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Topics - richardgurtler

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121


Steve Roach "Day Out Of Time" CD/DVD

Firstly published as two separate releases, "Time Of The Earth" DVD in 2001 on Projekt and "Day Out Of Time" CD in 2002 on Timeroom Editions. Now this deluxe CD/DVD edition, repackaged for its 10th anniversary and released on Projekt during June 2012, brings together for the first time two masterworks, deep sonic explorations of the desert Southwest by Steve Roach and Steve Lazur's unique visual odyssey through remote and immense panoramas of these spectacular territories. "Day Out Of Time" is comprised of tracks from various albums and compilation appearances, all deeply influenced by some of the most enigmatic wonders created by the Mother Nature. The first impression of this CD/DVD edition with 4-panel double disc eco wallet with 8-panel fold out insert is absolutely breathtaking thanks to the stunning cover image by Jim Stimson and beautiful cover concept by Steve Roach and design by Sam Rosenthal. Definitely an "all-inclusive" package that immediately strikes with utterly immersing soundscapes of the opening piece "Underground Clouds" (edit taken from "Atmospheric Conditions" album), masterfully melting slightly dramatic, but deeply organic ambience with few tribal groove fragments. Next two tracks, "Begins Looking Skyward" and "Walking Upright" (edit), are from "Early Man", one of my all-time fave works by Steve. Prehistoric tonalities are joined by subtle, slowed-down tribal pulses. Incredibly transporting experience awaking all ancient mysteries and presenting Steve Roach at his most cavernous!!! "This Life" (edit from "Floatation" compilation), scuplted with deep drones and tribal vapors, unfolds all secrets of fascinating subterranean domains. Another brilliant performance!!! Edit "The Dreamer Descends" is selected from the famous Amplexus three inch CD editions and cascades through various terrains, blending magnificently evocative soundscapes with slower tribal drumming, flute magics and other native instruments. Sonic adventure at its most magical!!! Shorter edit, "True West" (again from "The Dreamer Descends"), shifts quickly into heavier tribal terrains and precisely captures the magic of these beautiful landscapes. Edit "The Holy Dirt" brings back all memories of exciting collaborations with unforgettable Jorge Reyes, when melting desert ambience with distant gentle percussions and shamanistic chants. A truly intoxicating journey, the epigraph "The Music Is The Medicine" from "Vine ~ Bark & Spore" lives forever just like Jorge's aura!!! With "Merciful Eyes", originally released on "A Storm Of Drones" mega 3CD compilation, Steve offers here his heavy drone escapade, attractively enriched by few eerie dissonances, before smoothly entering into expansive cinematic realms supported by primordial tinkles. The next composition, "Two Rivers Dreaming" (edit from "Atmospheric Conditions"), remains within deeper, dronescaping terrains with organic rumblings, while the following one, "The Eternal Expanse", is a shorter version of the graciously floating piece from "The Ambient Expanse", a five-movement collaborative work. This is definitely one of the most tranquil pieces I have ever heard by Steve Roach, serenely drifting into immense realms of pure sonic bliss!!! A composition filled with eternal beauty and exquisite monumentality!!! It holds the signature that is only The Master!!! And these vaporously sweeping cloudscapes overlap also to the grand finale that is provided by "The Return", a piece with softly floating and cascading massive washes, which are precisely alternated with moments of silence. No wonder, "The Return" was the closing composition also on "Dreamtime Return" 2CD, a recording that has redesigned the history of ambient music. The selection of all tracks is just amazing, maybe I could imagine on this CD also some track from "Dust To Dust" album, another unique westward milestone, even if it might be rather more rawer and less compact with the rest of selected desertscaping compositions. Perhaps "First Sunrise" or "Lost And Forgotten"? But this is not a weak point, not at all!!!

The visual part of this edition, "Time Of The Earth", features 77 minutes of deeply immersing and mesmerizing images by Steve Lazur, constructed of time lapse, slow-motion and real time techniques, counting three years of filming some of the most spectacular gifts of the nature. All magnificently melted with Steve Roach's sonic mastery and exploring all ancient mysteries of these utterly amazing territories. Now you can even compare your own imagination, when journeying with Steve Roach's music, with the footage filmed by the amazing eye of Steve Lazur. How does look your nature's palette? Besides "Time Of The Earth" you can find on the DVD, as optional audio track 2, the long form piece "The Dream Circle", sculpted with warmly breathing organic soundscapes. It was originally released in 1994 and reissued in 1999.

Both, Steve Roach and Steve Lazur, have captured the remarkable natural beauty of the incredible rock sculptures, desert vastness and cloud formations with all their mastery, this anniversary edition is simply a must have!!! And no matter if you own the original separate editions. Everyone involved in this project did a really fantastic work, thanks a lot, including Roger King for mastering and Linda Kohanov for liner notes!!!

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

122
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Apeiron" CDr by Proton Kinoun
« on: September 30, 2012, 09:27:12 AM »


Proton Kinoun "Apeiron" CDr

The sole protagonist behind Proton Kinoun project is Danish psychedelic trance producer Kasper Weensgaard, who is, I suppose, better known under his alias Psylent Buddhi. My knowledges about goa/psy trance movement are non-existing, so most likely "Apeiron" would pass my target, but fortunately I was pointed to Proton Kinoun's way by my very good friend "sonic-hypnosis" (big thanks to you again, Karel!!!). Originally released as 6-track download release in January, 2008, by Kasper Weensgaard, later, in November, 2009, reissued and remastered with bonus track and new artwork by Canadian Omnitropic label, a downtempo/ambient sub-label of Ektoplazm, a big netlabel and distributor of psytrance music. Even if Kasper's soundworlds are rooted to psytrance realms, Proton Kinoun is slightly "different cup of tea", it dives deeply into highly illuminating and hyper kinetic ambient soundscaping and missing this gem would be definitely a crucial mistake on my side. "Apeiron" strikes directly with absolutely stunning artwork of Orion Nebula images, created by Alexander Synaptic, in Toronto based visual and sound designer, the guy behind Ektoplazm, who is also acting as DJ Basilisk. And soon the visuals are precisely bridged by Kasper's exquisite soundsculpting on "Skyward Dreams", when entering into deeply droning magnificent and transporting sonic panoramas. Breathtaking celestial sceneries are masterfully explored and showcase enormous potential of Kasper Weensgaard!!! All kinds of questions are arising... Where does this guy comes from? What is his main project? After exploring the first track, I can only hardly imagine that Proton Kinoun is his, let's say "side-project" only... Answers to these questions remain a mistery to me... "Silver Satellite" fuses expertly immersing zones with pulsing cyber-tech grooves, this ever-changing and expanding blend is absolutely filigree, a truly virtuoso, 12 minutes long, cybernetic adventure!!! "Peripheral System" returns quickly to highly atmosphetic spheres, where utterly sublime drifts invade the space along with tranquil organic fragments. Proton Kinoun keeps on rolling!!! As indicated by its title, "Stars Wobbling...'', spectacular star gazing continues, but soon cascades into hyper active electro rhythm passages, even if always safely guarded by lush skyscaping washes. The interaction between sharper pulses and graceful atmozones is just amazing here!!! This is the sound of cybernetic bliss!!! The next composition, "...Life's Bubbling", clocks to 10 and half minutes and slowly unfolds through slightly massive, but delicate drifts and progresses into crystalline and vibrant electro pulses and swirls. The journey culminates and each listener is transported into pure sonic trance!!! Another track title that exactly portrays this electrifying kaleidoscape!!! "Light Echoes" returns majestically into more relieving domains, but still extensively infused with large dose of bubbling effects and twinkles, with deeply celestial and euphoric feel. Man, this certainly must be an ultimate highlight presenting Proton Kinoun at its most mesmerizing!!! Nearly 10 minutes of absolute sonic ecstasy is served by this enormously talented artist!!! Yes, this must be one of the most spellbinding cyber-tech soundscapes I have ever heard in my life!!! Bravissimo, Mr. Kasper Weensgaard!!! "Illimitable", with 15 minutes the longest piece on "Apeiron", is invaded by heavenly sublimity and spiced with occasional distant voice transmissions and choral-like sounds. It peacefully floates through warmly inviting and immersing, nearly cinematic expanses, and smoothly travels also through more intense and dramatic paths, before tranquilly fading away into deeper silence. A truly fascinating outro!!! I am unable to measure Kasper's ambient experiences, but on "Apeiron" he utilized extremely rich and colorful sonic palette and offered a purely virtuoso performance, filled with huge amount of spectacular adventures. However, I must add that I hear some reserves in the overall sound quality, which seems to be a bit flat or compressed. I could imagine masterpiece like this with broader range in depth and dynamics. As far I remember, I have even read somewhere that the original release of "Apeiron" has better sound quality than this remastered edition. But I can't verify this as I didn't hear the original download. However, it would be absolutely thrilling to hear the final result if, for example, Steve Roach could infuse this extraordinary album with his Timeroom mastering wizardry. And maybe then "Apeiron" would get even closer to groundbreaking giants like "Blood Machine", "Core" or "Light Fantastic". I am not sure if "Apeiron" CDr is still available via Ektoplazm/Kunaki shop, however the download versions are available for free via Ektoplazm's site. So go for it, because "Apeiron" is a must have for each connoisseur journeying through cyber-futurism-driven ambient electronica. Kasper, thank you so much and more please!!!

Richard Gürtler (Sep 30, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

123
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Nocturnal Winter" CDr by Stormloop
« on: September 23, 2012, 08:06:50 AM »


Stormloop "Nocturnal Winter" CDr

I was immediately hooked since the very first moments when Kevin Spence aka Stormloop has presented his newest album on his Bandcamp site, packaged in handmade CD wallet and limited to 30 pieces only. And when the album arrived, the reality was even more impressive, because "Nocturnal Winter" CDr looks very elegant and attractive, a true collector's item I must say!!! Really nice work, Kev, we all know the sale numbers are dropping these days, so you have my deep respect for all the efforts put into this project!!! Visually stunning, so let's explore the sonic part of this work. "Nocturnal Winter" unfolds straightly with massive and slowly expanding dronescape entitled "Hibernation Mode", quietly drifting across nocturnal natural landforms. These nightscapes are gorgeously illuminating and spectacularly magical. Nocturnal stillness at its most captivating!!! The ride through shadowy skies continues, "Nocturnal" is painted with resonating washes and delicately enhanced by richly organic colors. "Monotonus Trek" starts with abyssal drones, but soon smoothly cascades into more textured, monotonously circling passage with ethereal voice-like flavors, yet deeply immersing. Colossal drone territories are explored on "Midwinter", again enriched by ghostly distant voice fragrances. Deeply absorbing ride goes on, another high point here!!! The next composition, "Nano Structure", traverses into beautifully sad and cinematic realms, masterfully backed by assorted cyber-tech fragments. Sonic bliss continues!!! "Snow Flurries", as its title suggests, returns into more active, spiralling soundscaping while the following piece, "Shiver" enters into rather stranger sound sculpting, supported by hidden whispers here and there. Celestially magnificent composition!!! And it overlaps also into "Epoch Five", the longest piece on "Nocturnal Winter", clocking to 12 and half minutes. It graciously floates into immense spaces, strengthened by heavenly chorals and high-tech bleeps and outbursts. Absolutely fascinating and mesmerizing odyssey!!! Freezing and heavy dronescapes invade "The Shortest Day" and straightaway evoke cold and windy, remote and massive, but enormously seductive arctic landscapes that have been rarely explored. These solitary sceneries are absolutely breathtaking!!! "One Winter Morning" absorbs deeply each listener with its gracefully ethereal, tranquil and heartwarming washes and brings this album not only to its conclusion, but also to the state of wondrous reverie. "Nocturnal Winter" masterfully captures all the essences of splendorous winter territories, filled with almost otherworldly, but warmly inviting stark beauty and awe inspiring isolation. Most likely the best album made by Stormloop so far, a true masterpiece!!! By the time I am writing these lines, still few copies are available, so act quickly, otherwise you will miss this beauty!!! And by the way, according to its creator, there are plans for more Stormloop albums to be released with this type of packaging, so I definitely stay tuned for more news by this, in Leeds, UK, based artist.

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

124


Numina "The Deception Of Reality" CD

In Parker, Colorado, USA, based ambient drifter Jesse Sola known as Numina comes here with a brand new album released on Hypnos during July 2012. Marked as 4th album for Hypnos, but Jesse's discography is quite extensive with around 27 albums and collaborations (with IXOHOXI, Stephen Philips and Caul). The album unveils all its secrets with over 17 minutes long "The Illusion Transmission". A composition expertly sculpted with mysterious drones, diffusing with coiled tension and eeriness, but always having its celestial and graceful timbre. After 11 minutes the piece silently transfers into utterly sublime and tranquil spheres and immerses each journeyer deeply into entirely magnificent sonic trance. Bravo, Jesse!!! This heavenly odyssey continues also throughout "Our Elegant Experience", another track clocking to 17 minutes. This time more textured and evolving, with less drifting mood, although still strongly expansive into massive, but majestically heartwarming realms. Deeper drones invade "In Cerulean Haze", with 9 and half minutes the shortest piece on this journey. Gliding through slightly more dramatic dreamscapes with divine voice-like sounds and heading into peacefully immense, nearly cinematic paths. Again filled with refined beauty and grace. "Empire Of Nothing", with 19 and half minutes the longest composition, remains deeply plunged into aerial dreamscapes, smoothly cascading, warmly inviting and blissfully tranquil. Moments of pure sonic ecstasy are captured again, this certainly must be Numina at its most graceful!!! Windy dissonance carries "Translunary Return" into another precisely colored texture with enormously visualizing and serenely painted moods. A truly masterful 12-minute finale. To be honest, even if I am a really big ambient enthusiast and collector, I am still quite an outsider to Numina's impressive discography (shame on me!!!), so I am unable to compare this album to previous works by Jesse Sola. However, to me, "The Deception Of Reality" is highly sophisticated album and absolutely stunning listening experience!!! Once again, great work, Jesse!!! And another big one from Hypnos clan!!! Elegant 4-panel digipak nicely interacts with the sonics. A must have for all space journeyers!!! Now it's time to dig up some older treasures of Numina...

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

125


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)

126


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)

127


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)

128
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)

129


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)

130


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)

131


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)

132


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)

133


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)

134


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)

135
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


136


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)

137
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)

138
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


139


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)

140


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)

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