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Topics - richardgurtler

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141


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)

142


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)

143


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)

144


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)

145


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)

146


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)

147


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)

148


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)

149


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)

150


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)

151


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)

152


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)

153
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Lithea" CD by 36
« on: April 07, 2012, 11:41:34 PM »


36 "Lithea" CD

"Lithea", released at March 14th, 2012 in limited edition of 200 copies, is already the third full length album and the closing part of triptych album series together with "Hypersona" and "Hollow" CDs. 36 is the project of UK based Dennis Huddleston, who releases his music through his own 3six Recordings label. Unfortunately, I didn't know anything about this extremely talented artist until few weeks ago when Kev of Stormloop pointed rM community to this project. Big shame on me for not locating 36 much earlier, however, it's always better later than never!!! Anyway, it's time to unwrap this beauty. Visual part of "Lithea" strikes right away, a very nice matte-laminated 4-panel folded cardboard sleeve case with spine. Funny accented navigation communication between pilot and tower control perfectly introduces the name of the project. Warmly inviting drone with beautifully disturbing hiss on "Cocoon" is absolutely breathtaking, what a prelude!!! Spiralingly euphoric sonic bliss at its most evocative!!! I should mention the album is comprised of no less than 18 tracks, but some of them are rather shorter, transitional passages connecting longer movements. More minimal, frosty with hints of nostalgia "Susurrus" belongs to the longest pieces on this journey. The title track, "Lithea" hits with its melodramatic intensity, it's a pity it clocks to 2 and half minutes only. Nostalgic warmness is gracefully floating through rainy "Deluge" with heavenly touch of distant choirs, organic and angelic stunner!!! Glitchy, but restful "Radio" nicely bridges "Deluge" with the next masterpiece, "Reunion". Filled with warmhearted feelings and again enriched by ethereal femme choirs. Gorgeously absorbing!!! Shorter, slightly more experimental "1983" with children's voices brings back long forgotten memories from a childhood. "One" attracts with its deeply imaginative and relaxing dronescape while the following short, "World After April" invades with mysterious voice samples. Both, mechanically clocking "Seance" and warmly tinkling and drifting "Dreamscape" evoke a very intense and intimate moments. "Dayasan" keeps its enchanting quality while colored by hissy atmospheres and distant voices. Bridging "Broken Toy" is by far the most experimental piece here. Now it's the time to enter the darker terrains with "Leviathan" and "Levitate". Deeply mysterious femme voices on "Levitate" soar over the deep dronescapes and reach the shores of purely visualizing sonic paradise!!! Glitchy drone ambience of "Saphron" follows the footsteps of "Levitate" with choirs of angelic beauty. Nearly 11 minutes long epilogue "Another World" is the next peak of "Lithea" with its slowly evolving, intense and evocative euphoria, peppered with factory-like clocking sounds. A truly grandiose finale!!! "Lithea" is loaded with magical beauty and emotional richness, and it captures the true essence of nostalgia, intimacy and warmness in each of the 18 tracks!!! An ultimate masterwork deserving my highest recommendation!!! Bravissimo, Dennis!!!

Richard Gürtler (Apr 07, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

154


Groupthink "Of Microcosmic Origins" CDr

The driving force behind One Thousand Pulses series of electronic festivals and in 2011 launched Periphery label, Darren Bergstein, is joined here by Edward Yuhas and both of them present their debut work as Groupthink. Packaged in nicely looking round tin and limited to only 50 copies, but the sonics are definitely enough challenging as well. The album unfolds with euphorically flowing ambience entitled "Peeking Over The Horizon". Warmly inviting, nearly cinematic atmozones are later exquisitely peppered by some quite unique, ear-catching sounds. A very strong overture by Groupthink!!! "Region Of Mirrors" is immediately invaded by distinctive sonics, layered in rather eclectic manner, all kinds of nearly odd and weird moods, noises or even voices are featured, but the overall effect is suprisingly very attractive. Call it tribal experimental escapade at its most bizzare!!! Mesmerizingly repeating crystalline pulses of "Bullet Train To Oslo" perfectly evoke a high-speed rail journey filled with joy, curiosity and adventure. Time to explore marvelous vistas of panoramic landscapes, absolutely gorgeous!!! Highly technological feel overlaps also to the next one, "At The Southernmost Tip Of Basking Falls", which is based around various sharply buzzing and erupting effects backed by deeply imaginative tranquil washes and magnificently mysterious wordless voice magic. Another absolutely stunning composition displaying creative talent of Groupthink!!! "Absolute Doubt", moves to more celestial realms, again spiced by various freshly sounding and shimmeringly passing high-tech ingredients. This closing piece is sonically inventive and strongly evocative with delicate nostalgia and cinematic feel to it. Yes, it's not easy to fully appreciate this recording during the first listening session, but every repeated exploration is spectacularly rewarding, because "Of Microcosmic Origins" is packed with enormously stimulating, compelling and intriguing ambient electronica!!! And give a try also to a headphone listening, it will provide you with an exceptional and adventurous ride!!! Final mastering by Gregory Kyryluk and released at the beginning of March 2012. For me, a truly masterful and extraordinary debut, Darren & Edward, long life to Groupthink!!!

Richard Gürtler (Mar 25, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

155


Bvdub "I Remember (Translations Of Mørketid)" CD

Prolific and applauded sound explorer Brock Van Wey aka Bvdub offers to us his second album for Italian Glacial Movements label, based around his own feelings and memories, which were evoked when exploring Netherworld's album "Mørketid". I must say the result of these "translations" is absolutely stunning, transporting each listener into pristine, misty regions and achieving the status of one of the most beautiful and imaginative works of 2011. "This Place Has Only Known Sadness", a 16-minute prologue, opens with spiraling, colder drones, which are enriched by delicate strings and above immense snowy landscapes floating dreamy femme voices. The second half of this amazing piece is gradually evolving and it reaches more intense and massive soundwalls. Colossally magnificent composition!!! "We Said Forever" unveils more poetic and tranquil terrains, at least for the first 5-plus minutes, again masterfully spiced by acoustics and heavenly choirs. This longer, clocking to nearly 15 minutes, and blissful sonic exploration slowly moves into heavier, stormy texture with hidden dub techno ingredients. Epic soundscaping at its finest!!! The next longer piece,"The Promise (Reprise)", features David Williams as guest and creates with its looped structure mesmerizingly picturesque and sentimental feel, less dramatic, but as much grandiose!!! Nostalgic piano leads "Would It Be The Same" into truly poetic territories, but soon it traverses into realms colored with hypnotically pulsing dub elements. Rapidly moving, sharper beats are precisely interacting with slowed-down, but more monumental parts. Celestial voices invade the stage and enrich this piece towards the end. Fully enjoyable and definitely the most uplifting passage of this journey. "There Was Nothing But Beauty In My Heart" unwraps with another poetically beautiful atmosphere carefully spiced by various hisses. Soon tender acoustic guitar wizardry and warmly expressive femme voices enter the show to bring this composition into not only heavenly, heartwarming realms, but for me, also into an ultimate position of a milestone!!! Now Glacial Movements are bridged with slight 4AD vocal reminiscences, Bravo Maestro!!! The final piece, "A Taste Of Your Own Medicine" is the only rather shorter piece on this album clocking to 6 and half minutes. Based on monotonously repetetive and rough ambience. Nicely fitting outro! As usual, Bjarne Riesto and Keep Adding joined their forces for fully rewarding visual immersion. To be honest, I am quite an outsider to lately emerging Bvdub's discography, I am familiar only with his previous Glacial Movements release, the essential "The Art Of Dying Alone" album, but "I Remember (Translations Of Mørketid)" excels in every aspect and is packed with 79 minutes of musical virtuosity and listening pleasure. A true masterpiece!!!

Richard Gürtler (Mar 25, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

156


Alio Die & Lingua Fungi "Otter Songs" CD

Always very prolific collaborator Stefano Musso/Alio Die this time travels to the Nordic territories to complete his premiere joint effort album with Finnish sound sculptor Jaakko Padatsu of Lingua Fungi project. "Otter Songs" album, released in February 2012 on Hic Sunt Leones, immediately strikes with its eye-catching black & gold artwork on 6-panel digipak. Really gorgeous!!! The opening tones of "Angler's Lantern" precisely display the images and show the direction the duo is heading, where deeper, cavernous drones are hauntingly accompanied by various stringed instruments like zither, psaltery or sitar as well as by other, self-made instruments and found objects. Yes, this introduction is deeply evocative and immersing and masterfully fuses electronic enhancements with fragile and filigree acoustics. I am hooked immediately!!! "Otter's Song" is more expressive and organic, less droning, but as much imaginative as the first composition. Field recordings pleasingly color the overall feel of this stunningly mysterious composition, this can be an anthem for your nocturnal musings!!! "Weeping Spruce" moves to slightly more minimal, oddly eclectic, cacophonic and meditative realms, painting truly unique, otherworldly images, which evoke a walk through sombre mist-filled forest. "Down The Sun Trail", as its name suggests, is another breathtaking exploration showcasing polished synergy of abyssal drones, scary phonographic sounds, acoustic wizardry and eerie overtone singing and chants. A truly virtuoso performance guaranteeing a deeper, shamanistic journey into the cave of the listener's mind!!! But richly picturesque and powerfully expansive soundworlds keep on invading, "Birds And Currants" follow the footsteps of its predecessor, while naturally sounding at the beginning, but in the second third entering into more dramatic terrains with culminating intensity. Psychoactive sonic substance at its best!!! Slightly more relieving outro "Fount Of Flowing Water" attracts with another batch of unsettling drifts, exotic strings, environmental sounds and voice magics. When I have heard for the first time about this upcoming album, I didn't know what to expect as I was not familiar with previous Lingua Fungi works (two solo CDs and one split CD released before), but the final result is beautifully primordial and mysteriously magnificent!!! "Otter Songs" move me into transcendental realms of pure sonic bliss!!! Not far behind the phenomenal "Fissures"...

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

157


Within Reason "Subtle Shift" CDr

Here comes a big one from ambitious US label Periphery, based in New Jersey, leaded by respected music journalist, publisher and curator Darren Bergstein (now also one half of Groupthink project). The packaging, limited to 50 copies, is the first thing that raised my eyebrows, "Subtle Shift" is housed in a round tin with window displaying the CDr, while the back of the tin features track and release info printed on transparent sticker. Yes, someone might say that this is nothing really groundbreaking, but it looks elegant and attractive! Behind the project name of Within Reason is hidden noone else than Gregory Kyryluk, the sole creator of Alpha Wave Movement and Open Canvas, and also one half of Thought Guild with the late Christopher Cameron. Introducing here his debut work as Within Reason, Greg fires this magnetically mesmerizing performance with title piece, "Subtle Shift", which fuses harmonious ambient soundscapes with pulsing high-tech hypnotics, and is carefully fragranced by natural sounds and whispering voices. Stunning intro, a true medicine for my ears!!! The next one, "Memory Filament", is a subtle, uplifting texture crossed with dub techno elements, freshly beating and soaring above listener's head and reaching perfect symmetry between luminous soundworlds and hypnotizing pulses. "Bodhi" presents colorful and joyous tapestry of moods and sounds with Middle East-fragranced chants thrown in here and there. It will appeal to anyone looking for an adventure in sound sculpting. "Grey Area" strikes immediately with its slowly growing, heartbeating groovy atmosphere. Various high-tech electrifying sounds stunningly enrich this ultimate "Hall Of Fame" composition. Transporting experience awaits!!! But virtuoso performance keeps on going, "Carbon Interface" is as much phenomenal as its predecessor. Highly evocative washes with crystalline razor-sharp cyber effects shift this composition into magnificently uncharted realms. This is a true celebration of sonic synergy between human bravura and state-of-the-art technology!!! Warmly pulsing "Nimbus" is hauntingly colored with pleasant hisses and creates melodic delicacy with magical aura. "Liquid Language" jumps into more active space carefully bridging trance-inducing soundscapes with funky-like rhythms and hints of didgeridoo and voice samples in Czech language...:-) The closing piece, "Deeper Below", immediately starts as its title suggests, but then it glides smoothly through mid-paced cinematic cyber terrains. "Subtle Shift" is sensational, vibrant and immersing hypermodern masterpiece, all-inclusive with audiophile-quality sound, showcasing undisputable creativity and musicality of its creator. I can't help, but wizards like Gregory Kyryluk should live from music and create sonic pearls like this full-time, unfortunately it's not the case. One of the highlights of 2012 so far!!!

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


158


Robert Davies "The Alchemy Of Nature" CDr

The beginning of 2012 brings the brand new sonic statement of Ithaca, New York, based sound sculptor, painter and designer Robert Davies. Deeper, organic ambience invades the opening piece, "Intrinsic Essence", which is gently fused with various environmental and industrial fragrances and swiftly takes the listener to fascinating and adventurous night excursion across the forest to explore its nocturnal wildlife. "Transpiration" is less droning, but more spiralingly textured piece colored with the forest's singing, bustling and breathing. Another truly exciting experience to meet all the weird and wonderful creatures who live together and create the circle of life. Magnificently tranquil!!! Smoothly and serenely gliding "Of Moth And Snail" evokes spectacular poetic vistas with magical sunlight passing between the trees. It's slightly reminiscent of Rudy Adrian's "Desert Realms", but I am sure it was not intentional, just a kind of lucky coincidence, but a really beautiful one I must say!!! The next piece, "Cryptogamous Permutations", is a monotonously flowing gloomy dronescape attractively enriched by "singing" cicadas. "Quintessence" keeps on the same, mystically painted, trails, but slightly more uplifting and sensitive throughout. "In Thistle Shade" with its shadowy drones maps eerie and rugged forested terrains, and provides an appealing conclusion to this stirring journey. "The Alchemy Of Nature" is a rewarding listening session, and I can highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in experiencing breathtaking sceneries of sparklingly green, virginally wide and mysteriously foggy forest landscapes. And also another significant proof of the steady talent, credibility and consistence of both, Robert Davies and DataObscura!!! And stay tuned for upcoming "Winter Gardens" release, the 4th album by The Winterhouse, Robert's co-work project with Anthony Paul Kerby...

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

159


Aglaia "Otherworldliness" CD

Italian sound alchemists Aglaia, Gino Fioravanti and Gianluigi Toso, were quite prolific during 2011, because in February 2012 they have released on Stefano Musso's Hic Sunt Leones three new albums (except "Otherworldliness" also "Absolutely Deep" CD plus "Out Of The Way" CDr). Last year they brought to us two phenomenal works, solo album "Nights In Nubiland" and also "Vayu Rouah" co-work with Alio Die. And they return in big shape again!!! "Otherworldliness", consisting of 15 tracks, ignites the show with rather more massive dronescape entitled "Dust Across The Border", that perfectly sets the atmosphere for the rest of the album. Poetic washes with cicadas on "Moon Rock" head to warmly inviting nocturnal journey. Joyously ethereal "Landing Field" and beautifully euphoric "Bright Sky" with unique effects immediately steal the show, emotionally rich, intimate and gorgeous compositions!!! "Geomagnetic Pole" ventures into freezing experimental fields, before returning into more idyllic travelogue, yet still colored here and there with few surprising sonic eruptions. The title track, "Otherworldliness", just like its predecessor, keeps its unique, strongly immersing feel enriched by gently heartbeating abyssal effects. Heart-warming washes on "Germination" bring the journey to absolutely charming and magnificently evocative aural ecstasy and present Aglaia at the pedestal of ultimate blissfulness!!! The next four compositions, "Divergent Cycle", "Substratum", "The Bridge Of Sights" and "Desire", unite celestial and experimental zones into one specific, but essential blend holding undisputed signature of Aglaia. "A Desert Place" unveils with sadly desolate feelings while the following piece, "The Cycle Of The Seasons", voyages through deeply cavernous spaces with some distinctive organic-infused sounds. Colossally gradual dronescapes invade "Highest Point" and capture another breathlessly fantastic sonic experience!!! Second part of title composition "Otherworldliness" is mesmerizingly shimmering and closes this incredibly distinguishing and highly sophisticated performance with all shine and graciousness!!! And of course the visual part of the album (6-panel digipak) is as much stunning. Splendido!!!

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

160


Nautic Depths "Submental Vol. 1" CDr

Deep sea drone scientist, Tomas Weiss acting under the moniker of Nautic Depths (on previous two albums featuring also Mathias Grassow), returns after two years with brand new installment and first volume of the "Submental" series. Volume 1, released in February 2012 on El Culto's new Submental label, features one long-form piece clocking to nearly 51 minutes that will immediately submerge us into the most bizzare zones of the ocean. This highly adventurous odyssey opens very sharply with heavy weight drone alchemy, for the first, roughly 5 minutes, in more static shape, but holding undeniable signature of this project. Things get a bit quieter, but just for some shorter time and our expectations are soon surpassed when intense dronescapes invade the depths. Noisier industrial outbursts dive in and we explore some environmental sounds reminiscent of underwater calls of fishes or whales as well as mysteriously distant voices and chants. The drone layering becomes deeper, richer and more massive, long, continuous monstrous drifts amazingly interplay with louder sonic eruptions, all wrapped in gradually sinking and culminating tension to capture truly penetrating and mind-bending deep sea observation experience. A true sonic bliss served by Nautic Depths!!! A gateway to enter another zone, a zone where sunlight can't go through. We are invaded by the realm of darkness, but this is also the time to explore the spectacular show of incredible bioluminescent creatures that inhabit this gloomy domain. Tinkling bells attractively color this breathtaking performance, the pressure is relieving a bit and we enjoy spiralingly serene drone that smoothly navigates us to another rougher territory, colored by twinkling rumblings. But still remaining in rather calmer and tranquil static zones. The time is clocking to its finale, we are reaching almost abyssal zone, but it's time for safe return... Thank you so much for this fascinatingly thrilling and strikingly attractive journey!!! Keep the bathyscaphe ready, I can't wait for the next exploration!!!

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

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