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Messages - richardgurtler

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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)

322


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)

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Welcome back, Bill, it's always a really great pleasure to read your thoughtful reviews!!!  I will keep an eye on your blog and I really look forward to all your future reviews!!! Hard copies of old Wind and Wire still remain one of the most treasured items in my ambient collection. All the best, my friend!!!

And of course big thanks goes also to Jeff for his another masterpiece, it's really nice to see all these pieces on physical CD. Keep on going, Jeff!!!

Richard

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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)

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Great news, Anthony, I am a huge fan of Robert Davies, so I can't wait to explore "Arboreal"!!! All the best and keep on going!!! :)

Richard

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Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Forrest Fang news
« on: November 09, 2012, 10:56:45 AM »
Great news, Forrest!!! Even if I have the original edition of "The Wolf At The Ruins", I really look forward to Projekt's remastered reissue. All the best!!! :)

Richard

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Definitely agree with all of you, guys. Ordering a CD is for me a very enjoyable process, but if some label/artist decide to release ultra limited run even if the demand is much bigger, then this process immediately becomes stressful, because you have to be "at the right place at the right time", otherwise you miss the item or you will pay later much higher price at Discogs to someone who is trying to make some money from these strange label politics. Even if you are a true fan and collector, you might miss the item and instead of you, some speculative purchaser buys the item/items. Have no idea what's behind these "strategies" of some labels/artists even if I am hardly trying to imagine being in their shoes... Of course I understand if some artful handmade edition is made, but have no excuse for ordinary packaged CDr edition of 50 or 100 copies, even if much bigger run can be easily sold. Why to make or release music, when it's limited to smaller amount of people only? Exploring new music should be relaxing and comfortable, and not stressful and upsetting, so I simply avoid dealing with these labels/artists.

Richard

328


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)

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Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: November 02, 2012, 11:21:23 PM »
Ran Kirlian-Formations
Joxan Ruiz-Gaze

Both of these are on Altera Orbe label, sister label of Ad21 in Spain.  Both excellent (reviews forthcoming).

Have to look into that AD21 sublabel soon.

Yes, I definitely agree about expanding Altera Orbe label, don't miss also their two releases by Landru, entitled "Neurotransmitters" and "Fimbria", plus his collaboration with Ran Kirlian "Waterfront". By the way, both, "Neurotransmitters" and "Waterfront", were reviewed on these pages, so feel free to check them out too.

Richard



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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)

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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)

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


Radiant Mind "Sense" CDr

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

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


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Yes, great topic!!!

It's definitely a very long list of releases:

For sure many Amplexus, Arya, Aurora, Faria Records, Hic Sunt Leones, Trance Port, Oreus, Glacial Movements... releases

Plus:

Steve Roach & Vidna Obmana "Well Of Souls" 2CD
John Vorus "Transmuting Currents" CD
Special edition of TUU "One Thousand Years" CD
Special edition of TUU "All Our Ancestors" CD
False Mirror "Derelict World" CD
Steve Roach "Day Out Of Time" CD/DVD
Steve Roach "Early Man" CD
Steve Roach "Dynamic Stillness" 2CD
Steve Roach "Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces" Box Set
Soriah with Ashkelon Sain "Eztica" CD
Aperus ‎"Tumbleweed Obfuscated By Camera Failure" CDr
Remanence "A Strange Constellation Of Events" CDr
Neu Gestalt "Weightless Hours" CD
Erik Wøllo "Fossegrimen" CD/Book
Robert Rich "Medicine Box" CD
Steve Roach "Origins" CD
Steve Roach "Dreamtime Return" 2CD
Steve Roach | Brian Parnham "The Desert Inbetween" CD
Robert Rich ‎"Echo Of Small Things" Box Set
Jorge Reyes ‎"Michoacán: Un Paisaje Sonoro" CD
Michael Stearns "The Lost World" CD
Steve Roach "Immersion : Three" 3CD

and most likely many others that didn't cross my mind.

Richard

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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)

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I can't wait to receive my copy, Darren!!!

Richard

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Great news, Blake!!! I definitely stay tuned for the digipak/CDr edition.

Richard

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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)

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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)

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: New cd from Jeff Pearce
« on: September 18, 2012, 09:17:13 AM »
Just ordered too!!! :)

Richard

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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)

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