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Topics - richardgurtler

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61


Andrew Forrest "Boundless (Harmonics Trilogy ~ Volume 2)" CD

I have discovered this enormously accomplished ambient sculptor only about one year ago through his outstanding "Resonance" CD, which was released as first volume of "Harmonics Trilogy" (released during November 2011). September 2012 marks the second chapter of this trilogy entitled "Boundless". Andrew Forrest comes from the UK, but lives longer time in New Zealand and "Boundless" is his 7th full length album. Yes, he is definitely one of those artists who glide around us, unfortunately, quite unnoticed and I must say it's a really big shame, because Andrew Forrest is a true virtuoso of gorgeously immersing and majestic space exploratories, masterfully shaped and polished and delivered as all-inclusive package, not only as a pure aural bliss, both musically and audibly, but also as a very intense visual experience. And to say it straightly, these are my feelings also about "Boundless". Just like the first volume, also "Boundless" features three longer sonic metamorphosis, each clocking between 20 and 25 minutes. "1st Movement" unfolds swiftly with flickering swirls and other assorted embellishments, all magnificently surrounded by immense aerial washes, fragilely meandering above velvety cloud sheets and soothingly tickled by the sun rays. All graciously expanding and floating through countless, beautifully sublime and expressive sonic cascades. Softer and melodious passages evoking vintage space drifters circumstance with more colossal and expansively sweeping and progressing epic soundfields, here and there lightened by the infinite celestial magic of angelic choirs and cinematic piano-infused subtleties. Always intensely enthralling, breathtaking and absorbing scenario, a truly grandiose and immaculate space symphony!!! This is Andrew Forrest at the top of his game!!! "2nd Movement" keeps its grace and majesty, with slightly more earthy touch at the beginning provided by some hauntingly captivating flute-like sounds. Soon monstrously transporting cyberscapes enter the stage along with lushly sparkling sequenced notes. But then again sheer angelic beauty with piano fragments and heartwarming expansions relieve this multi scented and brightly detailed odyssey filled with never-ending spacescapades. Another tour de force by Andrew Forrest!!! "3rd Movement" strikes with powerfully expanding and ebbing tension of thunderous and cinematic drones, steadily immersing and intervening with softly pulsing passages and calmly gliding and circling washes with ethereally tranquil transitions. Andrew Forrest conjures an awe-inspiring conclusion to this spectacular audio experience, "Boundless" is a real treat for all stargazers!!! So in case you haven't heard anything from Andrew Forrest's discography, I highly recommend to explore this gifted musician (and painter), show him your support, it surely will help to make this world more fair!!!

Richard Gürtler (Mar 16, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

62


Groupthink "Happy Gods" CDr

Groupthink, consisting of electronic music scene veteran and creator of Thousand Pulses, Periphery, Anodize... Darren Bergstein and guitarist, live looper, electronic device aficionado Edward Yuhas, returns with second album "Happy Gods" released on Darren's Periphery brainchild during October 2012, a follow up to successfully challenging debut "Of Microcosmic Origins" (March 2012). Again packaged in round tin and limited to 50 copies. Short introductory "Entrance By Silver Sunrise" sets the atmosphere with intensely colored dronescapade. "Is It Itself?" smoothly unfolds into vividly colored terrains with continually swirling lead and rather undisturbed and meandering background. During the second half more distinctive and eclectic sound manipulations step in and reach slightly annoying mode. I was ready to immerse deeply into Groupthink's peculiar soundworlds, but the following piece, "Sleep Essence", keeps me relaxed while drifting on tranquilly aerial sheets. Rather cacophonous intro of "The Undulating Hour" swiftly traverses into varicolored texture with all kinds of high-pitched resonations, squeaks, sharper outbursts and low rumbles interacting with intense cinematic tides and quieter disruptions. After another shorter, but adventurous episode, entitled "Pause: Looksee", the listener dives deeply into fully blossomed guitar drone wizardry. "Stimulated Yet Still" is the longest piece, reaching nearly 12-minute mark. Gracefully roaring guitar washes with panoramic backing and subtly (or oddly?) dissonant percussive pulse are enormously absorbing, evocative and provocative. A truly glorious performance by Groupthink!!! "Vague Realms" bridge balmily scenic vistas with noisier, ear-bending fragments, experiments and cascades. It's weird, but somehow the warm and harsh parts persist precisely together in this track. And the title selection is just perfect too!!! "Invertebrate" keeps on the same path, with strongly visualizing drones, expressively unfolding and coupled with annoyingly repeating siren-like noises and occasional sonic explosions. This piece is driving me nuts, but I love it!!! Time for another transition, "Pause: Looksee II", this time with absolutely amazing, slightly exotic tinkling sound hanging somewhere between The Hang or Handpan drum and some strings. Just over one minute in length, more please, it's hauntingly gorgeous!!! "Uncomfortably Numb" transports the listener into deeply meditative realms, sculpted with hypnotizing female voice and fragilely tinkling pulses, here and there surrounded by soaring string panoramas. Soothingly relieving journey!!!The next piece, "All Things Elastic", is again richly colored texture, driven by diverse cyber-industrialized tribals and sonic spasms, including some otherworldly voices and guarded by monochromatic drone. With "Does It Dream?" wide-screen terrains are explored, ebbing and gliding, embellished by soft tinkles and swirls. "Exit Through The Wondrous Hue" is a short finale, attractively shaped with pleasant mood and refreshing like a cool breeze. Darren Bergstein and Edward Yuhas invite each listener to experience a truly adventurous, bizarre and intriguing sonic alchemy and explore some fascinating eclipsed territories. Mastering credit goes to Gregory Kyryluk (Alpha Wave Movement, Within Reason). Encounter your "Happy Gods" now!!!

Richard Gürtler (Mar 13, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

63


Stormloop "Back To Dust" CDr

Kevin Spence aka Stormloop, from Leeds, UK, has released during 2012 two very nice, handmade packaged albums, "Nocturnal Winter" and "Snowbound**". The later was originally released in 2011, featuring tracks that didn't make the final call on his CD debut "Snowbound*" for Glacial Movements (November, 2011). "Back To Dust" comes packaged in poly case with a full wrap-around insert, printed on both sides, in limited edition of 40 hand-numbered copies and released during January 2013. The album starts with longer, nearly 16 minutes long title track "Back To Dust". It offers a tranquilly drifting space odyssey, flavored here and there with additional drone vibrations, low swirling rumbles and various subtle cybernetic fragments. Warmly inviting dreamscapes are unfolded into soothingly immense expansions. "Back To Dust" is utterly captivating sonic reverie filled with endless sublimity!!! "Swirling Autumn Leaves" transport each listener into deeply meditative realms, sculpted with minimal and monotonous drones of singing bowl resonations guarded by some distant ghost-like essences. "Traversing The Spacetime", the next longer piece clocking to 11 and half minutes, returns to celestial zones with serenely expanding and meandering washes. This is another strongly alluring soundscape to fully comfort your mind and body. Deep and hissy drones invade "Kuro Hoshi", but soon this monochromatic intro traverses into more actively gliding and circling, vast open sceneries, with slightly sorrowful feel, yet warmly embracing. "Minus 2" keeps on the same route, with more earthy feel, although fragranced with assorted fragile liquid and cyber-tech clinks. The overall feel is deeply evocative and cinematic. "An Ancient Machine" is sculpted with angelic choir-like drones, deep windy hums, strengthened by few sparse, but multi-colored sonic infusions and wrapped throughout by hissy blankets. Quietly mesmerizing and immersing composition. Low drones of "Spacedust" are as much absorbing as on previous piece, but this time slightly high-pitched swirling layers are added and this sonic range produces a quite hallucinogenic effect, nicely interplaying with track title. The closing phase, "A New Horizon", is immediately invaded by gracefully tiding ethereal washes, carrying the listener on the cloudbeds of pure atmospheric bliss. Again, the title is precisely displayed by the sonics. This is Stormloop at its most splendid and seductive, an absolutely gorgeous finale!!! "Back To Dust" provides us with richly shaped odyssey, gliding through various terrains, harmoniously connected and balanced without becoming monotonous or uninspiring. Very nice album by Stormloop, well done, Kev!!!

Richard Gürtler (Mar 09, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

64


Alpha Wave Movement "Exiled Particles Volume I" CDr

A bunch of well-treasured pieces from 1997-2005 archives were dusted off by Gregory Kyryluk, the sole sonic wizard of renowned Alpha Wave Movement, as "Exiled Particles Volume I", released at December 1st, 2012 through his own Harmonic Resonance Recordings. All those who are following this ultra gifted composer are familiar with impressive albums such as "The Edge Of Infinity", "A Distant Signal", "Concept Of Motion", "Cosmology" or "Drifted Into Deeper Lands", all released during this period of time, so it's time take another exciting journey provided by his Soundcave studio archives. "Stratospheric Reception" fires the show, firstly with sampled Russian femme voices, then AWM swiftly unfolds his highly melodious mastery with vibrantly pulsing electronics, occasionally discontinued by dreamier transitions. "Atum" bridges enchantingly inviting trancey and chillout melodies with various razor sharp effects and swirls, backed by slightly spacious and cinematic passages. "Pangea" spreads with slower drifts, but soon exotic mid-tempo stringed fragrances and gentle beats along with warmly floating expansions step in and capture beautifully nostalgic wide-screen size. Marvelously melodic and relieving composition displaying all AWM's trademarks!!! The next piece, "What Was Once Here", starts quietly, but soon it cascades into laid-back melody crossed with spatial embellishments. "Rhythm Cell" quickly moves into freshly rhythmic cyber-trance terrains, deeply mesmerizing with strongly visualizing vibe. Superb!!! And "Left Hemisphere Induction" keeps in this freshly moving path with repetitive ultra kinetic techno-like beats and earwarming ambient melodies. Female & male voice samples lead "Un Conte Court" and carry it into shimmeringly colorful and absorbing melodies with stunningly relaxing atmosphere evoking a truly laid-back summer panoramas somewhere on the coastline of the French Riviera. Magnifique!!! "Hue" is the final composition, with smoothly meandering aerial washes, enriched by distant fragile tinkles and hauntingly evocative warm melodies. A very nice, tranquil conclusion that nicely accompanies the previous track. Gorgeous collection!!! Without doubt, Gregory Kyryluk did a great move when he has decided to bring these long forgotten pearls to the light. This is another must have from Alpha Wave Movement's stellar discography!!! And don't go away, because another album, this time more meditative oriented was released few weeks ago by Alpha Wave Movement, entitled "Yasumu". And on the top of that, few days ago Darren Bergstein has announced the launch of Anodize label, a subdivision of his Periphery label. And the premiere release is Within Reason (aka Gregory Kyryluk) "Transient Broadcasts", as a glass mastered CD!!! So act now!!!

Richard Gürtler (Mar 05, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

65


Shane Morris & Mystified "Epoch" CD

As you might know, my ventures into rather dark ambient fragranced territories are quite sporadic, however it's time to take a closer look on "Epoch", the first part of planned trilogy entitled "Inspired Evolution", mapping the prehistoric time of the Mesozoic Era, the Age of Reptiles, with huge dinosaurs colonizing the land. Released in April 2012 on Lotuspike as collaborative project between ambient composer and multi-instrumentalist Shane Morris (Fayetteville, Arkansas) and ambient/drone soundscaper Thomas Park aka Mystified (St. Louis, Missouri). Solely based on the use of the acoustic instruments such as trombone, didgeridoo, vibraphone, bass drum and bowed gong. "Cambrian Explosion" evolves with sinister low drones and cavernous watery sounds, all enhanced by curving darker and harsher, but minimal and cacophonous crackles, buzzes and breaths. Deep immersion into expressive primordial landscapes is guaranteed!!! The longest piece "Devonia" gets over 22 and half minutes and keeps on the same path as the opening track. Deep low drones are spiced by didge howls, mysterious high-pitched sounds reminding some ghostly voices along with cavernous field recordings of watery or crackling fire traces, all mesmerizingly circling, swelling and enveloping. Stunningly transporting organic symphony, dark ambient at its most primitive!!! "Triassic Extinction" unfolds with eerie drones and distant gong rumbles, with monstrously expanding walls of ear-tickling tensions and dissonances. A truly mind-bending sonic adventure precisely portraying this dramatic prehistoric period!!! Sounds of insects lead the final part, "Jurassic Dawn" and swirl around your head. But soon myriad of mammoth drones, harsher shrills, rumbles and didge barks enter the terrain, the big invasion of birds and dinosaurs has just begun... "Epoch" is exquisitely distinguishing project offering to each listener enormously immersing sonic ride with masterfully executed cover artwork (by Daniel Pipitone, the graphic guru and one of the Lotuspike owners, original photography by Jourdan Laik). "Epoch" is definitely not easy listening experience, but don't hesitate to give it your time, wear your headphones and after few spins you will be transported into stunningly entertaining prehistoric time line with incredible series of changes. I am quite sure it will be as much rewarding for you as it was challenging for its inventors, when shaping this installment. And keep in mind, few days ago the second part of "Inspired Evolution" has been announced by Shane & Thomas, "Emergence" CD is scheduled for release at June 11th, 2013, so stay prepared!!!

Richard Gürtler (Mar 03, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

66
Everything and Nothing / Rest in peace, Nextera's Kristián Kotarac
« on: February 25, 2013, 09:22:16 AM »
I am re-posting this review in the memory of Kristián Kotarac, the driving force behind Nextera label, who has passed away yesterday in Praha/Prague, Czech Republic. Kristián & Nextera will be greatly missed!!! My deepest condolences to the family and friends.



Oöphoi & Paul Vnuk Jr. "Dreamfields" CD

This is already the second collaboration between Italian drone wizard Oöphoi (Gianluigi Gasparetti) and US-Wisconsin based sound designer Paul Vnuk Jr., who is also known as a member of Ma Ja Le project (featuring also Christopher Short). Their first co-work "Distance To Zero" was released in 2006 on Hypnos. "Dreamfields" CD was released in December of 2011 on Czech label Nextera, the home of several Oöphoi's releases. Actually, according to the release notes, the story behind "Dreamfields" project started back in 2005, when Paul sent to Gigi some loops, but it was in 2009, when Gigi went back to these sound sources. A quite long time span, but in any case it's my great pleasure to explore now these "Dreamfields"!!! And the album strikes firstly with its stunning front cover image realized by Polish photographer Rafal "Szincza" Kijas, definitely one of my fave cover artworks of 2011!!! Containing four longer pieces (clocking from 10 to 23 minutes), "Dreamfields" open with "North Field: Axis", a 23-minute deeply drifting and slowly spiraling exploration, expressively spiced by various fragilely tinkling bells and mysterious femme voice by Luna. Highly absorbing piece of dronescapes, magnificently portrayed by the album's images. Colossally gracious overture!!! "South Field: Khyber" is colored by rather aerial atmospheres melted with high-tech bleeps and gurgles, crystalline percussions and frightening sounds. Quite soon this longer composition, reaching nearly 22 minutes, passes into more darkened, mysterious and meditative terrains. In the second half also child voice is emerging (poetry reading by Paul's son Paul Vnuk III). This deeply cavernous ambience immerses each listener into mysteriously adventurous atmosphere and unfolds darker realms of the imagination. The next composition, "East Field: Helikum", is slowly and serenely meandering dronescape to calm your mind. It drifts and swells through hauntingly beautiful hypnotic and tranquil solitudes. "West Field: Awua" takes us again into deeper cave system to explore impressive sceneries and formations through swirling dark drones, ominous rumblings and noises, deeply echoed gongs and singing bowls. A truly exciting journey into rarely seen places!!! "Dreamfields" celebrate the creative forces of both, Oöphoi & Paul Vnuk Jr., who have effectively merged their talents and managed to paint breathtaking pictures to guide each listener into magically misty and gloomy atmospheric splendor. A must for all addicts of deep ambient soundscaping!!! And I give extra points also to Nextera for beautiful digipak packaging.

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

67
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Bloodmoon" CD by Mathias Grassow
« on: February 24, 2013, 08:25:44 AM »


Mathias Grassow "Bloodmoon" CD

Celebrating the nocturnal autumn sceneries of the Scandinavian territories, the German drone virtuoso Mathias Grassow returns with new album, released at the beginning of October 2012 on Swedish gterma label. This shadowy ride emerges with "The Longing", nearly 12-minutes long intro, surrounded by quite monotonous drone walls, here and there augmented by assorted industrialized and frightening distant rumbles. Drones of much heavier size and depth massively invade "Domains Of The Stallo", a long form piece getting over 34-minute mark. A climb down to the deep cavern has just begun, the listener is taken to the cascading labyrinths of passageways in the underground realms, surrounded by spectacular formations with hidden mysterious creatures. One of them could be also the magical giant, The Stallo. Mathias Grassow delivers here his orthodox, massive and monochromous drone endeavors, the gates to the drone inferno are unlocked!!! Drone bliss # 1!!! 11 minutes long "Call Of The Huldra" returns to more relieving nightscaping drones, exploring all the magic of shadowy forest, hauntingly illuminated by the moonlight. The drone drifts slowly through smooth cascades and evolves into gracious immenseness. Rumors say The Huldra might live here, a stunningly beautiful and fabulous female creature with animal's tail. Will we meet her? As mentioned, this piece doesn't reach the colossal intensity of its predecessor, but the drone is utterly gorgeous and fascinating, just like some of the unusual forest spirits. Eerie howls of wolves announce the title track "Bloodmoon", the closing piece of this journey, this one gets close to 19 minutes. Howls are melted with tranquilly expanding low drone washes, soon transferring into dramatically adventurous cello-like sonorities, raising, droning and falling. In the second half few harsher and noisier fragments are thrown in to strengthen this already grandiose dronescaping finale, along with some ghostly invasions. "Bloodmoon" is permeated by incredibly beautiful and scenic Northern forest landscapes, and attractively displayed by 16-page booklet (design and photographs by gterma's Johan Rehn). Mathias Grassow has emerged his musical voyage more than 26 years ago and we, drone purveyors, are still journeying with him. "Bloodmoon" requires several repeated, deeply immersing listening sessions (headphones are recommended!!!), but then it's a fully rewarding experience. Yes, this is another big one from The Drone Medicine Man!!!

Richard Gürtler (Feb 24, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

68


dreamSTATE vs. Heiki "The North Shore" CD

Awaited for longer time with quite big expectations, but when the mailing finally arrived and I exposed the album, my eyebrows were raised immediately. A glass mastered CD, packaged in attractive 4-panel digipak with additional art cards included and signed by the artists. Wow, I simply couldn't ask for more!!! Yes, even if dreamSTATE guys are known as skilled multimedia performers, who are involved in all kinds of audiovisual projects, I didn't have any idea about their landing at Paper+Sound label. Now the mystery is solved, dreamSTATE aka Scott M2 and Jamie Todd, have teamed with Heiki Sillaste, their fellow veteran of the Toronto electronic music scene, who started his career with Digital Poodle, an industrial-tekno project, in the late 80's. Some good old memories from my pre-ambient era are awakening... Among many other projects, Heiki also founded in late 2009 Paper+Sound label, so I am really happy about this collaboration. "The North Shore" CD was released at the end of September 2012 as limited edition of 250 hand-numbered copies. Bonus points for the artwork were awarded already and it took me only few seconds after pressing the play button on my CD player to raise my eyebrows once again. "Snow Drifter" unfolds with some of the most splendid winter drones I have ever encountered. 7 minutes of pure dronescaping ecstasy, colored with assorted eerie, but warmly nostalgic soaring fragments and processed, let's say something that evokes seagull calls. I can easily imagine wandering through the wintery suburban shores of Lake Ontario and "Snow Drifter" would be my ultimate soundtrack to journey with!!! I have explored these shores for many times during the period of years 1983-1993 while visiting Toronto with its suburbs, but unfortunately, never during the winter time. So my inner journey unfolds now, 20 years later...

I must add, these deep winter soundscapes were explored for the first time during the preparation sessions for the January 10th, the dreamSTATE's Drone Cycle 2012. Originally launched in 2000, when dreamSTATE performed monthly shows of improvised performances based on the notes of the chromatic scale, with special guests on each event. Now, 12 years later, beginning January 10th, 2012, dreamSTATE reintroduced this format again, with Heiki Sillaste as their first guest, for traversing the scale back downward, so January in C and "The North Shore" is one of the results of this amazing project.

Back to "Snow Drifter", besides the fact it's properly entitled, the drones, slightly high-pitched, are ebbing, gliding and cascading through the stunningly colorful and exceptionally beautiful icy sceneries in absolutely fascinating manner. Great piece, Scott, Jamie & Heiki, an Ambient Hall of Fame nominee!!! "Expedition" leaves the suburbs and moves towards vast open, freezing landscapes of Ontario, masterfully wrapped by hissy expansions, outbursts and blankets with deeply evocative, at times strongly ethereal impact. These panoramic winter vistas are magically beautiful and wondrously tranquil!!! "Ice Flow", the long form piece, nearly 41 minutes in length, moves through various transitions, ranging from more captivating, minimally droning, through more immense, intense and dramatic to more abysmally freezing and frightening. Yes, it's an all-inclusive journey adventurously traversing from cinematic panoramas of quiet "Ice Flow" with snowflakes gently floating down to harsher, more experimental dronescaping rumbles evoking morning after stormy, freezing night rain with spectacular ice formations, where the water is frozen on the branches of the trees or as it dropped from them. Fascinating and ultra-moody tour de force!!! The closing "Winter Light" reveals with some cyber-tech infusions, but it promptly transfers into serenely drifting and meandering expanses. Just close your eyes and the following could be one of your visualizing scenarios. You are walking on the shores of Lake Superior, the night is dark, sky is clear, it's time to experience the magic of shimmering green northern lights over the ice coated landscapes, the Aurora Borealis. A truly breathtaking conclusion!!! "The North Shore" is utterly magnificent winter postcard from Ontario, Canada, a huge treasure from start to end!!! Certainly one of my most fave dronescapades of 2012, a must have!!! Once again, The Ambient Ping gang rules!!!

Richard Gürtler (Feb 23, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

69
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Steve Roach - Today
« on: February 17, 2013, 12:19:19 AM »
Steve Roach was born on February 16th, here is the gift from the Maestro!!!

http://steveroach.bandcamp.com/track/today

Enjoy it!!! :)

Richard

70


Chronotope Project "Chrysalis" CDr

First of all, big thanks to John, one of the driving forces behind wonderful Relaxed Machinery community, who has pointed me to Chronotope Project few months ago. I was immediately impressed by this, in Eugene, Oregon, based project, stared by Jeffrey Ericson Allen, who is a truly gifted composer, cellist and ambient sound sculptor. "Chrysalis", a follow up to Chronotope Project's debut "Solar Winds" (self-released during May 2012) was originally released as download version at the beginning of October 2012, on Relaxed Machinery label, but the CDr edition came out one month later. The album kicks off with 13-minute track title "Chrysalis". Gently bubbling sounds are cleverly merged with warmly tinkling embellishments and other softly invading fragments, all surrounded by hauntingly celestial blankets. Gorgeously swirling, chiming and soaring with unmeasurable grace, shimmering beauty and balmy melodies. Yes, the mixture of sensitive tribals, ear-catching transitions and soothingly hypnotic zones is absolutely splendid, a true masterpiece igniting this luxurious journey!!! The next piece, “L’Avenue Du Ciel”, in English “Avenue Of The Sky”, unfolds with gorgeous abyssal drone, which is soon transformed into beautifully evocative panoramas, masterfully flavored by nostalgic bansuri flute cloudscapes and cinematic clarinet-like notes. Later on gentle tribal beats take the lead along with chill-out downtempos, glowing swirls and tranquil liquid sounds. Nostalgic woodwind wizardry again excels towards the end. Richly colorful and deeply visualizing composition, and precisely titled too!!! "Trance-Missions", a long-form number, clocking to 25 and half minutes, smoothly cascades through various, stunningly entertaining alleys, where sublimely poignant atmospheres are altering with gradually expanding and freshly joyous sequences. Always warmly heartening and thoroughly mesmerizing!!! "Reflecting Pool" is invaded by eerie cavernous atmozones, soon veering into spellbindingly reflective stillness virtuosically bridged with peaceful tinkles and heartwarming harp-like strings, all quietly enveloped by watery field recordings. This is utterly contemplative and wide-screen dreamscape, constantly filled with blissful listening experience. Sheer beauty and splendor!!! "Eternity’s Sunrise" melts angelic choir-like and gliding washes with yearning and ethereal crystalline strings, again expressively enriched by harmoniously alluring midtempo melodies. The final part traverses through calmer paths and fades away embraced by enchanting drifts and cheerfully poetic harp magic. A jaw-dropping finale!!! "Chrysalis" is a brilliant album, a true masterwork displaying giant potential and refined musicianship by its solo protagonist. Yes, to me, Chronotope Project is undoubtedly one of the revelations of 2012!!! And hugely ambitious addition to talented gang of Relaxed Machinery. And there is still a lot more to come, because Jeffrey is working on new material for this year's release, so I will eagerly keep an ear to this distinctive ambient terrain...

Richard Gürtler (Feb 16, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

71


Max Corbacho "The Ocean Inside" 2xCD

Announced longer time ago as possibly the most ambitious project, has became the reality during December, 2012. Yes, "The Ocean Inside" is a monstrous double CD recording by Spanish drifting aficionado Max Corbacho, released by ad21 label and packaged in gorgeous 6-panel digipak (designed by Manuela Márquez). I still clearly remember those magical moments while journeying with "Ars Lucis" through the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Denis and being fascinated by its breathtakingly monumental gracefulness. "Light-Matrix Portal" was the key that opened these magical gates and since then I was wondering if Max will be able to top this extraordinary achievement. What a challenge!!! Here comes the answer...

I am leaving the cathedral and heading towards the coastal panoramas to experience another fascinating odyssey, a journey of exploring all the natural wonders of the spectacular underwater world. Disc one starts and "Nest Of Tempests" invades. Quietly floating and expanding washes are unfolded and interact with more intense phases, but always gorgeously gracious!!! "Surface Thought" gets more grandiose and cascades through wealthy dramatic and slightly dissonant passages. "Web Of Eyes" dives to lower droney depths, where the sunlight can no longer penetrate, but these shadowy realms are magnificently illuminated by bioluminescent species. "Offshore Currents" hold its eerie, quite mysterious touch, emphasized by assorted distant swirls and disruptive fragments. All evoking an adventurous exploration of shipwreck laying at the bottom of the ocean. With the next, shorter transitional composition, "A Place Of Discovery", we are leaving underwater shipwreck cemetery and gently floating towards quieter territories of "The Endless Flame". Soothingly floating and ebbing, but immensely spreading soundscapes could easily accompany the cruising majestic giant oceanic manta rays, precisely portraying their gracefully gliding moves through the deepwater zones. Gorgeous!!! Seascapes on "Tidal Memory" are throughout flavored by assorted sonic outbursts, buzzes and other fragments. The closing "Towards The Bottomless Sea" is the longest piece on this set reaching 29 and a half minute mark. Its soothing washes are meandering through the most sublime faint depths, where only limited sunlight penetrates and continuously submerging into the darker zone, only interrupted by the bizarre light spectacle produced by the creatures themselves. The track title precisely fits the atmosphere and glowing aquatic experience is awaiting!!!

Disc two reveal with "Dive In", shorter intro, setting the mood for another intensifying underwater exhibition. Slightly more dramatic when comparing to the finale of the first part. "Shoreless Ocean" spreads promptly into gracefully serene dimensions, smoothly cascading and surrounded by few dissonant noises, squeaks and tinkling swirls. "Awaken Inside" starts and the Spanish magician of the pure atmospherics is excelling. Ultra tranquil, but more massive soundwaves are flowing, expanding and unfolding into the most spectacular and majestic underwater sceneries. We are swimming through the crystal clear water above a pristine and lushly colored coral gardens, this must be one of the few undisturbed places that have survived in its purest state of nature. Nearly 16 minutes of sheer atmospheric beauty, "Awaken Inside" is a Hall of Famer!!! But this graceful journey continues through "Deep Blue Home", slightly more dramatic textured composition, when some sharks cruising over the sand bottom can be witnessed too. "Islandless Expanse" remains in the sand covered seabed, graciously voyaging along the sunlight illuminating the tranquil sea depths. The closing composition "Deeper Into The Ocean" is again a longer one, clocking over 24 minutes. Quietly floating, less massive drifts invade, here and there submerging into more intense and monumental layers, into the dark zone. Low, rumbling drones enter this shadowy zone for the closing third. A grand finale is here and the listener is taken into inhospitable living conditions, down to the bottom levels of the oceanic abyssal realm. Grandioso, Max Corbacho at his most immense abysscaping!!! Are these monstrously humming sounds some ghostly voices? I think it's the ocean that speaks to me...

"The Ocean Inside" achieves the same stellar dimension as "Ars Lucis", no question about that, it's as much colossal and graceful, and even if it doesn't break any new ground, it's enormously sophisticated and brilliantly polished with masterfully demonstrated interaction to this utterly fascinating environment. Bravissimo, Mad Max!!! A must have for all connoisseurs of pure atmospheric seascaping reveries!!!

Richard Gürtler (Feb 10, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

72


Resonant Drift "Full Circle" CD

California based duo Resonant Drift, driven by Bill Olien and Gary Johnson, returns with brand new, long awaited work entitled "Full Circle", self-released at the end of 2012 as their 6th album. Wow, the first impression is absolutely striking as the CD is packaged in beautifully designed 6-panel digipak, all artwork by Stew Ivester. Very nice job, so the first extra points must be awarded immediately!!! But "Emerging Currents" massively invade my listening room and the journey unfolds into magnificently immense and expansive wide-screen drone panoramas, flowing and ebbing, utterly warm and tranquil, hauntingly enriched by forest recordings. Sonic enhancements are provided by no one else than The Great Master. Pure magic!!! The next track, "Mists Have Risen", is slightly less scenic, but more intensely meandering, before reaching its peak and then serenely fading out. Bill Olien and Gary Johnson are on this shorter piece again assisted by Steve Roach. "Aurora Breaking" attracts with warmly pleasant and spacious, nearly cinematic washes, nicely flavored with various distant sonic fragments. "And Then The Rain" is leaded by ethereally panoramic drifts, serenely flowing and cascading through few rather intenser passages, throughout embellished with gentle tinkles and swirls. "Cross Communication" dives into darker and rougher terrains with low dronescapes interplaying with harsher corroded industrial noises and primordial rumbles. But still much more evocative than cacophonous. Bizarrely immersing trip!!! "Ocean Migration" returns swiftly into pure atmospheric realms, peacefully captivating and harmoniously emphasized by organic sounds of flowing water and bird chirps. "Soaring Over Elysian Fields", again with Steve Roach's appearance, masterfully blends moaning strings with massively resonating dronewalls tickling my ears, a definite sound check for my speakers too!!! The following number, with 10 minutes the longest piece, "Turning The Wheel Of Time" involve except Bill Olien and Gary Johnson also Steve Roach and Rod Ratelle as composers and both add their mastery (Steve Roach-looping deconstruction, Rod Ratelle-electric bass and electric upright bass) to this composition. It unwraps quite darkly, with some weird otherworldly drones, soon sluggish tribal percussions join the stage. Later the tribal part gets more lively along with the ever-changing, but ghostly wandering blend of strings. Another piece with truly unconventional approach!!! "Fading Memories" (with Steve Roach as additional composer) test your speakers once again, with heavier beats and swirling groovy pulses, all guarded and reinforced by highly evocative string escapades and hauntingly sonorous drones. Absolutely magnificent journey, a real masterpiece!!! Shorter and eerie "Dissolution" reveals breathtaking cavernous mysteries while the closing title track, "Full Circle" returns to beautifully reflective and amazingly cinematic, vast open landscapes. The "Full Circle" is completed!!! Yes, "Full Circle" looks and sounds quite green for this cold wintery season, but I took it with me while wandering through small snow capped forest yesterday and "Full Circle" was as much shimmering as the sunrays shinning through the branches of trees. Pure sonic and visual bliss!!! Last but not least, the mastering was executed by Steve Roach. Without doubt "Full Circle" is a magnum opus by Resonant Drift!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jan 20, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

73
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Fimbria" CDr by Landru
« on: January 20, 2013, 02:14:08 AM »


Landru "Fimbria" CDr

Landru is Patxi Hernández, one of driving forces behind Altera Orbe label, and "Fimbria" is his second solo ambient installment, released during September 2012. "Fimbria" comes as CDr edition packaged in elegant digipak. "Corrosion" unfolds the album and dives straightly into shadowy cavernous realms. Eerie, but richly organic-flavored ambience is melted with diverse distinguishing industrial and cybernetic fragments, some of them more harmonious while some others more discordant, with 12 minutes the longest composition on "Fimbria". "Substantia Nigra" keeps its synergetic path melting darkly spiraling pads, sparse future-tech elements with the sounds of flowing water. "Echoes" remain in subterranean domains, but comprise a quite hymnic drone. "The Passage", as its title suggests, is a shorter transitional number, where frightening zones are merged with otherworldly voice-like sounds and swirling effects, quite unique piece. "Cosmic Strings" bridge deep drones with various sharp dissonances and low primal rumbles. Again remaining rather sparse and weird, but strongly effective. "Miñaco" attracts with its semi-rhythmed cyberscape, sculpted with razor sharp whip sound effects and distant rumbles and winds. It gets closer to cybernetic-flavored first album "Neurotransmitters". And this future-tech sound can be explored also through "Amalgam", a composition of hazed, but vibrant technoscape crossed with cyber noises. However, "Katabatic Wind" quickly soars to wondrous primordial worlds with graciously floating and pleasantly soothing dreamscapes. A truly immersing composition, which grows on me with every repeated listen. The title composition "Fimbria" unfolds with the interplay of denser, high-tech soundscapes and water sound effects, but later cascades into hypnotically coiling and mid-paced, pulsing grooves. Electrifying cyber-tech escapade!!! "The Last Quelonid" integrates again various future-tech effects, rumbles and relaxing nature sounds, surrounded by immense sacral washes with ethereal choir-like essence. "Melted Stone" opens with deeply absorbing atmozones enriched sparkling noises, but the journey is soon stolen by spiraling, crystalline electro pulses, which transform this composition into steadily living and breathing trajectory, masterfully backed by mesmerizingly flowing water soundscapes. Absolutely brilliant finale!!! "Fimbria" is another freshly vital, adventurously sculpted and hauntingly distinctive work by this potential Spaniard, who is not afraid of searching his own pathway. And by the time I am completing these lines, a brand new album "Scotoma" has been released on Altera Orbe, so I really look forward to more exciting endeavors from Landru!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jan 20, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

74


Steve Roach, Byron Metcalf "Tales From The Ultra Tribe" CD

Exactly one year has passed since the phenomenal "Back To Life" 2CD by Steve Roach, which still deeply resonates with me. But now it's time to celebrate another groundbreaker!!! Yes, though this time The Master is joined by his fellow Arizonian shaman Byron Metcalf, a ceremonial and therapeutic guide, for their 6th collaborative project (some of them feature also Mark Seelig and Dashmesh Khalsa), but both artists have joined their forces also on other highly notable works such as both parts of "The Shaman's Heart", three parts of "Fever Dreams", "New Life Dreaming", "Live At SoundQuest Fest"... Profoundly magnificent "Back To Life" symphony is now shifted into a brand new level, a dimension emphasized by Byron's virtuoso performance on various drums, shakers, rattles, udu, clay pots... Steve utilizes various analog and digital synths including Eurorack analog modular, sequencers, drum machines, didge, ocarina and mega waterphone. Yes, their previous mostly tribal shamanistic infused harmony is now bridged with deeply mesmerizing cyber-trance adventures. What a fusion!!! "Setting Forth" fires the journey up with rather more groovier high-spirited hypnotics, with less primal impact, more hidden by cyber-tech bedding. With nearly 14 minutes the longest composition. Psychoactive hybrid of ancient and future, a sonic realm of pure splendor and power, but that's just the beginning!!! "A Noble Direction" kicks and both artists fully unfold their immeasurable wizardry. Vibrant tribal percussions with ultra monstrous beat are backed by flowing and ebbing immense and expressive wide-screen landscapes. And in about the middle of the track this tribal storm calms down and harmonious heartbeat of both shamans can be heard for 10 seconds, then this exciting journey again unwraps all its hyper-active rhythms. A truly mind-transporting experience presenting Steve & Byron at the very top of their creative and visionary capability, a Hall Of Fame cyber-organic sound sculpting!!! Quality pair of speakers or headphones are highly recommended for pure sonic bliss!!! "Midnight Migration" hauntingly blends lazy high-tech grooves with spiraling intense nocturnal soundscapes, later heavier tribals join and guide us deeper into primordial realms. Another brilliant tribal-groovy escapade!!! Illuminative shamanistic percussions lead "The Magma Clan" and remain in breathtakingly monstrous cave domains, perfectly displaying the new sonic terrains explored by these two sound curanderos. Tribal-trance expedition at its most organic, a true shamanistic powerhouse!!! "Road From Here" blasts with more minimal, but hyper kinetic cyber grooves and percussions, here and there joined by heavier tribal drumming. The last quarter slows down a bit and warmer panoramas pervade. "Fire Sky Portal" is surrounded by desert heat and involves array of cyber-tech embellishments, but also earthy infusions. Sparsely layered, but richly shimmering, with 4-plus minutes the shortest number. "Return Of The Dragon Bone Tribe" holds rather minimal signature from its predecessor, again more synthetic flavored than primal, capturing quite hallucinogenic mind-trip with its repetitive electro-organic pulses and breaths. Comforting expansive washes with gently distant grooves blanket the closing piece, "In The Safety Of Travel", along with occasional primordial rumbles appearing towards the end when the journey slowly fades away and reaches the point where all originated. Wow, this is absolutely jaw-dropping listening experience!!! And of course work like this requires appropriate cover artwork, this time Ralph Prata from Bloomingdale, NY, who creates amazing sculptural concrete carvings, has provided stunningly gorgeous images (layout by Sam Rosenthal), exquisitely interacting with Steve's & Byron's extraordinaire cyber-trance-shamanistic performances!!! The limits have been pushed once again, a milestone!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jan 16, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

75


Mathias Grassow "Second Gift Of Life" CD

After more than 20 solo and collaboration albums released on Databloem's sublabel Practising Nature, here comes the premiere solo CD on the main Databloem label, released at December 1st, 2012. As obvious for this German drone virtuoso, his release pipeline is always completely filled, if I am counting correctly, "Second Gift Of Life" might be Mathias' 8th album (including two collaborations with John Haughm and Carsten Agthe) plus one remastered edition ("Himalaya") during the last 12 months. A truly productive year!!! The journey launches with "Primordial", a quite typical drone piece, monotonously ebbing and drifting, wrapped by hissy clouds throughout and flavored by processed flute sounds and mechanized outbursts and breaths. Full immersion guaranteed!!! As mentioned by the artist, this track is based on "Ambience" sessions (the famous "Ambience" album was originally released in 1995). "A Second Of Stillness" is of a heavier and deeper calibre and drifts into gloomier terrains. Endlessly spiraling mysterious dronescape with sacred choir-like obscured mood is precisely bridged with distant subtle tinkles. After about 10 minutes tranquilizing watery sounds join the texture. "Nada Brahma" clocks to nearly 23 minutes and hovers on long static drones, which create deeply hypnotizing feel thanks to its occurring ethereal voice-like character, here and there fragranced with distant factory-like infusions and hisses adding again some haziness to the overall atmosphere of this composition. Quiet and delicate soundscaping with the signature of Mathias Grassow!!! "70's Language Of Time" dives into adventurous terrains with freshly sequenced parts coupled with spooky heavy sacral percussions and assorted expressive female chants, voice samples and rainy sounds. Stunningly colorful, distinctive and evocative sonic escapade presenting The Drone King at his most extraordinary!!! Could be easily compared to some of the secret projects of El Culto clan... And one of the highlights too!!! Immense icy dronescapes invade the closing composition, "Egawen - The End Of The Beginning", tediously flowing and waning, safely guarded by angelic choirs and occasionally enhanced by hauntingly tricky fragments. Masterfully reflective and profoundly mesmerizing journey!!! Databloem's distinctive cover imaging path created by their persistent visual guru Theo Rabou provides another bonus points to this album, a sublimely fitting accompaniment to the music. Once again, Mathias Grassow keeps on exhibiting his infinite drone visionary!!! "Second Gift Of Life" is definitely a vital addition to your massive discography by this enigmatic sound shaman. Superb album!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jan 11, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

76


Aestrata "Beyond The Veil" CDr

Aestrata is the new name of project driven by German drone purveyor Tomas Weiss, at least according to the information I have, because more detailed credits are wrapped by the majestic thick foggy blankets of the stunning cover image by Jesse Harrison. Firstly used as an album title in 2010 in his notable collaboration with another German drone monster, Mathias Grassow. Released at November 2012 as limited edition of 100 pieces on El Culto's Musical Philosophy. Sculpted of four compositions, continually entitled "Beyond I" to "Beyond IV", all clocking between 7 and half and 18-plus minutes. "Beyond I", the shortest piece, unfolds straightly with tranquilly expanding dronescapes. Yes, still quite serene and monotonous, although the dronewall is getting more massive with every minute. Tides of slightly noisier dissonances on the background can be examined as well, but otherwise a truly flatlined drone leads this mind journey. The next composition, the longest one, "Beyond II" is invaded by gracious aerial drifts, slowly expanding into colossal dimensions, which are distinctive characteristic of these Germans. Quite celestial at times with above hovering choir-like washes, but always interacting with evolving drone monstrosity with ever-changing intensity and thickness. Occasionally backed by distant tinkles and swirls. Soundscaping can't be more immersing and transporting like "Beyond II", a truly mind-blowing sonic ecstasy awaits each journeyer!!! "Beyond III" reveals more relieving drifts with slightly mysterious chamber-like feel. But again enriched by few tinkles and futuristic sound injections and breaths. A perfect soundtrack for a free fall dive into giant sinkhole!!! "Beyond IV" strikes immediately with massive shadowy drone, harmoniously and mesmerizingly circling with monochromatic layers. A deeply relaxing finale for my ears!!! "Beyond The Veil" is another absolutely thrilling and rewarding sonic odyssey by one of the most respected drone wizards!!! Not to forget, yesterday Tomas Weiss has just announced the 2nd volume of "Submental" series entitled "Wintersilence", so stay tuned for, this time more tranquil reflections. Also in the pipeline is Emotone project, a collaboration between Tomas Weiss and Tania Giannouli, composer and pianist from Athens, Greece. Join El Culto!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jan 05, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

77
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Catalyst" CDr by Steve Brand
« on: January 04, 2013, 11:49:04 AM »


Steve Brand "Catalyst" CDr

Here is another sonic installment by Steve Brand, released during June 2012 on Relaxed Machinery. A four track album, with track lengths durations between 12 and 18 minutes. "Amniotic Light" ignites the journey with droning intro, but soon serenely spiraling and cascading ethereal reveries can be explored, although quite dissonant with its high-pitched tensions. The interaction between celestially warmer and noisier, nearly hallucinogenic passages is hauntingly pleasant, a sort of sonic chamaeleon, one of the trademarks of Steve Brand. At times spiced by assorted distant primal rumbles, which add a truly mysterious earthy feel. Awesome intro!!! Gongs and ear-tickling percussive sounds on title track "Catalyst" take us to the deep cavern to explore humming drones with watery sounds. Quite monstrous soundwalls in some parts, which are melted with eerie tinkles and all kinds of ghostly and otherworldly rumbles, voices, winds and disruptions. Towards the end slightly more relieving and drifting soundscapes step in, although still massively submerging. A truly magnificent listening experience revealing all the mysteries of these spectacular subterranean passageways!!! "Deep Into It" bridges masterfully frosty drones with charmingly shimmering, slightly nostalgic-infused strings`. Deep and windy minimal drones ebb and flow, occasional lighter, with yearning moments wrapped motifs heat these vast glacial panoramas. But also few tighter disruptive washes appear as well. However, the overall sound is still very compact and harmonizing. This gorgeously peaceful composition unfolds utterly serene and meditative atmospheres. But this quiet majesty overlaps also to the closing, beautifully entitled piece, "The Track Of The Moon On Water". With 18 minutes the longest composition on this journey. Warmly inviting washes, slowly meandering across the immense landscapes continue to soothe the listener's ears. Here and there gently fragranced by cavernous drip-like sounds. Masterfully tranquil conclusion by Steve Brand!!! The entire 63-plus minutes flow together as a whole absolutely magnificent. "Catalyst" is another brilliant work by this, in Roeland Park, Kansas, based sound architect. If I would be in the shoes of a label owner searching for some potential composer working with primordial ambient soundscapes, who is constantly releasing his music on CDr format, Steve Brand would be most likely my first choice!!! And don't forget to give a listen also to the newest works of Steve Brand, entitled "Sunprints" (re-release on Pioneer Light Music) and "Our True Nature" (out on Relaxed Machinery)!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jan 4, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

78


Jeff Pearce "In The Season Of Fading Light" CD

Quite long time has passed since Jeff Pearce's last album "Rainshadow Sky", released back in 2008. But this doesn't mean this ambient guitar virtuoso from West Point, Indiana, was inactive since that. In July 2011 Jeff Pearce has created together with his wife Anastasia a year-long project entitled "Provision Series". During this period Jeff was releasing each month one digital download single with donations to a different charity each month. A truly applauded project of this wonderful person and musician, and his family!!! "In The Season Of Fading Light" CD, packaged in beautiful 4-panel disc eco wallet, was released at the beginning of September 2012 on Jeff Pearce Music and features all 12 singles plus one unreleased track. The album again showcases Jeff's humanitarian dimension, because one dollar of each sold CD is donated to Feeding America. Mostly based on filigree piano performance, the album has a very strong evocative and nostalgic feel and showcase that Jeff Pearce is not only an ambient guitar genius, but also a very accomplished piano player. The portfolio of 13 tracks on the album is quite diverse even if the piano is the leading instrument, but we can hear here and there also peaceful guitar ambience, Jeff's indisputable trademark, along with few tranquil field recordings. The whole album is stunningly beautiful and intimate, with compositions ranging from more serene reveries, through those evoking long forgotten memories to those possessing more euphoric and melodic feel. Quietly meandering, title and opening piece "In The Season Of Fading Light", wonderfully merges sparse reflective piano lead with clouded ethereal guitar washes. Absolutely gorgeous intro!!! "Autumn And Regret II" is hauntingly joyful piano piece and reworked version from the remarkable "Bleed" album, one of my fave albums by Jeff Pearce. "Where All Rivers Begin" and "Harvest Prayer" (the only unreleased composition) masterfully incorporate into expressive piano textures intriguing and absorbing moments of silence. Tranquilly intimate piano on "A Secret For The Moon" with occasional distant dreamy washes is another standout piece!!! "After The Frost" captivates with sorrowful piano, which is later accompanied by immersing electric guitar played by the ebow. Solo piano on "Newfallen" and "Winter Waltz" has a very strong cinematic feel, on the later piece is joined by longing guitar ambience. Without any doubt, both these compositions are pure masterpieces!!! "Almost The Moon II" is another reshaped piano version, this time from "Lingering Light" CD, a beautifully reflective piece. The next composition, "Into Spring", returns to more uplifting mood. "Words From The Rain" are created by heartwarming piano soundscape delicately blanketed by tranquilizing rainy sounds. Pure aural bliss!!! "The Road And The Wind" is again more active while the closing and beautifully entitled "Where All Rivers End" bridges deeply evocative and ruminative piano with gracefully soaring guitar texture. A grand finale and soothing elixir for my ears!!! "In The Season Of Fading Light", 11th solo album by Jeff Pearce, paints hauntingly contemplative sonic landscapes, precisely displayed also by utterly gorgeous cover image by digital art designer Teodora Chinde from Romania. Additional awards also go to Corin Nelsen, Grammy Award winning producer and engineer for the mastering, to Mike Griffin of Hypnos for the graphic design as well as to Philip Aaberg, renowned pianist and composer (recorded for Windham Hill Records), for his lessons. Another amazingly introspective and enchantingly immersing work by Jeff Pearce!!!

Richard Gürtler (Dec 28, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

79


Broken Harbour "The Geometry Of Shadows" CDr

Canadian drone sculptor Blake Gibson known as Broken Harbour, based in Edmonton, strikes once again!!! After successful, self-released "Gramophone Transmissions" album he returns with his third full length work, entitled "The Geometry Of Shadows". This time released during November 2012 under the wings of Relaxed Machinery. The first impression is again very strong, just like with "Gramophone Transmissions" (thanks to the stunning cover images by Polish photo wizard Michal Karcz). For "The Geometry Of Shadows" digipak packaging Blake has teamed with another highly applauded visual designer, Kati Astraeir from Tucson, Arizona. There is no way to go wrong with having giants like these two on your side!!! Okay, let's explore now the interactions with the sonic part. "The Geometry Of Shadows" is comprised of 5 longer pieces, all clocking between 11 and 14 and half minutes. As mentioned by its protagonist, the original material for the album was recorded in late 2009, but later, during 2012, was completely reworked to nowadays shape. The album unveils sharply with abysmally freezing and static drones of "Superluminal", wrapped by icy wind, slowly expanding and diving to the most shadowy realms. A truly mind-bending, mammoth drone odyssey!!! The title composition, "The Geometry Of Shadows", moves towards more minimal, less massive structure with circling mechanical noises and eerie breaths, assorted distant rumbles and dissonances, all hazed by pervaded glitches. "Between The Darkness And The Light" returns immediately into heavier drone territories, sounding the deep, surrounded by high-pitched tinkles, squeaks, swirls and noises. Another mind-blowing sonic adventure, which during the second half gently cascades into circling and immense celestial and cinematic panoramas. Not only a precisely fitting track title, but also a pure sonic bliss by Broken Harbour!!! And it's just amazing how it works together with Kati Astraeir's cover image!!! But the magic continues with "Luminosity". I remember surveying this track for the first time while uploading some of my pictures taken in Krásnohorská Cave and it left me immediately breathless!!! No matter if entitled "Luminosity", Broken Harbour's drone virtuosity was stunningly interplaying with these graciously monumental sceneries and quickly transported me back to these fascinating underground domains. Again flavored here and there by high-pitched infusions. Must be the "Luminosity" that bridges the past and present. What a journey!!! This is Broken Harbour at the top of his craft, at his most intense and colossal!!! The closing composition, "Ansible", merges deep low drones with hummed cybernetic fragments, expanding, flowing and ebbing. It provides a very strong finale of this spectacular listening experience. Even if drone based, still richly illuminating, but always powerfully complex and deeply immersing. Broken Harbour is undoubtedly another enormously vital addition to already impressive Canadian ambient scene, mostly represented by artists from Toronto, London and Vancouver areas. Great stuff, you can be really proud of it, Blake!!! And keep on droning!!! I would like to mention also Peter James and Steve Brand from Relaxed Machinery gang, who are credited for mastering and design. Last but not least, I really hope more artists from Relaxed Machinery roster will consider this way in the future, when it goes to packaging choices. Digipak, CD wallet or standard jewel case packaging looks more challenging!!!

Richard Gürtler (Dec 26, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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