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Messages - richardgurtler

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1


Steve Roach "Future Flows" CD

Long time on the waiting list in my reviewing schedule, now finally the right time has come. Released one year ago on Projekt, at the end of April, 2013, just few days before the legendary Ambicon 2013 gathering. The cover images feature breathtaking stone balance art by Michael Grab, known as Gravity Glue. Exciting visual beginning, so let's initiate the auralscaping part...

The journey reveals very silently with "An Omnipresent Sense Prevails", an 11-minute composition, but it takes only about minute and the free-floating drift spirals toweringly into grandiosely expansive panoramas, gracefully gliding and undulating with magmatic immenseness. These amorphously embracing and essentially contemplative soundwalls are holding an undeniable signature of the master. "Spectrum Of Change" safely dwells in the terrains of sheer atmospheric beauty, slightly less denser and more minimal on the first exploration, although multi-dimensional billows continuously emanate and then fade out into vaporously permeating stillness. "Air Meditation" paints infectiously mesmerizing circles guarded above by voice-like drone blankets. Rather shorter piece, but hauntingly mindscaping and precisely interacting with its title. "The Texture Of Remembering", which gets over 11 minutes, enters straightly into more aerial realms, warmly meandering through profoundly stimulating elevations and meticulously coalesced with assortment of cybernetic sparkles. What a journey!!! Make sure you have your headphones with you, immersion extraordinaire awaits here!!! "Rapt In Night" immediately dives into abyssal drone heaven, quite short, but utterly monolithic and expansive. This track masterfully captures all the essence of the nocturnal serenity!!! "Heart Of Light", another brief piece, keeps on the path of warmly traversing and deeply evocative sceneries, which are this time merged with piercing swirls. Magnificently immense!!! 17-minute epic "The Future Flows From Here" briskly spreads with floating, ebbing and twisting massive and intense layers of washes, while gently shimmering sequences excel on distant back. The transition in the middle of the track is absolutely embracing and shifts the whole composition into pure atmospheric splendor. A truly jaw-dropping!!! Certainly a creme de la creme of the whole album and another magnum opus since Hall of Fame compositions such as "Where Rasa Lives" or "Today". Bravo, Maestro!!! "Regeneration Revelation" closes this wonderful, 71 minutes long ride with ultra colossal dronescape, enriched with various, well-concealed rewards and cruising with intensely absorbing amorphousness and eternal grace that can only be Steve Roach. Wow, absolutely thrilling!!!

Sure, "Future Flows" album won't hit you sharply in your face, on the contrary, this is one of the recordings that will grow on the listener with each new listening session. It requires your deeply focused intention to every detail, but then amazing soundsculptings with constantly increasing potency unfold in front of you. No wonder Steve's visionary sonic meditations are impeccably displayed by Michael's stone balance artistry. Are you ready for this highly sophisticated and powerfully emotional journey? The future flows to you...

Richard Gürtler (Apr 20, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

2


Alpha Wave Movement "Celestial Chronicles" CDr

Gregory Kyryluk of Alpha Wave Movement is always busy and effectively productive, no matter if with his main AWM project or with his Within Reason offshoot. After 5 releases during 2013 (two as AWM, two as Within Reason and one with Thought Guild), February 2014 brings newest album "Celestial Chronicles" by Alpha Wave Movement on Greg's own Harmonic Resonance Recordings. Catchy images (by Greg) and album title give us an idea of upcoming, highly fascinating stargazing odyssey. Alpha Wave Movement's "Myriad Stars" from 2011 still resonates and that's definitely enough reasons to stay alert!!!

"Ancestral Star Chart" reveals with darker intro, spiced by assorted cyber-tech blips and pulses, one of them is quickly oscillating and almost drives me nuts. Then highly polished metallic percussive sounds step to the fore and masterfully enhance the structure, while warmly expansive washes graciously unfold and diffuse into magnificently expansive panoramas. A grandiose opener!!! The following piece, "When We Roamed The Stars", immediately attracts with its gorgeously laid-back atmosphere, led by hauntingly embracing rhythms, enchantingly delicate shimmers and earwarming airy blankets. This melodic alchemy works absolutely flawless, another example of sonic elegance and fineness!!! "The Tender Sea Of Space" is filled with stunningly captivating spaciousness. Mark Steiner appears as a guest on this composition (plus on the following track) performing on EVI (electronic valve instrument). According to Gregory, Mark is a nephew of Nyle Steiner, the inventor of EVI and EWI. Mark's EVI virtuosity adds strongly evocative atmospheric element to Greg's tranquilly illuminating heavenly symphony. The music perfectly captures the majesty of the track title. "Radiosonic Temple Of Harmonic Sound", the second longest piece clocking to nearly 12-minute mark, features lots of unique, essentially colored cascades and arches, where organic passages intermingle with slightly weirder, cacophonous textures, then the track swiftly progresses into the most lively part comprised of highly mesmerizing rhythms and exotically perfumed EVI parade. This is absolutely magnetizing listening experience, precisely portraying the huge creativity and musicality of both artists. An all-inclusive sonic jewel!!! "Genesis Of A Super Nova" starts with minimal intro, flavored with various cybernetic fragments, but it slowly increases into the vistas of warmer immensity accompanied with veiled beat. The longest piece, "Stellar Mantra", gets to nearly 15 minutes. It effectively merges environmental calmness, some ingredients of Hindustani classical music (vocals, sitar), balmy tribal percussions, joyful rhythm patterns and alluringly meandering airwaves. Utterly elegant and effective symmetry between all components!!! The closing composition "Final Transmission" dives into abyssal drone depths, but glimmering motifs slowly emerge and spellbindingly lighten the overall mood. Along the way sharper transmutations sneak in to steal the show, but cybernetic swirls interact strongly and defend its lead. Another cosmic magnificence!!!

"Celestial Chronicles" album offers to each listener a truly adventurous encounter, a deep space journeying at its most stirring and filigree!!! This is a very strong competitor for the Best of 2014 release!!! And by the way, since April 9th, 2014, there is available the newest Alpha Wave Movement album entitled "Archaic Frontiers" and in the pipeline via Darren Bergstein's Anodize label is the upcoming "Farshadow" CD by Within Reason (scheduled for mid-June). Keep an ear on this guy, because Gregory Kyryluk is one of the undisputable masters of the genre!!!

Richard Gürtler (Apr 18, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

3


The Winterhouse "Gathering Autumn" 2xCDr

"Gathering Autumn" is the 5th collaborative album between DataObscura's Anthony Paul Kerby from London, Ontario and Robert Scott Davies from Ithaca, New York. Released on DataObscura at the beginning of January 2014, this double album comes with an eye-catching front cover image by Robert. The same image is also featured on a pro printed glossy card, which is included with each CDr order. Each of the previous collaborations from these two creative sound sculptors offered a tremendously transporting journey, so my expectations are again really huge. Let's confirm that...

Disk One starts with "Secluded Vale", a tranquilly organic piece, led by rich natural field recordings and surrounded by monolithic drone and intermittent rumbles. This soundscape is exactly described by its title, no wonder I am immediately immersed. The journey has begun!!! "We Must Endure", which clocks over 15 and a half minutes, is quickly invaded by monumental drift expansion, again rather flatlined, with hidden, slightly mysterious distant embellishments. The transition in the middle is warmly relieving and shifts from gorgeously wide-screen panoramas through polished lively cascades to nearly symphonic blankets. Welcome to deep drone paradise, it's intense and graceful!!! The next piece, "Deepwoods", which is a few seconds longer than its predecessor, safely stays in serenely encircling forest wilderness and quietly traverses from calmer terrestrial authenticity to slightly harsher and disruptive shadowy paths. Another appropriate track title!!! No wonder "Curious Pathways" immediately follows ... A mysteriously undulating texture blending warmly drifting expanses with nostalgic culminations. Colorful sounds of the ecosystem's inhabitants are starring in "Autumn Nights", while monotonously spiraling distant drone is guarding above. "When The Day Ends" quickly dives into heavier, hissy fields although hauntingly counterpointed with joyful and placid piano expressions. Moving through richly sculpted cascades, both natural and hummed. This is a stunningly exciting conclusion of the first part!!!

Disc Two unfolds with "Gathering Autumn", a 10-minute title track, on which is immediately apparent coalescence of a massive static drone blanket and live performances of forest residents. Along the way smooth traverses with rumbling motifs and uncanny noises inconspicuously sneak in, while sparse fragile tinkles add contemplative feel. "The Shifting Sky" keeps its panoramic structure, floating and ebbing through intense peaks, with velvety clinks mesmerizingly arising from behind the mysterious clouds. "Growth Of The Soil" again precisely amalgamates catchy organics, meditative patterns and monochromatic drone mindscapes. The next track, "They Lived Here Before", attracts with its deeply evocative yearning texture, masterfully embellished by occasional native flute fragments and distant rumbling delicacies, but toward the end an array of sharply outbursting and swirling rattles steal the center stage. "Autumn Gardens" returns to a more relieving, yet colorfully enticing environmental terrains. The following composition, "Wandering Alone", meanders quietly through scenic landscapes, touched by slightly pensive calmness, before reaching a glitchy flavored piano conclusion. "To See Everything" with 11 and half minutes the longest piece on this disc and a closing opus, merges subtle oscillations with hissy dissonances, all guarded by celestial drifts, gracefully floating and swelling. Fascinatingly immersing finale!!!

Without doubt "Gathering Autumn" is a really monstrous double set from The Winterhouse!!! Hats off to both, Anthony Paul Kerby & Robert Scott Davies, who effectively integrate their freshly distinctive signature sculptings into one utterly homogeneous and detailed recording devoted to the natural beauty and diversity of flora and fauna in beautiful forests that are within our reach. "Gathering Autumn" works well as a background ambience, but I definitely would recommend a deeply attentive listening session, and if possible, with your headphones on. Trust me, this way you will explore many well-hidden surprises and rewards!!!

Richard Gürtler (Apr 13, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

4


Alio Die & Sylvi Alli "Amidst The Circling Spires" CD

The long awaited collaboration between Italian sound explorer Stefano Musso/Alio Die and in Berkeley, California based singer Sylvi Alli was released during January, 2014, on Projekt. While prolific Italian sculptor Alio Die is widely recognized, the name Sylvi Alli was new to me, thus she deserves here a little introduction. Sylvi Alli has started her artistic career with classical piano, but soon she turned into painting (1976-1993) and since 1995 she began singing. Her discography includes several solo CDs and soundtracks for theater and film, which feature also underground movies directed by Sylvi's husband Antero Alli (Sylvi is also acting in many of Antero's films). They both run Vertical Pool Productions, an intermedia arts group. And on the top of this, Sylvi Alli is also designing and handcrafting original jewelry on her LunarMuse shop.

As usual for all Alio Die releases, "Amidst The Circling Spires" CD is housed in gorgeously designed 6-panel digipak, with cover photo and concept by His Sunt Leones, while Sam Rosenthal handles the graphic design. The album opens with "The Inner Sea (Silver Sea)", it's a very tranquil and meditative neo-medieval flavored composition. Alio Die's gorgeously evocative and distinguishing soundsculpting is more than apparent, this time is precisely enriched by ethereal voice magic by Sylvi Alli. The harmony between Stefano's electroacoustic textures and Sylvi's vocal expressions is absolutely magical, a truly embracing effect is quickly achieved. I am hooked immediately by this serenely captivating composition!!! Bravo, Sylvi & Stefano!!! "Dreaming Tree" starts with minimal texture, slightly more cacophonous and primordial blending all those acoustic and organic subtleties. Sylvi Alli's colorful vocal wizardry adds a new dimension to this mysteriously fragranced reverie. On the next piece, "Crepuscular Birds", the two main protagonists are joined also by Lingua Fungi (taking care of zither, e-bow and effects). Poignant neo-medieval strings quietly intermingle with more droney parts, organic sounds occasionally emerge, all safely guarded by utterly gorgeous heavenly voices. The more sparser is the texture, the more expressively intense is its overall mood, which paints a really wonderful state of serenity!!! With "La Grotta Delle Naiadi" the listener is invited to enter into spectacular cavernous domains, where velvety tinkles hauntingly interact with warmly expanding and meandering washes. Soothingly engrossing fragile rainy sounds inconspicuously sneak in through the large opening. Sylvi's gracious voice bravura distinguishably enriches these uniquely magical and deeply contemplative sceneries. Lorenzo Montanà is credited for additional electronics and effects on this masterpiece. Yes, be prepared for nearly 12 minutes of pure sonic bliss!!! The following piece, "Numinous Veins", remains in deeply mysterious terrains, deliberately merging slender electroacoustics, comprised mostly of tenser strings, eerie howls and mesmerizing percussive transitions, with crystalline field recordings and excelling emotional voice. "Across A Splendid Vista" immediately shifts into neo-medieval paths leaded by dazzlingly beautiful zither magic, flimsy tinkles and warmly undulating atmospherics. The track title exactly displays this delightful journey!!! On the closing "Revenir" Sylvi Alli returns with her heavenly voice virtuosity. The soundscape keeps on floating and circling, with distant beat unobtrusively hanging above, and painting pleasingly meditative images.

"Amidst The Circling Spires" album is absolutely triumphant collaboration of two artists, who are deeply dedicated to their artistic expressions, their unrestrained passion and unique fragrances make from this recording a truly gracious and majestic listening experience, and certainly fully rewarding too. Another big one from this Italian master and big grazie to Stefano for bringing Sylvi Alli to this artful spectacle!!! Once again, bravo to Alio Die & Sylvi Alli (and their guests)!!!

Richard Gürtler (Apr 06, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

5


Sylken "Music For Spaceports" CDr

I will start straightly, there is no need to evade the truth, Sylken is certainly one of the best kept secrets on the ambient scene!!! In Toronto based Eric Hopper, the main driving force behind Sylken, is known for his extensive collaborations with many other members of The Ambient Ping gang, the creative community of audio artists, performers, musicians and visual artists, mostly based in Toronto area. "Music For Spaceports" CDr, the upcoming album by Sylken, is no exception, because Eric has again teamed with many fellow soundscapers and this ensemble offers to each listener gorgeously textured soundscapes, which stunningly capture all the beauty and immenseness of space-infused ambience. The release date is scheduled for May 1st, 2014, via Erik Hopper's Sylken Music.

The journey ignites Eric Hopper alone with "Sunstreams", which has a soothingly joyful feel. Gracefully expansive pads are hauntingly crossed with many, shimmeringly moving ingredients. Delicately crafted cascades and nuances provide a strongly transporting effect throughout the whole length of this track, with clocking over 8 and half minutes, "Sunstreams" is the longest composition on this album. The track title is masterfully displayed, a very strong opener!!! On "Dreamship" is Eric joined by Wally Jericho and Beau Lukes. Celestial choirs graciously emerge from behind the gentle electronic clouds, but soon these placid spheres are invaded by incredibly expressive trumpet by Wally Jericho. Also assorted cyber-tech fragments join the stage and give to this piece a slightly futuristic feel, but of course it is a magic trumpet that creates this incomparable cinematic elegance. However, the show is not over yet, as Wally Jericho gradually adds distant saxophone, which is fascinatingly counterpointed with his trumpet. I don't know exactly how Eric and Beau have divided the rest of their duties on this composition, I believe Beau was responsible for balmily mesmerizing percussions, but it really doesn't matter, because "Dreamship" is an incredibly extraordinary musical experience to me!!! Remember the milestone "From The Dark Earth" by Meg Bowles and David Bilger? So this is the same top league, welcome to the Ambient Hall of Fame!!! Bravo, Eric, Wally & Beau!!! On "Universa" Scott M2 of dreamSTATE steps to the scene and together with Eric they deliver richly textured space ambience, which serenely meanders through assorted ear-catching elevations, here and there enriched by tranquil organics. Pleasantly spacious and refreshing as a coastal breeze!!! On the next track, "Galaxis", Eric remains in expansive realms, moving up and down with his nostalgic tones, while fragile tinkles euphoniously glisten above. The track title "Ancient Skies" indicates shift into slightly shadowy terrains, although flimsy clinks lighten the overall mood. But distant processed flute flavoring adds a quite mysterious dimension. Rob Hoare (for his flute) and Steven Sauvé are credited on this track. Marvelously unfathomable listening experience, definitely another pinnacle on this album!!! On the shortest piece, "Interspace", Eric acts as a sole protagonist and he merges various small fragments into a quite minimal texture, on which sparser expressions are nicely permeated with stillness. "Starsong", with additional performances by Beau Lukes and Michael Holcer, swiftly returns into dreamier spheres, but hauntingly warm melody steals the forefront with a mix of laid-back velvety percussions swirling overhead, with some of them having a very pleasant tribal touch. Everything is blended very effectively and the final result is a strongly relaxing and high-spirited. Another ear candy!!! "Celestica" is accurately portrayed by its ethereal washes, floating with all the grace and infinity, bathing the listener in balmy foam to entirely soothe his/her body and mind!!! Eric Hopper excels at this one alone, but on the closing two tracks Terrence O'Brien of Anomalous Disturbances shows to add his touch. The first "Solaris" rather remains on the same, massively embracing paths as its predecessor, tranquilly winding, but an array of cybernetic infusions attractively illuminate the trajectory. "Mobieus" quietly unfolds and safely keeps its course through gorgeously boundless space, rather minimal than colossal, painting continuously mesmerizing circles, while occasional distant gong-like sounds add a quite contemplative conclusion to this wonderfully virtuosic odyssey!!!

Yes, several artists on one utterly magnificent journey, that's "Music For Spaceports"!!! I have been always fascinated by Canadian ambient scene for its diversity, richness and innovativeness. On "Music For Spaceports" you will find excelling many protagonists of this scene. On a personal note, more than 20 years have passed since I was visiting Toronto last time, but I would be very happy if I could comeback one day, personally meet all the people behind this scene, raise a glass of good beer with them and thank them for all their inspirational music they constantly create. Please note, it's a quite difficult task to locate Sylken albums, so the easiest way is to contact Eric Hopper directly via his FB account. Don't hesitate to do it even if some of you don't like this type of networking, because otherwise you will miss a true gem!!! "Music For Spaceports" is a definite must have album!!!

Richard Gürtler (Mar 30, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

6


Strom Noir "Urban Blues" CD

Slovak guitar drone wizard Emil Maťko, acting under Strom Noir, was quite silent during 2013, but with "Urban Blues" demo in his hands, which was recorded already in 2012 (between February and November), it was just a question of time before it will end up in the right hands. And all this happened during the last months of 2013, when Polish label Zoharum signed Strom Noir for the release of "Urban Blues" album. The dream came true at the end of January, 2014, when "Urban Blues" was released in limited edition of 300 copies and packaged in catchy matte finish 6-panel disc eco wallet (with cover photos and design by Wiktor Jackowski, mastering by Michal Iliaš). And on the top of all these facts, I can easily count all Slovak ambient soundscapers on the fingers of one hand, so the more I was excited about this release by my fellow countryman.

Poetically entitled "Maľovanie Dúhy", which means "Painting The Rainbow" in Slovak, opens the album with serenely meandering texture, where damp hissy blankets are hanging above, while gently shimmering string vagueness, carving strongly mesmerizing images, intertwines with more pinnacling acoustic filigrees. It's a very nice, soothing intro!!! "Night Blooming" calmly moves into slightly more massive dimension, although deeply evocative string expressions in the middle soften the overall feel. Toward the end the track again shifts into tenser paths. Elusive glitches amble circuitously across this hauntingly nostalgic composition. "Zavtra" can be translated as "Tomorrow", and it's taken, according to Emil, from a Rusyn language. It immediately dives into expanding terrains of continuously towering drones. Mindscaping dissonances permeate masterfully throughout as well and steadily culminate with all power and sternness. Wow, this is a pure, 9 minutes long, drone magic, a possible magnum opus by Strom Noir!!! More please!!! "Textures" quickly return to relatively relieving zones, sculpted with crystalline acoustics, assorted urban rumbles and squeaks and organic flavorings. But emerging rawer drone layers and noisier string desolations add a brand new kaleidoscope of tensions and sceneries. Texturally lush and stirringly captivating composition, undoubtedly another lofty pinnacle of this album!!! The title track "Urban Blues" is invaded by bulky stock of drones, where thick reverberations are coupled with mesmerizingly undulating choir-like circles. All accompanied by glimmering glitches, while cacophony of urban noises slowly rises from the haze and piercingly steals the center stage to deliver absolutely unforgettable listening delight. No wonder this is the flagship of this album. What to add, this is simply phenomenal, I think Strom Noir has never sounded better!!! The next piece, "All Summer In A Day", starts with rather monotonous drone, but assorted click-clacks freshly color the texture along with spellbindingly rotating semi-melodious fragments. A strongly cinematic and introspective composition!!! Beautifully entitled "V Ohni So Mnou Poď", or "Come With Me In The Fire", paints magnificently circling solitudes, where rougher tensities stunningly intermingle with poignant nostalgia. The texture exquisitely crescendoes in its spectacular deepness and monstrousness and safely reaches utterly ear-splitting gloriousness. Another sonic monument by Strom Noir!!! "All Souls (Will Be Born Again)" is more comforting, even if the static drone hum is quite monolithic. Hissy embellishments and hypnotic oscillations do the rest of the work. A gorgeously immense outro!!!

I think it's more than evident for all those who are journeying with Strom Noir, this is undoubtedly the most sophisticated album by this Slovak drone sculptor. A truly intriguing, mind-bending and victorious guitar drone work, transporting each listener to the frontier of stringed drone virtuosity. That's "Urban Blues" in a nutshell and I am really proud of Strom Noir!!! Klobúk dole, hats off!!!

Richard Gürtler (Mar 23, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

7


Zero Ohms "Process Of Being" CD

Richard Roberts, the sole creator behind Zero Ohms, equipped with flutes and wind synthesizer controllers, returns with a brand new CD "Process Of Being", his 11th solo album, released during February 2014 on Californian Spotted Peccary label. This highly respected US flute wizard is known also for his numerous renowned collaborations with artists such as Craig Padilla, Skip Murphy, Brannan Lane, Gordon Rhyne or Markus Reuter.

As indicated by haunting nightly images, by Daniel Pipitone and Jourdan Laik, on elegant 4-panel disc eco wallet, the album initiates straight away with tranquilly sublime free-floater "The Present Perfect Tense Of Being", with 14 and half minutes the longest piece on "Process Of Being". Ultra deep immersion is quickly achieved by heavier, mind-expanding reverberations, which rotate above in some passages. Grandiosely majestic sceneries are masterfully unfolded and invite each listener into a truly fascinating journey loaded with stunningly shifting drone expansions and oscillations. Definitely a top-notch opening!!! And no matter if you wear headphones or giving an exercise to your speakers!!! "The Approach Of Nothingness" is slightly more relieving, the drone is less massive, although the reverberating circles are still riding atop here and there. But the overall feel is still strongly embracing and transporting. Floating on gentle waves of infinite expansiveness, Richard Roberts excels again when deliberately bridging acoustic wind instrumentation with wind synths, field recordings and advanced recording techniques. 14-minute "Glimpsing The Eternal" immediately attracts with breathy flute magic, the most textured composition so far. Richard Roberts' skills in creating beautifully evocative flute expressions are in full bloom throughout. This is a gorgeously reflective composition, which undoubtedly will soothe your body and soul!!! "The Dream Dreaming You" smoothly returns to calmer, contemplative terrains, where serene flute reverberations and transitions coalesce with peaceful stillness infused by distant mindscaping spirals. Environmental hums announce the next piece, "The Process Of Being There". Gently cascading yearning flute images are this time harmoniously merged with remote static drone soars. The closing "Nameless" unfolds with rather minimal, abyssal dronescape, which slowly expands into more colossal dimensions leaded by ear-rubbing resonations, while sparse flute calls keep on meandering and counterpoint with meditative stillness. Sure, this is not your ordinary "piece of cake", but as soon you manage to dive deeper into these soundworlds, many rewards are emerging. A gigantically vacuous and dissonantly transcendental listening experience is achieved during the final stage of "Process Of Being". I wouldn't hesitate to describe this as a grand finale!!!

Richard Roberts is a true virtuoso, who handles his flute arsenal in a very distinguishing style. While delicately balsamy with his previous album, with "Process Of Being" Zero Ohms masterfully explores a quite mind-bending sonic realms, a paradise for your nocturnal musings. But as always, all signatures of Richard Roberts are fully arrayed. Credits include also Ben Cox as the mastering engineer. If you are fascinated by deeply immersing woodwind-driven dronescaping, "Process Of Being" is certainly an album you can always bet on!!!

Richard Gürtler (Mar 22, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

8


Shambala Networks "The Last Winter" 2xCDr

This is for the first time I am going to dive into an ambient soundworlds by an artist coming from Romania. From Transylvania region comes Olivér Dombi, electronic music producer and mastermind behind Shambala Networks. "The Last Winter" double album was originally released as a download on Olivér's own label ADX Records in May, 2010. Since February, 2013, it's available as a 2xCDr and cassette via small Italian label Ozky e-sound. Definitely a good move!!! Shambala Networks' discography include mostly download releases via ADX Records or Kalpamantra, but also "Deep Spiritual Network Connections" CD and "Memories From The Uterus" CDr. Lots of tunes to discover by this Romanian soundsculptor!!!

"The Last Winter" unfolds with "Átszellemülve", a quite mind-bending dark-infused ambience colored by various, gently outbursting radio frequencies, noises, hisses and organic oddments. Moving through intensely increasing elevations as well as through declining stillness, this composition offers a truly immersing listening experience, welcome to Shambala Networks' adventurous sonic paradise!!! "Esö. Évszázad. Tenger" (translated from Hungarian as "Rain. Century. Sea"), which reaches nearly 16 minutes, dives deeply into spectacular cavernous realms, where static drone backgrounds interact with sharper fragments, tranquil field recordings and oscillating pulses. Few unwanted blips appear throughout this track on CDr, but the overall impact is again very powerful and transporting. The following piece, "Fiatal Galaxishalmaz" ("Young Galaxy Clusters"), reaches the most breathtaking aerial domains with ultra low reverberating dronewalls intermingling with occasional cybernetic eruptions and foreboding rumbles. "Lebegés" ("Levitation"), with 12 minutes another longer piece, safely remains in cyberscaping territorries, although crossed with harshly pervading industrial fragments. But guarding above is stunningly gorgeous undulating blanket of warmer panoramic washes. Absolute winner!!! "Olajfestékes Fal" ("Oil Painted Wall") is by far more weird and disturbing with a quite phantasmal and cacophonous touch. The last track on first CDr, "Internet", delves into intensely spiraling drone zones, embellished by briskly swirling effects (chirping cyber birds?...). Harsher noises keep on exploding here and there, while low dronewalls quietly ride on distant horizons and produce a totally mind-blowing outcome!!!

"Skmp" opens the second part, a short minimal piece with subtly tinkling bells and sparse marimba-like melody is the most contemplative part on this double album. "What Life Was Meant To Be" immediately attracts with hauntingly warm drifts, gorgeously expansive and engulfing, while chirping birds tranquilly captivate the listener's ears. The track smoothly floats through few serene elevations counterpointed with embracing silence. This is a pure, 8-minute sonic elixir!!! "World Made Of Dark Matter", as its title suggests, shifts into denser and harsher chasm filled with eeriness. "Idegrendszer", which means in English "Nervous", sounds exactly as it is titled. We are still on the frightening path from previous cut, plus additional undesired blips won't make it more relieving... "Signs Of Insanity" takes it even further into oddly phantasmagorical places. I hope there is a way to return... Fortunately with "Virágvége" (could be "End Of Blossom") I find the trail, although the journey still drifts on strongly mindscaping wings, surrounded by angelic guards and relieving organics, but bizarrely mesmeric circles continue to rise and fall. Stunning conclusion and another big one of this set!!!

Wow, "The Last Winter" is a very strong double album, which deserves a factory pressed CD release. Yes, this Romanian guy left me quite breathless with his extraordinarily colored soundworlds hanging in a deep fissure between ambient and dark ambient!!! Olivér Dombi is releasing music since 2006, so shame on me I didn't locate him sooner than in 2013. Big thanks to Karel/Sonic-Hypnosis for navigating Shambala Networks to my radar. Certainly a big revelation!!!

Richard Gürtler (Mar 17, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

9


Anthony Paul Kerby & Tomas Weiss "Revelation" CD

"Revelation", released at the end of October 2013 on the Dutch label Databloem, is collaboration number three between DataObscura's Anthony Paul Kerby (APK) from Canada and El Culto's leader Tomas Weiss from Germany. Their two previous collaborative albums, "Appearances" and "Distant Shadows", were released in 2011 on the Musical Philosophy and Construct labels (both from El Culto).

Theo Rabou is always on the hand when it comes to Databloem's cover image wizardry, "Revelation" is no exception, so the full immersion has just begun even before I hit the play button. With the opening "Spellbound" the listener is continuously absorbed by hauntingly drifting elegiac ambience, decently augmented by lush organic infusions, ghost-like voice fragments, and other high-tech sonic flickers. A tranquilly expansive intro, guarded by celestial choirs. Well done, guys!!! "Waiting For The World To Begin", the longest track, clocking over 12 minutes, dives straight into abyssal drone reverberations, where rather monochromatic walls amalgamate with delicately mysterious factory rumbles and squeaks, futuristic voices, foreboding hums and noises... The closing two minutes return to calmer terrains, although still richly flavored with a blend of assorted organics and cybernetic scraps. A monster track and certainly another winner!!! "Open Land" immediately attracts with its immensely spacious dimension, but this free-floating effect is again cleverly interrupted by a myriad of ear-tickling ingredients, which continuously keep on emerging and vanishing, many of them masterfully polished into a fragile pristine radiance. The title "Black Sand" indicates a shift into coastal panoramas, which should be completely barren, but some unforeseen urban environments inconspicuously sneak in. Transition through some outbursting breaths and mesmerizing pulses add a brand new extent to this ultra fascinating journey!!! "Days And Nights" unfold with dark cumulus cloudscaping and a rather flatlined background, while the fore is slowly invaded by diverse, meticulously sculpted industrial embellishments and serenely undulating epic passages. The next track, "Discovery", is an ultra embracing dronescape, continuously drifting into grandiosely evocative realms, masterfully intensified with warmly meandering cinematic layer, here and there boosted with cyber-tech clatters and distant voices. Put your headphones on and unlock the gates to utterly mindscaping soundworlds!!! A magnum opus of this "Revelation"? "An Uncertain Path" is a grandiosely celestial piece, again effectively merging hauntingly gorgeous and expansively denser wistful washes with exquisitely refined accompaniments. The journey continues!!! "Revelation", the title composition, opens with monochromous blankets, safely drifting into unbounded graceful spheres, tranquilly flavored with filigree acoustic strings. A warmly inviting wide-screen texture, filled with intimate pensiveness, that progresses and quietly cascades through slightly intenser passages before diffusing over a sheet of majestic serenity. Undoubtedly another magnificently sculpted piece!!! The closing track, "There Are No Words", keeps its charmingly scenic feel, which silently floats and ebbs through grandiose sky high domains. A very sublime finale of this album!!!

Anthony Paul Kerby and Tomas Weiss deliver on this album the very best of their creative talents and blend them into a very personal and distinctive sonic statement, that will surely please all connoisseurs of drifting, but actively entertaining ambience. "Revelation" is without doubt a highly sophisticated recording, heavily loaded with many rewarding listening pleasures!!!

Richard Gürtler (Mar 16, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

10
Nice comments and descriptions, as usual, Richard.

This is actually my favourite style of Steve Roach.
A very enjoyable album, and also great with a bit of volume.

Thanks a lot, Anthony, for your comments!!! By the way, I really look forward to your collaboration with Specta Ciera!!!

Richard

11
Thank you so much, Bert, for sharing your nice memories about Ruben.

Richard

12


Robert Rich "Morphology" CD

I was very excited about this live CD since the very first day when Darren Bergstein of Anodize (and Periphery) has announced it on his Bandcamp site. Having name such as Robert Rich on your own label is of course always a quite challenging task. And having a live CD by Robert Rich always on your hand in your own listening environment, that's another exciting thing, no question about that. Except Anodize/Periphery projects, Darren is also the guy who has organized many unforgettable live shows through his One Thousand Pulses concert series and "Morphology", performed live at May 15, 2010 in northeast New Jersey, is a sonic document taken from these series. On the top of that, in the meantime I had the opportunity to experience personally Robert Rich's live performance, his sleep concert in the middle of October 2013 in Krakow, Poland. Definitely enough facts to be really excited long time before the disc hits the streets!!!

Stuck to Anodize attractive packaging concept, the CD comes in a hinged rectangular tin with front and back stickers with 2-panel insert. Very strong beginning!!! And the opening piece "Alhambra" takes the listener straightly into richly fragranced soundworlds that Robert Rich is famous for. Middle East perfume is all over this amazing composition on which many trademarking signatures of Robert Rich are masterfully displayed. No matter if it's utterly evocative flute, unlimited stringed virtuosity, high-spirited percussive rhythms or distant atmospheric blankets. A pure magic of "Seven Veils" is awaken once again!!! "Attar" is guarded by slightly spacious washes, but the center stage is occupied by haunting interactions of sharper exotic tribal rhythms, wistful flute, crystalline piano expressions and fragilely tinkling percussions. A truly distinguishing electro acoustic performance and one of the unforgettable jewels from "Ylang" album. Wow, just two tracks and I am fully transported into spectacularly flavored places!!! "Vetiver" is taken from the same album and it's again cleverly amalgamated composition, where sluggish rhythm base precisely intermingle with flute wizardry. But it's a lap steel guitar bravura that steels the show later when precisely evoking some female scream-like soars, with a very hallucinogenic effect. "Touch-Release", the first of two unreleased pieces on "Morphology", dives into quietly meandering realms with some remote blips interwoven. Expansive drifts with strongly organic touch are again guarded above by female piercing sounds, flimsy tinkles emerge occasionally. Enormously evocative composition and another big one!!! "Geode", which originally appeared on "Lithosphere" (with Ian Boddy), unfolds with all kinds of blips and tinkles, quite minimal, but soon a siren cry sneak in, while the tinkling percussions smoothly shift and reach primordial flavor. Intro with natural sounds announces "Other Side Of Twilight", which is the shorter, 12 and half minute long live version of the famous classic track from "Numena". Chirping birds interact with distant pulses and ocarina-like calls, a very tranquil atmosphere is immediately set. The composition moves through gorgeous cascades, where sharper, undulating sequences are masterfully counterpointed with dreamier synth passages and stunningly evocative lap steel cries. Originally composed back in 1986, this is absolutely triumphant live presentation of this Hall of Fame composition!!! The next one, "Nesting On Cliffsides", which clocks to nearly 13 minutes, starts with cyber-tech oddment and quickly progresses into uniquely colored rhythm bridged with lap steel soars and other strange voice-like fragments. All kinds of bizarre sounds pop up along the way, dramatically increase in volume and after relievedly disappear. Then abyssal drones invade, but weird collage of industrial rumbles, buzzes and squeaks quickly steals the show, before this escapade calms down. The phantasmagorical "Bestiary" is back!!! And it fits precisely also to the following, title track "Morphology", the second unreleased piece on the CD. Weird noises keep on outbursting here and there and interact with mesmerizingly galloping and mindscaping groove. The closing "Edge Of Nowhere" instantly brings back crystalline razor-sharp synthetic feel known from collaborations with Ian Boddy. This one comes from their "Outpost" album. Rippling high-tech electronic rhythms are meticulously merged with distant dreamscapes and expressive lap steel cries. A perfect conclusion to this 74-minute long live recording!!!

"Morphology" is definitely not your ordinary ambient album, it's a live document showcasing Robert Rich at the top of his uniquely inventive artistry. "Morphology" was released during December 2013 as a limited edition of 300 pieces and as far I know it's still available via Anodize or directly from Robert, so make sure to grab your tin as soon as possible, because otherwise you will miss another brilliant release by this Californian musical genius!!! Well, the fact this CD is still available is far beyond my understanding... Last but not least, kudos to Darren Bergstein for bringing this concert to our listening rooms and bravo to Robert Rich for all these groundbreaking explorations!!!

Richard Gürtler (Mar 12, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

13
I agree with your assessment.  This album is very heavy on the trance sequencing, some of the tracks being very repetitive, but it's a good album if you like driving sequencer workouts.

Thanks a lot, Chris, your comments are always much appreciated!!!

Richard

14


Steve Roach "Spiral Meditations" CD

With "Spiral Meditations", released during December 2013 on Timeroom Editions, Steve Roach shifts into cyber-tech infused trance ambient spheres. Eye-catching artwork is, as usual, designed by Sam Rosenthal and dominated by spiral talisman by Dawn Wilson-Enoch, in Northern New Mexico based painter, drawer and jewelry, talismans and medicine bags designer. Remember Dawn's spiral fossil photo on "Live Transmission" artwork or front cover illustration on "Live At Grace Cathedral"? The connection between images and soundworlds is again precisely utilized.

"Consumed By Sunlight", which has already appeared on acclaimed Projekt's "Possibilities Of Circumstance" compilation, opens the album in a truly impressive way. Tranquilly meandering washes guard the skies, while utterly relaxing sequences keep on shimmering. Magnificently absorbing laid-backness, more please!!! "Sand Painting", belongs to longer pieces on this album, when getting close to 11 and half minute mark. It dives straightly into continuous flow of mesmerizingly repetitive spirals. Strong cybernetic vibes move elegantly throughout. The more recurrent are the cruising pulses, the more mindscaping ride unfolds around the listener's ears. "Spiral Meditation", the title track, vibrantly hits the center stage with ultra fast cyberscaping texture, enhanced by all kinds of razor sharp blip arrangements. In case you didn't cross the gates yet, be sure you will be definitely blown away with this essentially hypnotic cyber-tech tune, a definite top-notcher!!! Shortest "Helix", as indicated by its title, delves deeply into extremely spiraling realms. "Spiral Meditation - Part Two", with 17 minutes the longest piece, exposes with rather calmer hypnotics, where waves of infinite soundscapes are carefully coalesced with velvety pulses coiling up into the sky domains. It slowly progresses into more vigorous oscillations and rides through hauntingly remote cascades, while full-bodied sequencer sparkles try to steal the show. Mind-bending transition is guaranteed again!!! The next tune, "The Feeling Expands", intricately merges richly euphoric sequences, various cybernetic enrichments and warmly expansive desert vistas. "Sustained In Soul Light" reveals with more intangible sharpness of rhythms and melodies, with very delicate touch. High-tech fragments keep on emerging and tranquilly evocative sky-high blankets are amorphously drifting with pure grace and insignia of the master. Gorgeously mesmerizing finale!!!

"Spiral Meditations" album is a quite unexpected work by Steve Roach, much more hypnotic-infused than any of his other sequencer-driven adventures. Be prepared for 70 minutes of a hyper modern laid-back trance ambient delicacy. Maybe not as ultra immersing as usual for this genius of sound architecture, the word "Meditations" might lead to these expectations, but certainly as much mindscaping!!! That's why "Spiral Meditations"!!!

Richard Gürtler (Mar 09, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

15
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: ROACH Road Trip. . . .the Long Trip
« on: February 17, 2014, 11:03:48 PM »
Yes, a very nice reading, thanks a lot for sharing these memorable moments!!!

Richard


16
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Strom Noir "Urban Blues" CD is out!!!
« on: February 13, 2014, 10:17:38 AM »
Slovak guitar drone ambient project Strom Noir is back with new album "Urban Blues" on Polish Zoharum Records. A glass mastered CD goes with ecopak packaging and is limited to 300 copies. If interested, please feel free to find more infos here:

http://stromnoir.bandcamp.com/album/urban-blues
http://zoharum.bandcamp.com/album/urban-blues



Richard

17
Independent Music Reviews / Re: My review of "Over-soul" CDr by Steve Brand
« on: February 10, 2014, 11:03:41 PM »
Steve Brand is awesome!  Where can you get this disc?  I thought all the releases now were only digital.


Chris, you can order "Over-soul" CDr here:

http://steve-brand.bandcamp.com/album/over-soul

And ask Steve about "The Great Hoop" CDr, not officially released on CDr, but I am sure Steve is able to make a copy for you, highly recommended too!!!

Richard

18
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Over-soul" CDr by Steve Brand
« on: February 10, 2014, 10:36:25 AM »


Steve Brand "Over-soul" CDr

"Over-soul" album saw the light at the end of November, 2013, on Steve Brand's own label Pioneer Light Music. The summer brought to us his magnum opus, "The Great Hoop", a journey to the forefront of primordial shamanistic electroacoustic ambience. So let's take a closer look on the next chapter of his masterful soundsculpting. First of all, "Over-soul" CDr comes with beautifully designed 5"x7" 4-panel booklet, digitally printed. The sleeve is designed by Steve Brand and the first edition of 50 copies is signed and hand numbered. Well done, definitely a very good move and a way to go in the future, because as I have mentioned in my previous reviews, Steve Brand's music deserves a better packaging. Now we got it!!!

"Over-soul" is comprised of three lengthy tracks, clocking between 19 and 22 minutes. "The Wise Silence" fires this journey up with distant drone undulations, sounding quite meditative at the beginning. Although sparse, the dronewall slowly unfolds and increases into intensely expansive cascades, which intermingle with hums of gigantically unfathomable depths. Warmer widescreen panoramas inconspicuously sneak in and gracefully illuminate the overall mood. But intense dissonant outbursts re-emerge again, safely guard above and precisely interact with more relieving contemplations. This is a truly monstrous track!!! Who will stop this guy? "The Collective Heart" remains in abyssal realms, towering spirals of hummed drones arise and drift, occasionally interrupted by distant medicine drum fragments and primordial rumblings. Celestial choirs ride atop, but phantasmal tumultuousness is always ready to strike. A breathtakingly grandiose zones are entered, immerse yourself into some of the most magnificent transcendental spheres!!! And put your headphones on, otherwise your speakers will get a really serious exercising lesson. A multi-dimensional drone ambient paradise looks exactly like this!!! "Unity" spreads calmly and sparsely, but denser drifts awake, gently move and then gradually evolve into heavier, mindscaping swirls, ear-bending reverberations and climaxing disruptions, which are gloriously permeated with tranquil silence of majestic celestial expanses. This is the conclusion and another tour de force!!!

The sound magic is fully unfolded, once again by Steve Brand, one of the indisputable geniuses of the genre, and spectacularly magnificent sceneries for your inner mind trip reveal. Don't be afraid to explore "Over-soul", because a highly rewarding listening experience awaits you!!! What to add? The next step is a glass mastered CD, if not, then there is no justice within ambient scene. Chad Kettering and Peter James also deserve to be credited for their mastering wizardry. All in all, "Over-soul" is certainly another stellar achievement by Steve Brand!!!

Richard Gürtler (Feb 09, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

19
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Airborne" CD by Erik Wøllo
« on: February 03, 2014, 07:23:41 AM »


Erik Wøllo "Airborne" CD

Norwegian ambient guitar virtuoso Erik Wøllo has released "Airborne" album during the end of August, 2012, on Projekt as his, if I am counting correctly, 16th solo work. Of course Erik's extensive discography features also several other outstanding collaborations with artists such as Steve Roach, Ian Boddy, Deborah Martin, Bernhard Wöstheinrich and Frank Van Bogaert. The album, which follows the footsteps of Erik's triumphant debut on Projekt, "Gateway", comes in elegant 4-panel digipak leaded by graceful dreamy cover image by Karsten Wall and panoramic inside photo by Erik.

"Spring Equinox (Prelude)" ignites the journey with lushly swirling embellishments, while balmy scenic washes are guarding above. Then sighing string magic steal the show and guides this opening piece into utterly evocative realms. "The Drift" unfolds with gentle percussive rhythm, warmly spiraling aerials follow shortly backed by soaring strings. A quite absorbing high-tech/tribal/groove-infused adventure!!! "Red Earth", with 7 minutes the longest piece on album, starts with quiet intro, but soon sparse, but strongly evocative strings with desert Southwest flavorings take the lead. Then swiftly shimmering percussions join this amazingly panoramic trip through these grandiose landscapes. A true masterpiece, bravo, Erik!!! Aerial meandering opens "Airborne 1", soon followed by expressive guitar shadings. But it's hauntingly poignant piano that later steals the show together with wonderfully gladdening downtempos. "Circle Lake" quickly turns into gorgeously nostalgic and expansive terrains enriched by pristine strings and organic samples. This composition showcases absolutely flawless harmony between electronics and acoustics. "Lost And Found" remains in wonderfully evocative skyline realms, which later transform into richly luminous, rhythm-induced mesmerizing trip. Sparkling melodies dominate "Airborne 2", while catchy locomoting vibes floats throughout. "The Longest Day" delves into strongly melancholic terrains, where leading acoustic string magic is masterfully coupled with soaring dreamy blankets. Another outstandingly evocative composition!!! "Time River" reveals with serenely embracing ambience, which gently evolves and drifts into catchy percussive-driven melodies, sparkily picturesque and exquisitely enriched by poignantly nostalgic stings. Another stunner!!! "North Of The Mountains" quickly attracts with its fragile touch and charmingly translucent harmony of all ingredients, a headphone listening reveals all the magic of this piece (so it does with all other tracks)!!! "The Magic Spot" melts precisely primordial essences of didgeridoo and tribal drumming with large dose of modern sonic alchemy. A highly quivering trancescape infused by Erik's trademarking guitar mastery. What a journey!!! And a very tough competitor for "Red Earth"!!! "Airborne 3" closes the album with gorgeously celestial washes strengthened by wistful violin-like cries. Majestically immersing!!!

"Airborne" is blazingly flavored masterwork offering a truly essential listening experience for all connoisseurs of shimmeringly expansive ambience bridged with filigreeing guitar brilliance. Erik Wøllo is an ambient icon and "Airborne" is his magnum opus!!! Now the question is, what he will to do to follow this up? Well, the answer is getting closer and closer, because Erik's newest album "Timelines" is hitting the streets in two days, at February 4th, 2014...

Richard Gürtler (Feb 02, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

20
Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: February 01, 2014, 11:36:23 AM »
Tomas Weiss - Zeitlos
This just arrived in the mail two days ago and I've been listening to it practically non-stop ever since: at work, while sleeping, but not while operating heavy machinery. Zeitlos is, simply put, one of the better ambient releases I've heard in a while. The tracks are, for the most part, synth-driven soundscapes, typically leaning toward the dark side of ambient. The standout tracks, at least for me, are Alignment (particularly rewarding with headphones), Near Nothing, and Zeitlos. Each of these combines drone-inspired ambient with subtle, but lovely melodies. The last track in particular, Zeitlos, overlays some nice reverberating electric guitar with synths to create a majestic, dreamy atmosphere. Sometimes I get the urge to put that track on repeat; therefore, I'm thrilled to learn that there is an expanded release coming out soon that highlights that track in particular.

Two thumbs up. I hope I'm not making Tomas blush by raving a bit here, but I think virtually everyone who participates in these forums will find something to love in this release. It is a special one.

Samples/Buy: http://www.el-culto.com/artists/tomasweiss/zeitlos.html


Agree 100%!!!

Richard

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