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Topics - richardgurtler

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81


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)

82


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)

83


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)

84
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)

85


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)

86


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)

88


Alpha Wave Movement "Eolian Reflections" CDr

The master of tranquilly illuminating soundscapes, Gregory Kyryluk acting as Alpha Wave Movement, returns again through Darren Bergstein's Periphery label. His first appearance on this label was with his Within Reason project and I must say that "Subtle Shift" was a real masterwork in cyber-tech electronica, in my ears still one of the best 2012 albums. "Eolian Reflections", released at the beginning of September 2012, return to quieter terrains with slowly expanding and panoramic ambience. As usual for this crafted composer, based in Dover, Massachusetts, he delivers highly sophisticated and elegant soundsculpting filled with emotional depth and warm leisure, masterfully evoking barren landscapes. Beautifully entitled "Canyon Reverie" unfolds graciously with serenely floating drifts, showcasing all AWM's trademarks, where sublime and dreamy washes are hauntingly fused with semi-melodic tapestries and crystalline bell tinkles, all together painting a 13-minute long scenery of sheer wonder, majesty and immensity, just like the deep canyons with monumental plateaus, a truly breathtaking spectacles I must say!!! Both, fragile and massive tribal percussions flavor tranquil expanses of "Cliff Dwellers Dominion", with hints of Native American flute ingredients, plus few aboriginal didge snores and barks are ingeniously thrown here and there. Lushly galvanizing and mysteriously absorbing soundscape displaying filigree artistry of its designer, musically superior and deep!!! An immediate Ambient Hall Of Fame candidate!!! "Dune Reflections" are rather minimal, more meditative, enriched occasionally with harmonious sonic outbursts, cavernous rumbles and organic swirls. This composition offers utterly pleasurable and evocative listening experience to mesmerize and sedate each listener. "Full Moon At Window Arch" is another gorgeously entitled composition, precisely portraying the full beauty of nocturnal life of natural wonders like Utah's Window Arches. Again enriched with warmly inviting melodic fragments and ethereal soars, accompanied by captivating tribal pulses and blanketed by warm and lazy desert nightscapes with chirping birds and cicadas. Primordial journey at its most placid!!! "Natural Geometry" unfolds with deep and distant drones, but soon mid-tempo melodies with celestial infusions invade the stage creating the most textured composition on this journey. In the second half some catchy Southwestern-resonant strings join this stunningly adventurous and intriguing tune, painting pictures surrounded by heat and sand, and recalling sceneries of abandoned places of ghost towns. Awesome!!! "The Crossroads Of Time And Silence", the final, 10 and half minutes long piece is carried by sublimely ebbing and flowing dronescapes, always strongly immersing and again cleverly flavored with few more intense bonds, evoking a raw landscape of spectacular beauty and immense power. A perfect way to close!!! Carefully executed "Eolian Reflections" album is another proof of giant talent and potential of Gregory Kyryluk. And another masterpiece after "Subtle Shift"!!! And by the way, when publishing these lines, a brand new release entitled "Exiled Particles Volume I - Archive 1997-2005" has been released on Gregory's own Harmonic Resonance Recordings, so I definitely stay tuned for more of Alpha Wave Movement's highly imaginative soundscapes. This guy definitely deserves so much more than he gets!!!

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

89


Craig Padilla / Zero Ohms "When The Earth Is Far Away" CD

After two highly acclaimed collaborations ("Path Of Least Resistance" in 2005 and "Beyond The Portal" in 2009, the later featuring also Skip Murphy), veteran US drifters Craig Padilla (based in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho) and Richard Roberts aka Zero Ohms (Byhalia, Mississippi) have teamed again, with some help of Skip Murphy (Redding, California), for another graciously floating space exploration, a journey to encounter magnificent emptiness and silence of intergalactic space. Released on Lotuspike during October 2012, the album immediately strikes with the title composition "When The Earth Is Far Away", which masterfully melts Craig Padilla's utterly sublime synth washes and Zero Ohms' woodwind instruments wizardry. The fusion of warm and dreamy electroscapes with soaring and breathing primordial flutes is magically captivating and stunningly panoramic and absorbing. A truly grandiose overture, Maestros!!! Hauntingly immersing electro-acoustic vibrations overlap to the next composition, "Timelessness". With Skip Murphy, who is credited on this one for co-writing and synths, the duo attracts with quietly drifting and ebbing atmozones occasionally interplaying with slightly colossal drone expansions. During its length of nearly 17 minutes, serene piano parts step in here and there, along with sorrowful flute fragments, blanketed by swirling distant tinkles and futuristic sonic sparkles. "Timelessness" is totally awesome, it's tranquilly grandeur and it powerfully exhilarates the synapses of all outer space aficionados!!! Low space rumbles and freezing winds invade "Strange Storms" and drift into breathtakingly mesmerizing intergalactic space realms, colored by celestial harmonic choirs and catchy dissonances to emphasize its unbounded spaciousness. Sonic bliss continues with "Blue Distance", clocking over 12 minutes. Distant rumbles and ethereal voices carry this composition into meandering and waning, warmly inviting, nearly cinematic domain, with slightly nostalgic feel added by murky clouds of touching and evocative flute work. Tranquilizing sea shore waves unfold "Dream Travel" and smoothly transform into deeper circling drone terrains, coupled with lighter, dream-like washes and assorted breaths, swirls and tinkles, all precisely drawn and layered to sculpt a hauntingly aural soundscape, paying a tribute to the bond between the earth and outer space. The closing "Terraforming" (Skip Murphy again appears as guest on synths), with 18 minutes the longest piece, is wrapped by deeper drones, gracefully unfolding and expanding, leaving the infinite shores and entering the gates of the void. Then it swiftly cascades into more relieving and pulsing, sequencer-infused phase interacting with breathy and ethereal flute images, until the earthy field recordings announce the return back home from this amazing interstellar odyssey. Not to forget, Jeff Kowal (artwork) and Ben Cox (mastering) have done great work too, 4-panel eco wallet packaging looks absolutely flawless, there is even a print on both inside pockets!!! "When The Earth Is Far Away" is a must have sonic pearl skillfully merging evocative and magical ancient wind instruments with compelling synth interplanetary panoramas, richly luminous, gigantically fascinating and tranquilly immersing!!! Bravo!!!

Richard Gürtler (Dec 16, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

90
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Gaze" CDr by Joxan Ruiz
« on: December 09, 2012, 09:44:21 AM »


Joxan Ruiz "Gaze" CDr

Spanish label Altera Orbe, run by Ran Kirlian and Landru, keeps on growing, with "Gaze" they introduce a brand new name on their roster, Joxan Ruiz from Madrid. "Gaze" is Joxan's debut work, although he has already appeared in 2011 on Jamendo's download release by Skaven entitled "Divine Intervention", where Joxan appears as guest on didgeridoo and singing bowls. The album launches with "Blue Light", sublimely drifting and sorrowfully cascading primordial soundscape. "Gaze", the title track, meanders towards the sky high realms, with gradual expansions into more massive and intense dronewalls, and backed here and there by hazed cybernetic infusions. "Afterglow" moves in its orbit quite monotonously, along with few more dramatic, but vague intrusions. Beautifully tranquil waves of "Ocean Vibration" are masterfully bridged with gentle cyber grooves and soothing coastal recordings. In the second half distant gauzy tribal beats join this deeply mesmerizing sonic experience, magnífico!!! "Zero Point" enters into more meditative terrains with quietly minimal texture. "Virtual Darkness" unfolds straightly with mysterious drones, enriched by distinctive electro pulses. Both, the darker and the cyber-tech substances are perfectly synapsed into a whole new listening sensibility. Certainly one of the highlights introducing Joxan Ruiz at the top of his artistry!!! The next piece, "Finding The Way", effectively merges the ancient and the modern in slightly discordant way. "Painting Bubbles", one of the shortest tracks on "Gaze", clocking to nearly 3 minutes, is sculpted with minimal warm washes and serenely tinkling sounds evoking upcoming Christmas season. "Hypnos" dives deeply into shadowy subterranean domains, where slow mind-bending drones are spiced by assorted spooky low resonating rumbles and swirls and high-pitched spiraling soars, accomplishing a genuinely trance-inducing atmosphere. Cavernous rumbles lead "Sirenis", the longest composition getting over 10 and half minutes, which flows on minimal, meditative waves coupled also with various crystalline tinkles. Another deeply primordial focused soundscape. "Alpha" immediately returns into monotonous and monstrous drone scenario, again blended with assorted distant noises and sharper cyber-electro-organics. The drones graciously glide throughout and expand into hugely immense panoramas, ranging from more intense and cinematic to more sublime and relieving. Another standout piece, a pure, 10-minute sonic bliss!!! 2 minute long outro "Gone From Here" is sculpted with expressive solo piano. A fairly colorful and distinctive debut by this Spaniard and a perfect addition to Altera Orbe's portfolio. Fellow countrymen Ran Kirlian and Max Corbacho are responsible for the mixing and mastering duties. If you like a wealthy mixture of mysterious dronescaping and few hypnotic cyber-tech escapades, you will enjoy "Gaze"!!! Joxan Ruiz has a quite big collection of flutes and as a member The International Native American and World Flute Association, I am sure he has a lot to offer within the fusion of ancient flutes and electronic sound design.

Richard Gürtler (Dec 09, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

91


Tony Gerber & Paul Vnuk Jr. "City Skies 2011" CDr

City Skies is an electronic music festival organized yearly by Jim Combs and his team in Kavarna (I like so much that name, I guess it's taken from Czech word "Kavárna" which means café or coffee house) located in Decatur, Georgia, USA. Always focusing on the best US electronic musicians, covering styles such as ambient, downtempo chillout, Berlin school, electropop, IDM, space rock, experimental... 4th Annual City Skies Festival at April 29th & 30th, 2011 has brought together on the stage two veteran ambient sculptors. "City Skies 2011", released on SpaceForMusic.com Records, is the result of strongly evocative sonic dialogue between Tony Gerber from Nashville (also recording as Spacecraft, Cypress Rosewood), who belongs to respected multi-instrumentalists (electronics, flutes, guitars...) and Milwaukee's Paul Vnuk Jr. (member of Ma Ja Le), who excels at keyboards, hand and electronic percussion devices. The document stars with "Skytones", which clock to 11 and half minutes and fascinate with primordially charged atmozones, reinforced by the interactions of sublime drifts, evocative flute magics and crystalline and razor sharp tribal percussions. A truly soothing inner journey to calm your body and mind. "Topa" attracts with expressive flute swirls and barks, which are surrounded by distant beats and nature sounds, soon more uplifting tribal drumming join the stage to challenge the flute mastery. A really galvanizing shamanistic adventure!!! "Ulber" rather floats through sky high realms, smoothly meandering from more intense passages to more relieving reveries, flavored by always amazingly evocative flute and enveloped by assorted fragile tinkles. These artistic conversations are deeply immersing, the world of ancient mysteries awaits!!! The next composition, "Kuyn", is invaded by tranquilly plaintive and dreamy ambient guitar, hauntingly beautiful and immensely visualizing!!! The closing track, "Gracious", hits over 17-minute mark and moves, no wonder, graciously through widescreen sonic panoramas, from native-infused to aerially expanding and contemplative. Powerful fusion of ancient flute and gently floating, ruminative ambience with the infusion of wistful strings and gentle tribal drumming. An all-inclusive grand finale!!! "City Skies 2011" invite you to enter into the magnificently tranquil world, where ancient merges with modern, where Tony Gerber and Paul Vnuk Jr. bring to the table the very best of their musicianship. Their mutual standout sound language produces a truly absorbing and mesmerizing electro-acoustic journey!!! I wish I could have been at Kavarna...

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

92
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Quiet Rain" CD by Juta Takahashi
« on: November 29, 2012, 01:08:45 PM »


Juta Takahashi "Quiet Rain" CD

"Quiet Rain" was originally released as CDr version back in 2009 as 6th album by Japanese ambient composer Juta Takahashi, now it returns freshly remastered and released at the beginning of October 2012 as pressed CD on his own Lunisolar Records. I must say I wasn't familiar with the original album, so it was a very nice surprise when "Quiet Rain" has reached my ears. By utilizing analog synthesizers, with Mellotron and acoustic piano, Juta Takahashi has again shaped his album with 4 longer compositions, each clocking just over 15 minutes. "Dawn" unveils with peacefully meandering washes evoking the recall of long-forgotten memories. It's richly emotional and intimate piece with rather amorphous movements. The next composition, "Monochrome Sorrow", drifts within its tranquil realms, but this time having stronger aerial feel, again gliding quite monotonous with interferences of high-pitched intensity. However, these interactions sound hauntingly harmonious and create strong trancelike atmosphere. With title composition "Quiet Rain" Juta Takahashi masterfully immerses each listener deeply into utterly sublime soundscapes sculpted with heavenly choir-like drones, gorgeously fragile piano and soothing rainy sounds. Just imagine sitting under a shelter in a remote forested area and enjoying a quiet misty summer night with pleasantly refreshing natural rhythms of a quiet rain. A haven for everyone tired of the hectic pace of city life. Outdoor gathering at its most captivating, Juta's soundsculpting has never sounded more relaxing and tranquil, bravo maestro!!! It immediately became one of my most fave pieces by Juta Takahashi. The closing track, "The Azure Dragon", moves from state of calm and relaxation into more massive dronewalls, flavored with various sonic dissonances and soaring smoothly through elevated passages, from static and contemplative to more glimmering and intense. "Quiet Rain" is another richly crafted sonic statement by Juta Takahashi, as usual, magnificently balanced and both, powerfully absorbing and profoundly rewarding!!! "Quiet Rain" enters deep into the hope, the sorrow and the pleasure. It gets my highest recommendation for fans of sublime and comforting soundscapes.

Richard Gürtler (Nov 29, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

93


Mathias Grassow "Wisdom Of Fate" 2xCD

June 2012 was definitely a very busy month for both, German drone master Mathias Grassow and Swedish ambitious label gterma, who have released three new titles. I was focusing on "Dämmerung" some months ago, now it's time to deeply immerse into "Wisdom Of Fate" double album, inspired by the Norse mythology as continuing path of aural alchemy explored on "Alchemystery" double album. This first CD is entitled as "Alchemy Suite Part III: The Spring Of Mímir" with seven tracks while the second CD is "Alchemy Suite Part IV: The Well Of Urðr" featuring three longer compositions. The journey begins with "Out Of Time And Mind", a composition sculpted with rather subtly gliding drones blended with slower tribal beats to capture magically aerial and hypnotic mood, which precisely portrays the track title. "Across The Ífingr" is monotonously flowing drone with distant, humming percussive elements. Sharper tribals take the lead on "Knowledge of the Hrímþursar", while tranquilly mesmerizing drifts are hovering above. "The Arcanum Of Jötunheimr" dives straightly into immense abyssal realms, flavored with ghostly dissonances and spellbindingly hypnotic beats. Wow, I am deeply immersed by this, nearly 18 minutes long, richly dramatic subterranean odyssey!!! "Standing Amidst Withering Rocks" quickly returns to more static, mysteriously flavored freezing panoramas. "Gazing Deep into a Void of Eons" is another longer composition, clocking to 17 and half minutes and storming with repetitive and colossal tribal beats along with cascading and expanding dronewalls. The return of the drone king at his most monumental and shamanistic!!! The final piece of "Alchemy Suite Part III: The Spring Of Mímir" entitled "Clarity Of Mind" promptly relieves with beautifully sublime soundscape enriched by sky sailing choirs and serenely tinkling bells. Magically mesmerizing medicine!!!

"Alchemy Suite Part IV: The Well of Urðr" unveils with "That Which Has Already Been", a 28 and half minutes long dronescape, massively drifting into immense Nordic highlands gathered by dark clouds and painting truly spectacular sceneries, ranging from more absorbing monstrous and ever-changing dronezones to more magnificent and rich tribal cascades. Hugely adventurous and immersing all-inclusive sonic bliss, definitely one of the highlights!!! The next piece, "On Fragile Wings Once More Arisen" , is again wrapped by deep drone blankets, but gentle tribal grooves step to the fore here and there. Carsten Agthe adds his percussion magics on this composition, which showcases a harmonious synergy and balance between acoustics and drone expansions. More please!!! The conclusion is provided by "Twisted By The Hand Of Fate", nearly 30 minutes long piece, gliding with ever-changing and increasing grace over forested misty areas with fabulous reflections, with occasional percussive rhythmic ingredients thrown in to capture a fully mesmerizing effect. Another enormously thrilling and intriguing scenario!!!

"Wisdom Of Fate" is again stunningly portrayed by 16-page booklet. Another big one from Mathias Grassow, the iconic German drone purveyor!!! And a big one from gterma too, bravo Johan!!!

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

94


The Circular Ruins "The Birth Of Tragedy" CDr

DataObscura's driving force Anthony Paul Kerby, aka APK, has returned at the beginning of September 2012 with a brand new offering by one of his projects, The Circular Ruins, entitled "The Birth Of Tragedy". His other two solo projects include Nunc Stans (last album "Peninsula" released in December 2011) and Lammergeyer (last album "Beginning To End" released in May 2009). Anthony Paul Kerby belongs to the most active composers within the ambient genre with over 30 albums on his credit, including some collaborations with artists such as Tomas Weiss, Mystified, Jonathan Block, and Off The Sky. Most of these works were published on his own DataObscura and Blue Oasis labels, a few exceptions include labels like Databloem, Gears Of Sand, In The Bubble Music, Musical Philosophy and Construct.

Okay, let's focus on "The Birth Of Tragedy". The album unfolds with the darker "Setting Out Alone", which takes the listener straight into a misty forest to explore a richly sculpted and ever-changing, slightly dramatic lyrical soundscape, enveloped by hissy breaths. Eerie rumbles navigate "For All Our Days" into a shadowy cave, blessed with spectacular sonic formations, roars and tinkles, and saturated by breathtakingly evocative angelic, nearly sacral choirs, which give to this composition a brand new dimension. This is the longest piece of the journey, clocking to nearly 9 minutes. It's deeply mysterious, yet still safely traversing through gloomy ambient sceneries. Awesome!!! "Simple Truths", on the contrary, is the shortest composition, and moves to more minimal and mournful terrains. "The Birth Of Tragedy", the title track, gets back into a droning path, colored with piano fragments, evoking sadly beautiful nostalgic memories and again submerged into abandoned subterranean spaces. "Displaced" consists of 4 parts, clocking between 4.5 and 8 minutes. Part 1 is more static, droney, glitchy, painting stunningly panoramic landscapes, always flickeringly evolving and warmly expanding into deeply immersing and richly intense cinematic aural bliss, wow!!! This distinctive sonic pleasure continues also throughout Part 2, on which some piano parts step in to reach a slightly more relieving phase, those hissy sounds are less intense, although there is a lot of happening on the background. This is certainly another exquisitely layered composition showcasing APK's wizardry for sound sculpting, where he is not afraid of using a broad palette of catchy colors. And these colors keep on spreading, because Part 3 attractively merges windy drones with sorrowful cello sounds and cavernous rumbles. Some strange voices appear on the back, and hissing noise is again more apparent. Another winner!!! Part 4 attracts at the beginning with hints of gently tinkling tribals, soon followed by rather rougher dronewalls, again hazed throughout by various glitches, cicadas and distant sound effects and outbursts, and closing with crystalline tinkles. Sonic adventure at its most intricate!!! The next piece, "Gathering Lost Things", continues without hissy blankets, but with a slightly more experimental, mechanized touch, immersed into subterranean mysteries. "Q.E.D." dives straight into pulsing, high-tech dreamy sequencer-driven terrains, beautifully melodic and majestically expanding, mingled with sharper mechanized clacks and occasionally enriched with voice samples and rawer swirls. After nearly 9 minutes it brings the album safely to its finale. APK has ventured with "The Birth Of Tragedy" into a wide variety of textures, and on first listening it might be a bit disrupting, but repeated explorations reveal, surprisingly enough, continuity in APK's sonic reflections. Constantly filled with a quite innovative approach, never boring, and always fully entertaining, adventurous and absorbing, "The Birth Of Tragedy" will for sure please all followers of DataObscura, or all of you who enjoy trips into uncharted territories.

Richard Gürtler (Nov 18, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

95


Casi Cada Minuto "In White Rooms" CD

Slovak ambient waters are still quite shallow, fortunately thanks to acts such as Strom Noir and now Casi Cada Minuto, they are brightly shimmering. Yes, after Strom Noir here comes another promising, one-man project by Slavo Herman, acting as Casi Cada Minuto. "In White Rooms" is his debut album, released during October on Slovak Exitab label, releasing various genres like experimental, glitch, dubstep, ambient, IDM... Attractive CD wallet design and CD print is the first bonus here, executed by COFO alias Jozef Tušan. Nice work!!! Let's explore now Slavo's soundsculpting. The album opens with droney "Milk (Feat ::.: )", colored by various mechanized glitches, voices, with few distant dubstep-like fragments thrown in. Rather experimental and rawer batch of intense sounds dominate the forefront, while quietly mysterious and immensely gliding deep low dronescapes are breathing on the background. Have no idea who is hidden behind ::.:, however this is a very strong introduction of Casi Cada Minuto!!! "Hibiki" is immediately invaded by enormously relieving crystalline bell tinkles, joyfully swirling and pulsing around my ears, along with serenely spreading atmozones and few softly disrupting samples (maybe processed seagull calls or children's voices?). Rather minimal in its structure, but tremendously effective. Wow, I am deeply fascinated by this magnificently hypnotic composition!!! "Daysaver", according to Slavo's words is one of his older tracks, presented on his concerts 3-4 years ago. It keeps its trance-like mood from its predecessor, this time with sublime panoramic enchantment and bridged with assorted glitches, factory-like sounds, snaps and cracks. "Waves" unfold with circling drone, that is soon joined by nearly hallucinogenic voice transmissions and tinkles. Femme wordless voice by Mallory Knox steps in and strengthen this truly mindscaping journey. "Chievo", the shortest piece on album clocking to 3 and half minutes, moves smoothly into richly nostalgic terrains, again wrapped by the fog of experimentally infused voice fragments. "Lies & Goodbyes" unveil with lush, dreamlike intro, but soon sneaks through thicker and intense passage into more emotionally driven part highlighted by expressively poignant and sorrowful violin by Slavo's guest, Pavol Matej. The synergy between acoustics and electronics couldn't have been more efficient and alluring. Masterful outro, guys!!! "In White Rooms" album is glimmeringly cascading musical kaleidoscope, yet still enough distinctive and harmonious, filled with hidden surprises and treasures, surely a recording with many rewards. Very nice debut, Slavo!!! And don't be afraid of taking longer journey than 41 minutes only...:-)

Richard Gürtler (Nov 18, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

96
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Nest" CD by Robert Rich
« on: November 11, 2012, 10:35:23 AM »


Robert Rich "Nest" CD

This album was firstly announced by Robert Rich on his website at the end of August and by his words it reminded him the place he was about 30 years ago when recording works like "Trances/Drones" or "Inner Landscapes". My jaws dropped immediately, I was counting every day and couldn't wait to explore the next chapter of Robert's more atmospheric fragranced works. Inspired by the natural wonders during Robert's Australian Tour in January/February 2012, "Nest" unfolds with utterly tranquil ambience "Memories Of Wandering, Part 1", precisely bridging wonderfully captivating nature sounds with pristine and luscious piano and trademarking, quietly soaring flute-like sounds. Symphony of chirping bird sounds with gentle rain drops with Robert's virtuosity immerses immediately each listener into dense forest, and even if the night falls, this scenery is absolutely beautiful and contemplative. This peaceful sonic postcard overlaps also to the second part of "Memories Of Wandering", this time less organic, but still deeply soothing with quiet interplay of piano and washes, safely guarded by intangible choirs. This magically colorful sonic stillness holds each journeyer in highly relaxed frame of mind. Amazing flute wizardry invades "Seeking Eden", it's mysteriously yearning and primordial and is as good as anything Robert has recorded with this ancient wind instrument. Hauntingly evocative landscapes are explored through this powerfully distinctive electro-acoustic fusion. "Moss Carpet, Sky Blanket" dives deeply into subterranean realms with gently tinkling bells supported by deeper hissy natural soundscapes and masterful lap steel guitar techniques, sounding nearly like some voice roars. This is Robert Rich at his best and most meditative!!! The next composition, "Generosity Of Solitude", is again divided in two parts, clocking over 8 and 11 minutes. The first part, with piano, drones and occasional bells, is again wrapped by hissy blankets. A quite minimal and silent piece, but incredibly intimate and reflective, and enormously soothing. The second part keeps on the minimal, but effective route, where hazy nature sounds appear rather sporadically, with sparse piano textures interplaying with serenely expansive drones and soaring flute sounds, deeply immersing and bringing back nostalgic moments. Few distant, sort of thunder-like disruptions attractively color this piece as well. Meditative bell sounds and deep drones announce "The Gate Is Open", but soon cinematic drifts along with expressive lap steel guitar artistry join the stage for another highly distinguishing and intense listening experience, a journey showcasing extraordinary innate ability and perfection. "Memories Of Home" get close to 14-minute mark and close this triumphant performance with another expertly harmonizing mixture of piano, drones and flutes, surrounded by a tranquil atmosphere of cicadas and raindrops. "Nest" is musically beautiful and utterly captivating, accomplishing highly sophisticated balance between instrumentation and field recordings. "Nest" will resonate in my ears for many more hours. And my eyes are delighted again thanks to the gorgeous artwork by John Bergin, frequent designer of Robert Rich's releases. "Nest" is an essential listening for any quiet activity and another virtuoso performance by Robert Rich, one of the giants of the genre!!!

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

97


Bruno Sanfilippo "Piano Textures 3" CD

The third installment of "Piano Textures" has became a reality during September 2012. I won't say anything new when describing Bruno Sanfilippo, in Argentina born, but residing in Barcelona, Spain, as one of the leading figures of the ambient movement in Europe. Released not only as a solo digipak CD, but also as one third of elegantly packaged "Piano Textures" Box Set along with digipak reissues of previous two chapters, "Piano Textures 1" and "Piano Textures 2". Looking for some nice collector's item? This might be one of your choices for sure!!! Anyway, let's explore now the atmospheres of "Piano Textures 3", which consists of 8 parts entitled "Piano Textures". The album unfolds soothingly with minimal, but expressive piano tune backed by captivating natural sounds of bird calls or cow bells. It's no secret that Bruno Sanfilippo is enormously gifted piano player, who studied at The Galvani Conservatory in Buenos Aires with a degree in musical composition. And Bruno Sanfilippo truly excels at his filigree piano playing!!! "Piano Textures 3 II" is deeply intimate and evocative composition hazed by the clouds of profound sadness and nostalgia. Deliberately serene and touching!!! Warm piano ambience invade "Part III" and floats smoothly through various passages, ranging from more melodious and illuminating to more quiet and contemplative with strong cinematic feel, what a beauty!!! "Part IV" blends euphorically swirling phases with more intense, throughout saturated by distant natural sounds. Beautifully sad "Part V" immerses deeply each listener with its emotionally rich piano texture, weeping cello sounds and tranquil ocean waves, at the end joined by child's voices. This composition impresses utterly with its nostalgia, intimacy and warmness. Long forgotten memories are awakening, another masterpiece!!! Beautifully relaxing moods are all over the next piece, "Part VI", this time restful and fragile piano is strongly flavored by myriad of forest birds chirping and few kids voices and dog barks. When absorbed by this composition, naturally colored "BIOMA" comes to my mind. Towards the end few harsher scrapings à la "Urbs" appear as well. And some of these sharper outbursts and low deep sounds can be explored also on "Part VII", with sort of cacophonous intro that is soon softened by euphorically shimmering and lush piano. I like so much the interplay of harsher and velvety parts, it might sound quite perplexing, but the overall feel remains always very sensitive and poignant. Sparsely elegant and strikingly picturesque piano texture of "Part VIII" is again carefully enriched by few nostalgic cello sounds to complete this grand finale composition. Freely meandering and dreamlike, absolutely gracious and gorgeous!!! "Piano Textures 3" is a lyrical performance at its most virtuoso!!! It's absolutely thrilling to witness how Bruno Sanfilippo demonstrates his amazing versatility within ambient genre, always marked with highly sophisticated approach and equipped with massive potential. Just take into account, for example, his last five releases, "Piano Textures 3", "Urbs", "BIOMA" (with Max Corbacho), "Subliminal Pulse" and "CROMO" (with Mathias Grassow). Without any doubt, he is one of the giants in the genre, a composer of great artistry and talent, because otherwise he wouldn't be able to reach this challenging and refined quality. Bravissimo, Maestro, and muchas gracias for all your sonic pearls, I am deeply honored to collect them!!!

Richard Gürtler (Nov 03, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

98


Soriah with Ashkelon Sain "Eztica Tour Collection" CDr

"Eztica Tour Collection" CDr was self-released by the band as a limited edition in attractive eco wallet to support their 2012 summer tour mostly through US west coast. Since I am living far away in Central Europe, I immediately started to hunt for this rare item, because I really can't imagine missing this beauty. Yes, since exploring "Atlan" CD and numerous pictures and videos from spectacular live shows that followed, I was always dreaming about seeing these, Portland based guys live. Unfortunately, my dream didn't come true yet, but "Eztica Tour Collection" brings me very close. "Atlan" was a big revelation and "Eztica" only confirmed the huge potential of the kindred synergy between Soriah and Ashkelon Sain. Of course I must add this live gang features except Soriah (voice, instruments) and Ashkelon Sain (guitar, keyboards) also Jonathan Howitt (percussion, drums), Marshal Serna (keyboards, percussion) and Daniel Henderson (drums, gong). "Eztica Tour Collection" is a collection of 9 tracks, recorded during September 2011 in four different venues in Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose and Hollywood. "Nica Anahuatl" ignites the show with rather rawer and mysterious, mostly percussive-infused mood with shamanistic wordless vocals that perfectly paint the atmosphere of the whole set. Tranquil flute opens "Tonacayotica", but soon Ashkelon's sharp guitar riffs and vibrant drumming steal the show, soon followed by Soriah's impressive vocals. The next track is comprised of "Ticochitlehua" and "Eztica", where the first half is more primordial and cacophonous with Soriah's prayers. The second part kicks right away with highly infectious blend of Soriah's throat magics, explosive percussions, warmly drifting washes and erupting guitar by Ashkelon. The first absolute highlight is here and the stage is on fire!!! But that's just the beginning, because "Cehui" follows and that's a true Hall Of Fame track since the very first day I explored it on "Atlan"!!! And yes, also the live version is as much magical as its studio version. Soriah's fascinating voice palette magnificently interplays with gentle tribal drumming and tinkles and surrounded by deeply immersing background atmozones. A truly shamanistic and blissful journey!!! "Iix" is invaded by electrifying guitars, perfectly blended with expressive voices, evocative soundscapes and raw, high-pitched percussions assaulting my eardrums. And filled with stirring energy and infectious melodies. Another stunning live track!!! The next piece "Aldan Ool" features solo throat singing by Soriah and this piece is dedicated to Aldyn-ool Sevek, a prominent Tuvan throat-singer and one of the masters of Soriah, who died 10 days before this piece was performed in San Francisco. "Xopancuicatl" is the most melodic piece here with a very tranquil and heartwarming melodies, catchy tribals and tinkling percussions and Soriah's raw voice magics. Absolutely phenomenal!!! But most likely I will be speechless shortly, because another milestone comes. Yes, "Xiuhcoatl" was one of the highlights on "Eztica" and this live version is no exception. Just like on "Cehui", Soriah's voice works here as another instrument brilliantly merged with leading razor sharp percussions and backed by cinematic atmospheres. Undoubtedly another virtuoso performance!!! But Soriah keeps on excelling with his throat wizardry also on the closing "Atlan" piece, which masterfully fuses exotic strings with panoramic drifts and hard-hitting drums. Deeply mysterious "Atlan" is a finale of high caliber!!! Soriah with Ashkelon Sain and their live crew showcase on "Eztica Tour Collection" all their talent, passion, chemistry, nuance and musicianship in galvanizing and breathtaking live action, I am dying to see them live one day!!!

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

99
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Continuum" CDr by Ran Kirlian
« on: November 01, 2012, 04:34:03 AM »


Ran Kirlian "Continuum" CDr

Busy release schedule of Altera Orbe label has brought to us during June 2012 another thrilling release by Ran Kirlian, in Castellón, Spain based ambient sculptor, entitled "Continuum". As indicated by its title and really gorgeous cover images, Ran Kirlian this time, when comparing with his previous "Dissolution" album, ventures into profoundly celestial domains. All tracks on "Continuum" were recorded during the period 2005-2010. Ultra deep drone wizardry is immediately unveiled on "Amos Neheran Arr", rather shorter invitation to take absolutely spectacular journey to leave the Earth's surface. "Apeiron" continues on enormously transporting continuous flow of stellar dronescapes precisely embellished by assorted industrial and organic rumbling sounds. Ran Kirlian offers here a truly mindscaping sonic odyssey, the gates to The Void are unlocked!!! The next composition, "Ikuinen Mitätön", slowly expands into more massive wall of drones, graciously drifting through spacial emptiness. English translation from Finnish is "Eternal Void", this is another precisely fitting track title. "Messier 83" enters into slightly more quiet spaces with conspicuously swirling washes with heavenly choirs. The title composition, "Continuum" is the longest piece on this journey, getting over a 15-minute mark. It glides colossally through smoothly expanding subtlety and stillness and captures immensely beautiful dimensions. "Stella Ignea" clocks over 10 minutes and dives promptly into more monumental soundworlds, flavored with various high-tech fragments and metallic rumbles. Another hugely visualizing and immersing listening experience!!! "Órbita" returns to rather tranquil and organic soundscaping, quite cinematic, although the end of the track progresses into more massive and intense passages. "Momentum" closes this voyage with another batch of monstrously invasive and evolving, nearly otherworldly dronescapes, lasting 13 minutes. If you prefer your intergalactic voyage darker than the darkest and deeper than the deepest, then "Continuum" is made just for you!!! And by the time I am posting this review, a new album by Ran Kirlian "Formations" is available via Altera Orbe, so stay tuned...

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

100
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Sense" CDr by Radiant Mind
« on: October 28, 2012, 06:44:59 AM »


Radiant Mind "Sense" CDr

Radiant Mind is a brand new name on the growing roster of sympathetic and supportive US label Periphery, run by highly acclaimed Darren Bergstein and released during July 2012. My eyebrows were raised immediately after announcing this release and of course I couldn't miss the fact that Steve Roach is handling production, final arrangements and mastering job. Enough said!!! The sole protagonist behind Radiant Mind is Robert Englis. Even if "Sense" marks his first release, according to Steve Roach's website, he was creating electronic music for many years, but without any public exposure. As usual for all later Periphery releases, "Sense" album comes in limited edition of 50 copies, packaged in round tin with window, displaying the print on CDr. The intro, entitled "Inner Dimension" , is provided by rather deeper primordial and eerie drones, which after 3 minutes smoothy dives into brightly illuminating cyber groove escapade enriched here and there by razor sharp outbursts. Wow, this is a deeply mesmerizing cyber-electro-organic adventure and awesome introduction of Radiant Mind. After the first 8-plus minutes of "Sense" I can only confirm that it's a pity Robert Englis wanted remain unrecognized with his previous projects. However, it's much better late than never, right? The first part of three title pieces, "Sense One", kicks my ears immediately with highly kinetic locomotor electro-rhythms, backed by celestial drifts and cascading through various passages, ranging from briskly electrifying to more serenely pulsing and amorphously transporting. "Sanctuary In Light" unveils directly with dreamy and heartwarming washes, carefully flavored by assorted fragile tinkles, and paints purely tranquil and expansive images with ethereal choir-type sound graciously hovering above. This sonic warmth overlaps to the next composition, "Sense Two", which blends mid-tempo sequences with spacemusic washes, all delicately sweeping and flowing into hauntingly evocative vast open panoramas. "Sense Three" keeps on the celestial route, again attractively fragranced with swirling radiance with pleasantly hymnic and stargazing soundscapes and heavenly choirs. "Reaching The Beyond" strikes right away with its elegantly futuristic and shimmering heartbeats, which are magnificently interacting with gently gliding spacy washes. Moving from vibrant to serenely drifting passages, but always rich in depth and spaciousness. Purely synthetic, trance-like ecstasy is guaranteed!!! "Radiant Mind" is the closing and longest piece on "Sense", clocking to nearly 23 minutes. It explores slowly expansive sublime, almost cinematic realms, which are in some phases supported by pristine, but vaguely tribal electro pulses, dizzily orbiting around listener's ears. The second half flows rather peacefully, here and there enriched by few more noisier dissonances, before fading away into eternal silence. A truly intriguing cyber kaleidoscaping finale!!! "Sense" is a very strong release by Radiant Mind and even if it doesn't break any grounds like "Blood Machine" for example, I will make sure to keep my eyes and ears on this project. The person of Robert Englis still remains a mystery to me, so the more I am looking forward to his future sonic adventures. And big thanks to Darren Bergstein of Periphery for bringing Radiant Mind to light!!! And by the way, when checking now "Sense" CDr on Periphery, I see the physical copies are sold out already, but few copies might be still available from Steve Roach's webstore.

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


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