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Messages - richardgurtler

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41


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)

42
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

43


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)

44
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


45
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

46
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

47
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)

48
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)

49
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

50
"The Long Night" fully unfolds all the magic of nocturnal environments!!! Don't hesitate to explore this collaboration, because a highly rewarding listening experience awaits!!! Both, Steve & Kelly have done amazing work on this one, it can't be compared with anything Steve has recorded in last few years. Certainly worth the long wait!!!

Richard

51


Ran Kirlian & Jaja "Cosmos Vol. I" CDr

One of the leaders behind Spanish Altera Orbe label, Ran Kirlian, has released during April 2013 two long awaited collaborative projects. One of them is "Cosmos Vol. I", the first installment of his space journeying with fellow German voyager Jaja. Jaja is constantly exploring space regions since 2011 through her numerous free download albums released via Cyan Music label (Jaja is a co-owner of this free audio netlabel) while Ran Kirlian has ventured deeply into these realms on his acclaimed "Continuum" CDr album (June 2012, Altera Orbe).

Deep space hums sharply invade "Majestic", the opening, 19-minute long piece. Dronewalls quickly transmute into heavy weight category, colossally expansive, but celestial choir-like infusions and some intangible high-tech undulations soften this invasion. Cascading from monumental, ear-bending passages to more calmer, rather warmer and relieving spacefields. The next piece, entitled "Particles", has a similar length and drifts graciously through spatial grandness. Cybernetic outbursts, vibrations and disturbances and ominous clouds of alien sounds emerge continuously and meticulously amalgamate with dronescaping stellar panoramas. Drifting with ethereal grace calmly and safely through diverse intensifications and culminations with arising, well-hidden rhythm fragments, organic traceries and heavenly choirs. Powerfully transporting experience, a potential magnum opus? Shortest "Full Of Stars", clocking over 14-minute mark, reveals with rather tremulously droning scenario, reinforced by harsher and intenser, ear-tickling layers. Floating, ebbing and expanding with massively unfathomable, transcendental dronewalls hauntingly interplaying with majestically soothing, nearly contemplative solitudes. "Communion" with nearly 28 minutes the longest piece closes this journey with abyssal breaths, while ethereal choir-like drones are guarding above and warmly monstrous, wide-screen soundwaves fill the air. Distant, industrialized mind-benders keep on emerging here and there. This is certainly a gracefully grandiose pinnacle, where voluminously transporting effect is quickly guaranteed!!! As a devoted space drifter, I couldn't ask for more intense finale!!!

Both creators dedicate this voyage into celestial domains to the magnificence of the Cosmos as well as to famous American astronomer, educator, author and science popularizer, Carl Sagan. I hope Ran Kirlian & Jaja are working on the next volume, because this first chapter left me breathlessly fascinated. As far I know this is a limited edition (not sure if 25 or 50 copies), so if you are one of those deep space connoisseurs, don't miss "Cosmos Vol. I", 80 minutes of pure stargazing magic awaits here!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jan 26, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)


52


Alio Die & Zeit "A Circular Quest" CD

"A Circular Quest" is a 5th chapter of collaborations between Italian ambient sculptors Stefano Musso aka Alio Die and Tommaso Cimò aka Zeit. Four of them are regular CD albums on Hic Sunt Leones while the remaining one is a live document from 2007 released as a special CDr edition on the same label. Out since June 2013, the album comes, as usual for all HSL releases, with attractive, glossy 6-panel digipak featuring beautiful pictures of some, I believe, Venetian palaces.

Opening intro "Going Far" clocks only to nearly 3 minutes, but it delves deeply into helically reverberating and mindscaping drone terrains. The next piece, "Brahman", is by far longer, reaching almost 23-minute mark. Hanging above is slightly harsher, buzzing monochromatic drone with intangible chant fragments meshing with meandering tapestry of distinctive sounds. After about 10 minutes more exotic layer silently sneaks in, then the whole weave slowly unfolds into livelily tinkling sequences, although the composition keeps its strongly contemplative dimension. Soothingly embracing seashore sounds reveal the title track, "A Circular Quest", but soon they are joined by quietly circling, distinguishably flavored electroacoustic textures, which set a beautifully pensive feel. Distant chants stealthily ride atop. Magnificent!!! The next "Dharma" is another longer composition and it dives into sublimely flatlined realms, both immense and gracious. Hauntingly mesmerizing tinkles and tranquil field recordings join the fore and give to this piece an impression of utterly gorgeous sonic paradise, presenting Alio Die & Zeit at its most immersing and meditative. Joyfully twinkling sequence notes percolate during the second half. A true masterpiece!!! The closing piece is entitled "Returning" and as its title indicates, this shorter undulating dronescape goes back to where it all begun.

"A Circular Quest" is stirringly crafted and exceptionally fragranced journey by Alio Die & Zeit, certainly another masterful work by Stefano Musso & Tommaso Cimò!!! Yes, this album gets my highest recommendation!!! And Alio Die keeps on excelling, January 21st, 2014, was a street date for his newest collaborative album "Amidst The Circling Spires" with, in Berkeley, California, based voice virtuoso Sylvi Alli, so stay tuned...

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

53
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Nightbreeze" CD by Havdis
« on: January 19, 2014, 03:48:09 AM »


Havdis "Nightbreeze" CD

Havdis, the mysterious project of even more mysterious Norwegian soundscaper Odd Jensen, returns with 2nd full length album on gterma, entitled "Nightbreeze" and released at the end of October 2013. Actually, this is Havdis' third release, but the first one, "Clouds Into Sea" from 2011 (out as download on Russian Mixgalaxy net-label and also self-released as a CDr) was one year later featured on stunningly submerging debut "The Hidden Islands" CD on gterma (March, 2012).

First confrontation with "Nightbreeze" is absolutely impressive with striking beauty of panoramic images by Nina Benjaminsen featured on 16-page booklet. But I am sure Havdis is going to as much close as possible to reveal all the magic of these breathtaking Nordic landscapes during summer twilight. The opening piece, "Nothing But Pale Horizon", fits accurately the title with reverberating dronescape, quite contemplative, enriched by mellowly traversing passages filled with slight densities, disruptions and stillness. "Silent Dawn", with 4 minutes the shortest piece, unfolds with mesmerizingly circling melancholic washes, cavernous echoes sneak in along the way and add more mysterious dimension. "As The Moon Made Love To The Mountain" drifts graciously through warmly expansive nocturnal skylines while "Blåmyra" is sculpted with field recordings of hummed coastal panoramas and monochromatic drone. More textured layer with gorgeously evocative pads moves to the fore, flavored here and there with water splashes and seagull calls. Remote mild tinkles announce "Sweet Silent Solitude" and the listener is smoothly transported into utterly evocative, free-floating atmospheric Eden. Gracefully amorphous and colossally immersing exploration of some of the most fascinating sceneries of Nordic landscapes. Havdis dives deeply into the natural magnificence of these territories!!! The next cut, "Beneath Stars Of Fall", intensely drifts with choir-like infused drones above breathtakingly majestic ocean cliffs while bridged with mystic beauty of these climes. "Drops On An Inner Lake" relieve the ears with its stillness permeating through primordial cave, while soft clinks precisely interact with warmly embracing expanses enriched by piano. A journey into wonderfully immense place!!! "Nightbreeze", the title track, moves through more textured, spirally repetitive path evoking spectacular play of colors, which could be a natural phenomenon of midnight sun glimmering on the lake's surface. "Entering The Sheltered Waters Close To Harbour" heads into mysteriously sparse organic terrains, flavored with distant primordial rumblings. The closing piece, "Arcticmantra (Let Us Keep The Ice)", is with 14 minutes the longest one on "Nightbreeze". Rather monotonous, humming drone is spiced by assorted foreboding fragments and lightened by tranquilizing field recordings. Toward the end the dronewalls relievedly fade away. A truly awe-inspiring finale with deeply mindscaping experience guaranteed!!!

"Nightbreeze", composed and recorded between 2009 and 2013 and mastered by A.P (aka Anders Peterson of Ghost Sounds), is another stunningly adventurous album by Havdis. This guy keeps on impressing me with his undulating and crescendoing dronesculptings. "Nightbreeze" exquisitely portrays all the natural summer magic of untamed Norwegian hinterlands. Can't afford to visit these places? Don't worry, with "Nightbreeze" you will be carried away to discover all these jaw-dropping panoramas!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jan 19, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

54
Sonic and visual bliss awaits here!!! This is a truly monstrous double set, hats off to you, Anthony & Robert!!! Another deep listening session follows...  :)

Richard

55
Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 18, 2014, 12:28:34 AM »

Circular - Radiating Perpetual Light.
Beautiful Dark Ambient


On Spotify checking this right now. What a brilliant album this is. Always been meaning to get Circular - Substans on Ultimae but will have to get this first. On the urgent list.


"thirdsystem", not sure if you are aware, but Circular on Ultimae is a different project, from Norway, (featuring one member of Pjusk), it has nothing to do with German Circular project of Johannes Riedel, who is the guy behind "Radiating Perpetual Light". For full discographies, go to Discogs, Norwegian Circular is listed as Circular, while the German Circular can be found under Circular (2):

http://www.discogs.com/artist/37948-Circular
http://www.discogs.com/artist/708132-Circular-2

Richard

56


Chronotope Project "Event Horizon" CDr

Jeffrey Ericson Allen, from Eugene, Oregon, acting under the name of Chronotope Project is back with his 3rd full length album, "Event Horizon". Released in the middle of October 2013 as his second album for Relaxed Machinery. Jeffrey's both previous albums from 2012, "Chrysalis" and "Solar Wind", have brought to him a lot of attention within the the ambient community, Chronotope Project was certainly one of the most exciting discoveries of that year. Now we are entering the next chapter and I am sure this potential artist is again going to fully unfold his refined musicianship, just like he did on both above masterful albums.

"Unwinding The Dream" spreads with soothing organics, shimmeringly melodious sequences are accompanied by swirling crystalline tinkles and gorgeously nostalgic celestial expanses. An enchantingly floating piece of music transporting each journeyer into tranquilly mesmerizing spheres of sheer grace. "Akashic Love Songs" shift toward majestic panoramas enriched by mellow downtempos, glowing gentle percussive tribal magic and magnetizing filigree acoustic string patterns. A very alluring rhythm-driven elixir delivered by a highly crafted sonic alchemist. For sure this one will become one of my long-time favorites by Chronotope Project!!! "Arecibo" precisely displays the title with its straight cyber-tech mood with all those extraterrestrial-like fragments, radio transmissions and other phantasmal effects. The longest piece, "No Birth, No Death", clocks over 10-minute mark and safely remains in heavenly domains, graciously drifting through colossal cosmic spheres, reinforced by cybernetic breaths. But sad flute-infused sounds add earthy feel, and later warmly soft tribal rhythm and gentle tinkles inconspicuously sneak in. Deeply mesmerizing and contemplative composition!!! The following track, "The Temple Bell Fades", immediately moves into hauntingly mysterious terrains, masterfully enriched by sparse, but stunningly evocative piano magic. A truly beautiful!!! "Automatic Writing" attracts with its uplifting joyful texture scented with some beautiful, breezy, summer-like fragrance. A remarkably captivating and scenic!!! "Geosynchronous" catches up with its sublime mood bridging ear-catching bell sounds, balsamic ultra spacious washes and dreamy female chants. Another genuine sonic bliss!!! "Event Horizon", the title track, returns back to highly relaxing mood with warmly inviting melody created by pleasingly variable synthetic pulses and graciously meandering atmospherics with intangible choirs floating above. "The Path Of Least Resistance" slows down at the beginning with beautifully twinkling distant clinks and deeply evocative washes, but soon euphoric feel blankets the whole composition with richly sparkling palette of electrosounds enthusiastically cascading up and down. This is the closing piece and it's wonderfully expressive!!!

What to add? "Event Horizon", mastered by Peter James with artwork by Steve Brand, is a superb work loaded with high-spiritedness of its creator!!! Well, I should say Master instead of creator and you can be sure that his magic touch is heard all over this enormously sophisticated recording. "Event Horizon" is distinguishably sculpted and highly polished masterpiece, and certainly a very strong competitor for the album of the year!!! Jeffrey Ericson Allen and Chronotope Project are now heading to Ambient Pantheon!!!

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

57
Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Nidra" CDr by Jarguna
« on: January 05, 2014, 10:43:23 AM »


Jarguna "Nidra" CDr

Behind Jarguna project is hidden Italian soundsculptor Marco Billi. Although quite unknown, Jarguna's discography includes no less than 9 CDr/CD releases, both solo and some collaborations (with artists such Uzbazur, Lorenzo Squillari and Seba), and few additional albums, which are mostly available as free downloads (including collaboration with Kirill Platonkin). Marco Billi is also experienced traveler across the globe, mostly through Far East and Africa regions, and a highly proficient photographer. As an ethnobotany researcher, Marco Billi is also the driving force behind Shangri-la Association, dedicated to the protection of cultural and environmental traditions. So definitely don't hesitate to explore his musical, visual, travelogue and researching adventures!!!

"Nidra" is the newest album by Jarguna, which was self-released, I believe, during December 2013 and it marks Jarguna's return to more earthy soundscaping, as the previous work, a double album "Oscure Presenze" with Italian fellow artist Uzbazur (also known as Uzbazur345), delved into darker and spookier ambient terrains. Comprised of three lengthy tracks, "Nidra" is ignited with "Toward The Source", a long-form piece reaching length of 34 minutes. Organic intro with natural sounds is wrapped by roaring wind and guarded by mysterious choirs hanging above. The atmosphere serenely floats through graciously expansive and gorgeously immersing cascades enriched here and there by distant gentle dissonances, whistles and tinkles. Warmly embracing dulcet tunes invade along the way as well. Magically transporting journey awaits!!! The next track, "Winds Waves", is slightly shorter with nearly 27-minutes. Fragile tinkles are blanketed by eerily desolate wind, but soon cavernous whistles and soft rumbles, evoking a wooden cow bells, join the scene and lead through elevating passages, which are harmoniously bridged with soothingly contemplative prayerscapes. A really gorgeous piece!!! The closing, 15-minute long "Sankalpa" features two guests, Massimo Di Nocera on guitar and Monnie Gi on sitar. The composition unfolds with tranquilly expanding washes, magnificently transporting into strikingly beautiful unbounded realms. Airy tribal drumming arises on far-off horizon, while lusciously subtle string magic permeates to the forefront, which is utterly heartwarming. Hummed sitar drone meanders calmly in the background. "Sankalpa" is undoubtedly a truly captivating conclusion of this album. Stunningly glorious composition, Marco, Massimo & Monnie!!!

While journeying with "Nidra", the listener is carried away into delightfully atmospheric meditative paradise filled with balmy subtlety and amorphous mystery. Enter your sonic Shangri-la now!!! "Nidra" is a very strong album with fitting artwork, certainly one of my faves by this gifted Italian artist, who is based in Sesto Fiorentino, Tuscany. Jarguna is a very strong addition to other kindred spirits of fruitful Italian drone ambient scene, so make sure to experience Marco's soundworlds!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jan 05, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Memories In Widescreen" CD by 36
« on: December 29, 2013, 12:14:47 PM »


36 "Memories In Widescreen" CD

Dennis Huddleston, the sole protagonist behind 36 project, is undoubtedly one of the rising stars on the drone ambient scene. After highly acclaimed "Lithea" album from March 2012, which was already re-issued several times during 2012 and 2013 (as a double LP and twice as a CD), Dennis has decided to satisfy all lovers of silver discs and released his sold out album "Memories In Widescreen" on CD format. It came to light during May 2013 featuring two extra tracks (previously digital-exclusive bonus pieces), while the original album was released as a double 12" picture vinyl in November 2010. As a huge CD collector, I couldn't be more happy with this Dennis' decision. More especially, if packaged in beautifully designed and documented 6-panel matte digipak. Yes, the whole artwork with stunning archive photos perfectly interacts with album's title, excellent work!!!

The opening piece, "Before Time", unfolds with utterly evocative epic dronescapes that can be only 36, all wrapped by the hummed sounds of ocean waves touching the shoreline. Yes, this signature sound pours all over this beautifully nostalgic sonic document. The album title exactly captures the whole essence of these warmhearted memories. The longest track, 9-minute "After Time", only confirms above lines with its stunningly visualizing atmospheres, which are masterfully spiced with hauntingly intense cascades. This is 36 at his most profound dronescaping, to me a definite Hall of Famer track!!! 'Drifta" is by far more monochromatic with some distant voices hanging above and emerging foreboding breaths and noises. Gates to enchantingly mindscaping territories are unlocked!!! "Drowning" returns to wealthily intensier, hissy path leading to mysteriously subterrestrial realms, reinforced by assorted organic glitches, rumbles and voice fragments. Magnificently submerging!!! "Disappear" continuously drifts into spiraling infinity, while recurrent piano note elatedly brightens the atmosphere, which slowly grows in volume. 5 minutes in length, but I could listen to this one over and over, a truly gorgeous composition!!! Shorter, glitchy transitional piece "The Mirror" holds it strongly captivating essence, where shimmering moments of long forgotten memories awake. "Lucid" drifts on monochromatic waves of amply organic and mesmerizingly mindscaping ambience. The title track, "Memories In Widescreen", as its name suggests, attracts with its hauntingly intense drone scenario, which slowly expands into deeply imaginative and intimate terrains. Highly delightful journey!!! "Melt" blends outstandingly evocative blankets with harsher, tumultuous deluges while the following cut, "Slide", shifts into more serene paths, where the leading drone is embellished on the back with some euphoric xylophone-like sounds, adding a bit of exotic fragrance. 7-minute "Vesl" masterfully explores majestically flatlined drone horizon. "Revert Time" swirls inside of magnificently hypnotic circles while dreamy female chants ride atop, painting wonderfully moody atmosphere hazed by mist. "It's You (It's Me)" is as much mesmerizing as the previous track and it closes this beautifully expressive album with quickly spiraling dronewalls, intermingling with vaporous female voices. Again precisely wrapped by movingly immersing nostalgia. A glorious ending!!!

As I haven't heard the original double LP edition, this CD version is to me another huge revelation that moves side by side with the groundbreaking "Lithea" album. All I can do is to repeat again, bravissimo, Dennis!!! This ultra talented UK based artist plays his own big drone league. And don't miss 36's latest "Shadow Play" album released during July 2013, but that's next story...

Richard Gürtler (Dec 29, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

59


Jeff Greinke "Scenes From A Train" CD

The time runs fast, already four years have passed since Jeff Greinke's "Virga" album, released on Lotuspike. For all that time I didn't hear anything about this extraordinary artist, who is based in Tucson, Arizona. So the more surprised I was when "Scenes From A Train" CD crossed my radars via Hypnos Forum (thanks "Immersion" for the hint!!!). Yes, this release went by quite unnoticed within broader ambient community, it's a pity, because it deserves much bigger exposure even if it's not rooted to Jeff's older, more spookier ambient/dark ambient soundworlds. "Scenes From A Train" CD rather follows footsteps of his rhythmed, jazzy-infused side project Land. Released in June 2013 on UK label Infectious Music, Jeff Greinke is supported on this album by the long list of guests (there is no less than 13 of them!!!). Among them some which were part of above mentioned Land project.

Filigree musicianship is heard all over this entertaining sonic escapade. Richly flavored textures, merging warmer scenic vistas with lots of acoustic instrumentation and cascading from funky jazzy rhythms through weirdly tribal fields to sorrowful cinematic subtleties. Appealingly moving jazzy-funk/tribal pace of the opening title track "Scenes From A Train" immediately sets the atmosphere of a picturesque railroad travel. Bowed string mastery excels on sadly expressive piece, "The Beautiful Storm", while the next one, "Valley And Ridge" shifts back to rhythmed rails, where sparkling percussive tinkles with gentle clackers and shakers beautifully interact with the variety of bowed strings and wind instruments. Catchy laid-back train-like pace is achieved, while mingling with warmly inviting window's horizons. Pure beauty!!! Breathtakingly evocative mixture of trumpet, clarinet and viola leads "The Milky Way". Few dramatic crescendos sneak in throughout this stunningly expressive track. Small amount of exquisite Middle East fragrance is thrown in too (evoking unforgettable "Ngaio Gamelan"...). Deeply immersing cinematic realms are fully unfolded, more please!!! An ultimate Hall of Fame composition!!! Jazzy and tribal ingredients are again bridged in "Strange Birds", a piece driven by percussive downtempos, piano, cello and wind instruments. Hauntingly sculpted!!! "Haboob" keeps on the distinctive route with all the guitar and acoustic mastery, heavier post-rock infusions are featured in this oddly unique piece. Fortunately, aptly titled "Night Train" returns quickly to relaxing tribal mood surrounded by the interactions of trombone, clarinet, horn and distant dronescapes. Very nice!!! The album ends with "Autumn Moon", which features leisurely embracing and rhythmically stirring texture, augmented by velvety tinkles and female wordless ethereal chants. A truly enthralling finale!!!

"Scenes From A Train" album offers an all-inclusive, highly distinguishing travelogue experience, presented by challenging creativity of each participant. Jeff Greinke has teamed with many virtuoso performers, who have delivered to this recording their soul and spirit. Aural bliss awaits here, definitely!!! Excuse me for not mentioning any names of the guests in this review (plus mixing and mastering engineers), but it's the music that speaks for themselves and I didn't want to leave someone out. And I award extra points also for the visuals, the 4-panel digipak comes with additional 8-page booklet, precisely displaying the theme and dedication of each performer. The old Jeff Greinke is gone, that's for sure (at least on this album), but "Scenes From A Train" CD is a really big one as well, welcome back, Maestro!!!

Richard Gürtler (Dec 26, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

60
"Zeitlos", drone magic at its most mindscaping!!! Bravo, Tomas!!!

Richard

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