Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - richardgurtler

Pages: 1 ... 5 6 [7] 8 9 10
121


David Parsons "Earthlight" CD

The veteran wizard of breathtaking sonic documents, New Zealander David Parsons, has returned at the end of 2008 with album entitled "Earthlight", on his usual imprint via Celestial Harmonies label. Since I was always deeply fascinated by David's highly picturesque sonics, "Earthlight" fastly became one of his landmark recordings on my home playlist. Usually strongly connected to Middle and Far East regions, through which he travelled extensively for several years, but "Earthlight" was a rather exceptional release, because it transports immediately each listener to the orbit to explore grandiose views of Mother Earth. Equipped with finest skills in creating own, distinctive sounds, David is able to create fully unique, deeply imaginative soundscapes holding his own signature, and no matter if exotically fragranced or more celestially focused. "Earthlight" is without a doubt the best example!!! The album's odyssey is ignited by the title track, "Earthlight", featuring deeply immersing cloudscapes precisely compounded with many sharply errupting percussive sounds and gently tinkling rhythm fractals, few cybernetic voices join as well to capture a truly fascinating effect!!! "Altai Himalaya" is invaded by dreamy, icy dronescapes, gracefully soaring, wind humming above snow-capped peaks and ridges of these spectacular mountain ranges. Assorted distant, submerged rumblings can be heard throughout this deeply scenic and mesmerizing composition. "Beyond The Light" blends cascading tribal rhythm parts with exotically spiced atmospheres, recalling David's expeditions through Central Asia. "Corona" glides tranquilly, with smoothly elevating intensity and ominousness before it reaches gorgeously uplifting and colorful palette of melodic sequences. Amazingly illuminating and infectious piece!!! "The Winged Ones" unwraps with abysally droning dense atmosphere, flowing through the entire piece and capturing the true power and majesty of Earth's views. "Bathing Light", a 20-minute closer, serenely floates across many fascinating spaces, attractively enriched by various gentle buzzes and disruptions, yet still strongly holding its deeply celestial and relaxing texture. In the second half some warmly inviting and alluring melodies enter the piece and navigate it into absolute sonic bliss!!! "Earthlight" is amazingly visualizing music, while exploring it, you will be invited to journey through stunningly beautiful places on the Earth like winter wonderlands, desert vastness, immense greenlands, barren and mountainous territories, amazing waterways and deltas, ocean glistening in the sun... A thrilling experience not to be missed!!!

Richard Gürtler (Apr 11, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

122


Raygun Ballet "World That Wasn't" CD

My ventures into IDM/downtempo infused electronica are quite limited, but the fact John-Mark Austin is the creator of new project recording under Raygun Ballet moniker immediately raised my eyebrows. Because except newly born Raygun Ballet, he is also the sole protagonist of Immersion Theory and with its "The [Icarus] Foray" album he is responsible for one of the most magnificent deep space odysseys offered during the last decade. Even if entering into quite different sonic terrains, we have to stay alert, because John-Mark Austin is enormously crafted artist. And it's already evident when unwrapping the sleeve wallet of "World That Wasn't" CD. Inside it's hidden very attractive 4-panel CD FiberPak packaging with 8-panel booklet, featuring liner notes on each track, especially focusing on used samples and looking like pages of an old comic. As presented by its creator, "World That Wasn't" plays as a humorous requiem for the "Amazing World of Tomorrow" rhapsodized by old science fiction pulp novels and pre-sweetened cereal boxes, a world of grand utopia that never really happened. Let's fire the show with the opening piece "Figment"!!! My listening room is right away invaded by hypermodern electronics fusing the best ingredients of IDM and downbeat, masterfully backed by serenely floating ambience. All blended with the extensive use of well-placed voice samples. Hints of tribal percussions are added as well at the beginning. A truly fresh and laid-back introduction of Raygun Ballet's soundworlds!!! "Plastic Forest" quickly transfers from quieter course into razor sharp electrifying rhythms. Again another thrilling fusion of hyper kinetic beats with perfectly chosen samples, female celestial choirs and patrolled by serene orchestrations on back. 7 minutes of highly dynamic and feet moving sonic adventure!!! "Sparky's Theme" is slightly more relaxing, but still highlighted by lively midtempo rhythms interplaying with processed voice-like textures, enriched by various voice samples with the addition of euphoric acoustic guitar. "A Prayer For Mercy" belongs to more relaxing pieces here, merging few modern classical fragments with catchy downtempos, joyful strings and female choirs hovering above. "The Fourth Year", the longest piece clocking to 8 and half minutes, opens with dreamlike seashore washes with ghostly whispers and seagulls, soon cascading into rhythm infused electronics attractively colored with German reading, Gregorian chants and female vocals. Absolutely high-spirited all-inclusive sonic pearl!!! "Bursting Eden" unveils with darker mood, but soon powerful beats steal the show for another exciting sonic adventure highlighted by hard hitting, finest EBM or techno trance compounds coupled with Middle East flavored female voices. Wow!!! For long time buried memories of the 90's from the good old Crewzine days are quickly awaken!!! "Coquette Automata", the shortest piece, reaching nearly 4 minutes, offers quite a relieving mood after its highly energetic predecessor, it's a kind of love song enriched by a vocoder chorus. The funny story behind it can be explored through booklet's liner notes. "Lift" keeps on relaxing route with sort of jazzy and modern classical fragrances thrown in along with female vocal bits and brings the album to its finale. Richly colorful and precisely detailed "World That Wasn't" is enormously adventurous and entertaining journey to experience 1950's futurism through very personal and blazing sonic visions of John-Mark Austin. Superb mastering with audiophile quality sound is another bonus here. John-Mark Austin, in Los Angeles based creative director for visual effects, has struck once again!!! And together with him all others involved in this project. Any bad points here? The only one is the length of the album, 51 minutes only...:-( No matter if it's Raygun Ballet or Immersion Theory or some other future project, I definitely will stay tuned for more!!!

Richard Gürtler (Aug 19, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

123


Steve Brand "Subtle Movements Inside" CDr

Productive US sound sculptor Steve Brand, based in Roeland Park, Kansas, is releasing his music lately through Relaxed Machinery as well as through his own label Pioneer Light Music. "Subtle Movements Inside" album was released in November 2011 on Relaxed Machinery and it comes with beautiful "primordial" image featuring various seedpods, bones, wings and bone flute. Okay, extra points are given and I am sure the sonics will be as much impressive as its visual part. "Holding The Light" is the opening, 19-minute long composition. It sets immediately the atmosphere of being on deep caving system exploration to experience all its unfathomable enigma. Organic tribals smoothly transfer into tranquilly droning expansive ambience with majestic and gracious moan. More dramatic and colossal terrains interplay with mysteriously peaceful passages. Primordial flute magics steal this breathtaking journey in the second half along with distant celestial choirs before serenely droning away through abysmal organic rumbles. This is a pure sonic bliss unfolding all mystical wonders!!! One of the most magnificent compositions Steve has ever made!!! Filigree bass flute work on "Lit From The Original Flame" keeps this expedition in deeply primal, mysterious and contemplative domains. I am utterly fascinated by Steve's flute masteries, primeval sonic trance continues!!! Highly visualizing journey proceeds through "A Certain Restlessness Of Soul", the longest piece reaching 22 and half minutes. Fragile ghostly whispers glide in peaceful synergy with cascading and progressing cavernous drones. Immense drifts keep on delving through stunning variety of otherworldly cave sculptures and formations before whispering voices vanish down into the darkness of a truly virgin realms. Another magnificently rich listening experience!!! The title track "Subtle Movements Inside", clocking over 8-minute mark, is slightly more relieving, but strongly meditative with rather minimal drifts, which are embellished by various tinkles and other, nearly dissonant sounds widening the sonic spectrum. Moving through varied stages, from serene, nearly cinematic or hymnic passages through minimal meditative terrains interplaying with moments of silence to harsher cavernous outbursts. Warmly inviting washes invade the closing piece, over 19 minutes long "Our Wilderness Of Heart (Something So Rare)", which feature beautifully moaning guitar textures by Bobby Jones aka I've Lost. This graciously gliding and deeply reflective composition is soothingly colored by cicadas throughout the first two thirds. What a sad beauty, a truly heartwarming symphonious outro!!! Musically, "Subtle Movements Inside" album is stunningly gorgeous, a genuine virtuoso performance by Steve Brand, you will be listening to it over and over!!! Last but not least, I must say that there is no justice in this music industry when a masterpiece like this is released as a CDr version and packaged in simple slim jewel case. This is the only low point of this album, so please show your support to Steve Brand and Relaxed Machinery, these guys really deserve it!!! I really hope one day they will be able to release their music in more attractive packaging.

Richard Gürtler (Aug 19, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

124
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Angel" CD by Juta Takahashi
« on: August 18, 2012, 08:22:14 AM »


Juta Takahashi "Angel" CD

"Angel" is a brand new sonic journey by Japanese ambient drifter Jutaro "Juta" Takahashi, released in July 2012 on his own Lunisolar Records as his 9th album. Between Juta's previous album "Silence" and the newest "Angel" passed about 19 months, but while living in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, Juta had to experience during this period also a catastrophic earthquake with destructive tsunami at March 11th, 2011, which damaged coastal part of Sendai region. Fortunately, although suffering some material damages, by living in hilly part of Sendai, Juta and his family stayed relatively safe against the tsunami waves rushing into the coast. Now, we are happy to be able to explore the next chapter of his harmoniously tranquil atmospheres. But first, we are confronted with absolutely gorgeous front cover artwork by Russian artist Polina Yakovleva aka Smokepaint. Does this image indicate a more lighter or celestial feel of its musical content? "Bright Waters" strike immediately with purely gracious soundscape, where tranquilly drifting heavier drones are masterfully coupled here and there with fragile piano tunes. Progressing and cascading deep drones and piano parts are stunningly balanced and beautifully interacting. I won't hesitate to write this is the best piece Juta has ever composed. 17 minutes of deeply absorbing sonic sublimity!!! "Fairy's Blues", a 15 and half minutes long piece, is invaded by celestial washes, it glides and coils smoothly through dreamlike distant realms nicely enhanced by angelic voice-like sounds. The title composition "Angel" clocks over 16-minute mark and unveils with more active drones, ranging from rather denser to more discordant passages, but also from immensely drifting to angelic appearance. It's not easy to fully enjoy "Angel" at first listening, due to its more disturbing sound palette, but every repeated session will be more rewarding. 16-minute long "Fair Wind" is sculpted with expansive space washes, floating through gradually evolving stages and reaching more monumental and tense movements, occasionally lightened by delicate bell tinkles and precisely bridged with rather quieter, more mesmerizing blankets. These ever-changing high-pitched sonic panoramas provide a very nice conclusion of this album. "Angel" with its aural and emotional miracles paints wonderfully profound images, ready to transfer the listener to new magnificent spheres. Welcome back, Juta, and keep on drifting!!!

Richard Gürtler (Aug 18, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

125


David Parsons "Maitreya - The Future Buddha" CD

In New Zealand based sonic magician and famed doyen of ambient scene, David Parsons, has released "Maitreya - The Future Buddha" album back in 2002 on Celestial Harmonies as his 8th album. Even if 10 years passed already, this album will always remain as one of his most meditative and spectacular sonic pearls, magnificently portraying his strong interest and inspiration by Hinduism and Buddhism. Equipped with huge experiences during his extensive Middle and Far East travels documenting and recording musical traditions of these regions, David Parsons explores through his enormously sophisticated soundscapes the pure and striking beauty of remote and fascinating realms surrounded by massive snow-capped mountains and green valleys. Gongs and bells with low drones open "Abhisekha", but soon chants of Tibetan monks steal the journey for absolutely immersing listening experience, a truly magnificent intro!!! It overlaps graciously into the next piece entitled "Mani", where mysterious drones are masterfully crossed with monk chants, marching percussions and swirling effects. Total immersion continues and pure sonic ecstasy is accomplished when sort of cyber electronics join the stage in stunning synergy with the drones. My jaw drops everytime I listen to this 10 and half minutes long masterpiece, an ultimate Hall of Fame composition!!! Thank you, Mr. David Parsons!!! Stringed wizardry invade "Tirtha", a magically transporting journey, crossed with tranquil washes and monks' prayers. Another highlight!!! Low drones lead "Realm Of The Hungry Ghost" and navigate it into deeply cinematic soundscapes, enriched by assorted eerie sounds and thrillingly expressive Tuva-style throat singing. Gorgeously mysterious realms are awaiting!!! Prayer chants with serene, but highly visualizing and expansive washes are featured on "Under The Bodhi Tree" while the next composition with its deep and rumbling, at times dissonant drones explore hidden kingdom of fabulous "Shambhala". "Maitreya", the title piece closes this absolutely enthralling journey with throat singing, various meditative chants and female voice magics, dense chasmal drones, gongs, bells and other percussive rumbles and tinkles. Deeply contemplative and captivating prayerscape!!! "Maitreya - The Future Buddha" is certainly one of the milestones in David Parsons' stellar discography, sonic impressions of a true virtuoso, a must have!!! Back to the presence, David Parsons' last masterwork "Akash" is dated back in 2010, so I can't wait to explore his next breathtaking travelogue.

Richard Gürtler (Aug 18, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

126


Neu Gestalt "Altered Carbon" CD

November 2008 marked the debut album of Neu Gestalt for Alex Tronic Records, both based in Edinburgh, Scotland. "Between Her Dreams" is leaded by dreamy, evocative washes, which are delicately supported here and there by slowly swirling pulses and crystalline glitches and hisses, all masterfully blanketed by warmly languid cinematic nostalgia. "Glyph" is slightly more dynamic with fragile, bubbling and bleeping effects, relaxing mid-tempo melodies and expressively blooming drifts. Welcome to the lush sonic garden of Les Scott, the sole protagonist of Neu Gestalt!!! "Convergence" is slightly more minimal moodscape, yet still packed with broad palette of gently flickering escapades. "Artefact" integrates again more active beats, hauntingly melted with glitchy ingredients and vivid piano and synthetic textures. "Fissure" dives at the beginning into rather mysterious terrains, but soon some minimal, cyber-tech noises backed by warmer washes take the lead. The next piece, "Frozen Ground", comes with razor sharp synthetic rhythms that steal the show, I love so much these vibrant vintage sequences, warmly inviting and fully entertaining composition, attractively assembled with polished details, definitely one of my fave on this journey!!! The title composition "Altered Carbon" comes directly out of the cybernetic lab with fragilely lucid pulses and hisses wrapped by hypnotic atmo zones. "Trace Elements" unfold with cinematic washes and soon cascade into smooth, beat-infused terrains, always surrounded by crackles and nostalgic moments. Catchy electro beats take "Levitation" into the most active phase reminiscent of old EM school with some catchy, soft EBM elements thrown in. A really nice piece!!! It awakened some of my long-burried memories. "Conduit" keeps on the road influenced by German electronic pioneers of the 70's and 80's and precisely unites briskly pulsing beats with expanding aerial panoramas. "Within Reach" attracts with quite strange and unique texture featuring also some wave sounds, which originate according to the liner notes far from any shores. A very relaxing composition!!! "Paradigm Shift" remains in these sedative territories with sparse pulses and glitches and warmly spreading electronics and piano, evoking gorgeously cinematic landscapes. Pleasantly immersing!!! "Mars Talks Of Rain" enters into more minimal, cyberscaping realms with pristine sound effects and gently pulsing and swirling high-tech gurgles. Deeply effective and hypnotic!!! The closing "Fissure (Reprise)" with its soothing cyber-tech elements provides a very decent and tranquil outro. Les Scott is not only a skilled sound sculptor, but also a highly crafted visual artist. Stunning images and extensive sleeve notes on 8-panel foldout insert, detailing some creative processes of making music, are another bonus here, together with top-notch sound quality. "Altered Carbon" is moody atmospheric electronica at its finest showcasing the big potential of its creator!!! To me, Neu Gestalt is one of the hidden pearls of the ambient electronica realms!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jul 15, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

127


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)

128


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)

129


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)

130


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)

131
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


132


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)

133
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)

134
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


135


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)

136


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)

137


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)

138
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)

139


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)

140


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)

Pages: 1 ... 5 6 [7] 8 9 10