« on: February 20, 2016, 07:12:10 AM »
Steve Brand "Songs From Unknown Territory" CDr
"Songs From Unknown Territory" is the last chapter of Steve Brand's powerfully enrapturing soundcarvings released during 2015. Although gracing every year the scene with phenomenal pinnacles within the drone ambient transcendence, I wouldn't hesitate to feature the year 2015 as a magnum opus in Steve Brand's already stellar discography. It all started with utterly introspective recording "Into The Current", continued through lushly colored spectacle "Second Spring" and enthrallingly mindscaping double album "Sanctuary". Now it's time to fully experience "Songs From Unknown Territory", an album released at the end of September 2015. As usual the aural part is magnificently reinforced by Steve Brand's visual artistry on 4-panel digipak with additional tranquilly embracing lyricism. Released via artist's own Pioneer Light Music label in a limited edition of 50 copies.
Enigmatically emerging drone and weirdly reverberant whistles announce the title composition "Song From Unknown Territory", which clocks to nearly 11 and a half minutes mark. High-pitched ear-tickling resonations meander and ebb, enriched by occasionally permeating subterranean rumbles, all intensely counterpointed by exquisitely enrapturing silence. Euphonious symphony of crickets inconspicuously join the scenario along with distinctively transporting woodwind wizardry that can be only Steve Brand. Soothingly engrossing glimpses of vast stillness are meticulously juxtaposed with towering helixes of ear-piercing billows. Although rather sparsely sculpted, always fascinatingly voluminous!!! Steve Brand again fully unfolds all his mind-bending insignias and delivers the very best of his perplexingly crooked soundcarving, bravo!!! The next piece, "When I’ve Left Behind All That I Was", which gets slightly over 12 minutes, sneaks into more expansive, yet tranquilly undulating terrains, augmented by gorgeously introspective vistas. Majestically immense and as always, intricately bridged with balmily glimmering silence. Harmoniously sweeping sinuous texture coalesces throughout the second half with winds heading from barren lands, but soon warmer, poetically-charged drifts awake and steal the journey, here and there enhanced by contemplatively ringing chimes. 11-minute "The Long Way Home" keeps on floating and ebbing path, impeccably counterbalanced with longing quietness, shimmeringly rumbling primordial artifacts and oracularly shamanic chants and whistles. The second half clandestinely shifts into more amplified magnitudes, floating, nuancing and metamorphosing. Certainly another truly rewarding listening delight awaits here!!! "Some Are Things Of Substance, Some Are Not" gets close to 15 minutes in length and dives at the beginning into monochromatically desolate drone depths, unfathomably magnificent and ambiguously humming, yet masterfully imbued by warmly encircling panoramas and ascending nostalgic patterns, ranging from intangibly distant to reverberantly ear-blowing. Massive dronescapes continuously ride atop, guard and climax, when unlocking the gates of transcendental Eden and then serenely evanescing towards the bottomless abyss. An epic sonic elixir indeed!!! "The Pause Just Before The Great Exhalation" awakes and immediately resurfaces on the wings of subterrestrial turmoil. Peaking outbursts, ominous hums, organic shimmers, cavernous traceries..., all masterfully amalgamated into a weirdly transporting stratum, gliding from disruptively mysterious realms through edgy passages into the gracefully revealing horizons of ethereal quietudes. From bizarrely venturesome into earwarmingly diminuendoing, an aural adventure at its most transmuting!!! "Beyond The Edge Of A Flat Earth", with 12:12 as lengthy as its predecessor, ignites sharply with glancing resonations, which calmly dissolve into waning expanses, monumentally drifting and undulating. Peaking disruptions join the forefront along with a myriad of phantasmal voices, abyssal vestiges and twinkling rumbles. An eerily flavored finale taking the listener way beyond the gates of ordinary. Well-done, Maestro!!!
Yeah, as always, an authentically "terra incognita" listening experience is celebrated when journeying with Steve Brand. Well, one can say, no coincidence in this case, when the album is entitled "Songs From Unknown Territory", but this Kansan soundforger constantly crafts a truly distinguishing gems. This album is certainly one of them!!! Usually with each new review of Steve Brand's album I am able to announce his upcoming release, but as far I am informed by Steve Brand, he is taking a bit of a long-needed hiatus, although there still might be a release entitled "Path To The Heart", that features a collaborative track with kindred soul Mark Seelig. In any case, I stay deeply focused, no matter how long the break will take, because Steve Brand is one of the most ingenious forces on the scene. If you are not aware of his artistry yet, you are making a devastating mistake!!!
Richard Gürtler (Feb 19, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)