message In The Sand", only at few seconds longer than its predecessor, moves through more enigmatic terrains at the beginning, but then the scenario is again stolen by euphoric rhythms, where glitteringly ear-tickling gamelan signatures meticulously commingle with delicately hypnotic tribal drumming. This aural splendor is permeated by Robert Rich's intangibly serpentine flute patterns. Another utterly immersing ride!!! Then follows the main theme, "The Sleepwalker's Ocean", which is divided into 6 parts and clocks over 33 minutes. The first "Cloudburst" glides into warmly expansive horizons counterpointed with glimpses of distant rumbles and delightfully airy gossamer clinks. "Bog" dives with its perplexingly serpentine drone alchemy deeply into intriguingly subterranean Eden. "Night Ferry" inconspicuously sneaks in, where emerging serenity soon transforms into spellbindingly shimmering vaporous ripples contrasted by titillating stringed meridians. "Geiger" spreads the wings and glides towards gracefully immense panoramas, persistently propelled by diaphanously pulsing subtleties, while clandestinely permeated by ethereal biotic traceries. What a beauty!!! "Lumin" is slightly lighter in its drifting intensity, yet still keeping safely on strikingly amorphous path. Shorter "Waywards", the last part of "The Sleepwalker's Ocean", reveals with lyrical piano with additional, lushly poetic embroideries, all guarded by balmily engrossing sheets reinforced here and there by calmly sinuating chiming ephemerons. 7-minute "Driftwood" is ignited by intensely expansive drones, which are instantly illuminated by subtle gamelan contemplations. "Not Forgotten" is driven by voluminously monochromatic stratum, imbued by shimmeringly tinkling undercurrents and masterfully reinforced by awe-inspiring panoptic magnitudes with stirringly mind-bending vertexes. An epic, 11 minutes long conclusion of the first disc, bravo, Forrest!!!

The second CD features "An Alternate Ocean (The Salton Sea)", a long-form piece clocking over 54 minutes. It emerges with gorgeously sonorous driftscape, gliding, rising and ebbing with multidimensional grandness through jaw-droppingly immense horizons. Monochromatic magmas, solitary organic glimpses, nebulously rumbling fragments, evanescing quietudes, intriguing transitions, surreptitious crescendos, ear-piercing climaxes, transcendental ecstasy..., it's an all-inclusive drone amalgamate at its most transporting and presenting Forrest Fang at the peak of his dronescaping trickeries!!! I won't hide it, this composition is certainly one of those phenomenally immersing, intensely enrapturing and mercurially chameleonic long-form zones. A true eargasm!!! Bravo, Maestro!!!

"The Sleepwalker's Ocean" double album meticulously showcases a gamut of distinguishably infused signatures of its sole protagonist, not only his infinite virtuosity in sculpting richly blossoming sonic perfumes, but also unlocking the gates to the deepest realms of enigmatically-driven droneforging. "The Sleepwalker's Ocean" is another tour de force recording by Forrest Fang and due to its ambitious magnitude, a truly triumphant accomplishment!!! So I am not surprised the 2CD is already sold out at Projekt's webstore, but I believe there still might be available some copies through other sources. And who knows, maybe Sam will consider in the future a possible re-print of this milestone. And by the way, Forrest Fang is now working on his newest album, so definitely stay tuned!!!

Richard Gürtler (Sep 11, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

10


Chihei Hatakeyama / Dirk Serries "The Storm Of Silence" CD

Japanese dronescaper Chihei Hatakeyama, who is based in suburbs of Tokyo, is not only an acclaimed and productive artist with many collaborative projects on his credit, but also the man behind White Paddy Mountain label, which has released during September 2015 "Obscured By Beams Of Sorrow" CD album featuring Dirk Serries and another renowned drone forger from the Land of the Rising Sun, Hakobune. And this Japanese-Belgian coalition definitely keeps on blossoming, because January 2016 sees "The Storm Of Silence" CD on respected Italian label Glacial Movements. Dirk Serries, the giant behind unforgettable vidnaObmana, is another highly prolific artist, who constantly keeps on exploring the fascination of challenging collaborative projects. "The Storm Of Silence" CD comes in elegantly minimal 4-panel digipak, exhibiting visual mastery of Norwegian photographer Bjarne Riesto and layout skills by Dirk's kindred Dutch drone soul, Machinefabriek's Rutger Zuydervelt. Wow, what a beauty, the magic of desolate Nordic winter sceneries fully unfolds, even before hitting the play button...

"Kulde", a 7-plus minutes long track, reveals this strikingly intense journey with slowly invading cyclical drones continuously concealed by hissy curtains. Persistently pinnacling reverberating subtleties clandestinely coalesce with warmer elegiac tides of long-burried memories. The listener is enwrapped by the silent awe of the rolling untamed landscapes. Immerse yourself and feel the "Cold"!!! "Uvaer", which clocks to a 10 and a half minutes mark, delves deeply into magnificently monochromatic terrains, meticulously reinforced by euphorically meandering evocativeness. Exquisitely mindscaping sonic reflections constantly commingle with jaw-droppingly emotional sonorousness. "Uvaer" as "Storm" showcases a gloriously monumental, yet sublimely tranquilizing soundforging of both protagonists, who fully utilize and amalgamate their creative insignias into an epic soundscape unlocking the gates of the Drone Eden!!! Bravo, gentlemen!!! "Fryst", with 12:41 the longest piece on album, unfolds with peaceful nuances, which calmly evolve into more monolithic scenario highlighted by flatlined, yet utterly scenic desolate "Frozen" panoramas. Masterfully spiced by inconspicuously emerging climaxes, no matter if intriguingly ear-tickling or splendiferously mind-blowing. 11-minute "Hvit" closes this deeply profound journey with rawer, nearly transcendental helixes, which are soon imbued by eternal tides of majestically intensified magnitudes and warmly embracing cinematic vistas. "White" is a breathtakingly prodigious and consonantly resonant masterpiece, a truly rewarding epic finale!!! Kudos to you, Dirk & Chihei!!!

I could easily journey for another 20-30 minutes, however, "The Storm Of Silence" is a masterful collaborative long distance effort, displaying staggeringly ingenious drone manipulations of two sound explorers par excellence!!! Mixed by Dirk and mastered by Chihei, "The Storm Of Silence" is another deeply focused gem on Glacial Movements, a must-have CD for all drone connoisseurs and aficionados of the overwhelming grace of treacherous icy landscapes. When spotlighting on the most recent projects of both protagonists, Dirk Serries has in the pipeline his collaborative CD album with Celer entitled "Background Curtain". This one should be out during the coming weeks on Polish label Zoharum. And Chihei Hatakeyama has just released together with his drone companion Hakobune "The Fall Rises" CD on his White Paddy Mountain label.

Richard Gürtler (Sep 07, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

11
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Novemberlys" CD by Havdis
« on: September 02, 2016, 02:04:48 AM »


Havdis "Novemberlys" CD

Swedish gterma certainly belongs to my fave drifting ambient-focused labels. This fastly emerging sympathetic label, run by Johan Rehn, started, if I am right, during 2011 and now their portfolio features around 50 CD releases, counting not only iconic veterans such as Mathias Grassow (also with Rüdiger Gleisberg), David Parsons, Markus Reuter and the late Oophoi (as Aqua Dorsa with Enrico Coniglio) or acclaimed Hakobune, Jason Sloan or Seetyca, but several other lesser known, yet ambitious and potential projects. Norwegian one man Havdis is one of them. The only thing I know about this project is the name of its main sculptor, Odd Jensen. The rest remains wrapped by intriguing mystery. Yeah, it drives me a bit nuts at some points, but on the other hand I respect Odd Jensen's privacy and I don't mind, because as Havdis he is always able to deliver a top-notch dronescaping work. That was the case of previously reviewed CDs, "Nightbreeze", released in October 2013, and "The Hidden Islands", which is out since March 2012. As usual for each Havdis' album, Nina Benjaminsen is responsible for stunningly immersing photographs of Norwegian, mostly coastal natural terrains, masterfully portraying Havdis' enigmatic soundworlds. An 8-panel front cover insert of "Novemberlys" with back tray card is obviously no exception. Well-done, Nina!!! Johan Rehn takes care of the design duties, while A.P aka Anders Peterson expertly utilizes his mastering skills. "Novemberlys" was composed between 2012-2015 and was released during January 2016.

4-minute "The Waterhorse" opens with shoreline recordings, which are soon joined by warmly embracing washes and permeated by enigmatic glimpses and utterly gorgeous unfathomable choir-like drones. Additional, hauntingly ominous subterranean traceries sneak in as well. Strikingly graceful panoramas are counterpointed by perplexingly hypogean subtleties. A very strong intro!!! "Dressed In Dark Water" delves deeply into fascinatingly shadowy underwater domains with persistently rising and ebbing magnitudes, eerie effusions, reverberating helixes, cyber-biotic vestiges and climaxing silent ephemerons. What a beauty!!! "Deepsea Dweller", as announced by its title, dives into bottomless domains guarded by undulating ambiguous drones, while ear-tickling clinks are confronted with tenebrously rumbling bell echoes. This must be Havdis at its most submerging!!! "The Wind On A Lonely Hill", with 19 minutes the longest piece on "Novemberlys", unfolds with continuous drone, rather monochromatic, although crepuscularly serpentine and perpetually reinforced by gossamer cyber-tech fragments, while clandestinely solitary wind drifts and sweeps steeply sloping maritime cliff. "Glass Atmosphere" clocks just over a 13-minute mark and immerses the listener into an ultimate atmospheric opus, where magnificently flatlined drone coalesces with transient elusive pulses and oracularly encircling tinkles and glides through staggeringly enrapturing twilight sceneries, no matter if startlingly dramatic landscapes or beautifully silent meadows. "Wintersleep" unlocks the gates to the darkest caves in snow-capped forested hills, meticulously merging abysmally sinister drone breaths with glimmering primordial images and transcendental echoes of ringing enigmas. 17 and a half minutes long "The Strange Sighting At Søftan" closes this breathtaking journey with slightly lighter, yet abundantly dark tapestries, highlighted by mesmerizingly relentless oscillating meridians and guarded by warmly nebulous panoptic drones, serenely gliding into tenaciously expansive horizons, with inconspicuously permeating rhythmic vagueness. Havdis' aural insignias are fully activated and splendorously blossoming, atmospheric grace at its most enigmatic!!!

Almost 79 minutes long "Novemberlys" is another thrillingly accomplished installment by this obscure soundcarver, as usual, intensely exhibiting all his strikingly immersing signatures. A truly rewarding listening journey awaits for all connoisseurs of fascinatingly amorphous drone zones!!! It's no secret this project is one of my most favorites coming from the Scandinavian territories. Bravo and keep on droning, Odd!!! And kudos for your always good eye, Nina!!! So don't miss "Novemberlys"!!! And of course "Nightbreeze" and "The Hidden Islands" too...

Richard Gürtler (Aug 29, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

12


Steve Roach and Robert Logan "Second Nature" CD

I still keep in mind the moment during February 2015, when I was visiting Steve and his studio spaces in Baja Arizona and he revealed his upcoming collaborative project with talented UK's artist Robert Logan. At that time this name was a brand new to me, so my curiosity was quite big and even after exploring some of Robert's recordings, I didn't have any idea what to expect. Firstly unfolding as a long distance collaboration thanks to Robert Logan's father, who contacted Steve during the second half of 2000s (there is a nice story behind that on Steve's website), then shaping real contours towards the end of 2015, when Robert Logan visited and merged his gifted artistry with the Master at his Timehouse studio. Then the end of April 2016 has brought to us via Projekt two creatively fruitful efforts entitled "Second Nature" and "Biosonic". Blending two visionaries beyond the limits, the listeners are immediately confronted with two distinctively extraordinary recordings. Let's dive deeply into the introspective minimalism of "Second Nature". The album comes in an attractive, matte 4-panel digipak, featuring cover images by Steve Roach with additional graphic work by Sam Rosenthal. As usual, the mastering is handled at Spotted Peccary Studios in Portland by Howard Givens.

A 10-minute "Moment's Notice" straightly shifts the listener into utterly soothing paradise, where Robert Logan's balmily reflective electric grand piano meticulously amalgamates with Steve Roach's warmly meandering atmospheric mirages. Yeah, precisely minimal and delicately nuanced, yet powerfully embracing soundscape redefining the forefront of nebulously gorgeous ambient poignancy. The intimate magic is fully unveiled, bravo, gentlemen!!! Connect yourself, enjoy and feel the genius loci of the Timehouse!!! A Hall of Fame opus!!! "Second Nature", a 32 minutes long title composition emerges and shifts into euphoric magnitudes, masterfully bridging evocative panoptic drama with evanescent, profoundly enveloping tides of stillness. Always expressive piano patterns, no matter if intangible or perceived, continuously coalesce with droning, sinuating, culminating, titillating, mindscaping and evaporating carvings. The ultimate essence of shared virtuosities keeps on blossoming!!! "Shadowspeak", clocking to 7 minutes, incorporates more authentic piano paintings, ranging from richly poetic to sparser subtleties, persistently counterpointed with consistently enveloping glimpses of deeply contemplative silence. "Mystic Drift", 22 and a half minutes long composition closes this journey with gracefully sweeping cinematic washes, warmly rising and ebbing tenacious stratums insistently intermingle with ephemeral murmurs, crescendoing meridians and clandestinely cascading solitary piano vistas. Monumentally expansive and heartwarmingly engrossing currents coexist in absolute equilibrium with exquisitely yearning quietudes. Overall, I feel it in my headphones as a rather one-dimensional texture, but still a quintessentially immersing sonic ambrosia for my body and soul!!!

"Second Nature" is a truly sophisticated sonic document bringing together an iconic sound architect with a glorious 4-decade recording career and a much younger emerging, but already distinguishably crafted talent. Artistic visions of both protagonists have been gratifyingly intermingled on "Second Nature", for Steve Roach this is another triumphant addition to his already extensive list of stellar collaborations and for Robert Logan an exciting experience and introduction to more atmospheric-driven ambient community, although his recordings already ventured into these realms before. It's quite obvious that "Second Nature" CD gets my highest recommendation!!! And don't forget, there is still a futuristic adventure entitled "Biosonic"!!! When focusing on the most recent releases of both creators, certainly don't miss two newest sonic meditations by Steve Roach, "Shadow Of Time" and "This Place To Be" CDs, released only two weeks ago on Projekt and Timeroom Editions, which, by the way, nicely fit amorphous haziness of "Second Nature". And when focusing on Robert Logan, since May 2016 he has available his "Flesh Decomposed" album, I believe this one is available in digital format only. For CD aficionados, definitely check out his albums "Flesh" (2015), "Inscape" (2009) and "Cognessence" (2007) on UK's Slowfoot Records, plus a double CDr album "The Sublime" from 2008 released on Hypnos Secret Sounds under his Sense Project moniker.

Richard Gürtler (Aug 28, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

13


Csillagköd "All The Time" CD

Olivér Dombi, Transylvanian sole protagonist behind Csillagköd (it means Nebula in Hungarian) returns with his second full length album on Spotted Peccary gang. His debut "Silent World" on this sympathetic label was released during October 2014. "All The Time" is out since April 2016 and it comes, as usual for Spotted Peccary, in an elegant 4-panel disc eco wallet designed by SPM's visual master Daniel Pipitone and expertly mastered by Howard Givens.

4-plus minutes long track, "All Directions (Brainshaped Universe)", ignites this journey with mysteriously serpentine zones merging gracefully tiding washes with intricately remote phantasmal traceries. "Spheres (Part Two)", as displayed by its title, delves deeply into grandiosely expansive atmospheric paradise, masterfully intensified by clandestinely persistent and intangibly hypnotic beat. Gorgeous waves constantly immerse the listener into an awe-inspiring amorphous realms, where gently swelling magmas are insistently counterpointed by warmly enveloping panoramas. A deep space odyssey at its most spellbinding!!! High-pitched helixes announce "Everything Is Happening At The Same Time, All The Time", while elusive pulse quietly percolates along with auxiliary cybernetic climaxes, that contrast with undulating celestial imageries. Another very strong piece!!! 9-minute "Only Matter", the second longest track on the album, dives straightly into magnificently crepuscular monochromatic solitudes. Monstrously humming dissonances surreptitiously sneak in, accompanied by evanescent organic beams and fascinatingly transcendental choir-like mirages. What a sonic bliss, a drone tour de force!!! Short "VY Canis Majoris" shifts into abundantly colored, labyrinthically rumbling and ear-blowing transition magnitudes. The next composition "Long Far Distant" swiftly returns to monumentally sweeping and unfathomably ambiguous spheres exquisitely amplified by a display of elusive tinkles. Warmly reverberating blankets precisely exhibit the track title. Another top-notcher!!! "Cosmic Ocean", with 10 and a half minute the longest voyage, is safely guarded by breathtakingly infinite expanses, where perpetual oscillations are bridged with remotely outpouring subtleties. In the second half metamorphosing into stirringly rhythmic synthetic paths, while encircled by tranquilly ethereal vistas. "Merging Of Substances" immediately grabs my ear with nebulously humming drone magmas, afterward magnified by piquant subterranean vestiges and abysmally oracular breaths. Deeper than the deepest!!! "Outside This World" quickly unfolds with insistently tinkling patterns backed by drifting and undulating horizons, painstakingly traversing from panoptic through warmer to denser terrains. The closing piece, "Transexistential Perspectives", reveals with balmy astral washes, which intermingle with titillating, nearly ear-piercing clinks and additional layer of strikingly panoramic vastness. A very suitable finale!!!

Almost 65 minutes long "All The Time" is another highly accomplished recording by this crafted Romanian soundcarver and a masterfully magnificent follow-up to Csillagköd's above mentioned debut "Silent World". Kudos to Spotted Peccary for signing this gifted artist few years ago, he really deserves this!!! And keep in mind, Olivér Dombi is involved in several other projects, among them Shambala Networks is the most famous with unforgettable double CDr album "The Last Winter", released during 2013 on Italian Ozky E-sound label and re-issued on a glass mastered double CD format on UK's ...txt one year ago, now sold out. So don't hesitate to support this talented composer and enter now into his thrillingly mysterious domains!!! Bravo and keep on voyaging, Olivér!!!

Richard Gürtler (Aug 27, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

14


Andrew Heath "The Silent Cartographer" CD

Although Andrew Heath's debut solo CD "The Silent Cartographer" was released two years ago, during July 2014, I wasn't aware of this, in the UK based sound alchemist until the end of April 2016. What a pity I didn't explore this crafted soundscaper much earlier! Out on UK's Disco Gecko Recordings, a label created in 1998 by Toby Marks of Banco de Gaia, the CD comes in a really beautiful 6-panel eco wallet featuring stunning cover painting by Andrew Heath's wife Zoë, surrounded by immersing photographs taken by the artist himself. What a beauty, kudos to all of you, guys, for such amazing cover art splendor!!! A CD like this is a collector's dream, that's for sure! Credit list includes also above mentioned Toby Marks, who is responsible for superior mastering work.

"The Silent Cartographer", a 13-minute title track, immediately delves deeply into the visual magic of the album with its microscopically detailed, crystalline clear rural field recordings and titillating found sounds of diverse squeaks, rumbles, twinkles..., while soothingly embracing washes clandestinely permeate, drift and meander above along with balmy piano vistas. Audiophile quality sound is another bonus here, a headphone listening is a true revelation!!! Additional intriguingly reverberating subtleties add a truly mindscaping dimension, occasional ear-piercing sample glimpses are absolutely unexpected too. The title couldn't have been chosen any better for this composition. After the visual bliss is time for the aural one!!! Bravo, Andrew!!! "This Twilight World" unfolds with enigmatic, nocturnally flatlined drone, gossamer chimes and ephemeral poetic piano. Stringed poignancy surreptitiously joins as well along with emerging atmospheric zones and percolating piano lyricism, always counterpointed with ear-tickling traceries. Still rather minimal, yet utterly detailed and magnificently enchanting composition. An aural paradise, a nearly 10 minutes long granular amalgamate at its most sophisticated and immersing!!! "Shoreline (Found Object)" shifts into more abstract level at the beginning, but soon transmuting into enveloping haze, where long-forgotten memories awake and continuously bathe the listener's ears with its beautifully contemplative minimalism, where nuancing heart-warming expressions are insistently imbued by soothingly engrossing stillness. Again meticulously balanced and emotionally-driven piece!!! Short "Paper Boat", which doesn't reach 3-minute mark, safely remains on the path of pleasantly evocative piano reveries. "Still Point" is announced by glitchy shimmers, while emanating drifts slowly expand into tranquilly surrounding horizons, precisely displayed by its title, together with delicately diaphanous location recollections and transient piano reflections. Exquisitely transporting listening experience, a true aural placidness!!! "The Poet’s Dream", a 10-minute closing composition, reveals with slightly more abstract feel, where flimsy noises, bleeps and tinkles are constantly commingled with serpentine drones. But then piano slowly awakes and steals the center stage with its emotive tapestries, confronted with crescendoing and diminuendoing meridians. This is a truly gorgeous lyrical conclusion, well-done, Andrew!!!

"The Silent Cartographer" album is filled with euphoniously rewarding delicateness, masterfully polished with filigreeing attention to every single detail. It's a very strong debut work, I won't even hesitate to use the word triumphant, because this, nearly 55 minutes long recording showcases exceptionally creative potential and distinguishably sensitive artistry of its sole protagonist. Once more, bravo, Andrew!!! By the way, the digital version of this album features additional two tracks, "Kleine Blume Irgendwo (A Homage To Joachim)", dedicated to Hans Joachim Roedelius, and "In Search Of Eden", clocking together to almost 32 minutes. It's a pity, at least one of these pieces didn't make it to the CD version, preferably, I would like to see them both on the CD in some slightly squeezed lengths. In any case, the name Andrew Heath is a big revelation for my ears!!! And last but not least, Andrew Heath has released in October 2015 follow-up album entitled "Flux", which is no short in aural and visual excellence of its predecessor.

Richard Gürtler (Aug 22, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)


15


Al Gromer Khan "Chakra Noir" CD

"Chakra Noir", the newest album by iconic German instrumentalist, sitarist and composer Al Gromer Khan is out since April 2016 on his Rasa Music label. Again packaged in rather simple, but elegant 4-panel digipak. After deep sonic meditations on "Day Of The Beloved", released at the beginning of 2016, the Maestro shifts his filigree soundsculpting into mesmerizingly illuminating and exceptionally textured transcultural sonic paradise. Enter these nectarous realms now!!!

5-minute "A Simple World With Flowers" reveals with ethereal chants of, I believe Al's wife Ute, supported by laid-back percussive downtempos, serpentine drones and sitar piquancy. A truly ear-tickling potpourri awaits here, which gorgeously interacts with its title. The next composition, "Degrees Of Tenderness", embodies placid, balmily enveloping jazzy influenced patterns with pellucid strings of sitar. Chirping subtleties along with intangible glimpses of bells paint contemplative images, then clandestinely metamorphosing into calmly evanescing monochromatic drone horizons. "Shedding Light" shifts into subtly enigmatic expanses, soothingly nuanced and guarded by elusive choirs, and reinforced by stringed poetic lyricism. The title track, "Chakra Noir", clocks to 5 and a half minutes, actually most of the compositions are hanging around 5 minutes in length. Mysterious zones are permeated by Ute's voice fragments, glistening rumbles, sitar curlicues, titillating chimes and ephemeral choirs. Pristine, crystalline, minimal, yet richly scented. "A Summer Tale" delves into more drifting sceneries counterpointed with translucently tantalizing sitar. Celestial choir-like washes and leisure, jazz-driven tempos sneak in as well. "Adya Shakti", with 3 minutes the shortest piece on "Chakra Noir", immediately attracts with gorgeously poignant acoustic guitar, meticulously embraced by gossamery halcyon zones and pervaded by expressive sitar transiency. Encircling beauty!!! "Tan & Maroon" keeps on evocative path, melting variety of strings like acoustic guitar, sitar, cello or viola..., ranging from enchantingly warm to sinuously weeping, with hypnotically sculpted percussive beats, temporary bell diaphanousness and glancing piano solitudes. Another sonic splendor!!! "Im Nu" blends masterfully assortment of heavenly choirs and voice fragments with intricately helixing undulations and mellowly insistent melodic patterns. Exquisitely ambrosial composition!!! "The Train And The Crow" returns to flamboyantly colored terrains, where thrillingly crafted and distinctively fragranced instrumentation, perfectly evoking an adventurous railway journey, cleverly melts with western-influenced ambient soundscaping. An utterly gorgeous piece, where South Asian perfumes spectacularly bridge with the Wild West magic of abandoned ghost towns. Wow, this was a truly unexpected sonic exploration!!! "Rose Of All My Days", as displayed by its title, remains in calmer, poetic territories, where occasional spicy sitar tapestries coalesce with captivatingly immersing laid-backness and airy cinematic blankets. Eloquent violin announces "The King's Companion", gentle strings emerge as well along with piano glimpses. Scenic passages inconspicuously awake too and commingle with beautifully tearful bowed strings, sensuous sitar embellishments and rattling traceries. Transmuting, cascading, meandering, drifting... "Into Blue", with 6:38 the longest piece on the album, closes this strikingly magnificent ride with euphorically colored texture, which moves surreptitiously through different twists and nuances, always fascinatingly perfumed with sitar, tabla or harmonica passages, and sporadic whispers, no matter if exotic or again with strikingly distinguishing infusion of the Southwestern heat haze. A virtuoso conclusion!!!

61-minute "Chakra Noir" is utterly extraordinary recording by Al Gromer Khan, showcasing on one side his traditional insignias with long lasting perfumes, but this time stirringly amalgamated with strikingly unique and blazingly imaginative arrangements shifting this album into a brand new level, where electro-acoustic brilliance melts with awe-inspiring invention. I believe this is another huge achievement in Al Gromer Khan's stellar musical career that spans five decades. A truly special listening adventure awaits when exploring "Chakra Noir", don't miss it!!!

Richard Gürtler (Aug 07, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

16


Byron Metcalf "Shamanic Trance Dance" CD

Although almost one and a half years have passed since my visit of Byron Metcalf's “The Lair” studio in Prescott Valley, Arizona, the magic of this unique space still deeply resonates and all the great memories when experiencing extraordinaire musicianship of the shamanic powerhouse are alive. Excerpts from the upcoming album invade The Lair along with Byron's info about finding his new home with some big, at that time still secretly untitled label. August 1st 2015 reveals a bit of the mystery, when Byron Metcalf joins his forces with Sandra Ingerman, who is a world-renowned teacher of shamanism with 30 years of experience. "The Spirit Of Healing" CD is released, a shamanic journey music enhanced with Field Effect Audio Technology (FEAT), developed by Byron Metcalf to enter beyond the realms of ordinary reality. Released on Sounds True, a Colorado based label and multimedia publishing company. The next chapter released by Sounds True is "Shamanic Trance Dance", the first solo album by Byron Metcalf on this label. Released on May 1st 2016, two longtime kindred souls join this sonic adventure: Dashmesh Khalsa and Mark Seelig with their broadly fruitful contributions and several other guests deliver their creative insignias too. Packaged in a really gorgeous 6-panel CD wallet (cover image credit goes to "agsandrew"/Shutterstock) featuring extensive liner notes by Mitchell Clute, the producer at Sounds True, as well as by Byron Metcalf. Let's fire up the dance!!!

Nearly 11 and a half minutes long "True Ground" reveals with a chant by Peruvian medicine man Fred Clarke Alvarez aka Pacha Paqariy, while Dashmesh Khalsa ignites his didgeridoo drone wizardry. But Byron Metcalf's volcanic tribal drumming and mesmerizingly immersing rattles quickly move to the center stage and fuel this truly mind-transporting listening experience. Mark Seelig's overtone voice magic inconspicuously sneaks in as well, hovers above, juxtaposes and amalgamates with medicine chants. A par excellence performance of every participant, bravo to all of you!!! No matter if connecting to these magnificently authentic shamanic worlds with your headphones on or through your speakers, the sound quality is a truly jaw-dropping, crystalline clear!!! What a journey!!! Sounds True is a "True Ground" for Byron Metcalf!!! The next track, "Portals Of Power", is again propelled by unmistakably passionate signatures by its main protagonist, while distant didge drones glide above. But around the second quarter Dashmesh adds his lively didge passage. Expansive atmospheric mindscapes emerge, slowly pinnacle, dissolve and then re-awake again, these might be created by Australian astralscaper Don Peyote. This is another exquisitely profound coalescence of primordial-driven singular heartbeats, cyber-trance-induced fragrances and gracefully intangible horizons. A massively intense aural meditation!!! "Remember To Breathe" incorporates slightly more moderate drumming, insistent didge barks, hypnotic breath tapestries and eternally helixing and buzzing electro grooves sculpted by another Arizonian Will Merkle. This time delving into more monochromatic depths, yet perpetually energizing your spirit!!! "Spirits Of The Roadman", with 9-plus minutes, the shortest piece on "Shamanic Trance Dance", shifts into cyber-organic terrains meticulously commingling hyper-active dreamtime traceries with blazing synthetic tempestuousness. Riveting display of drums and rattles with spellbindingly growling drone pipe and ephemeral ceremonial utters, all filled with infinitely high-spirited, infectiously tantalizing and strikingly galvanizing power! Don Peyote gets another credit on this composition for his atmospheric zones. 11-minute "Serpent Weaver" employs more tranquilizing tempo highlighted by tangibly relaxed, yet calmly crescendoing drums, opiating shakers, droning didgeridoo, enigmatic vocal glossolalias and ocarina glimpses. Then Mark Seelig fully unfolds his mastery showcasing the depth of the human voice, its multi-dimensional phenomenon with staggeringly transcendental magnitudes. Wow!!! This is another magnum opus, where all performing tribesmen deliver the very finest and quintessentially recognized musicianship. The gates to primordial trance drone Eden are unlocked!!! "Breaking Through" with 16 minutes the longest track reveals with buzzing didge drone enhanced by medicine chant by Chris O'Brien, who utilizes also ambiguously serpentine synths and transient ocarina terra vistas on this piece. But it's Byron's vibrantly heavy, tribal drum magic that quickly steps in and grabs this breathtakingly engulfing parade along with Mark's eerie overtone rituals. Sonic curanderos strike once more! Feel their passion, feel their energy!!! Although all previous compositions are absolutely triumphant, "Breaking Through" must be a crème de la crème of "Shamanic Trance Dance"! Yes, definitely!!!

No doubts here, the almost 71-minute "Shamanic Trance Dance" is a truly phenomenal work by Byron Metcalf, wealthily infused by 5 decades of his prolific music career covering an expansive diversity of styles and exquisitely supported by stunningly exuberant guest performances by longtime kindred spirits Dashmesh Khalsa and Mark Seelig and with the addition of other like-minded wizards. I am a really proud owner of this album. It's a milestone and obviously one of the pinnacles of 2016!!! Byron Metcalf is a genius of shamanic tribal-ambient soundforging!!! So I hope the connection between Sounds True and Byron Metcalf will bring in the future many more aural jewels like this one!!! And by the way, don't miss another brilliant recording by Byron Metcalf, a collaborative album with Norwegian ambient guitar ace Erik Wøllo, it's entitled "Earth Luminous" and it's out on Projekt since the end of April 2016. These are genuine gifts, thank you, Maestro!!!

Richard Gürtler (Aug 02, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

17


Remco Helbers "On Some Road" CD

Wow!!! I simply can't start with any other words. What a well-hidden masterwork by an ambient guitar dronescaper Remco Helbers!!! This Dutchman is also known as one of the members of ambient/dhrupad/trance project Chalnat. This little gem of art was already self-released by Remco on physical CD back in 2002 (!!!) and it's a best example there is no justice in music industry!!! Certainly big shame on me for not exploring this jewel much sooner. Yeah, I still keep in mind when searching infos about Chalnat and discographies about each member popped up, but unfortunately in Dutch only, so I somehow didn't pay any deeper attention to them. Otherwise I would be able to get at least some hint on Remco Helbers', I believe, debut solo album. So I had to wait until Forrest Fang has brought this stunningly gorgeous album to the light some weeks ago (huge thanks, Forrest!!!). Some additional background info on this recording, the music was inspired by paintings of London-based abstract painter John Kimber, who met Remco Helbers during a Guitar-Craft course led by Robert Fripp in 1998. Each of the seven tracks is represented by a painting, all of them are printed on the 8-panel front insert. Except Remco Helbers and John Kimber, credit goes also to Sid Smith for the liner notes (he was an attendee of the same course). This music was firstly presented on the opening night of an exhibition of John Kimber's paintings in July 2001 at the Long Gallery at Lauderdale House in London. I should add that "On Some Road" album was digitally re-released in 2015 on Turmoil Music label.

Equipped with Chapman Grand Stick, bells, bowls and sampler, "On Some Road" journey unfolds with 7-minute "Urban Nightscape II". A truly gracious and warm dronescape magnified with filigree mindscaping flickerings invades, drifts and meanders through gorgeously expansive nocturnal vistas and glimpses. What a beauty!!! The listener is immediately bathed in an ultimate looped atmospheric elixir, a pure drone magic virtuosically executed by Remco Helbers!!! "A Kinder Blue IV" holds its magnificently embracing dimension, masterfully counterpointing balmy rises and ebbs with intangibly reverberating helixes. Euphoniously evocative, yet meticulously dissonant, certainly another superb composition!!! Its companion "A Kinder Blue II" safely keeps on billowing path, where it exquisitely merges insistently pinnacling cinematic horizons, elusive bell contemplations and peculiarly traversing tapestries. Immensely reflective dronendeavour!!! "Floating In Sequence II", with 3 and a half minutes minutes the shortest piece on the album, seems to be the most enigmatic composition so far, where circling stringed patterns continuously interplay with slowly emerging and expressively weeping panoramas, while remotely ethereal bells surreptitiously sneak in. On the contrary the following cut, "Cathedral I" clocks to 9-minute mark as the longest track "On Some Road". The title couldn't be chosen more precise, my listening room is invaded by gracefully immense washes, which are persistently permeated by hauntingly reverberant reminiscences. Sublimely monumental, yet splendid mindscapes are endlessly carved and commingle with abstract images revealed by sunlight filtered through stained glass windows. Another intense drone tour de force, bravo, Remco!!! "Obsession I" delves deeply into shadowy unfathomable depths, where undulating, rather monochromatic drone is relentlessly confronted with ear-tickling transcendental meridians. Oracular "Floating In Sequence II" is easily surpassed, a journey beyond the gates awaits here, enter now!!! The closing "Dragon III", another longer piece clocking to nearly 9 minutes, remains safely on the path guided by tenebrously sculpted scenario pervaded by intriguing resonances, occasionally augmented by cinematic climaxes and meditative glimmers. A very strong outro indeed!!!

This is an utterly jaw-dropping, over 49 minutes long listening exploration, I still can't believe... And I keep on wondering how could I miss such masterwork for many many years. But anyway, always better later than never!!! As I have found lately, this album received handful of very positive reviews during 2002, but unfortunately it still remains criminally unexposed. As informed by Remco, he still has boxes with this CD, which was a result of bad experiences with some distributors back in the days when he started with his label. So he quickly became disillusioned about this kind of business and because at the same time he was moving into his studies about stringed instruments of the Hindustani classical music like surbahar (bass sitar) and rudra veena, "On Some Road" CD is still a strongly undiscovered jewel. Yeah, the future offerings by Remco Helbers might sound quite different, but I don't mind, because he is an exceptionally gifted artist!!! I definitely will keep an ear out for his next soundsculptings. So it's quite obvious an epic "On Some Road" CD gets my highest recommendation!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jul 27, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

18
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Puja" CD by David Parsons
« on: July 11, 2016, 01:01:50 AM »


David Parsons "Puja" CD

One of the most respected doyens and original voices within the ambient drone scene returns in a jaw-dropping condition!!! That's "Puja" by New Zealander David Parsons, who has found his new home after three decades with Arizonian label Fortuna Records/Celestial Harmonies on sympathetic Swedish label gterma, where he debuted during 2013 with "Stupa" album. I have been always deeply fascinated by David Parsons ability to transform his long exploratory experiences into absolutely breathtaking sonic tapestries, meticulously transporting each listener into thrillingly enigmatic Middle and Far East realms. "Puja", which is in Hinduism a religious ritual, is certainly no exception!!! Released during March 2016 in standard jewel case with 8-panel front insert featuring photographs of Hindu and Buddhist rites by David's wife Kay Parsons as well as by gterma's driving force Johan Rehn, who is credited for additional design. As usual, the mastering duties were given to A.P aka Anders Peterson of GS Mastering & Post.

Divided into seven "Offerings", clocking between 8:35 and 16:24 in length, this utterly mysterious ride is ignited by "Offerings 1", the shortest, yet stunningly transporting transcendental journey through Indo-Gangetic Plains and Tibetan Plateau!!! Oracularly circling drones are continuously pervaded by mind-bending high-pitched clickety-clack vertexes, mesmerizingly intangible chant vistas and trance-infused throat-singing of Tibetan monks. Wow, a powerfully enrapturing listening experience awaits here as David Parsons activates all his strikingly immersing insignias and returns at the very top of his extraordinarily perfumed soundcarving wizardry, bravo, Maestro!!! "Offerings 2" moves into more contemplative terrains, where panoptic expanses, both enigmatic and embracing, are masterfully bridged with gathering of hypnotically helixing chants. "Offerings 3" safely glides through enthrallingly mindscaping sceneries, where variety of mediative bells melt with rumbling traceries, rain-charged location recordings and exquisitely monochromatic stratums. Unearthly chanting joins this spectacle as well for a trully spectacular travelogue. Another deeply fascinating soundscape reaching and entering the gates of spiritual serenity and mysterious beauty of some of the most remote monastic grounds. "Offerings 4" is driven by mind-expanding, eternally oscillating chants, which are firstly juxtaposed with elusively tinkling contemplations, then clandestinely transforming into balmily introspective realms counterpointed with additional display of male and female payerscaping horizons. Meandering, gliding, spiraling, reflecting, mindscaping..., a masterpiece!!! "Offerings 5", with 16 and a half minutes the longest endeavour on "Puja", shifts into utterly monochromatic landscapes, filled with nebulously towering drone circles. Around the middle of its length, infinite helixes are penetrated by tenaciously ear-tickling dissonant subtleties. Nearly 10-minute "Offerings 6" safely glides through magnificently dronescaping sceneries, brilliantly reinforced by a potpourri of metallic percussive enigmas, biotic glimmers and voice fragments. A drone tour de force, don't miss this thrillingly listening experience!!! 12 minute long closer "Offerings 7" is..., I won't beat about the bush, a grand finale taking its predecessor into even more mysterious level, by bridging buzzing expanses, tiding blankets, meditative meridians and mesmeric frog symphony, afterwards inconspicuously metamorphosing into warmly crescendoing and diminuendoing picturesque grasslands, holding unmistakable signatures of its crafted originator.

"Puja" is no one else but David Parsons!!! Since "Stupa" we have been waiting for more than two years, but the wait was certainly worth, because as mentioned in the opening sentences, David Parsons is back at the very top of his grippingly peculiar soundcarving. I don't know exactly David's age, but I guess he might be around 71 years old now, so I take my hat off to him for such wonderful, all-intensive 74-minute album!!! No matter if fading away and traversing colossal snow-capped peaks, majestic isolated monasteries, alpine forests, glacier fed rivers, pilgrimage sites, nomadic panoramas or sun-bathed green valleys, the journey is always monumentally immersing, breathtakingly authentic and fascinatingly ethnographic!!! Thank you, deep respect and keep on going, Maestro, we can't wait for your future, uniquely scented offerings!!! And huge kudos to Johan for taking this Grandmaster under gterma's wings few years ago!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jul 10, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

19


Darren Rogers "Interstellar Love" CDr

This is my first contact with Darren Rogers' ambience, although he belongs to quite experienced soundscapers, to my knowledge he started his recording career during the second half of the 90's with the album "The Infinity Search". But it was "The Alternate Realms" CDr released on Hypnos Secret Sounds in 2007 that has brought more recognition to Darren Rogers' sonic journeys. This Texan artist is also known for his collaborations with Rigel Orionis' Jim Brenholts under the moniker Orion's Belt (Jim sadly passed away in 2009). Self-releasing through his own label Imagineer Records, "Interstellar Love" CDr is out since March 2016, packaged in a glossy 4-panel disc eco wallet and it's based on searching for the signs among the stars, for the love and true soulmate for eternity.

10-minute title track "Interstellar Love" ignites the odyssey with distant drone hums counterpointed with rather weirdly processed voices by Darren Rogers' wife Lynda. Expansive drifts sneak in as well, but during the 4th minute the journey is stolen by monstrously spacious drones, where panoramic warmness is masterfully spiced by permeating cyber-tech tides. Then smoothly transmuting into evocative stringed poignancy merged with arising, new age-driven dreamscapes. A very nice opening!!! "Wavering" is announced by gorgeously embracing duduk traceries coalesced with soothingly sweeping ethereal realms. As always, I am absolutely fascinated by this Armenian flute, which is, unfortunately, still quite rare within ambient soundsculpting (maybe except Paul Casper of Frore). Clandestinely emerging tribal patterns guard on the background of this immersing composition along with some phantasmal enhancements. But another chameleonic transition follows and the piece completely shifts into unfathomable depths of celestial nothingness perpetually propelled by choir-infused washes. Again rather mellow than perplexing. The next composition, "Carefree Dreams", as displayed by its title, safely glides and meanders through monumentally sublime zones, meticulously reinforced by orchestral vistas and intangibly tinkling ephemerons. Gracefully enrapturing!!! "Passion", with 10-plus minutes the longest piece on the album, delves deeply into magnificently oracular terrains, leaded by immense washes, capricious cybernetic signals and towering transcendental helixes, which over the course awake outlying tribal beats with oscillating and waving sharper tapestries and continuously metamorphose from euphorically animated scenario into divinely evanescing blankets. "Angelic Bells", with 2:45 the shortest piece on "Interstellar Love", keeps dwelling on peaceful paths, where seraphic choirs are conjugated by contemplative chimes. "The Love Inside" fastidiously merges and alternates celestial emptiness, stringed happiness, hissy reflections, cyber-biotic glimpses and sampled vocal serenity by, I believe, Francesca Genco, who is an esteemed voice maven (remember her intensely evocative vocals from Chad Kettering's "Pathways" masterwork?). A true sonic ambrosia awaits here!!! "Looking For The Stars" dives into undulating vintage influenced space domains, bonding jaw-dropping ethereal grandness with spiraling consonances, while titillating transient fragments are thrown in when fading away. A very suitable conclusion!!!

Over 51 minutes long "Interstellar Love" certainly belongs lately to the most accomplished deep space voyages with a rich potpourri of unpredictable transmutations, although to my abysmally tenebrous drone taste rather more romantic flavored than enigmatic, but that's quite obvious due to envisioned theme. However, you can be really proud of this album, Darren!!! I am also sending your way additional kudos for not abandoning the physical format with "Interstellar Love", please, keep on going!!! And by the way, most recently Darren Rogers has started an online Imagineer radio show promoting ambient/new age endeavours.

Richard Gürtler (Jul 03, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

20


Bruno Sanfilippo "The Poet" CD

Argentinian virtuoso piano composer Bruno Sanfilippo, based in Barcelona, is back with his newest album "The Poet", this time the usual ad21 label, he used to co-run with Max Corbacho, is now replaced by 1631 Recordings. This is an emerging and blooming Swedish label, established in the summer of 2015 by Mattias Nilsson and David Wenngren. Yes, Bruno Sanfilippo has been releasing his music, since his move from Argentina to Spain in 2000, mostly through ad21, with some exceptions like Neuronium Records, Spotted Peccary Music or Hypnos Recordings. Back to "The Poet", on this album Bruno Sanfilippo joins his creative forces again with kindred performer souls like violinist Pere Bardagí, already known from "clarOscuro" CD (May 2014), and cellist Julián Kancepolski, introduced on "Inside Life" CD (February 2015). I really enjoy gorgeous drawings on the front and back cover of the 4-panel digipak, layout credit goes to Mattias Nilsson, although I don't know if he is also the artist behind these evocative drawings. If so, another kudos to him!!! I also should mention Ian Hawgood, who is the mastering expert behind "The Poet".

Profoundly weeping interplay of cello and violin strings reveal this intensely cinematic splendor. During the second third of title composition "The Poet", which clocks to 3 and a half minutes, Bruno Sanfilippo joins this pensive sadness with his sparse, yet utterly embracing piano expressions. A truly gorgeous symmetry between all participating artists immediately unfolds in all its intimate authenticity. "Before Nightfall" keeps on exhibiting the virtuosities of their protagonists, again rather minimal, eloquently evocative and lullingly calm at the same time, with piano and violin infused. "Silk Offering", only slightly longer than its predecessors, awakes long buried memories, where longing cello and violin coalesce with subtly permeating piano drama. Nuancing, crescendoing and evanescing through consistently immersing glimpses of stillness. What an exquisitely painted beauty!!! Short "Dead's Hope" reaches pinnacling magnitudes with its fanfarade-like orchestrals. "The Legend Of The Sailor" meticulously counterpoints richly poetic piano subtleties with sweepingly saturating tearful strings. A sonic equilibrium at its most engrossing!!! "An Omen" with its droning cello, hidden dramatic piquancy, ephemeral rumbles, peculiar strings and lachrymose traceries shifts into astonishingly ambiguous terrains, sculpted with awe-inspiring singularities. Bravo!!! The next composition, "The Book Without Words", returns quickly to enticingly poetic paths, where soothing piano blankets masterfully commingle with fully blossoming and impressively undulating textural orchestrations. A triumphantly intense listening experience and an epic chef-d'oeuvre!!! "Seventy Seven Years Later", with 5:17 the longest piece on the album, opens with tranquil piano lyricism, while evocative stringed textures smoothly join the stage and continuously keep on emerging, meandering and climaxing. Textural palette of this narrative composition is stunningly emotive, magnífico, señores!!! "Iron Horse" invites the listener into a deeply contemplative garden, where the still of surrounding sceneries blends with some, I believe, inside-the-piano technique, maybe hitting the strings with some mallet, maybe some manual muting of the strings as well... In any case, this piece is a very refreshing addition to already richly abundant wizardries on "The Poet". Well-done, Bruno!!! "The Four Keys" composition brings back Julián Kancepolski and Pere Bardagí with their powerful expressions, precisely melting sorrowful cello with scenically textured violin. On 2-minute, nostalgically entitled "Abandoned Carousel" excels again Bruno Sanfilippo with his minimal piano poignancy and guides the album into its soothingly enveloping conclusion.

Being a sound architect since 1991, when debuting with "Sons Of The Light" album, Bruno Sanfilippo certainly belongs to the most multifarious composers within ambient and modern classical driven styles. And hugely talented, potential and consistent as well, because with his piano sculptings, on which he focuses since 2007, when returning to his roots, he constantly enriches the scene with his emotive insignias, no matter if solo or coupled with creative contributions of his kindred spirits. Few months ago, when exploring 40-minute "The Poet" for the first time, I wrote this album might be Bruno Sanfilippo's magnum opus. After many spinnings, I still fully stand behind my words!!! Sure, as an aficionado of electronic charged ambient soundscaping, I will always miss gems like "Urbs", "Subliminal Pulse", "Auralspace", "InTRO", "Indalo" (with Max Corbacho) and many others, but who knows, maybe some electronic driven ventures will be resurrected one day. However, jewel like "The Poet" deserves to be experienced, cherished and celebrated!!! Hats off to Bruno Sanfilippo and his guests, Julián Kancepolski and Pere Bardagí, muchas gracias!!! And last but not least, huge thanks also to 1631 Recordings for inviting this crafted composer to their growing roster!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jun 26, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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