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Topics - richardgurtler

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121


Mathias Grassow & John Haughm "Mosaic" CD

Wow, here is another collaboration that was held as a well kept secret, so the more surprised I was when this project came to light on Dämmerung Arts label. But I must say that Agalloch's John Haughm is not new in his ventures into drone realms as he already appeared on two tracks of Nostalgia's "Echoes From The Borderland", but this time his contribution is by far less rough, industrial-infused as it was on "Along Lands End" and "Dartmoor" tracks. Comprised of three "Mosaic" parts, the tracks clock from nearly 8 minutes (Part I) to 21 and half minutes (Part III). The journey is ignited with "Mosaic I", where deep, monotonous, but expansive drones by Mathias interact with John's shimmering tinkles of various bells. Graciously floating wordless chorals emerge as well and appear in precise synergy with drones and metallic fragments. Join this "Mosaic" and experience moments of pure magic!!! Gentle bells announce "Mosaic II", which smoothly moves through serenely mesmerizing drone leads into passages highlighted by pensive acoustic guitar mastery ranging from more quiet, but expressive into more elevating riffs, with few foreboding low noises inserted in between and all guarded throughout by celestial dronescapes. Static drifts, bells and distant rumblings invade the third and longest part of "Mosaic". Monotonously unfolding dronescapes are joined by ear-catching, eerie metallic squeaks, later on sorrowfully expressive electric guitar sneaks in and reaches absolutely harmonious convergence with deep drone wizardry and ghostly noises. During the second half gentle tribal percussion steal the show along with deeply mysterious whispers and voices. Definitely the most challenging composition of this "Mosaic" and a hugely immersing finale!!! "Mosaic" offers a highly sophisticated blend of majestic drone panoramas, filigree gothic doom-flavored strings and deeply mesmerizing metallic, tribal and voice magics. A truly magnificent sonic conversations of two virtuosos!!! On the top of that, the packaging of 4-panel digipak with 8-panel insert features absolutely stunning images of art photographer Veleda Thorsson, Agalloch's visual guru, gorgeously portraying this stellar sonic conspiracy!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jul 13, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

122


Ran Kirlian & Landru "Waterfront" CDr

"Waterfront" is the first collaboration between two Altera Orbe creators, Ran Kirlian and Landru, both emerging talents and kindred spirits from respected Spanish ambient scene. Released during the May 2012 through their Altera Orbe label. "Alkali" opens the journey and dives quickly into shadowy cavern with gentle primordial tribals, various tinkling bells, gongs and rumblings, all surrounded by mysteriously majestic drifts and spiced by rattlesnake-like sounds. A deeply magical prologue!!! Continuous cavernous feel invades also the next, 15-minute long piece, "Diffraction". Nearly free-floating atmospherics are joined by assorted high-tech fragments. Some repeating mechanical noise, evoking vaguely tribal-infused claps can be detected as well, but to me, this sound, even if quite hypnotic, is a bit dissonant to the overall mood of graciously soaring ambiences. But otherwise this soundscape is soothingly absorbing. These profound soundscapes are explored also through "Interdimensional", which paints again a hauntingly sculpted synergy between darker drones and cyber-shamanistic collages. "Pulsating Core" gets more massive with gently swirling gurgles, soon floating through celestial realms and tranquilly expanding towards the end into more mechanical escapade with more dominating, sharper sonic outbursts. A pure sonic bliss precisely merging the talents of both protagonists, the drifting wizardry of Ran Kirlian and cyber-futuristic adventures of Landru!!! Magnífico!!! "Alluvium" unveils quietly, but soon it reaches the most active, tribal-driven terrains highlighted by gently tinkling percussive elements, but always covered in sublimity and mystery. Explosively thrilling!!! Deeply organic intro of "Waterfront" exactly portrays the title and slowly transforms into slightly more intense, but peacefully flowing seascapes. The closing "Metamorphism", second longest piece getting close to 15-minute mark, opens with strangely odd buzzes and squeaks, but it soon slips into tribal paths leaded by slowed down, heavier beats, primordial ingredients, and circling, nearly hallucinogenic effects, discovered already on "Diffraction" and again injected with some disquieting feel, all blended with spectacularly intense and panoramic soundscapes. "Waterfront" is deeply expansive and mysteriously enchating journey!!! I am awarding extra points also for the elegant design of the digipak packaging. This collaborative work deserves your support, go for it!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jul 06, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

123


ISH "Resonance Level" CD+3"CDr

Here comes another highly pleasurable moment for myself as a reviewer, who is going to focus on Slovak project venturing into ambient domains. ISH is a project of Igor Šenigla, the guy who is also the sole protagonist of another project connected to Aliens Production, Ambiguous. "Resonance Level" is a brand new album, released at the end of June by Aliens Production. ISH ignites the journey with serenely gliding washes of "Near To Lights", a very tranquil entryway into dreamlike expanses. Imposing introduction of ISH's soundworlds!!! Celestial atmo zones overlap to "Inti Raymi", but soon they are harmoniously bridged with crystalline swirls and flickeringly pulsing midtempo IDM essences. Various voice samples and celestial chorals at the end enrich the composition. This freshly inviting electronica is as much colorful and mesmerizing as this religious ceremony. Superb track!!! "Kaleidoscope" dives immediately into rawer electro territories, spiced by high-tech sonic outbursts and twinkles and nicely surrounded by hauntingly floating washes hovering above. Aggroscape at its most intense and adventurous!!! "Diaglyph" moves into more minimal and slower, factory-infused and gently expanding soundscapes, reaching the more dramatic conclusion. It announces "Meadow Flower", another rougher track with high-tech beats and various alien sound effects, which cascades through various levels and ever-changing passages. Another richly sculpted and entertaining journey, a wild flower!!! "Scars To Earth" returns with spacey drifts into more relieving, sky high realms, towards the end becoming again more tense. "Manacles" mark return to cyber-tech groove adventure while the next one, "So Can She" floates on dreamy cloudscapes, here and there enriched by fragile tinkles and effects. Distant and subtle, mysterious voices carry "Green Therapy" into tech groovy-addicted zones, blending masterfully cybernetic heartbeating pulses with sublimely drifting soundscapes. Certainly one of the highlights and a pure sonic therapy for my ears!!! "Our Time" keeps on atmospheric route with few otherworldly fragments thrown in along the way. Piano-like infusions and ghostly voice samples bring this piece into soothing, but mysterious finale. The title track, "Resonance Level", is the most energetic, nearly EBM-contaminated piece, towards the end slowly fading away into tranquil spheres. Majestically floating and expanding atmospherics and some gently polished downtempos of "Dreamless" provide a truly magnificent outro. Absolutely graceful soundsculpting!!!

The first 50 copies of "Resonance Level" CD comes with bonus mini CDr single entitled "Conspiracy Level" and featuring three additional tracks, two remixed and one unreleased. "Manacles", remixed by German LPF 12, fuses dreamy, but more intense and massive soundscape with ocassional, sharper pulses and various glitchy and harsh industrial disruptions. Follows "Kaleidoscope", this time remixed by Structural Fault from Argentina. It's gradually evolving and shifting through various phases into fastly pulsing and absorbing, powerful IDM electronica. "Breathing World" is the exclusive track here, a warmly inviting, long, dreamy washes entering into immense spaces, attractively fragranced by futuristic effects and skillfully changing like chameleon and cascading into mid paced kinetic electro grooves and back. Perfectly interplaying deeply immersing dreamwalk with dynamic, organic electronica. Luminously expansive grand finale, at its most mesmerizing!!! A hidden pearl here!!!

Yes, of course there are some pieces or parts that are too upbeat-infused to my rather tranquil ambient taste, but the overall result is more than surprising and satisfying. Well done, Igor!!! I definitely will keep an ear to the Slovak ambient terrains...

Richard Gürtler (Jul 05, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

124


Loscil "Coast/ Range/ Arc" CD

Vancouver, BC, Canada, based sound designer Scott Morgan aka Loscil is busy during his full time job with creating sound effects for video games, but his part time hobby is devoted to sculpting ambient experiments, mostly for Kranky label. But "Coast/ Range/ Arc" is another exciting contribution to magnificent arctic soundscapes of Italian Glacial Movements label. The album unveils grandiosely with monstrous drones of "Black Tusk", where huge soundwalls are surrounded by swirling hisses. The title is taken from Scott's domestic natural sceneries of Pacific Northwest, incredibly breathtaking and scenic area of Black Tusk pinnacle of volcanic rock in Garibaldi Park. Mesmerizingly ear-bending listening journey has just begun!!! Flow of water takes "Fromme" into more organic and aerial sonic terrains with lighter drones, more textured and spiced by experimentally-infused disruptions. "Stave Peak" attracts with its strongly visualizing theme bringing back some long forgotten memories. Deeply organic and tranquil, slightly orchestral dronescapes are hauntingly inviting and majestic!!! "Névé" navigates us straightly into static, barren and menacing drone territories wrapped by arctic wind. This is Loscil at its most immersing and glacial!!! Freezing domains are explored also on "Brohm Ridge", the longest piece clocking to 11 and half minutes. Slowly expansive and cascading drone wizardry paints spectacular sonic images, filled with panoramic intensity and gracious impression. "Goat Mountain", another longer track, is strongly picturesque hike with gently evolving minimal dronescapes, and brings this album into tranquilly fascinating finale. As usual for Glacial Movements, Bjarne Riesto and Keep Adding leave their notable fingerprints on digipak's packaging. "Coast/ Range/ Arc" was my first exposure of Loscil's sound sculpting, but this album explores the beauty of the Pacific coastal range with all its majesty and grace, a must have for all drone experts!!! Headphone listening reveals all the magic!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jul 01, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

125
I just noticed this info on Steve Roach's webshop. The family of Barry Craig, who unfortunately passed away at September 4th, 2011, at the age of 59, provided three titles in limited amounts. So if you are missing these sonic pearls in your collection, feel free to check out Steve's website. This is the chance to say "thank you" to this wonderful person and ambient composer. We are deeply missing Barry!!!

http://steveroach.com/store/store.php?artistID=243


126


Steve Roach & Dirk Serries "Low Volume Music" CD

Yes, this was a truly jaw-dropping news, when revealed for the first some months ago by Steve and Dirk. Until that moment it was held as a top secret project, now it's a reality, two giants of ambient genre are reunited again after ten years. I am quite sure this news brought happy smiles on faces of many ambient connoisseurs, I am no exception. As announced by the album's title, this collaborative effort deals with soundscaping at its most purest and beautiful, free floating form. Gently circling and soothingly expansive minimal ambience is revealed by the opening, 8-minute composition, "Here". Each listener is immediately invited to join a strictly ethereal float, which breathes along with him/her and transports into warmly relaxing inner cosmos. "Whisper" unveils an atmosphere of constancy, with minimal expanses, elusive movements and gentle swirls, and paints hauntingly contemplative sonic images. "Closed" awakes nostalgic moments with peacefully soaring cloudscapes of soothingly submerging aural simplicity and quietness. The next composition, "Bow", absorbs by its deeply sublime and tranquilly expansive spaciousness. "Haze", the closing and longest piece on this journey, clocking over a 15-minute mark, shifts your listening environment into gracefully floating and vaporously sweeping realms of celestial beauty. Don't expect any groundbreaking sonic sculpting and adventure here, just subtle ambient sceneries, considerably warm, quietly relaxing and gently immersive, created by the true masters of the genre. Album's packaging and images nicely correspond with atmospheric blankets. "Low Volume Music" is a pure sonic elixir to nourish your body, mind and spirit!!! Welcome back, Steve & Dirk!!! I will keep an ear to the ground...

Richard Gürtler (Jun 24, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

127
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Hymn" CD by Juta Takahashi
« on: June 23, 2012, 03:36:27 AM »


Juta Takahashi "Hymn" CD

"Hymn" is the 7th album by Japanese ambient maestro Jutaro "Juta" Takahashi (based in Sendai, Miyagi), released in January, 2010, on his own label Lunisolar Records. Just the same as with his "Silence" CD, reviewed some weeks ago, "Hymn" CD gets immediately extra points for its stunning front cover image featuring the famous 2006 Hubble Space Telescope color mosaic of the Orion Nebula. The album is made up of three longer compositions, each clocking around 20 minutes. "Stratosphere" unfolds this odyssey with gracefully heartfelt and endlessly floating, slow-motion drifts, fragranced with delicately fragile, but expressively fitting strings. This solitary ambience transports each listener into the deep realms of space. The next composition "Faraway" moves into slightly more minimal and meditative realms sculpted with nearly hallucinogenic washes, serenely cascading from slightly dissonant, "buzzing" sounds to more silent, poetic passages, carefully exploring gracious beauty of immense outer reaches of space, and accomplishing deep synergy between the music and its title. The title composition "Hymn" is immediately invaded by celestial choir-like sounds and returns to more drifting territories explored through the first track, but this time diffusing much more monumentally into tense symphonious atmospheres, reaching strongly cinematic feel of breathtaking adventure and glorious beauty. These slowly expanding and triumphant soundwalls are here and there enriched by luminously euphoric fragments and swirls. Definitely one of the most magnificent and colossal soundscapes Juta has ever done and a truly grandiose conclusion of this profoundly wonderful album, where all three lengthy pieces are powerfully expansive and quietly immersing!!! A tremendously fascinating star gazing odyssey precisely interacting with the cover image!!! Arigatō, Juta!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jun 23, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

128
Anyone heard this?



Just noticed this title at Databloem webshop. It looks like well-hidden secret so far... :(  Maybe more promoted within black/doom metal scene/connections of Agalloch's John Haughm than within ambient genre... Anyway, an immediate action is needed... :)

http://www.databloem.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&category_id=19&flypage=databloem.tpl&product_id=1301&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=2
http://www.agalloch.org/shop.htm

Richard


129


Mathias Grassow "Dämmerung" CD

Welcome to the drone heaven!!! Yes, here is the first of three sonic installments by the German drone alchemist Mathias Grassow, released on Swedish Gterma label at the beginning of June 2012, together with "Wisdom Of Fate" and "Uttarakuru", both a 2CD editions. Continuous drones of the most gigantic caliber invade the opening journey, "Fading Light", along with distant cicadas, water sounds and some factory-like effusions, all magically wrapped by nocturnal ambience. Will this man ever stop to impress me with his mind-bending dronescapes? 9 and half minutes of intensely packed drone bliss!!! "A Bed Of Clouds", just like its title, enters more relieving and graciously gliding drone terrains. Hitting nearly 20-minute mark, the piece moves through various, slowly evolving passages, reaching its peak in the middle. The rest is slightly more tranquilizing, but again staticly expanding and entering shadowy cloudscapes, that might be broken apart after a thunderstorm. "Setting Sun" slips into lighter drone territories, but enriched here and there by hidden dramatic scenarios. "Last Rays" are supported by abyssal drones, more static in their structure, but evoking enormously mysterious and magical atmosphere due to powerfully flowing remote choir-like sounds and circling tinkles. This heavy drone wizardry overlaps also to the next composition, "Nightfall", enriched by glimmeringly expanding tension and evoking the most fascinating and dramatic sundown horizon. One of the highlights and pure sonic ecstasy guaranteed!!! The closing "Entering The Between" clocks to 15-minute mark and ventures into soothing domains with staticly spreading and progressing drifts, again magnificently supported by distant choirs. A truly grandiose finale!!! "Dämmerung" masterfully reveals beautiful sonic exploration dedicated to the Sun, one of the most fascinating mysteries of the universe, by holding the traditional "Made By Mathias Grassow" signature. As usual, gorgeous 12-page booklet is included, this time with stunning twilight photographs.

Richard Gürtler (Jun 21, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

130


Loren Nerell "Slow Dream" CD

In Long Beach, California, based composer and ethnomusicologist, Loren Nerell, is known as avid admirer of Indonesian native styles of gamelan music. His location recordings from trips to Bali and Java, which document everyday's life and events, are again utilized and processed into deeply meditative stream of drones, released as Loren's 7th full length recording, but this time as a premiere album on Projekt, where he joins his fellow traveller Steve Roach, who has added his mastering wizardy to "Slow Dream". Opening long-form "Mentation" clocks to nearly 29 minutes with serene, slow-motion endlessly drifting and soothingly circling resonant cloudscapes. It creates strongly meditative states that graciously float between the waking and sleep, between the sound and silence. The title, 10 and half minutes long composition "Slow Dream" dives straightly into chasmal mammoth drone realms strenghtened by various subterranean rumblings and otherworldly tinkles and outbursts. Gentle and remote tribal beats blanketed by fog join the stage too and invite the listener on a deeply sonorous and immersing journey. "A Sense Of Presence", another longer composition, remains in shadowy, rather dissonant and nearly transcendental domains with gradually expanding heavy drone zones and assorted background unsettling sonic tremors. All subterranean ghosts are awaken by this deeply cavernous adventure. "Persistence Of Dream Imagery", as indicated by its title, is tranquilly sculpted dronespace with few occasional industrial noises thrown in and highly mesmerizing meditative piece that brings "Slow Dream" into the conclusion. "Slow Dream" is skillfully crafted recording of immensely subterranean atmospheres originated of various gamelans, powerfully evocative and magically transporting!!! A must have for all explorers of mysteriously alluring sonic escapades!!! 4-panel eco disc wallet with cover images by Thierry Moreau and graphic design by Sam Rosenthal precisely interplay with the sonic content.

Richard Gürtler (Jun 21, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

131


Havdis "The Hidden Islands" CD

Promising and fastly expanding Swedish Gterma label keeps on striking and brings here another exciting new project, this time a Norwegian drone addicts acting under the moniker of Havdis. The image of misty seascape with island on the cover artwork is precisely displayed by the opening drones of "Beluga". I am immediately diving into the shadowy arctic waters to experience a truly spectacular adventure of seeing and hearing small, gracefully floating majestic and playful white whales, known as "Beluga". Rather staticly floating, but slowly cascading drones of "Beluga" introduce Havdis at its most submerging!!! This enormously breathtaking sonic bliss overlaps also to the next piece, a 19-minute long opus "Coast", when entering into more textured dronescapes enriched by some ominous rumblings and choirs on the distant back. This mysteriously infused composition evokes immense coastal panoramas. I have no idea who is hidden behind Havdis, but in any case they are offering a genuinely exciting listening adventure!!! "Old Brown Boat", where distant voice/choir-like sounds are gracefully gliding above deep organic dronescapes. Fascinatingly visualizing piece and another masterful appearance by Havdis!!! "Crossing A Quiet Fjord" is a 14 and half minutes long composition, sculpted with warmly inviting, but grandiose aerial washes, amazingly portraying its title. Highly cinematic fjordscapes, filled with utterly tranquilizing essences, generate most staggering images of magnificent plateau views of the surrounding monumental winter sceneries with drifting clouds, majestic snow-capped peaks and mirroring deep blue waters. Fragile piano at the end is a beautiful outro. A sonic bliss # 4!!! Windy drones announce the next composition entitled "Asleep At The Sea Of Tranquility", a truly relaxing and poetic coastal walk through the carpets of mist, where slowly moving peaceful drifts are enriched by expressive classical piano. Dreamlike imagery is awaken and long forgotten memories are returning. "There's Beauty In Sadness" is the shortest piece, clocking to 5 and half minutes, an epic traversing intensely from more quiet nostalgic passages to more dramatic crescendos. The journey ends with gracious "Velvet Islands Lie Beyond", where aerial, more monotonous washes are masterfully bridged with deeply submerging, nearly hallucinogenic ripple and bubble sounds. Deeply mesmerizing finale!!! As usual for all Gterma releases, the album is accompanied by 12-page booklet with images stunningly supporting Havdis' aural expressions and moods. Thank you so much for this exciting trip to the Norwegian hinterlands!!! I didn't meet any trolls, but the rest was enormously thrilling!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jun 17, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

132
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Hypersona" CD by 36
« on: June 16, 2012, 05:31:22 AM »


36 "Hypersona" CD

"Hypersona" was released back in 2009 as a debut album by UK based project acting under the 36 alias and first part of three planned albums, which later became known as "Hollow" (2010) and "Lithea" (2012), all released on 36's own imprint 3six Recordings. The sole protagonist of 36, Dennis Huddleston, presents here his debut work nicely packaged and designed in elegant 4-panel digipak. And my listening room is soon invaded by beautifully sculpted filigree blend of serenely gliding melancholic ambience, heartwarming modern classical elements and crystalline location recordings, all masterfully wrapped by movingly expressive long forgotten memories. The intro is provided by "Signal", a shorter organic ambience enhanced by hisses, distant voice transmissions and morse codes. Fully bloomed, beautiful and majestic amalgam of tender, nearly xylophone-like tinkles and gracefully spreading electronics is promptly revealed by the composition entitled "2249". Deeply absorbing washes of "Inside" announce a truly magnificent rainy sundown meeting on patio, while recapturing deeply buried nostalgic scenarios. Pure moments of natural magic are emerging here!!! Shorter, more experimental "Intercept", as its name indicates, is a kind of a transitional passage into heavenly realms invaded by angelic choirs of "The Box", the next composition of absolutely wonderful interplay of serenely tinkling sounds with dripping water (or is it crackling fireplace? Or both of them?) and above mentioned choirs, all fragilely cascading through various levels. But always keeping its absolutely tranquil essence with dreamy and nostalgic moments. "Nephyr" is a deeply evocative and steadily progressing dronescape, later nicely colored by fragile piano fragments. Expressive piano tune leads "Beacon", minimally structured, hazed by distant hisses and shoreline sounds, but again highly picturesque. The title composition, "Hypersona", strikes immediately with shimmeringly tinkling melody, generating a nostalgic feeling to some specific time and place. "Juliet" blends aerial washes with distorted transmissions of woman's voice spelling phonetic alphabet. "Dream Window" is a shorter piece, more experimental and eclectic at the beginning, but soon entering into deeply imaginative passage guided by gentle toy piano tinkles. "Forever" dives deeply into immersing arctic territories with dramatically turbulent drones before ending in pure quietness. The closing, untitled piece blends glitchy sounds, field recordings and toy piano. "Hypersona" is carefully contemplative and hauntingly colorful collection of richly evocative dreamscapes filled with nostalgia, longing and sorrow. The strenght of "Hypersona" is by the images it creates!!! Definitely highly recommended introduction of 36!!! By the way, by the time I am writting these lines, "Hypersona" album is being released by 3six Recordings as remastered vinyl edition with new artwork. White, clear and black vinyls are available, 100 copies of each.

Richard Gürtler (Jun 16, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

133


Neu Gestalt "Weightless Hours" CD

In Edinburgh, Scotland, based sonic architect Les Scott aka Neu Gestalt has just released during June 2012 his second full length album "Weightless Hours" through local Alex Tronic Records, a follow-up to his debut "Altered Carbon", released in 2008. I am immediately amazed with the visual quality of the CD, which comes with stunningly designed artwork featured on 8-panel foldout insert, containing various pictures (with many appearing in tiny cameo) and extensive liner notes on release, used images and field recordings, which surround everyday's life of Neu Gestalt's sole protagonist. I really nice effort I must say, especially nowadays when the sales of physical products are lower. The first points were awarded already!!! "Toxicology", unveils the journey with primordial ambience, enriched by water sounds and shakuhachi, crossed with hovering tech grooves and expressive piano sounds, and presents David Anderson as guest on keyboards and co-composer of this track. Nice intro! "Abandoned Cities" attract quickly with shakuhachi magics and gentle tribal tinkles, swirls and gurgles. Crystalline synthetic downtempos are precisely fragranced with sporadic hisses and organics. Shimmering world fusion electronica!!! Locomoting high-tech grooves of "Cold Wave" are seductively blended with circling, more dramatic, nearly cinematic passages, spiced here and there by mysteriously distant voice. Rather minimally carved, but maximally mesmerizing and visualizing!!! Relaxing downbeats overlap into "Saturn Park", another richly and pristinely detailed composition. "Winter" enters into more atmospheric combo of modern classical piano, crispy grooves and cyber hisses and outbursts. "Sub Rosa" remains in slower, picturesque organic atmo zones, while the next piece, "Curtain Of Rust", swiftly moves back into high-tech filigree chemistry of trance-inducing beat locomotions and pleasantly evocative moments. "On Haunted Shores" follows the footsteps of its predecessor, but piano, shakuhachi and glitches harmoniously join the stage too. "Aerial Eleven" is another stirringly exciting and absorbing trance-infused groovy soundscape. A truly relaxing hypermodern vibe!!! "Metalline" showcases highly polished synergy of aerial washes, post-classical elements and glitches, all masterfully wrapped into tremendously refreshing and warmly inviting mood. One of the ultimate highlights!!! "Sheltering Skies" venture into more active terrains, featuring all kinds of catchy swirling and tinkling sounds with cascadingly emerging nostalgic washes. Interplay of rhythms and atmospheres is hauntingly attractive here!!! The closing piece, "We Who Walk Through Walls", again expertly blends various sonic outbursts, disruptions, pulses and twinkled drifts. Technoid exotica at its most adventurous!!! "Weightless Hours" skillfully explore very personal sonic visions of Les Scott, who has managed to bring to us superb work, musically, sonically and visually!!! This album will grow on you with every listening, and don't forget your headphones!!! Highly recommended to all aficionados of downbeat/ambient electronica!!!

Richard Gürtler (June 09, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

134


Broken Harbour "Gramophone Transmissions" CDr

Broken Harbour is a drone ambient endeavor of Edmonton, Canada, based artist Blake Gibson, who introduces here his second full length album released during September 2011. We are first confronted with stunningly looking cover images. Yes, you can't go wrong with having Michal Karcz, a Polish photographer and image wizard, responsible for the graphic artwork duties. Michal has already worked within ambient genre with renowned artists such as Steve Roach, Erik Wøllo or David Helpling & Jon Jenkins for example. But let's investigate the sonics by this newcomer to my ambient collection. "Drift" unfolds Broken Harbour's soundscaping exactly as indicated by its title, where deeper drifts are bridged with crackles from old vinyl records spreaded across the piece and with modern classical-infused piano, all wrapped by moods of longing and remembrance. A very strong intro marking a small change in the course, when moving from more darker and colossal, nearly mind-bending drones on self-titled debut "Broken Harbour". "Gramophone Transmissions" venture into slightly lighter drone and glitchy zones with the cover images precisely portraying the title and main source of this album, which features except classical vinyl records also recordings of piano, mellotron and choral. Then follow two parts of "The Ballad Of Dave Bowman", the first one is colored with slowly spiraling washes, very tranquil and mesmerizing, with angelic choir-like sounds floating in sky high realms, and supported by sensitive glitches and hisses, fragile piano and mysteriously emerging voice samples. Another deeply evocative sound sculpture!!! The second part of "The Ballad Of Dave Bowman" is mostly based around monotonously droning pipe organ sounds, slowly cascading and awaking the old, long forgotten, memories. Beautifully surrounding and tranquilizing the listener's mind!!! "Titan" attracts with the synergy between various, aurally effective glitches and hisses with silent passages, peaceful washes and hints of hidden drama, all glimmeringly interweaving and evoking more melancholic, nearly ethereal feelings. The unmeasurable and unmistakable beauty of "The River Of Appearance" is gracefully hovering above. Well done, Blake, certainly one of my fave pieces on this journey!!! The next composition "Dark Clouds Approaching From The West", as its title suggests, is invaded by heavier and darker drone walls, strenghtened by ghostly sounding choirs, masterfully painting images of cloudy seamless sunset panoramas. "Maelstrom (The Descent)" remains in the darker, nocturnal terrains, quite dramatic and adventurous, but also much more frightening with cryptic voices emerging here and there. This is a truly unsettling, transcendental sonic ride, clocking to 16 and half minutes. The closing "Unforeseen Consequences" is fortunately more relieving with its static, but slowly rising drone before it peacefully fades away into silence. "Gramophone Transmissions" are skillfully crafted, and even if self-released as a CDr edition only, with strong attention paid to its visual part. Congratulations to Broken Harbour!!! I will keep my eyes and ears wide-open, Blake!!! Highly recommended for all traversers hanging on the edges of ambient and dark ambient genres!!! And get your headphones ready...

Richard Gürtler (Jun 03, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

135
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Tele" CD by Pjusk
« on: June 02, 2012, 02:31:32 AM »


Pjusk "Tele" CD

"Tele" is the 3rd album by Pjusk, a Norwegian ambient project featuring Jostein Dahl Gjelsvik and Rune Sagevik. While Pjusk's first two albums came out on US label 12k, their newest work was released during March 2012 on Italian label Glacial Movements, the connoisseurs of arctic dronescapes. Gorgeous images on the digipak look really impressive (executed by Erika Tirén and Noah M/Keep Adding), so let's explore the sonic visions of these Norwegians. Shorter intro "Fnugg" dives strightly into mysteriously subterranean worlds, where remains also the next composition "Gneis", assembled with shadowy soundscapes and occasionally invading heavy weight drones, all precisely interacting with distant metallic rumblings and deeply cavernous organic sounds and covered by haze and eeriness. Absolutely awesome journey!!! "Flint" moves into strange glitchy terrains, with more experimental, oddly colored structure, but towards the end reaching slightly more relieving aura, announcing the next escapade entitled "Skifer". Floating in subterranean territories and hauntingly enriched by cascading intense, nearly cinematic passages and rather slower, hypnotic groovy pulses. "Skifer" is another, truly fascinating sonic revelation evoking spectacular images of immense northern landscapes and presenting Pjusk at its most distinctive soundscaping, loaded with pure adventure and virtuosity!!! Misty groovy heartbeats can be explored also through "Krystall", but this time heading into celestial realms, painted with angelic choir-like washes, assorted sonic disruptions and polished languid rhythms. More minimal and tranquil, but beautifully mesmerizing and evocative!!! "Granitt" delves into more active terrains, dominated by mid-tempo rhythms, enriched by factory-like noises and carefully integrated with organic and cinematic soundscapes. Hugely stirring and immersing!!! "Kram" sinks into deep cavern with more relieving and meditative mood, attractively colored with secretly shimmering sound injections. Shorter "Bre" remains safely in these shadowy zones, while the closing composition "Polar" is invaded by the monstrously frightening flood of heavy drones, the grand finale is here!!! Soon the high-tech metallic grooves steal the journey and icy panoramic sceneries are permeated by warmly mesmerizing and elatedly uplifting images. Wow, these Norwegian guys are phenomenal!!! Not to forget, additional guest list include Andreas Nordenstam (mastering and album arrangements, co-composer and co-producer of "Fnugg"), Frodebeats (modular sound design, co-composer and co-producer of "Flint"), Tor Anders Voldsund (guitar treatments) and Joe Scarffe (glacial sound effects). No questions here, "Tele" is not only another groundbreaker by Pjusk, magnificently illustrating unique, dramatic and one of the earth's most scenic winter environments, but also another highly sophisticated sonic pearl in the growing Glacial Movements catalogue!!! To me, "Tele" is a magnum opus by Pjusk!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jun 02, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

136


Bruno Sanfilippo "Urbs" CD

Field recordings are the key elements of "Urbs" and "BIOMA", the last two albums of Bruno Sanfilippo (on "BIOMA" he was joined by his fellow soundscaper, Max Corbacho). While on "BIOMA" documenting the life of a nature, on "Urbs" Bruno has decided to focus on everyday's life of a city, when collecting location recordings from various European metropoles plus New York by mapping surrounding environments like train or subway stations, streets, bars, churches... This brand new album, Bruno's 16th when counting also his collaborations with Mathias Grassow or above mentioned Max Corbacho, is not only his premiere work for renowned Hypnos label, but also a quite radical departure from all his previous works that are spanning from rather ambient/new age oriented, through deeper organic or cinematic ambience to modern classical influenced. Bruno Sanfilippo is now venturing with "Urbs" into more minimal soundscaping with gently portrayed pulsing life of the city. To be honest, without knowing the name of the artist who is behind "Urbs", I would never connect it to Bruno Sanfilippo. But don't be afraid, because this chameleonic change is not only totally adventurous, but also proving the unlimited creativity and considerable talent of this sound architect (born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but residing in Barcelona, Spain). "Urban Flow" is perfectly chosen name for opening piece, with dominating colder on-site recordings of various rumblings, noises, buzzes, creaks or squeaks, all wrapped by hazed nocturnal atmosphere and masterfully merged with deeply evocative drones and assorted mesmerizingly or mysteriously emerging voice and choir samples. Wow, this is absolutely phenomenal, nearly 15-minute intro!!! Grandioso & mágico, Bruno!!! Voice transmissions unfold the next piece, "The City Reflected", clocking over 20 minutes. Deep, nearly ear-bending echoes, various rumblings, mysteriously odd voices enter the stage as well, everything harmoniously crafted and bridged, and superbly evoking a place similar to some underground lively corridor. Cascading sonic palette is minimal, but intense and maximally effective. "Chaotic Order", a 25 and half minutes long opus reveals with deeper drones, again enriched by distant conversations and various street rumblings, serenely drifting before entering during the second third into slightly more active areas with glitchy and hissy elements invading. The last third returns to more mysterious and droning course with assorted noises, breathings and voices on the back. Definitely another deeply absorbing masterpiece!!! The closing piece, 7-minute "The Gray Umbrella", is colored by various voice recordings, possibly the most textured sonic escapade slowly moving towards the end into minimal and quieter, nearly meditative outro. "Urbs" is stirringly challenging and refreshing, carefully sculpted and fused into amazingly homogeneous structure, with strong attention paid to every detail. This album delivers enormous amount of spectacular listening moments and transports each listener into magnificently immersing urban environments. Bravo to Bruno Sanfilippo, bravo to Hypnos!!!

Richard Gürtler (May 27, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

137
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Samsara
« on: May 25, 2012, 02:05:47 PM »
The creators of Baraka and Chronos are back!!! Original music composed by Michael Stearns, Lisa Gerrard... In theaters August 24, 2012.

http://www.barakasamsara.com/

Richard

138


Andrew Forrest "Resonance (Harmonics Trilogy ~ Volume 1)" CD

Highly gifted ambient composer and painter Andrew Forrest, born in the UK, but since 1998 residing in New Zealand, has returned during the end of 2011 with his 6th full length album and the first part of "Harmonics Trilogy", entitled "Resonance" and packaged in elegant 4-panel digipak. Andrew Forrest is definitely one of those well-hidden and strongly underrated artists journeying through gorgeous deep space realms. "Harmonic Resonance" is the sole track title, presented in three longer movements, all clocking between 20 and 24 minutes. "Harmonic Resonance - 1st Movement" reveals with slow-motion drones, venturing across various, richly textured and evolving phases, from more deeply drifting and powerfully colossal drama through slightly more lighter and melodic paths to heavenly peaceful washes, but always preserving Andrew Forrest's identifying ethereally tranquil sound sculpting, which easily holds the attention of each journeying listener throughout the entire lengthy composition. A brilliantly entertaining and harmonic soundscape!!! "2nd Movement" floates through beautifully grandiose open spaces, masterfully enriched by celestial choir-like sounds and tenderly tinkling bells, before swelling into more intense and progressing sonic cascades. Again brightly colored in depth and spaciousness, always amazingly evocative and filled with unmeasurable majesty and grace. Hauntingly magnificent washes lead "3rd Movement", ornamented with assorted bell sounds, fragilely swirling around listener's ears. Stunningly immersing composition that again advances into other, spectacularly dramatic and cinematic deep space domains, precisely highlighted also by additional angelic choirs. Purely eternal sonic bliss is here!!! And a splendid conclusion of this magically fascinating "Resonance"!!! In case you are not familiar with Andrew Forrest's discography, act now, it's highly recommended to all aficionados searching for thrilling deep space explorations!!!

Richard Gürtler (May 24, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

139


Juta Takahashi "Silence" CD

In Sendai, Japan, based ambient drifter Jutaro "Juta" Takahashi, comes here with his 8th full length album "Silence", released in November 2010 through his own Lunisolar Records imprint. Comprised of 4 longer compositions, clocking from 13 and half to 15 and half minutes, the album "Silence" is accompanied by totally magnificent and eye-catching brown-colored cover image of vast open sea, entitled as "Midnight In A Perfect World" and executed by German artist Anja Stiegler, precisely interacting with Juta's soundscapes. "Silence" is ignited by "Ararat", a composition dedicated to Mount Ararat, a two peak hill located in Turkey on Armenian Plateau. "Ararat" unfolds with gracefully gliding slow-motion drones, serenely immersing and picturesque, ornamented throughout the piece by delicate Middle East fragranced string sounds, and reveals a beautifully panoramic and soothing view from the summit. "Wet Dream" steps in slightly more active poetic texture with stronger cinematic approach, masterfully spiced by occasional distant and fragile metallic and piano sounds. Another highly evocative piece of music, drenched in the ocean of deeply mesmerizing beauty and blissfulness!!! The next composition, "Continua Shift", is the most massive dronescape, supported on the back by mysteriously fumed factory-like rumblings and celestially floating voice-like sounds. A truly transcendental sonic experience awaits!!! The closing title track, "Silence", returns, as indicated by its name, into more quiet and peaceful territories with highly relieving piano sounds. More minimal sculpting is based on altering harmony of silent moments with passages of fading in and out synth and piano blankets. All the magic and essence of the nocturnal journey is fully explored through this beautifully captivating epilogue. "Silence" is skillfully crafted, stirring and varied, but gracefully balanced and elegant!!! A must have for all ambient connoisseurs seeking for pure sonic beauty and tranquility in their music!!! Absolutely gorgeous, Juta!!!

Richard Gürtler (May 20, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

140


Forrest Fang "Animism" CD

The brand new work "Animism" by the Chinese-American ambient exotica virtuoso Forrest Fang is ready to hit the streets during the June 2012. After checking the credits on elegant eco CD wallet packaging, everything is more than clear, Forrest Fang is again unveiling all the secrets of his acoustic wizardry by utilizing except violins and mandolins many exotic instruments, mostly originated from Mediterranean region (Baglama and Lavta, both stringed instruments), Southeast Asia (Kulintang - a set of horizontally laid gongs, Dan Bau - a monochord, one-string instrument with a rod, serving as a resonator), South America (Bandurria - a stringed instrument, similar to the cittern or mandolin) or North America (Marxolin - a bowed instrument). A long multi-cultural variety of instruments I must say, among them some that I most likely didn't hear before. "Tailing Wind" hits straightly this fascinating route with its intense, nearly eclectic blend of strings, percussions and gongs, that should be above mentioned Kulintang. This opening composition attracts with strongly primordial feel. Darker dronescapes of "The Chameleon's Paintbox" are soon joined by enchantingly expessive palette of euphoric strings. And even if some delicate Western-infused elements join the stage, just close your eyes and you are immediately transported by this ultimate masterpiece into absolutely exciting places, where all the fragrances and glamor of wonderful Middle East palaces can be explored. Magnificently colorful and beautiful piece, Forrest!!! Sorrowful strings with gongs lead "Islands In The Sky" into deeply meditative realms, which are later shifting into chillout phase before journeying into adventurously magical and filigree fusion of finest Asian and Western musical ingredients. Organic groovy exotica at its most alluring!!! We are encountering a richly sculpted, intriguingly fragranced and skillfully balanced mixture of atmospheric or meditative soundscaping with Forrest's Chinese heritage and Fourth World musical traditions. The next two compositions, "Evening Chorus" and "Passing Suns" sedate with heavenly floating washes, a purely aural bliss is awaiting for everyone!!! "A Tributary Unwinds" is colored with deeper drones and cavernous distruptions at the beginning, but soon the tribal drumming and string magic steal the show. A performance holding the signature that is only Forrest Fang!!! The interaction of all acoustics and electronics is just amazing in this composition, to my ears, certainly an Ambient Hall Of Fame virtuosity!!! "Sleeping Snakes" are joined by heavier and intense spiraling drone sounds enriched by fragilely tinkling bells. The closing piece, "Resting Point", precisely displays its title with serenely wandering drifts presenting Forrest Fang at his most tranquil craft!!! Not to forget, having Robert Rich behind the mastering desk is another bonus. "Animism" is the next benchmark release of Forrest Fang and one of the undisputable highlights of 2012 so far!!! Thank you so much, Forrest, for inviting me to experience spectacular adventures and breathtaking sceneries of all these extraordinary territories, you are a true sonic innovator!!!

Richard Gürtler (May 20, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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