« on: November 05, 2014, 10:23:42 AM »
John Sobocan "A Soft Circle" CD
Although I am quite familiar with The Ambient Ping community, which is mostly based in Toronto, I can't remember crossing the name of John Sobocan. It seems like this Torontonian soundscaper, with family origins in Slovenia, prefers to work rather surreptitiously. So when his album, "A Soft Circle", was released on Dutch label Databloem at the end of 2012, I didn't pay enough attention to it. And that was a quite big mistake on my side!!! Fortunately, about one and half year later I was able to correct my fault and explore this little gem, thanks a lot to Dennis/Databloem for the second chance!!! Well, I also must reveal that John Sobocan is most likely better known under his artistic moniker Bubble, but no matter if John Sobocan or Bubble, his soothingly embracing soundscapes deserve to be explored!!! As usual for Databloem's uniformed cover design and packaging strategy, Theo Rabou makes sure to deliver his visual artistry.
7-minute "Free" unfolds the journey with enigmatically meandering and reverberating soundscape, reinforced by some sparse and gentle cyber-tech subtleties and intangible oscillations. Magnificently mindscaping opening!!! "A Castle", announced by ethereal choir-like drone, keeps on mysterious path, again masterfully sculpted with mesmerizingly resonant, yet exquisitely transporting layers. Serenely gliding through hauntingly expressive minimalism, what a grace!!! "Silence" invades with its richly organic texture, chirping, hissing, grumbling, encircling, immersing, tranquilizing!!! Poetically entitled "Leaves On A Forest Floor" safely remains in this nocturnal paradise, where ear-tickling environments meticulously amalgamate with enchanting drone wizardry and rumbling distant thunderstorm. Warmly diminishing nuances toward the end bring this composition into utterly gorgeous quietude. And that's where the next piece, "A Path", continues. Gracefully drifting into serenely surrounding organic stillness. And the sounds of, I believe, knocking woodpecker just fit marvelously. An ultimate sonic elixir!!! "Enoch" merges tastefully trumpet-like groans with acoustic strings, piano fragments, drones and hazy tinkles. Warmly wistful and expansively balsamic!!! "Ohms" quietly returns into reverberating drone terrains, enriched by assorted traceries, some more lighter, velvety, some others swirly dissonant. A quite mind-blowing track. The next piece, "Secret Giants", is more tight and eclectic, with some ghostly voices guarding above and continuously permeated with strangely undulating hissy harshness. "A Boat", the longest piece clocking to nearly 8 minutes, shifts back into amply flavored environments. An array of calmly luminous tinkles is fastidiously coalesced with lush natural sounds, sibilant consonances and all wrapped by poignantly yearning blankets. Shorter "Rove", although sounding slightly tumultuous, dwells in terrains abundant in natural beauty and wildlife. Brief, but spellbindingly absorbing and delicately incongruous!!! "Orange Sky And The Mountain" stays on freshly colored trails, while straying through spectacular traverses and exploring contemplative vistas. The closing composition, "Garden", invites the listener to experience the peace and tranquility of the landscape that can be easily a Japanese garden for example. Led by the play of crystalline clinks and field recordings and backed by vague gong-like sounds. Captivating aural symmetry and balmy, deeply meditative conclusion!!!
John Sobocan is a very crafted soundcarver, who offers through "A Soft Circle" album nearly 70 minutes long collection of enchantingly transporting sonic reveries, which will gently surround you not only during your relaxation, but also during your deep listening sessions with your headphones on. Huge amount of richly rewarding details awaits, no matter if soothingly unobtrusive or intriguingly transcendent. John Sobocan is definitely a very nice revelation for my ears!!! Not to forget, album credits include also three guest musicians with not specified roles, Bonnie Blue, Gretchen Hewitt and Ted Moniak. Kudos also to Dennis Knopper of Databloem for releasing this album!!! Most recently, newest "OI" CD by Bubble is out since September 2014 in limited edition on Carpe Sonum Records. And besides that, Bubble has available a fairly extensive digital discography on Bandcamp. So I strongly recommend you to keep an eye and ear on this gifted guy, it's worth your effort!!!
Richard Gürtler (Nov 02, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)