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81
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)

82


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)

83
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)

84


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)

85


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)

86


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)

87
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)

88


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)

89


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)

90
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)

91
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)


92


Steve Roach "Day Out Of Time" CD/DVD

Firstly published as two separate releases, "Time Of The Earth" DVD in 2001 on Projekt and "Day Out Of Time" CD in 2002 on Timeroom Editions. Now this deluxe CD/DVD edition, repackaged for its 10th anniversary and released on Projekt during June 2012, brings together for the first time two masterworks, deep sonic explorations of the desert Southwest by Steve Roach and Steve Lazur's unique visual odyssey through remote and immense panoramas of these spectacular territories. "Day Out Of Time" is comprised of tracks from various albums and compilation appearances, all deeply influenced by some of the most enigmatic wonders created by the Mother Nature. The first impression of this CD/DVD edition with 4-panel double disc eco wallet with 8-panel fold out insert is absolutely breathtaking thanks to the stunning cover image by Jim Stimson and beautiful cover concept by Steve Roach and design by Sam Rosenthal. Definitely an "all-inclusive" package that immediately strikes with utterly immersing soundscapes of the opening piece "Underground Clouds" (edit taken from "Atmospheric Conditions" album), masterfully melting slightly dramatic, but deeply organic ambience with few tribal groove fragments. Next two tracks, "Begins Looking Skyward" and "Walking Upright" (edit), are from "Early Man", one of my all-time fave works by Steve. Prehistoric tonalities are joined by subtle, slowed-down tribal pulses. Incredibly transporting experience awaking all ancient mysteries and presenting Steve Roach at his most cavernous!!! "This Life" (edit from "Floatation" compilation), scuplted with deep drones and tribal vapors, unfolds all secrets of fascinating subterranean domains. Another brilliant performance!!! Edit "The Dreamer Descends" is selected from the famous Amplexus three inch CD editions and cascades through various terrains, blending magnificently evocative soundscapes with slower tribal drumming, flute magics and other native instruments. Sonic adventure at its most magical!!! Shorter edit, "True West" (again from "The Dreamer Descends"), shifts quickly into heavier tribal terrains and precisely captures the magic of these beautiful landscapes. Edit "The Holy Dirt" brings back all memories of exciting collaborations with unforgettable Jorge Reyes, when melting desert ambience with distant gentle percussions and shamanistic chants. A truly intoxicating journey, the epigraph "The Music Is The Medicine" from "Vine ~ Bark & Spore" lives forever just like Jorge's aura!!! With "Merciful Eyes", originally released on "A Storm Of Drones" mega 3CD compilation, Steve offers here his heavy drone escapade, attractively enriched by few eerie dissonances, before smoothly entering into expansive cinematic realms supported by primordial tinkles. The next composition, "Two Rivers Dreaming" (edit from "Atmospheric Conditions"), remains within deeper, dronescaping terrains with organic rumblings, while the following one, "The Eternal Expanse", is a shorter version of the graciously floating piece from "The Ambient Expanse", a five-movement collaborative work. This is definitely one of the most tranquil pieces I have ever heard by Steve Roach, serenely drifting into immense realms of pure sonic bliss!!! A composition filled with eternal beauty and exquisite monumentality!!! It holds the signature that is only The Master!!! And these vaporously sweeping cloudscapes overlap also to the grand finale that is provided by "The Return", a piece with softly floating and cascading massive washes, which are precisely alternated with moments of silence. No wonder, "The Return" was the closing composition also on "Dreamtime Return" 2CD, a recording that has redesigned the history of ambient music. The selection of all tracks is just amazing, maybe I could imagine on this CD also some track from "Dust To Dust" album, another unique westward milestone, even if it might be rather more rawer and less compact with the rest of selected desertscaping compositions. Perhaps "First Sunrise" or "Lost And Forgotten"? But this is not a weak point, not at all!!!

The visual part of this edition, "Time Of The Earth", features 77 minutes of deeply immersing and mesmerizing images by Steve Lazur, constructed of time lapse, slow-motion and real time techniques, counting three years of filming some of the most spectacular gifts of the nature. All magnificently melted with Steve Roach's sonic mastery and exploring all ancient mysteries of these utterly amazing territories. Now you can even compare your own imagination, when journeying with Steve Roach's music, with the footage filmed by the amazing eye of Steve Lazur. How does look your nature's palette? Besides "Time Of The Earth" you can find on the DVD, as optional audio track 2, the long form piece "The Dream Circle", sculpted with warmly breathing organic soundscapes. It was originally released in 1994 and reissued in 1999.

Both, Steve Roach and Steve Lazur, have captured the remarkable natural beauty of the incredible rock sculptures, desert vastness and cloud formations with all their mastery, this anniversary edition is simply a must have!!! And no matter if you own the original separate editions. Everyone involved in this project did a really fantastic work, thanks a lot, including Roger King for mastering and Linda Kohanov for liner notes!!!

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

93
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Apeiron" CDr by Proton Kinoun
« on: September 30, 2012, 09:27:12 AM »


Proton Kinoun "Apeiron" CDr

The sole protagonist behind Proton Kinoun project is Danish psychedelic trance producer Kasper Weensgaard, who is, I suppose, better known under his alias Psylent Buddhi. My knowledges about goa/psy trance movement are non-existing, so most likely "Apeiron" would pass my target, but fortunately I was pointed to Proton Kinoun's way by my very good friend "sonic-hypnosis" (big thanks to you again, Karel!!!). Originally released as 6-track download release in January, 2008, by Kasper Weensgaard, later, in November, 2009, reissued and remastered with bonus track and new artwork by Canadian Omnitropic label, a downtempo/ambient sub-label of Ektoplazm, a big netlabel and distributor of psytrance music. Even if Kasper's soundworlds are rooted to psytrance realms, Proton Kinoun is slightly "different cup of tea", it dives deeply into highly illuminating and hyper kinetic ambient soundscaping and missing this gem would be definitely a crucial mistake on my side. "Apeiron" strikes directly with absolutely stunning artwork of Orion Nebula images, created by Alexander Synaptic, in Toronto based visual and sound designer, the guy behind Ektoplazm, who is also acting as DJ Basilisk. And soon the visuals are precisely bridged by Kasper's exquisite soundsculpting on "Skyward Dreams", when entering into deeply droning magnificent and transporting sonic panoramas. Breathtaking celestial sceneries are masterfully explored and showcase enormous potential of Kasper Weensgaard!!! All kinds of questions are arising... Where does this guy comes from? What is his main project? After exploring the first track, I can only hardly imagine that Proton Kinoun is his, let's say "side-project" only... Answers to these questions remain a mistery to me... "Silver Satellite" fuses expertly immersing zones with pulsing cyber-tech grooves, this ever-changing and expanding blend is absolutely filigree, a truly virtuoso, 12 minutes long, cybernetic adventure!!! "Peripheral System" returns quickly to highly atmosphetic spheres, where utterly sublime drifts invade the space along with tranquil organic fragments. Proton Kinoun keeps on rolling!!! As indicated by its title, "Stars Wobbling...'', spectacular star gazing continues, but soon cascades into hyper active electro rhythm passages, even if always safely guarded by lush skyscaping washes. The interaction between sharper pulses and graceful atmozones is just amazing here!!! This is the sound of cybernetic bliss!!! The next composition, "...Life's Bubbling", clocks to 10 and half minutes and slowly unfolds through slightly massive, but delicate drifts and progresses into crystalline and vibrant electro pulses and swirls. The journey culminates and each listener is transported into pure sonic trance!!! Another track title that exactly portrays this electrifying kaleidoscape!!! "Light Echoes" returns majestically into more relieving domains, but still extensively infused with large dose of bubbling effects and twinkles, with deeply celestial and euphoric feel. Man, this certainly must be an ultimate highlight presenting Proton Kinoun at its most mesmerizing!!! Nearly 10 minutes of absolute sonic ecstasy is served by this enormously talented artist!!! Yes, this must be one of the most spellbinding cyber-tech soundscapes I have ever heard in my life!!! Bravissimo, Mr. Kasper Weensgaard!!! "Illimitable", with 15 minutes the longest piece on "Apeiron", is invaded by heavenly sublimity and spiced with occasional distant voice transmissions and choral-like sounds. It peacefully floates through warmly inviting and immersing, nearly cinematic expanses, and smoothly travels also through more intense and dramatic paths, before tranquilly fading away into deeper silence. A truly fascinating outro!!! I am unable to measure Kasper's ambient experiences, but on "Apeiron" he utilized extremely rich and colorful sonic palette and offered a purely virtuoso performance, filled with huge amount of spectacular adventures. However, I must add that I hear some reserves in the overall sound quality, which seems to be a bit flat or compressed. I could imagine masterpiece like this with broader range in depth and dynamics. As far I remember, I have even read somewhere that the original release of "Apeiron" has better sound quality than this remastered edition. But I can't verify this as I didn't hear the original download. However, it would be absolutely thrilling to hear the final result if, for example, Steve Roach could infuse this extraordinary album with his Timeroom mastering wizardry. And maybe then "Apeiron" would get even closer to groundbreaking giants like "Blood Machine", "Core" or "Light Fantastic". I am not sure if "Apeiron" CDr is still available via Ektoplazm/Kunaki shop, however the download versions are available for free via Ektoplazm's site. So go for it, because "Apeiron" is a must have for each connoisseur journeying through cyber-futurism-driven ambient electronica. Kasper, thank you so much and more please!!!

Richard Gürtler (Sep 30, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

94
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Nocturnal Winter" CDr by Stormloop
« on: September 23, 2012, 08:06:50 AM »


Stormloop "Nocturnal Winter" CDr

I was immediately hooked since the very first moments when Kevin Spence aka Stormloop has presented his newest album on his Bandcamp site, packaged in handmade CD wallet and limited to 30 pieces only. And when the album arrived, the reality was even more impressive, because "Nocturnal Winter" CDr looks very elegant and attractive, a true collector's item I must say!!! Really nice work, Kev, we all know the sale numbers are dropping these days, so you have my deep respect for all the efforts put into this project!!! Visually stunning, so let's explore the sonic part of this work. "Nocturnal Winter" unfolds straightly with massive and slowly expanding dronescape entitled "Hibernation Mode", quietly drifting across nocturnal natural landforms. These nightscapes are gorgeously illuminating and spectacularly magical. Nocturnal stillness at its most captivating!!! The ride through shadowy skies continues, "Nocturnal" is painted with resonating washes and delicately enhanced by richly organic colors. "Monotonus Trek" starts with abyssal drones, but soon smoothly cascades into more textured, monotonously circling passage with ethereal voice-like flavors, yet deeply immersing. Colossal drone territories are explored on "Midwinter", again enriched by ghostly distant voice fragrances. Deeply absorbing ride goes on, another high point here!!! The next composition, "Nano Structure", traverses into beautifully sad and cinematic realms, masterfully backed by assorted cyber-tech fragments. Sonic bliss continues!!! "Snow Flurries", as its title suggests, returns into more active, spiralling soundscaping while the following piece, "Shiver" enters into rather stranger sound sculpting, supported by hidden whispers here and there. Celestially magnificent composition!!! And it overlaps also into "Epoch Five", the longest piece on "Nocturnal Winter", clocking to 12 and half minutes. It graciously floates into immense spaces, strengthened by heavenly chorals and high-tech bleeps and outbursts. Absolutely fascinating and mesmerizing odyssey!!! Freezing and heavy dronescapes invade "The Shortest Day" and straightaway evoke cold and windy, remote and massive, but enormously seductive arctic landscapes that have been rarely explored. These solitary sceneries are absolutely breathtaking!!! "One Winter Morning" absorbs deeply each listener with its gracefully ethereal, tranquil and heartwarming washes and brings this album not only to its conclusion, but also to the state of wondrous reverie. "Nocturnal Winter" masterfully captures all the essences of splendorous winter territories, filled with almost otherworldly, but warmly inviting stark beauty and awe inspiring isolation. Most likely the best album made by Stormloop so far, a true masterpiece!!! By the time I am writing these lines, still few copies are available, so act quickly, otherwise you will miss this beauty!!! And by the way, according to its creator, there are plans for more Stormloop albums to be released with this type of packaging, so I definitely stay tuned for more news by this, in Leeds, UK, based artist.

Richard Gürtler (Sep 23, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

95


Numina "The Deception Of Reality" CD

In Parker, Colorado, USA, based ambient drifter Jesse Sola known as Numina comes here with a brand new album released on Hypnos during July 2012. Marked as 4th album for Hypnos, but Jesse's discography is quite extensive with around 27 albums and collaborations (with IXOHOXI, Stephen Philips and Caul). The album unveils all its secrets with over 17 minutes long "The Illusion Transmission". A composition expertly sculpted with mysterious drones, diffusing with coiled tension and eeriness, but always having its celestial and graceful timbre. After 11 minutes the piece silently transfers into utterly sublime and tranquil spheres and immerses each journeyer deeply into entirely magnificent sonic trance. Bravo, Jesse!!! This heavenly odyssey continues also throughout "Our Elegant Experience", another track clocking to 17 minutes. This time more textured and evolving, with less drifting mood, although still strongly expansive into massive, but majestically heartwarming realms. Deeper drones invade "In Cerulean Haze", with 9 and half minutes the shortest piece on this journey. Gliding through slightly more dramatic dreamscapes with divine voice-like sounds and heading into peacefully immense, nearly cinematic paths. Again filled with refined beauty and grace. "Empire Of Nothing", with 19 and half minutes the longest composition, remains deeply plunged into aerial dreamscapes, smoothly cascading, warmly inviting and blissfully tranquil. Moments of pure sonic ecstasy are captured again, this certainly must be Numina at its most graceful!!! Windy dissonance carries "Translunary Return" into another precisely colored texture with enormously visualizing and serenely painted moods. A truly masterful 12-minute finale. To be honest, even if I am a really big ambient enthusiast and collector, I am still quite an outsider to Numina's impressive discography (shame on me!!!), so I am unable to compare this album to previous works by Jesse Sola. However, to me, "The Deception Of Reality" is highly sophisticated album and absolutely stunning listening experience!!! Once again, great work, Jesse!!! And another big one from Hypnos clan!!! Elegant 4-panel digipak nicely interacts with the sonics. A must have for all space journeyers!!! Now it's time to dig up some older treasures of Numina...

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

96


David Parsons "Earthlight" CD

The veteran wizard of breathtaking sonic documents, New Zealander David Parsons, has returned at the end of 2008 with album entitled "Earthlight", on his usual imprint via Celestial Harmonies label. Since I was always deeply fascinated by David's highly picturesque sonics, "Earthlight" fastly became one of his landmark recordings on my home playlist. Usually strongly connected to Middle and Far East regions, through which he travelled extensively for several years, but "Earthlight" was a rather exceptional release, because it transports immediately each listener to the orbit to explore grandiose views of Mother Earth. Equipped with finest skills in creating own, distinctive sounds, David is able to create fully unique, deeply imaginative soundscapes holding his own signature, and no matter if exotically fragranced or more celestially focused. "Earthlight" is without a doubt the best example!!! The album's odyssey is ignited by the title track, "Earthlight", featuring deeply immersing cloudscapes precisely compounded with many sharply errupting percussive sounds and gently tinkling rhythm fractals, few cybernetic voices join as well to capture a truly fascinating effect!!! "Altai Himalaya" is invaded by dreamy, icy dronescapes, gracefully soaring, wind humming above snow-capped peaks and ridges of these spectacular mountain ranges. Assorted distant, submerged rumblings can be heard throughout this deeply scenic and mesmerizing composition. "Beyond The Light" blends cascading tribal rhythm parts with exotically spiced atmospheres, recalling David's expeditions through Central Asia. "Corona" glides tranquilly, with smoothly elevating intensity and ominousness before it reaches gorgeously uplifting and colorful palette of melodic sequences. Amazingly illuminating and infectious piece!!! "The Winged Ones" unwraps with abysally droning dense atmosphere, flowing through the entire piece and capturing the true power and majesty of Earth's views. "Bathing Light", a 20-minute closer, serenely floates across many fascinating spaces, attractively enriched by various gentle buzzes and disruptions, yet still strongly holding its deeply celestial and relaxing texture. In the second half some warmly inviting and alluring melodies enter the piece and navigate it into absolute sonic bliss!!! "Earthlight" is amazingly visualizing music, while exploring it, you will be invited to journey through stunningly beautiful places on the Earth like winter wonderlands, desert vastness, immense greenlands, barren and mountainous territories, amazing waterways and deltas, ocean glistening in the sun... A thrilling experience not to be missed!!!

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

97


Raygun Ballet "World That Wasn't" CD

My ventures into IDM/downtempo infused electronica are quite limited, but the fact John-Mark Austin is the creator of new project recording under Raygun Ballet moniker immediately raised my eyebrows. Because except newly born Raygun Ballet, he is also the sole protagonist of Immersion Theory and with its "The [Icarus] Foray" album he is responsible for one of the most magnificent deep space odysseys offered during the last decade. Even if entering into quite different sonic terrains, we have to stay alert, because John-Mark Austin is enormously crafted artist. And it's already evident when unwrapping the sleeve wallet of "World That Wasn't" CD. Inside it's hidden very attractive 4-panel CD FiberPak packaging with 8-panel booklet, featuring liner notes on each track, especially focusing on used samples and looking like pages of an old comic. As presented by its creator, "World That Wasn't" plays as a humorous requiem for the "Amazing World of Tomorrow" rhapsodized by old science fiction pulp novels and pre-sweetened cereal boxes, a world of grand utopia that never really happened. Let's fire the show with the opening piece "Figment"!!! My listening room is right away invaded by hypermodern electronics fusing the best ingredients of IDM and downbeat, masterfully backed by serenely floating ambience. All blended with the extensive use of well-placed voice samples. Hints of tribal percussions are added as well at the beginning. A truly fresh and laid-back introduction of Raygun Ballet's soundworlds!!! "Plastic Forest" quickly transfers from quieter course into razor sharp electrifying rhythms. Again another thrilling fusion of hyper kinetic beats with perfectly chosen samples, female celestial choirs and patrolled by serene orchestrations on back. 7 minutes of highly dynamic and feet moving sonic adventure!!! "Sparky's Theme" is slightly more relaxing, but still highlighted by lively midtempo rhythms interplaying with processed voice-like textures, enriched by various voice samples with the addition of euphoric acoustic guitar. "A Prayer For Mercy" belongs to more relaxing pieces here, merging few modern classical fragments with catchy downtempos, joyful strings and female choirs hovering above. "The Fourth Year", the longest piece clocking to 8 and half minutes, opens with dreamlike seashore washes with ghostly whispers and seagulls, soon cascading into rhythm infused electronics attractively colored with German reading, Gregorian chants and female vocals. Absolutely high-spirited all-inclusive sonic pearl!!! "Bursting Eden" unveils with darker mood, but soon powerful beats steal the show for another exciting sonic adventure highlighted by hard hitting, finest EBM or techno trance compounds coupled with Middle East flavored female voices. Wow!!! For long time buried memories of the 90's from the good old Crewzine days are quickly awaken!!! "Coquette Automata", the shortest piece, reaching nearly 4 minutes, offers quite a relieving mood after its highly energetic predecessor, it's a kind of love song enriched by a vocoder chorus. The funny story behind it can be explored through booklet's liner notes. "Lift" keeps on relaxing route with sort of jazzy and modern classical fragrances thrown in along with female vocal bits and brings the album to its finale. Richly colorful and precisely detailed "World That Wasn't" is enormously adventurous and entertaining journey to experience 1950's futurism through very personal and blazing sonic visions of John-Mark Austin. Superb mastering with audiophile quality sound is another bonus here. John-Mark Austin, in Los Angeles based creative director for visual effects, has struck once again!!! And together with him all others involved in this project. Any bad points here? The only one is the length of the album, 51 minutes only...:-( No matter if it's Raygun Ballet or Immersion Theory or some other future project, I definitely will stay tuned for more!!!

Richard Gürtler (Aug 19, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

98


Steve Brand "Subtle Movements Inside" CDr

Productive US sound sculptor Steve Brand, based in Roeland Park, Kansas, is releasing his music lately through Relaxed Machinery as well as through his own label Pioneer Light Music. "Subtle Movements Inside" album was released in November 2011 on Relaxed Machinery and it comes with beautiful "primordial" image featuring various seedpods, bones, wings and bone flute. Okay, extra points are given and I am sure the sonics will be as much impressive as its visual part. "Holding The Light" is the opening, 19-minute long composition. It sets immediately the atmosphere of being on deep caving system exploration to experience all its unfathomable enigma. Organic tribals smoothly transfer into tranquilly droning expansive ambience with majestic and gracious moan. More dramatic and colossal terrains interplay with mysteriously peaceful passages. Primordial flute magics steal this breathtaking journey in the second half along with distant celestial choirs before serenely droning away through abysmal organic rumbles. This is a pure sonic bliss unfolding all mystical wonders!!! One of the most magnificent compositions Steve has ever made!!! Filigree bass flute work on "Lit From The Original Flame" keeps this expedition in deeply primal, mysterious and contemplative domains. I am utterly fascinated by Steve's flute masteries, primeval sonic trance continues!!! Highly visualizing journey proceeds through "A Certain Restlessness Of Soul", the longest piece reaching 22 and half minutes. Fragile ghostly whispers glide in peaceful synergy with cascading and progressing cavernous drones. Immense drifts keep on delving through stunning variety of otherworldly cave sculptures and formations before whispering voices vanish down into the darkness of a truly virgin realms. Another magnificently rich listening experience!!! The title track "Subtle Movements Inside", clocking over 8-minute mark, is slightly more relieving, but strongly meditative with rather minimal drifts, which are embellished by various tinkles and other, nearly dissonant sounds widening the sonic spectrum. Moving through varied stages, from serene, nearly cinematic or hymnic passages through minimal meditative terrains interplaying with moments of silence to harsher cavernous outbursts. Warmly inviting washes invade the closing piece, over 19 minutes long "Our Wilderness Of Heart (Something So Rare)", which feature beautifully moaning guitar textures by Bobby Jones aka I've Lost. This graciously gliding and deeply reflective composition is soothingly colored by cicadas throughout the first two thirds. What a sad beauty, a truly heartwarming symphonious outro!!! Musically, "Subtle Movements Inside" album is stunningly gorgeous, a genuine virtuoso performance by Steve Brand, you will be listening to it over and over!!! Last but not least, I must say that there is no justice in this music industry when a masterpiece like this is released as a CDr version and packaged in simple slim jewel case. This is the only low point of this album, so please show your support to Steve Brand and Relaxed Machinery, these guys really deserve it!!! I really hope one day they will be able to release their music in more attractive packaging.

Richard Gürtler (Aug 19, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)

99
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Angel" CD by Juta Takahashi
« on: August 18, 2012, 08:22:14 AM »


Juta Takahashi "Angel" CD

"Angel" is a brand new sonic journey by Japanese ambient drifter Jutaro "Juta" Takahashi, released in July 2012 on his own Lunisolar Records as his 9th album. Between Juta's previous album "Silence" and the newest "Angel" passed about 19 months, but while living in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, Juta had to experience during this period also a catastrophic earthquake with destructive tsunami at March 11th, 2011, which damaged coastal part of Sendai region. Fortunately, although suffering some material damages, by living in hilly part of Sendai, Juta and his family stayed relatively safe against the tsunami waves rushing into the coast. Now, we are happy to be able to explore the next chapter of his harmoniously tranquil atmospheres. But first, we are confronted with absolutely gorgeous front cover artwork by Russian artist Polina Yakovleva aka Smokepaint. Does this image indicate a more lighter or celestial feel of its musical content? "Bright Waters" strike immediately with purely gracious soundscape, where tranquilly drifting heavier drones are masterfully coupled here and there with fragile piano tunes. Progressing and cascading deep drones and piano parts are stunningly balanced and beautifully interacting. I won't hesitate to write this is the best piece Juta has ever composed. 17 minutes of deeply absorbing sonic sublimity!!! "Fairy's Blues", a 15 and half minutes long piece, is invaded by celestial washes, it glides and coils smoothly through dreamlike distant realms nicely enhanced by angelic voice-like sounds. The title composition "Angel" clocks over 16-minute mark and unveils with more active drones, ranging from rather denser to more discordant passages, but also from immensely drifting to angelic appearance. It's not easy to fully enjoy "Angel" at first listening, due to its more disturbing sound palette, but every repeated session will be more rewarding. 16-minute long "Fair Wind" is sculpted with expansive space washes, floating through gradually evolving stages and reaching more monumental and tense movements, occasionally lightened by delicate bell tinkles and precisely bridged with rather quieter, more mesmerizing blankets. These ever-changing high-pitched sonic panoramas provide a very nice conclusion of this album. "Angel" with its aural and emotional miracles paints wonderfully profound images, ready to transfer the listener to new magnificent spheres. Welcome back, Juta, and keep on drifting!!!

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

100


David Parsons "Maitreya - The Future Buddha" CD

In New Zealand based sonic magician and famed doyen of ambient scene, David Parsons, has released "Maitreya - The Future Buddha" album back in 2002 on Celestial Harmonies as his 8th album. Even if 10 years passed already, this album will always remain as one of his most meditative and spectacular sonic pearls, magnificently portraying his strong interest and inspiration by Hinduism and Buddhism. Equipped with huge experiences during his extensive Middle and Far East travels documenting and recording musical traditions of these regions, David Parsons explores through his enormously sophisticated soundscapes the pure and striking beauty of remote and fascinating realms surrounded by massive snow-capped mountains and green valleys. Gongs and bells with low drones open "Abhisekha", but soon chants of Tibetan monks steal the journey for absolutely immersing listening experience, a truly magnificent intro!!! It overlaps graciously into the next piece entitled "Mani", where mysterious drones are masterfully crossed with monk chants, marching percussions and swirling effects. Total immersion continues and pure sonic ecstasy is accomplished when sort of cyber electronics join the stage in stunning synergy with the drones. My jaw drops everytime I listen to this 10 and half minutes long masterpiece, an ultimate Hall of Fame composition!!! Thank you, Mr. David Parsons!!! Stringed wizardry invade "Tirtha", a magically transporting journey, crossed with tranquil washes and monks' prayers. Another highlight!!! Low drones lead "Realm Of The Hungry Ghost" and navigate it into deeply cinematic soundscapes, enriched by assorted eerie sounds and thrillingly expressive Tuva-style throat singing. Gorgeously mysterious realms are awaiting!!! Prayer chants with serene, but highly visualizing and expansive washes are featured on "Under The Bodhi Tree" while the next composition with its deep and rumbling, at times dissonant drones explore hidden kingdom of fabulous "Shambhala". "Maitreya", the title piece closes this absolutely enthralling journey with throat singing, various meditative chants and female voice magics, dense chasmal drones, gongs, bells and other percussive rumbles and tinkles. Deeply contemplative and captivating prayerscape!!! "Maitreya - The Future Buddha" is certainly one of the milestones in David Parsons' stellar discography, sonic impressions of a true virtuoso, a must have!!! Back to the presence, David Parsons' last masterwork "Akash" is dated back in 2010, so I can't wait to explore his next breathtaking travelogue.

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

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