« on: December 01, 2014, 10:52:07 PM »
Steve Brand "The Space Between" CDr
US soundscaper and one of the Relaxed Machinery recording aces Steve Brand has released during the last three years several phenomenal albums, which include "Over-soul", "The Great Hoop", "Subtle Movements Inside" or his 2014 collaborative recording "Meltstream" with Roy Mattson. So no wonder my expectations are again really high. Just the same as with "Meltstream", the pro CDr album comes again in a very attractive 4-panel digipak (images and design by Steve Brand). According to the album's liner notes, Steve was working on initial tracks for this album since early 2011 and as far I remember, this album was originally scheduled to be released on Kristian Kotarac's renowned Nextera label (the home of many exceptional Oophoi, Klaus Wiese, Mathias Grassow... CDs). Unfortunately, this never happened due to Kristian's unexpected death at the end of February 2013. Thus life events with personal loses and changes are deeply reflected in "The Space Between", which was released at the beginning of October 2014 on Relaxed Machinery.
The album consists of four lengthier tracks, all clocking between 15 and 20 minutes. "A Thousand Little Wounds" unveils the journey with unfathomable dronescaping, powerfully immersing and drifting through magnificently nuanced sceneries, masterfully permeated with dramatically massive tensions and transcendentally culminating, ear-piercing dissonances. An array of contemplative tinkles occasionally sneaks in to diminish the magmatic flow of mammoth soundwalls. Credited as guest on this drone tour de force is Peter James for his bass craftiness. Stunningly transporting odyssey awaits here, join in!!! The next composition, poetically entitled "Quiet Moments In The Garden With You", slightly softens the overall tensity, where faint movements, quietly meandering, are hauntingly counterpointed with piano subtleties and sporadic reverberating crescendos. Nocturnal symphony of crickets awakes and inconspicuously percolates for utterly tranquil and warmly embracing conclusion. Another absolutely brilliant piece!!! Enigmatic choirs and abysmal drones announce "Inches From Eternity". Industrial-like rumbles and squeaks quickly invade, undulate and tickle the ears of the listener, while splendidly surrounded by immensely desolated landscapes and bridged with expanding introspective stillness. Spectacular soundsculpting alchemy continues and a fully transcendental listening delight is again achieved. Bravo, Maestro!!! "Viewing Effortless Beauty", the longest track, wraps up this aural magic with distant choir-like drones, rather sparser, but graciously drifting and exquisitely merged with high-pitched eerie disturbances, yet amazingly earwarming throughout the first half. The second part slowly expands into more massive vistas filled with increasing tumultuousness and poignantly contrasted with evocative flute calls, spreading across the arid canyon or perhaps over the ancient Cahokia Mounds. The closing two minutes fade away into encircling quietude...
"The Space Between" is another monstrous accomplishment in the glowing discography of Steve Brand and obviously one of the pinnacles of 2014, where is already nominated above mentioned "Meltstream" collaboration. Once again, this newest album confirms and strengthens the eminence of Steve Brand as one of the leading forces on the drone ambient scene nowadays. And another must-have release from the Relaxed Machinery kindred souls!!! With deep respect to all those "The Space Between" is dedicated to!!!
Richard Gürtler (Nov 29, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)