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Topics - richardgurtler

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141


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)

142
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)

143


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)

144


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)

145
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Tele" CD by Pjusk
« on: June 02, 2012, 02:31:32 AM »


Pjusk "Tele" CD

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

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

146


Bruno Sanfilippo "Urbs" CD

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

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

147
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Samsara
« on: May 25, 2012, 02:05:47 PM »
The creators of Baraka and Chronos are back!!! Original music composed by Michael Stearns, Lisa Gerrard... In theaters August 24, 2012.

http://www.barakasamsara.com/

Richard

148


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

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

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

149


Juta Takahashi "Silence" CD

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

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

150


Forrest Fang "Animism" CD

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

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

151


Netherworld "Over The Summit" CD

Netherworld, the project of Glacial Movements' driving force Alessandro Tedeschi, has returned in January 2011 with his second GM offering entitled "Over The Summit", an album dedicated to Hyperborea, the mythical unspecified territory in the Far North known as a warm and sunny land with the sun shining twenty-four hours a day. The album opens with the title piece, "Over The Summit", which is invaded by minimal, freezing drones with arctic breathings and occasional distant heartbeats perfectly setting the mood and portraying spectacular images of unbounded icy landscapes. Elements of coldness are all over this enormously immersing composition, however the overall feel is mesmerizingly warm and inviting. Grandióso, Alessandro, I am hooked right away!!! Absolutely gorgeous nocturnal sceneries of pristine vast areas with shimmering sky show are magnificently explored through "Aurora Performs Its Last Show". Kind of joyfully droning hymn praising this breathtaking light show, mastefully enriched by glitchy voice transmissions (most likely in Norwegian). Artic dronescapes have never sounded more charming than this, magnífico!!! "Iceblink (Aurora Borealis Mix)" is leaded by looped deep drone winds with distant and tender noise rumblings, all wrapped by filigree subterranean feel. Few sharper sonic buzzes and outbursts and ominously remote voice-like sounds invade here and there. Not only another masterpiece, but certainly a truly transcendental experience!!! "Crystallized Words" are coming out of the foggy glacier's cavern with otherworldly formations of glowing ice crystals and uniquely mysterious ice walls, where deep spiraling drones are interplaying with slowed-down vague beats and whispering voices. "Thoughts Locked In The Ice" are sculpted with more tranquil, but slowly cascading texture featuring also few sounds of wind and more especially fascinating deeply droning sounds, which might be emitted by the expanding and contracting ice. "Iperborea" is wrapped by hiss with more minimal structure, where distant and cavernously echoed heartbeats are joined by icy drones, resonating singing bowls, abyssal noises, ghostly voices or moments of silence. Grand finale at its most mysterious and desolate!!! "Over The Summit" is fascinatingly visualizing, strangely challenging and intensely inviting. Another superb album from Glacial Movements!!!

Richard Gürtler (May 8, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

152


The Winterhouse "Winter Gardens" CDr

"Winter Gardens" is the 4th album of the collaborative project The Winterhouse, featuring the Canadian-US duo of Anthony Paul Kerby (London, Ontario) and Robert Davies (Ithaca, New York). Released at the beginning of March 2012 on the usual imprint via Anthony's DataObscura. The album opens quietly with pastoral "Winter Hymn", a serenely flowing organic ambience that precisely sets the stage for this deeply panoramic meandering through the serenity of a winter landscape wrapped in a heavy blanket of snow. Ice cold monotonous drones invade "The Depths Of Winter" and are precisely bridged with assorted cavernously echoed effects, gurgles and rumblings. Towards the end the texture moves into more experimental terrains. This must be the exciting soundtrack for your journey into the breathtaking "winter gardens" of underground ice cavern labyrinths with all their fascinating and mysterious ice figures and structures. Absolutely gorgeous!!! Deep, static, but massive drone magic enters the next composition, "This Land Drifts Into Silence", and it's nicely colored by miscellaneous distant winds, hisses and occasional heartbeats. It is gradually progressing and soaring above misty, snow capped trees. Delicate sonic disruptions fly along too. Stunningly immersive snowscapes, great work, guys!!! "We Walk Through Glass" keeps on the aerial, dreamy route, with a richly layered cascading structure offering drama and depth, and where icy drones are merged with diverse hazy sonic experiments, hisses and outbursts. "A Winter Symphony" is crossed with modern classical elements, which attractively interact with deeper drone wizardry created by some strongly absorbing voice magics. A really exciting cinematic-like composition filled with variety and intensity, and always gorgeously fascinating and strikingly picturesque!!! "Solitude" is the 13 minute closing composition and another perfectly fitting title with a richly textured, cavernous feel enhanced by various alien breathings, rumbling noises and water sounds. Another amazing trip into the magnificent subterranean domain. Anthony Paul Kerby and Robert Davies have unlocked for me truly beautiful scenic winter wonderland landscapes and underground chambers. Explore your "Winter Gardens" too!!!

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

153


Justin Vanderberg "Synthetic Memories" CD

Released in November 2011 as Justin Vanderberg's debut on Spotted Peccary label and follow-up to his premiere album "In Waking Moments", released back in 2007 on Hypnos Secret Sounds. While "In Waking Moments" album was strongly focused on deeper, tranquil ambience enriched by fine Timeroom fragrances, "Synthetic Memories" shift towards traditional, warmly inviting cinematic sound of Spotted Peccary family. The opening composition, clocking to 9 and half minutes, "From Below", on which Justin is joined by his label mate Jon Jenkins, perfectly portrays this hauntingly sublime fusion of pristine chill-out melodies and serenely floating organic washes, all amazingly harmonized and wrapped by emotionally moving soundtrack-like arrangements. A really catchy intro I must say, even if holding stronger signature of Jon's collaborations with David Helpling. "When I Walk" dives into deeper, expansive atmospheric realms, charmingly colored by ethereally expressive piano. Elegantly gentle melodies return on "Synthetic Memories", a 13-minute title track, and are freshly blended with swiftly sequenced patterns and tranquil atmozones. Some sharper crystalline effects add a bit of cybernetic feel. "67" is deeply visualizing texture, tranquilly and graciously floating. "The Path" is invaded by strange effects and hisses, which quite disturbingly color strongly imaginative piano lead and washes. But razor-sharp tribal grooves join the stage along with other highly distinctive sounds for absolutely exciting show. A truly fascinating mixture of high-tech beats and evocative soundscapes, stunningly beautiful and mesmerizingly effective!!! "Dusk" enters panoramic desert vastness with spiraling drifts roaming over these vast open territories and recalling the ghosts of Timeroom. This is another side of Justin Vanderberg's artistry, presenting his soundscaping at its most expansive and immersing. Another highlight on this journey!!! "Drops" are truly heartwarming, nicely fragranced with modern classical-infused piano, quite minimal, but strongly imaginative. The closing, 9 minutes long "Cold Brightness", is more dreamy, pastoral texture with tenderly tinkling bells, slowly progressing through slightly more massive, droning paths. A nicely fitting finale of these "Synthetic Memories"!!! Justin Vanderberg, in US, Ohio based artist, definitely deserves his place among the Spotted Peccary team roster. "Synthetic Memories" are electrifyingly colorful, yet complexly constructed and skillfully executed, including elegant 4-panel disc eco wallet packaging.

Richard Gürtler (Apr 22, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

154


Aglaia "Absolutely Deep" CD

Gino Fioravanti and Gianluigi Toso, the two Italian sonic magicians of Aglaia, have returned in February 2012 with three exciting works, "Absolutely Deep" is one of them. The masters of fascinating nocturnal and daylight atmospheres unfold the journey with "Go Melt Back Into The Night", 11 and half minutes long walk through a grassy forest meadow with stars illuminating this absolutely tranquil scenery. Beautifully radiant and euphoric drones floate with all their graciousness, this is Aglaia at its most relaxing and immersing!!! But the timeless sound magic of Aglaia keeps on spreading, "Dragon Clouds So High Above" is slightly more textured with slowly spiraling depth and spaciousness evoking mesmerizingly soothing nostalgic moments. "The Dusky Light The Day Is Losing" is colored with deeply tranquilizing concert of distant night chirps, a warmly inviting sonic symphony!!! "Whiter Clouds That Swing Down Low" attracts with few crispy disruptions and fragile effects, which complexly enrich highly evocative drones and sound trully enchanting. Aerial, dreamy washes are fully explored through "Twilight On The Frozen Lake", where the listener floats along in a serene and peaceful stream of sound, painting magical beauty of pristine winter landscape at sunset with surrounding trees reflected in the ice. A really beautiful composition producing a tremendous sense of tranquility. The next piece, "Time Passes Slowly And Fades Away" is gently accompanied throughout by more massive, rougher, hissy sounds, but still remaining warmly evocative. "The Rain Beating Down On My Window" closes this deeply mesmerizing walk with pleasantly soothing and refreshing texture. "Absolutely Deep" album will relax your body and your mind will be wandering on a one way trip to luminous and expansive peacefulness. The gorgeous digipak packaging with various tree trunk textures and images helps set the stage for this purely scenic and comfortable listening experience!!!

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

155


Landru "Neurotransmitters" CDr

Wow, this is a really nice surprise for me, discovered only few weeks ago through newly launched Altera Orbe website. Landru, based near Barcelona, Spain, is a solo project of Patxi Hernández. He is also one of the creative forces behind Altera Orbe, together with Ran Kirlian. Landru was before focusing more on dance or chillout oriented electronics, but when I entered into "Neurotransmitters" territory through introducing "Serotonin" composition, my eyebrows were raised right away and brand new sonic dimensions were awaiting to be explored. Yes, "Neurotransmitters" is the first purely ambient-infused album of Landru, released in November, 2011. As mentioned above, this exciting excursion begins with "Serotonin", an icy cold dronescape colored with various, sharply hitting and erupting high-tech percussive sounds. Quite an electrifying performance I must say, introducing Landru's ambient soundscapes at most scientific!!! Important to mention, this album is a strongly conceptual work based around various neurotransmitters, the chemicals which allow the transmission of signals from one neuron to the next across synapses. Now that's a challenging theme to express through sonic visions by an artist who freshly ventures into ambient genre!!! "Acetylcholine" keeps on strongly futuristic route, but this time with more rhythmic approach, while the next piece, "Histamine" unites rather experimental, cacophonic sounds with atmospheric soundscapes. Low drone work, invading "Glycine", is soon joined by various razor-sharp effects and mechanized movements and shifts into coldly pulsing industrialized ambience, amazing!!! "Dopamine" immediately strikes with beautifully crystalline melody, crossed with harsher cybernetics, I really enjoy this catchy blend of nicely balanced softer and rawer passages, filling this journey with imagination and curiosity. "Epinephrine" hits with ice cold spiraling drones, spiced by assorted bleeps and hums, all backed by cavernous sounds. A truly immersing cybernetic dreamscape!!! But "GABA" dives even deeper with sonar-like pings and few eerie high-tech effects, slowly submerging into more massive drone walls before few slightly tribal-spiced grooves are thrown in. Audible ecstasy is guaranteed!!! "Aspartate" evolves into the most upbeat sculpted piece on "Neurotransmitters" with cold, industrialized rhythms. Various noises, rumblings and signals are nicely bridged with deeper atmospheres, evocative melody and ethereal voice-like sounds on "Glutamate". "Melatonin" closes this amazingly adventurous ride with richly sculpted and sharply sounding texture, assembled with hazed factory-like breathings, harsher distortions, catchy metallic implements and warmer, nearly cinematic drifts. "Neurotransmitters" is a very impressive ambient debut by Landru!!! I definitely will keep en eye on this Spaniard, because his co-work with Ran Kirlian entitled "Waterfront" is in the pipeline and his next ambient album "Fimbria" is in the works too. Until then, "Neurotransmitters" album gets my highest recommendation!!!

Richard Gürtler (Apr 14, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

156


Amongst Myselves "Ambient, Landscape And Space" CDr/DVDr

It's always very interesting and challenging to see an ambient artist who pays attention also to the visual part of his compositions. But a CD/DVDr combined release is nothing new for Australian Steve Roberts, the protagonist of Amongst Myselves. Back in 2007 he has released his album "Auburn Silhouette" with bonus DVDr featuring 3 short films. Now he returns again with this format, only pressed CD is this time replaced by a CDr, but again nicely packaged in standard 2CD jewel case with printed 6-panel front cover. The album, released at the beginning of March 2012 through Steve Roberts' own Amongst Projects label, consists of 12 tracks, 9 of them are remixes of previously released pieces plus 3 unreleased. Even is solo project, Steve Roberts is joined on this album by Bernard Haseloff on guitar synth and Garry Roberts on electronic percussion. The journey opens with "Greybox Shadow (Into The Light Mix)", serenely washing organic ambience, here and there spiced by drums or electric guitar as well as by some gracefully floating celestial choir-like sounds. A very tranquil and relaxing intro! "Bay Of Dreams (Through The Memories Mix)" merges all kinds of environmental recordings (bird calls, child's voices, everyday's rumlings...) with smoothly drifting soundscapes, various buzzing and tinkling sounds and heavenly choirs. Richly colorful and enchanting piece of organic ambience! Recordings of ocean waves lead "Shoreline Fading", a short, transitional piece. "Argo Navis (Blinded Mix)" opens with buzzing effects, then the texture gets more richer, mysteriously droning on the back, with melodramatic expressions on the fore, although the piece remains rather minimal, but still quite effective and evocative. "Southern Lights (Black Hole Mix)" invade the journey with deeper, aerial drones enhanced here and there by high-tech effects, distant choir-like sounds. The texture keeps on expanding until it changes like chamaeleon into rhythm-infused, tribal adventure colored by few catchy sounds of birds. A very nicely bridged serenely gliding cloudscapes with stirring allegros. "Interstellar Message" is the next filler, sculpted with cybernetic experiments. "Ship Of Dreams (The Journey Continues Mix)" is invaded by crystalline tinkling and buzzing sounds, interplaying with the moments of silence. The piece keeps on cascading until it reaches fully orchestrated and cinematic feel leaded my marching rhythms. "Syene (A New World Mix)" holds its soundtracking mood, based on slightly distorted lazy, Mediterranean melody, with ocassional voices and shoutings appearing on the back. A very unique composition within ambient genre!!! "Demon Haunted World - Somnium" fits precisely its title, organic drifts are joined by sharper industrial rumblings, distorted grooves, alienating sounds and children's cryings. Another really strange, nearly cacophonic piece!!! "Interlude - The Dark And Cold" is painted by rainy, thunder and windy sounds as well as by assorted sonic experiments, rumblings and creakings, and strange voices. "Up Into The Air And Over The Edge (Between The Trees And Clouds Mix)" starts with arctic, windy atmospheres, slowly elevating into more massive and immersing level, enriched by expressively tender strings and fragilely tinkling bells, to capture a beautifully picturesque experience!!! The album reaches its finale with "Tales (It's Been A Good Trip Mix)", a truly ear-catching, melodic piece with its euphoric rhythms and atmospheres, infectiously blending synths, guitar and drums. Absolutely stunning closer, the name of the mix fits perfectly!!! Hats off to these Aussies for their highly distinctive, unique and courageous approach, when combining elements of various styles into richly sculpted and enormously diverse recording!!! And I am awarding this work with extra points also for audiophile sound quality.

I would like to pen few words also on the visual content. According to the infos, the visual pieces on the DVDr were created by Amongst Myselves' leader, Steve Roberts and visual artist, musician Bernard Haseloff. Loaded with 75 minutes of visuals, mostly based on time-lapse technique used by Steve Roberts and supported by oil paintings by Bernard Haseloff. Some pieces are leaded by time-lapse sceneries, presenting spectacularly beautiful, vast Australian landscapes, but also scenes from Egypt or Paris for example can be seen, some visuals are drifting into deeper space, some capture shadowy nocturnal beauty, while some others feature manipulated images. Few spooky paintings enter the show as well. The more rhythmed parts feature also some live performance footage. There are also polyhedra and rudimentary 3D graphics, created by Steve Roberts, and appearing on "Tales" track, on the first version interacting with live performance footage and time-lapse technique, while on the later version the 3D graphic take the dominating role, with time-lapse landscapes, but without live footage this time. I must say the visuals magnificently portray the music, a very nice work, guys!!!

"Ambient, Landscape And Space" is an all-inclusive audio/video package, explore it and be transported to many different adventurous places, a must have!!!

Richard Gürtler (Apr 10, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

157


Strom Noir "Standing Out Against The Sea" CDr

A busy release schedule for Strom Noir's Emil Maťko, who has released four EP's during the last six months, and culminated in March when his debut work for sympathetic Canadian label DataObscura became a reality. Since we are country mates, for me it is a little miracle seeing this Slovak drone ambient project released on the consistently productive DataObscura label ... my dreams definitely came true!!! The first release outside Europe for Strom Noir as well. The album unfolds with motionlessly flowing looped drones on "Poppy Seeds", presenting Strom Noir at its most serene!!! The title composition "Standing Out Against The Sea" moves towards more typical guitar-based soundscaping, with a stronger acoustic feel and a repetitive, slightly more melodic structure enriched later by harsher hissed soundwalls and natural sounds, but always keeping within the signature of Strom Noir. This composition showcases a precise synergy and balance between fragile, melancholic warmness and louder, more massive passages. "In All The Wrong Places" begins with deeper, slow-motion drones, which fleetly shift into gradually progressing, intense and interplaying cascades covered by misty hiss. This richly sculpted and deeply evocative masterpiece holds all the finest "Made by Strom Noir" essences!!! The monotonously spiraling, but shimmeringly exquisite drones of "The Passage Of Truth" move again through multi-dimensional passages, backed by catchy voice-like sounds. The next composition, "Rearviewmirror", slips into a rather rawer, exotically sounding adventure, with distinctive sounds and intense, expressive strings. An all-inclusive piece with a deeply stirring and mesmerizing effect. Certainly another highlight on this highly challenging ride!!! "Digital Saturn" glides through more aerial, tranquilly soothing spaces with a slowly expanding structure, becoming more massive and profound, and always strongly imaginative. "Haanah" is dominated by heavier, repetitive drone, and colored by some distant rumblings at the back. The overall feel of this track is quite monumental, nearly mind-bending. By the way, "Haanah" also features the Fujara, a traditional folk flute of Slovak shepherds, but it's hardly recognizable throughout the piece. "Kalimagdora" quickly brings the album back into a warmly inviting blend of tender acoustics and cheerful organics crossed with nostalgic glitches, and allows the listener to float smoothly in a state of being deeply relaxed. Beautifully captivating closer!!! "Standing Out Against The Sea" is filled with sensitivity, richness and poignancy, it must be experienced to be appreciated!!! I am so proud to know this wonderful and talented artist!!!

Richard Gürtler (April 08, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

158


Ran Kirlian "Dissolution" CDr

First time I noticed this Spanish ambient sculptor few years ago through ad21music links, at that time several download only albums were available via Ran Kirlian's website. Since I was always a big collector of plastic objects only, the time was slowly passing until the March of 2012, which marked the birth of Altera Orbe label and website, run by Ran Kirlian with other Spanish electronic artist, Landru. So I was back again to start focus on Ran Kirlian's music, more especially when one of his albums, "Dissolution", was available on CDr format. Originally, the album was released back in 2009 and it features 11 tracks recorded during the period between 2005 and 2009. The album unveils its secrets with "Amalgama", a dark ambient soundscape enhanced by larger dose of assorted spooky sounds on the background that irregularly step in and fade away. Drones of much heavier caliber invade "Dark Matter", no wonder, a piece with this name is ready to drift the listener far away from reality. The soundwall is quite massively constructed, but on the back few deep heartbeats, tribal ingredients, noisier eruptions or celestial voices emerge from time to time. Nicely unsettling piece!!! Abyssal drones occupy the next piece "W-M31", and even if I have no idea what means this title, I keep on drifting away. The piece is in its last third more elevated, again with all kinds of otherworldly effects and disruptions. The name of the next piece, "Atmosfear", easily suggests what is to come. Soaring drones, mysterious voices, on-site recordings of thunderstorm, various cavernous or industrial rumblings, an all-inclusive journey into your most obscure imaginations!!! Exploration of unfathomable spaces continue on "Syrtis Major", freezing, heavy drones are fuelling your spacecraft on this breathtaking odyssey, amazing!!! You are passing "Dissolution", the title track, emphasized by cave water falling drops. A truly exciting exploration of the damp, shadowy world of underwater caves. A real stunner!!! Now comes "Deflection", the heavy drone is still there, but this time some fine flute work joins this deeply immersing journey to explore the mysteries of prehistoric cave art. Another fascinatingly beautiful excursion!!! "Labyrinth" is quite unsettling with its freaky effects, but the hazardous search for majestic and ornate cave decorations and structures continues. "Selenium", the longest piece on "Dissolution" clocking just over 12 minutes, returns to more solaced, slightly less monstrous state with tranquilly floating, but still monumental ambience. "Inconnu" marks the return to rather abyssal, colder waters, blending mammoth drone wizardry and organic ingredients with industrialized breathings and frightening rumblings. Another big one, and spooky one!!! Scary drone painting of closing "Ágora" dives even deeper with mysterious whisperings and ocassional metallic creakings and eruptions. "Dissolution" is sculpted with finest essences of dark ambient genre, but don't be scared of it, it surely requires more listening sessions, but then it reveals all the ghosts of subterranean and primordial worlds. Mágico & delicioso!!! I hope Ran Kirlian will release in the near future more of his downloads on physical formats. In any case, I will keep an ear to the ground...

Richard Gürtler (Apr 08, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

159


Between Interval "Secret Observatory" CD

I always wanted to put down few lines on this breathtaking beauty by Swedish Between Interval project of the sole creator, Stefan Strand. Recorded and released in 2005 on Spotted Peccary label, under his previous family name of Stefan Jönsson and at the age of 23 only!!! The flow of this enormously absorbing odyssey begins with "Garden Of The Divine", longer composition clocking over 18-minute mark. The listener is immediately transported into unexplored and infinite realms filled with drama and depth, where Stefan paints magnificently immersing textures with gradually rising, cascading or ever-changing intensity. The richness and power of these aural atmospheres is absolutely thrilling and immense. Outer space explorations have never sounded better!!! For me, "Garden Of The Divine" can be easily considered a milestone in the genre of deep space ambient. Ultra deep, monstrous drones invade "Surreptitious Ritual", a 15-minute piece, and graciously soar through many, carefully sculpted movements and levels to discover secrets of mysterious planets. This genius performance continues also on the next, again longer composition, "Forested Veins", dominated by unfathomable drones and circling humming sound, with additional sharp sonic eruptions and high-tech pulses precisely integrated into this highly spectacular cybernetic escapade. Stefan again masterfully succeeds in reaching harmony between dark and light images. Abyssal, slow-motion drones invade "Entropy", the shortest piece reaching nearly 9 minutes, and are gently enriched by distant alien breathings and mysterious voices. The closing 3 minutes slip into more peaceful, celestial mood, yet still gradually progressing and holding the attention to the very end. A truly grandiose finale!!! "Secret Observatory" is crafted with refined artistry, richly packed with both, darker and brighter sonic visions, which gracefully swirl around your ears and will surely mesmerize your imagination. For me, one of the most sophisticated masterworks in deep space journeying!!! Could be described as a magnum opus for Between Interval, but "Secret Observatory" was followed by another two phenomenal albums in 2006 and 2009. But that's a different story...

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

160


Max Corbacho "BreathStream" CD

I remember that I was quite disappointed back in December 2008 when this album came out, not because of its sonic or visual content, but because of the fact it was available as download only release. Fortunately, nearly one year later, at Nov 1st, 2009, my dreams came true when a CD version of "BreathStream" was released. Definitely a great move for all aficionados of physical items like me!!! Spanish master of free gliding tranquil ambience ignites the departure of this odyssey with "This Luminous Space", a graciously floating washes, here and there gently emphasized by fragilely swirling distant space rumblings and serenely cascading through various movements, but always keeping within its deeply relaxing, elegant and mesmerizing mood. "This Luminous Space" takes you to breathtakingly wonderful immense places!!! "Act Of Light" unfolds with few sharper space effects and deep monumental drone, gradually evolving into colossally fascinating soundwalls and precisely interacting with more peaceful adagios. A really big one, an exciting journey into the infinity continues!!! "The Great Breath" is slightly more organic, but again colored with ever-changing magnificent dreamscapes. "No Day Nor Night" immediately excels at its grandiose and tranquil waves, washing over the listener's head and navigating him/her into absolute sonic bliss. In the second half the composition is invaded by few disrupting moments, when some strange noises fly by, it's a fascinatingly beautiful excursion!!! "No Form Nor Colour" is the longest piece, reaching nearly 16-minute mark, and a rather more active, continuously progressing texture featuring also few natural sounds, but still richly intense and expertly layered. "Temple Of Dissolution" is another masterpiece that promptly left me breathless with its grandiose, spiraling ambience, spectacularly evoking spatial emptiness and loneliness. Could be a "creme de la creme" of this album!!! A great moment of interplanetary exploration awaits!!! "Pure Being" is closing this utterly captivating and immersing audio journey with more euphoric, dreamy finale. Really gorgeous cover artwork magnificently displays this lifelong experience too. A giant performance by Max Corbacho, showcasing his bravura in creating pure atmospheric soundscapes, a landmark recording in space ambient genre!!! And "Ars Lucis" was yet to come...

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

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