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Messages - richardgurtler

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Alphaxone & ProtoU "Stardust" CD

Although Iranian deep space soundforger Mehdi Saleh aka Alphaxone and Ukrainian dark ambient venturer Sasha Cats known as ProtoU are debuting in my review section, both of them belong to already established names on acclaimed Cryo Chamber label. Actually to be correct, few years back I reviewed another project by Mehdi Saleh, his stunningly triumphant "Broadcast" CD as Spuntic released on Dutch Databloem label during 2014. I have been deeply fascinated by "Stardust" since the very first days sometime during January 2017 when Cryo Chamber introduced the first tracks of this collaborative project and I immediately knew I want to review one day this spectacular odyssey. Out since January 24th, the CD comes in an attractive matte 6-panel digipak, designed and mastered by Cryo Chamber's trailblazer Simon Heath.

Distant monolithic hums and translucently titillating field recordings announce the opening 9-minute "Consumed". Warmly nebulous stratums inconspicuously invade, glide, wave and commingle with auxiliary cybernetic signals, rumbling vestiges, glimpsing voice fragments and outbursting vertexes. The next piece, "Planemo Dreams", only slightly shorter than "Consumed", is driven by massive monochromatic drone walls persistently confronted with invasive cyber-organic tapestries, delicate metallic flickers and engrossingly nuanced and balmily reflective expansions. Spellbindingly immersing soundscape! Throughout "Observing Quasars" the listener is shifted into voluminously enthralling solitary realms, sculpted by mesmerizingly spiraling enigmas bathed by devastating immenseness and continuously permeated by intricately climaxing meridians, mind-bending celestial reverberations and intangibly clattering debris. "Versus" swiftly returns to earthier terrains, but the journey is soon stolen by awe-inspiring magmatic movements softened by diaphanous tinkles, swirling shimmers and ambrosial chirpings, yet euphoniously magnified by calmly disruptive vistas. A truly astonishing amalgamate of transcendentally gargantuan static dronecarving and lighter, luminously-charged and tranquilly embracing enhancements. Profoundly authentic insignias of both protagonists are exquisitely alloyed into a powerfully engulfing aural spectacle transmogrifying versus into a pure equilibrium. And "Sub Signal" tightly follows this staggeringly transporting path where the heavyweight abyssal drone sonorousness with an array of unforeseen artificial ebullitions fully blossom. Enter now beyond the gates listening ecstasy!!! Bravo, Alphaxone & ProtoU!!! The depth of two previous tracks masterfully metamorphoses into distinguishing bizarreness of "Alignments", where weirdly helixing layers meticulously juxtapose with towering eruptions and traversing, nearly cinematic horizons. A rather shorter piece, but efficiently intriguing and freakily enveloping! Another top-notch sonic collusion! Unfathomable drone serenely arises, but incandescent sparks are those who ignite the closing "Returned" and navigate it into magnificently enrapturing realms propelled by tremendously panoptic drifts, gracefully sweeping and guarded by vaporously impalpable gleams. Wow, I could easily imagine the last two tracks much longer, but I am quite sure Mehdi & Sasha just wanted to save some sonic gifts also for the next chapter...

Although clocking over 44 and a half minutes mark only, "Stardust" is for me absolutely phenomenal work impeccably showcasing the talents of Alphaxone & ProtoU, who have superiorly merged their creative forces on this conspiracy. Huge kudos to both, Mehdi Saleh & Sasha Cats, and obviously deep respect to Simon Heath & Cryo Chamber for keeping its roster internationally flamboyant and thus allowing such challenging joint efforts like "Stardust". Yeah, certainly be prepared for much more, because ProtoU has most recently teamed up with US soundsculptor Bryan Hilyard on "Alpine Respire" CD, this one is out on Cryo Chamber since July 25th. And Alphaxone is joined on the brand new CD "Forsaken", which has just released two days ago on the same label, by the second half of the Puzan's couple, Sasha's husband Oleg, the sole creator behind respected Dronny Darko project and one of the significant members of the Cryo Chamber gang. This undoubtedly must be enough reasons for you to delve deeply into ambiguously flavored domains... So you can't say I didn't warn you!!!

Richard Gürtler (Aug 24, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Albion" CD by Juta Takahashi
« on: August 22, 2017, 03:33:02 AM »

Juta Takahashi "Albion" CD

Japanese drone ambient Maestro Jutaro "Juta" Takahashi was quite silent since his last album "Transcendence" released back in September 2013. If I am right, in the meantime he has only re-issued his older album "The Door Into Winter" in March 2015 on a glass mastered format (original CDr edition was released in 2007). Now he makes big return with a brand new studio work published at the end of April 2017 on his own Lunisolar Records. The album was recorded from December 2016 to February 2017. As usual for all releases of Juta Takahashi, the CD comes in a standard jewel case with a transparent tray featuring some stunning visuals provided by artists mostly based at DeviantArt community. "Albion", dedicated to the majestic landscapes of the Great Britain, is no exception as it is graced by immersing "Serenity" crepuscular splendor captured by Simon Evans, an amateur photographer with current residence in New Zealand.

Nearly 14-minute long opening piece "Silver Waves" straightly sets gracefully meandering dronescaping images carved by Juta Takahashi's masterful utilizing of his analog synths. Waving introspective layers are persistently permeated by climaxing high-pitched vistas, which already belong to distinguishable earmarks by this respected Japanese ambient drifter. If I remember well, I am strongly fascinated by these engrossing dissonant curtains since "Angel" track from the same titled CD album released five years ago. Indeed a very strong opening! "Frozen Day", only slightly shorter that its predecessor, delves deeply into stunningly foggy monochromatic sceneries, exquisitely reinforced by titillating piano glimpses. It's amazing how the frosted drone desolations with auxiliary perplexing spirals are softened by warmly embracing piano reflections. What a masterpiece, bravo, Juta!!! "Shining Valley", clocking to 15 minutes, quickly returns into euphoniously expansive panoramas, precisely amalgamating gliding flatlined sheets with ear-tickling cascading and soaring evocative meridians. Utterly magnificent soundscape authentically mirrored by its title! The next piece "Maeve" immediately transports the listener into the gorgeously tranquil garden of blossoming heartwarming piano motifs meticulously coalesced with harmoniously quiescent and sweepingly yearning horizons. As described by the author, this is waltz for Maeve, a composition dedicated to Lee Anthony Norris' beautiful daughter. A truly moving, emotionally profound, almost tearful piece of music! The closing track "Summits", with 16 and a half minutes the longest one on "Albion", floats with all its imposing grace and panoptic serenity, where spaciously contemplative drones perpetually commingle with gossamery delicate traceries, nuanced cinematic quietudes and benignly disruptive streams. Another sonic ambrosia!

Although Juta Takahashi has taken longer hiatus before releasing 73-minute "Albion" as his 11th album, a splendidly accomplished recording like this is always worth the wait! Without question, because "Albion" certainly rates as one of his magnum opuses, once again, bravo, Juta!!! And last but not least, Juta Takahashi's three CDr albums released during 2007-2008, "Across The Flow", "Remembrance" and "Moonlit Flowers" still remain unreleased as a glass mastered CDs, so I really hope he will take this into consideration, because his entire discography deserves to be completed, remastered and reissued on a CD format. Dive deeply into an awe-inspiring aural oasis of Juta Takahashi, intensely rewarding listening experience constantly awaits!!!

Richard Gürtler (Aug 21, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Legacy" CD by Between Interval
« on: August 10, 2017, 08:20:25 AM »

Between Interval "Legacy" CD

Back in the days when masterworks such as "Radio Silence", "Secret Observatory" or "Autumn Continent" were released, I was always considering Stefan Strand (actually these gems were recorded under his previous family name Jönsson) as a Swedish wunderkind. Yeah, we are moving back to the years 2004-2006. Followed by another impressive work "The Edge Of A Fairytale" in 2009, Stefan Strand has then disappeared for 8 years. However, the long wait is finally over and since April 2017 we all can celebrate colossal comeback of this hugely crafted soundscaper. Released by Spotted Peccary in their traditional 4-panel eco wallet featuring stunning cover art by renowned Polish digital artist and photographer Michał Karcz. With this connection you simply can't go wrong! Additional credit goes to Howard Givens for his fine mastering.

The gates to "The Tunnel" are unlocked and I am entering into awe-inspiring sonic realms, where warmer laid-back passages impeccably juxtapose with cyber-tech infused magnitudes. Briskly illuminating pulses join the spectacle as well along with gorgeously expansive introspections. Short, but absolutely jaw-dropping intro!!! 4-minute "On Track", slightly longer than its predecessor, attracts with hypnotically cadenced patterns carefully confronted with glimpsing ear-tickling euphoric cascades and relaxed hyper modern ingredients. It's more than evident with "Legacy" Stefan Strand resurrects chillout downtempos from "Radio Silence", but this time he shifts his bravura into a much higher, state of the art plateau of coldly driven electronica, yet exquisitely counterpointed with balmily embracing horizons. It's quite apparent on "Accelerant", which masterfully bridges immensely nuanced drifts with mesmerizingly galvanizing, slightly Berlin School fragranced sequences and unforeseen poetic glimpses. "The Hour Appointed" reveals its deeper drones, organic subtleties, unfathomably echoed metallic tinkles and surreptitiously emerging intangible tribal serenities. Oracular subterranean genius loci is fully awake! The next piece, "Septimal Laws", is immediately ignited by spectacularly high-tech sounding bleeps, pellucidly polished to absolute eargasmic superiority, which are guarded by leisurely undulating curtains. No matter if feeding your headphones or speakers, a reference audiophile sound quality is fully blossoming here!!! "Fields Of Neptune" delves deeper into thrillingly enigmatic terrains, sonorously engulfing, but again glowingly amplified by magnetically pulsing tapestries and backed by gossamery percussive quietudes. Another absolutely phenomenal track!!! "The Outer Shell", clocking to 8:17 mark as the longest track, keeps tightly on the path of intriguing spatial terra incognitas, when fastidiously amalgamating serenely waving reverberant drones with mysteriously impalpable pulsing signals and clandestinely arising astral gleams. "Gravity Core" is fueled with continuously permeating razor-sharp and heavy pounding beats, spellbindingly trancescaping, and surrounded by emanating and evanescing ethereal blankets, reinforced occasionally by ephemeral meridians. Hallucinogenic voices announce "Inner Guidance", but the sonic spectacle is quickly stolen by persistently climaxing and strongly intoxicating sequencer vignettes, while auxiliary cybernetic fragments are riding atop along with ambrosially euphonious panoptic layers. Another superb composition and one of the undisputable pinnacles of "Legacy". "Closing In" is a very short conclusion navigated by desolate dronescapes, which along the way metamorphose into glancing evocative reflections.

Wow!!! "Legacy" is only 51-plus minutes long, I could easily enjoy additional 20-25 minutes, but trust me, this is the only low point found on this album. It's totally triumphant work by Stefan Strand, who certainly didn't loose any of his soundsculpting brilliancy. If someone is able to deliver such staggeringly remarkable recording after 8 years of silence, then he must get my excuse. Stefan, no problem!!! But no, seriously, please, don't let us wait again that long... As already mentioned, once you were a wunderkind for me, now you are a true genius of pristinely blazing ambient cybertronica!!! And by the way, "Legacy" is available also as a vinyl edition (limited to 500 copies), it's Spotted Peccary's first ever vinyl release. So select your preferred format now, because "Legacy" is another milestone by Between Interval and one of the undeniable aural vertexes of 2017!!!

Richard Gürtler (Aug 09, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)


Erik Wøllo "Different Spaces" 2xCD

Erik Wøllo, a highly renowned ambient guitarist from Norway, who is journeying through the middle of his 4th decade of exquisitely creative artistry, has released over 20 solo albums plus around 10 collaborative works with another acclaimed wizards and kindred souls such as Steve Roach, Byron Metcalf, Ian Boddy, Bernhard Wöstheinrich, Deborah Martin or Frank Van Bogaert. While during 2015 and 2016 mostly focusing on joint efforts with Byron Metcalf, a solo album "Blue Radiance" as well as a live recording "Star’s End 2015 (Silent Currents 4)" were released during this period of time. However, during 2016 Erik Wøllo has recorded at his Wintergarden Studio also his latest monumental installment "Different Spaces", which is out since the middle of March 2017 in a really beautiful 6-panel 2CD digipak featuring on the front cover majestic, free standing Kirkjufell mountain located on the north coast of Iceland's Snæfellsnes peninsula. Thus credits for cover photos go to Justin LaBerge and Paul Morris, while Sam Rosenthal is responsible for the graphic design.

Disc one opens with nearly 5-minute "Low Winter Sun (Introduction 1)", which immediately sets the atmosphere, where gorgeously panoptic sceneries are unfolded with Erik Wøllo's trademarking insignias. Poignantly embracing expansive motifs are carefully bridged with intangibly emerging glimmering melodic patterns and ephemeral weeping glimpses, all persistently pervaded by solitary winds. A truly magnificent initiation!!! "Points In Time", with running time 8:23 one of the longest pieces on this first part, keeps on the path of stunningly evocative horizons, yet this time much more invaded by swirling sequences and spikier intoxicating rhythms. "Solaris" shifts the listener into remote vague landscapes, but the scenario is quickly stolen by mildly galloping steady sequencer textures blended with encircling evocative vistas. The next piece, "High Plains", puts into the foreground Berlin School-charged bouncing sequences, which are inconspicuously permeated by tranquilly unfolding warm layers. "Church Mountain", which is an English translation of Kirkjufell mountain, straightly immerse the listener into utterly delightful realms, where subtly shimmering infinite images coalesce with hazy percussive traceries, soothingly invading powerfully touching cinematic blankets and clandestinely ascending coastal harmonies. What a beauty!!! And although this is, unfortunately, a rather shorter composition (with 4:39 the shortest on the whole set), Erik Wøllo carves with his instruments and his filigree artistry a pure aural bliss!!! "Similar World" rides on the wings of ethereal clouds, before metamorphosing into cadenced movements, illuminated by enveloping yearning insignias. "Past Theme" reveals with stringed nostalgia and scenic terrains, before counterpointed by gossamer subterranean curlicues. "Hydra" merges masterfully droning solitudes with stringed luminousness, weeping wistfulness and pulsing subtleties, all safely guarded by distant percussive meridians. Another masterpiece, enter now the soulful sonic Eden originated by Erik Wøllo!!! "Kaleidoscope", with nearly 9 minutes the longest track on first disc, instantly attracts with its catchy tinkling melodies, supported by brief stringed calls and calmly expansive auxiliary lachrymose sheets, but later euphoric sequences surreptitiously evanesce and the rest of this spectacle is propelled by insistent rhythm tapestries imbued by sequestered diaphanous decorations. Yeah, it's quite apparent that "Kaleidoscope" is a perfectly chosen title! "Evening Island" reveals with deeply evocative panoramas, which are soon confronted by balmily pulsing sequences and intensely longing guitar meanders, and backed by swirling synthetic quivers. "Memory Space" closes the first, 74 and a half minutes long disc and drifts into immense ethereal spheres, reinforced here and there by an array of elusive whirls and introspective shimmers, while magnified by additional ephemeral reverberating helixes with sonorously graceful vertexes. A really splendiferous conclusion!

"Mystical Sun (Introduction 2)" ignites the second disc with exquisitely immersing poignancy, where rather monochromatic choir-like drone coalesces with nuanced balsamic layers, remote biotic undercurrents and vanishing desolate mirages. Utterly sublime opening! "Chroma" is fueled by mesmerizingly laid-back rhythmic patterns exquisitely amalgamated with euphorically engrossing motifs, which later smoothly transmute into sharper downtempos with soaring vistas by celestial guardians riding above. Hypnotic translucence meets splendid gracefulness! "Motion Blue", as indicated by its title (and by cover images as well!), maintains richly cadenced pace, when bridging relentlessly gladdening movements with harmonizing panoramic contemplations and sudden glimpsing exhilarations. Another top-notch composition, bravo, Erik! "The Morph" delves deeply into poignantly expressive terrains, when impeccably commingling weeping quietudes with mildly emerging ear-tickling sequencer flickers, which surreptitiously transmogrify toward the end into penetrating, nearly transcendental-like escalations. "Rundreise" (or "Roundtrip") is another piece that is exactly fitting its title, when it keeps constant, yet hypnotically vigorous locomotion with perpetual Berlin School DNA. "Circle Dream" dives profoundly into serenely engulfing panoptic landscapes, where sweeping and lithe immense expansions with vanishing organic glimpses shift the listener into a tranquil sanctum of eternal grace. Pure magic! "Pilgrim Way" incorporates intangibly pulsing cushions with languid tribal beat, guarded by voluminously wide-screen desert insignias, but the center stage is later invaded by utterly expressive titillating electric guitar riffs. A true masterpiece holding indisputably authentic earmarks by Erik Wøllo!!! "Cascade Falls", with 8:53 the longest piece on "Different Spaces" and only few seconds longer than its predecessor, takes quick turn and steps into glitteringly rhythmic and persistently rushing domains. "Mirror Lake" invites us into gorgeously peaceful and soulfully reflective sceneries, leaded by delicately poignant acoustic strings and piano. "Afterglow" retains its deeply evocative feel, virtuosically sculpted by soaring EBow textures with intensely elegiac honor. On the closing 7-plus minutes long "Elysium" eternally bubbling patterns interact with heart-warming washes, and cascading pinnacles, but toward the 4th minute something really unexpected happens, when the mastery of Erik Wøllo is joined on the stage by the magic voice of Sturla Snorrison. Along with it also gossamery percussive subtleties clandestinely arise. The vocal part, I really wish I could understand to Norwegian (at least I think Sturla Snorrison sings in this language), flawlessly fits Erik's arrangements. A pure aural equilibrium at its most engulfing is fully revealed and this is one of the most emotive sonic tributes, with "Mirror Lake" and "Afterglow" being part of it, I have ever heard in my life. These are the moments when I am journeying with goosebumps on arms and almost shedding a few tears, this is not only a shinning eulogy, but it must be also a delightful celebration of life.

The year 2016 has brought to us two collaborative gems, "Earth Luminous" and "Inner Rhythm Meditations", both highlights of 2016, with fruitful signatures by Erik Wøllo. Now one year later this iconic Norwegian soundsculptor delivers himself another milestone, I won't even hesitate to say his magnum opus, although remaining with deep respect to all his previous stellar work. Almost 148-minute "Different Spaces" double album is a truly monstrous masterwork, thank you very much, Erik!!! And by the time I am publishing these lines, Projekt has just announced a newest CD by Erik Wøllo entitled "Cinematic", which is scheduled for a release at September 15th 2017. This album will feature archived soundtracks recorded during the period of years 1998-2003 for video, documentary film and multimedia.

Richard Gürtler (Aug 06, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)


Darren Rogers "The Future Approaching" CDr

I have reviewed Darren Rogers' previous full length album "Interstellar Love" about one year ago, this album was released during March 2016. In the meantime Darren Rogers has released few single tracks and one EP through his Bandcamp site, including "The Journey" composition dedicated to his good friend and fellow soundscaper, the late Jeff Kowal. "The Future Approaching" is the newest album by Darren Rogers and it's out since the end of April 2017 through his own Imagineer Records. The physical pro CDr edition is available via Kunaki and it comes in a standard jewel case with 2-panel front cover image.

18-minute "In Memory Echoes" triggers the journey with mixture of subterranean-infused tapestries and eerily surrounding remote rumbles, while sinuously undulating drone rides atop. Additional subtly dissonant sheets join the foreground as well and paint twisted hallucinogenic images. Then lighter celestial drifts clandestinely permeate across and steal the leading path, before slowly metamorphosing into weirdly perplexing hypogeal domains. Afterward serenely gliding calmness emerges like a chameleon and floats toward the conclusion through warmly evocative cinematic landscapes. Deep drone hums announce "Across Time", which clocks to 16 minutes, and swiftly carry the listener into unfathomable depths, although juxtaposed with slightly balmier introspections and ethereal choir-like vistas. However, the scenario is safely driven by thrillingly helixing transcendental meridians reinforced by unforeseen magnifying vertexes. More quieter intergalactic realms are explored throughout the last quarter. Bravo, Darren, this one rules with its immersing tenaciousness!!! The next piece, "Winds Of Change", follows the path and reveals with solitary blows, while enigmatic undercurrents slowly percolate along with tenebrously evocative cascades. Coalescing persistently mind-bending reverberations with poignantly panoramic reminiscences and moving from ambiguous traces through scenic landscapes and gracefully immense spatial zones to capriciously ear-tickling cybernetic surges. An intriguingly engulfing sonic elixir! 8-plus minutes long closing title track "The Future Approaching" glides effortlessly through immense spacefields, when carefully bridging panoptically sweeping ethereal majesty with glimpsing titillating fragments and captivatingly embracing, rather new age-charged longing exhilaration.

"The Future Approaching" is a very solid driftscaping deep space installment by Darren Rogers, who masterfully commingles on this 56 and a half minutes long journey magnificently engrossing nebulousness with soothingly relieving heavenly quietudes. Good job, Darren, and keep on voyaging!!! And about 10 days ago a new track "Inner Tranquility" has been published on Darren Rogers' Bandcamp site as a free download, so don't hesitate to explore this soundforger from Texas.

Richard Gürtler (Aug 03, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Great to see you here, Jim, welcome and enjoy your time on Hypnos!!!

Richard  ;)


Siddhartha Barnhoorn "Structures Of Light" CDr

Siddhartha Barnhoorn is a brand new name on the map of ambient drifters, however, this Dutch composer is a very experienced sound designer, who has worked since 2004 extensively on the musical scores (over 70!!!) for films, documentaries, games, commercials... "Structures Of Light" is his second ambient album, but first one self-released on a physical format. He debuted with "Pillars Of Light" back in 2011. Its follow-up is out since the end of May 2017 in a really attractive 4-panel digipak featuring stunning visuals by acclaimed digital painter Gary Tonge, who has contributed his art also to "Pillars Of Light". The album was released in a limited edition of 80 copies. To complete the credits list, the mastering was done by Aaron Marshall, another ambient musician and composer for film and media.

"Streams From Stillness", with running time 4 and a half minutes the shortest one on "Structures Of Light", straightly unfolds with free floating expansive washes navigating the listener towards tranquilly immense solitudes, where colossal drifts serenely commingle with nuancing dramatic horizons. A very strong introduction of Siddhartha Barnhoorn's soundscaping, well-done! Much longer "Place Of Now", clocking to 12:30 mark, quietly shifts into more monumental drone zones, continuously rising and ebbing through breathtakingly graceful panoptic sceneries. Cinematic elegance at its most splendorous! 8-plus minutes long title composition "Structures Of Light" bridges titillating glimpses of sudden invasive meridians with soothingly meandering and evanecescing voluminous panoramic quietudes, while inconspicuously permeated by ephemeral silent vistas. "Slowly Becoming" reveals with expressively flavored staggering cascades reinforced by high-pitched vertexes with few gossamer subterranean traceries thrown in. Then clandestinely metamorphosing into rather monochromatic, spaciously sweeping and intensely engrossing drone sheets, yet continuously percolated by occasional translucent flickers. "Inner Being" has most likely the most vintage-driven sound, while again melting warmly evocative atmospheric grace with ear-tickling ringing signals. The closing 21 and a half minutes long epic "Sanctuary" dives right away into thrillingly magnificent sonic realms, exquisitely amalgamating utterly grandiose magmatic stratums, unfathomably enigmatic and tenaciously tight, with diminuendoing humming subtleties, while ambiguous click-clacks with auxiliary glimmering sequences surreptitiously pervade across stunningly monolithic walls. Additional intriguingly dissonant fragments join this profoundly enveloping scenario as well. Gliding through awe-inspiring elevations, where infinitely magnifying layers collide with engulfing ambrosial decrescendos. A pure aural bliss is fully revealed, a grand finale indeed!!! Bravo, Sid, this certainly must be your magnum opus and an all-inclusive path to be taken and blossomed in the future!!!

With nearly 61 minutes long "Structures Of Light" Siddhartha Barnhoorn introduces his soundsculpting potential on the drifting side of immersing ambient canvas. Although described as a "newcomer", this Dutchman has masterfully utilized all his undisputable skills in carving powerful scores. Once again, kudos to you, Sid, and keep on creating your own atmospheric insignias!!! Yes, new tracks are in the works at the Timecave, some of them even featuring ethereal voice magic of kindred soul Lara Ausensi (btw, they sound really impressive!!!), so definitely don't go away and give a listen to "Structures Of Light" (and also to digital download of "Pillars of Light")!!! Siddhartha Barnhoorn definitely deserves his spot on the ambient scene as he is ready to chase allied drifters par excellence!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jul 30, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)


Max Corbacho "Nocturnes" CD

If I recall correctly, the title "Nocturnes" has been resonating in the connection with Max Corbacho for few years already. For the first time announced by Hypnos, roughly about 3 years ago, unfortunately it was in the period of time when Mike and Lena were slowly evanescing from their publishing activities (yet Hypnos is still alive as a mail-order and forum). Secondly, I have encountered "Nocturnes" back in the summer of 2016, when hanging in Max Corbacho's studio in Barbera del Valles, near Barcelona. Lots of great memories revive... along with fruitful discussions held with Max about the long-deserved release of this recording. And now finally the dreams came true, "Nocturnes" CD is here!!! Out on Max Corbacho's newly created label Silentsun since May 19th, 2017, the album comes in a catchy matte 4-panel digipak graced by immersing nocturnal photographs taken by the artist himself in Aragon, a northeastern region of Spain, these photography sessions also remain as the biggest inspiration for "Nocturnes". Additional credits are given to visual master Michael Rodriguez Pletz, who has already collaborated with Max Corbacho on "Splendid Labyrinths" and "Future Terrain" artworks. The mastering credit goes to Ian Hawgood, his name can be found also on "Future Terrain".

The journey is ignited with quietly expanding "Dark Sky Opening", a title precisely reflecting its name as well as awe-inspiring immenseness of arid landscapes of Aragon. Max Corbacho's multidimensional expansive gracefulness sweeps across effortlessly like refreshing nightly breeze. Inconspicuous climaxes with ear-tickling glimpses persistently percolate throughout the grandiosely panoramic magnitudes, known as a purely quintessential sonic insignias of this Spanish Maestro. Yeah, this nearly 53 minutes long epic composition proficiently displays the soundcarving magic of Max Corbacho, where phenomenally engrossing spatial vastness is meticulously reinforced by infinitely billowing and warmly tenebrous meridians. Max gives the max again, these utterly powerful quietudes will always be my sonic medicine!!! A jewel like "Nocturnes" was worth the long wait!!! The next piece, "Stellar Time", reaching almost 12-minute mark, straightly dives into gargantuan depths, where celestially infused drones exquisitely amalgamate with magmatic humming monoliths, titillating dissonant perplexes and balmily nuanced undercurrents. A truly mind-blowing odyssey transporting the listener into jaw-droppingly unfathomable nothingness, where monstrous serenity with disastrous reverberations are tenaciously engulfing. This track undoubtedly showcases Max Corbacho at the very top of his most intense abysscaping!!! So it's quite obvious "Ghost Of The Moon" clandestinely enters this scenario and glides on the wings of diminuendoing thickness, with less density, yet more resonating sharpness with oscillating vertexes, bridged with hidden, but glimmeringly emerging yearning sceneries, before surreptitiously transmuting into tranquilly vanishing horizons.

74-minute "Nocturnes" album again reinstalls Max Corbacho to the foreground of atmospheric soundscaping, his signature sonic meditations belong to the most colossally expansive and breathtakingly immersing listening experiences. This Spaniard is a stalwart soundforger par excellence, certainly don't miss his stellar discography filled with many other gems like "The Ocean Inside", "Ars Lucis", "The Talisman", "Splendid Labyrinths", "Nocturnal Emanations"... The flame is still burning brightly and as far I know, few more chapters of "Nocturnes" are in the stove, so stay tuned for more!!! Bravo, Max!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jul 26, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)


Nightskies "Between Darkness And Twilight / Zero Seconds" CDr

Nightskies is a relatively new project by Italian droneforger Arnaldo Tarsetti, who is rather known under the moniker Nightwind, where he utilizes his electric guitar, synth guitar and various effects. With Nightskies Arnaldo Tarsetti keeps safely on the dronescaping path, but this time delving deeper into electronic driven soundworlds. Based in Pollenza, the province of Macerata, Arnaldo Tarsetti is not only a highly crafted soundcarver, he has also a great eye for photography composition. You certainly might want to check out except his recordings also his strikingly gorgeous color or black & white photographs. So it's quite obvious "Between Darkness And Twilight / Zero Seconds" CDr comes with really catchy 4-page ribbed cardboard packaging featuring stunning cover photo taken by the artist himself. Recorded during January and February 2016 as a two separate albums, "Between Darkness And Twilight" with 7 tracks and 4-piece EP "Zero Seconds", it was released at the end of November 2016 in a limited edition of 30 copies on sympathetically supportive Italian microlabel BeTon run by kindred soul Antonio Benini. Kudos to both of you, Toni and Arnaldo, you have done a such wonderful work with this hidden jewel!!!

With all 11 compositions clocking between 6:18 and 7:11, the album is ignited by "Inconsistent Cosmic Matter" and the listener is immediately invited to enter thrillingly solitary realms, masterfully driven by monochromously engrossing drone stratums deliberately imbued by warmly graceful meridians, riding effortlessly above, while intangibly cinematic vistas percolate here and there. Wow, an utterly jaw-dropping listening spectacle is fully unfolded in absolute equilibrium with its title! So when a track entitled as "In The Darkness And The Frozen Solitude" invades my listening room, I am instantly diving into absolutely fascinating unfathomable depths carved by intensely humming monoliths persistently permeated by eerily surrounding, at times high-pitched calls. Subsidiary rumbling echoes emerge occasionally too. Bizarre oscillations insistently commingle with immensely desolate drifts, so no wonder this sonic spectacle is displayed as "Twisted In The Void". Intriguingly enigmatic "Delicate Vital Rhythm" reveals with flatlined drone, while impalpably nebulous machinery breaths are guarding above, while rising and ebbing balmier undercurrents sneak in. "Chaos And Turbolence" is maybe more relative, as the main gliding layer is deliberately amalgamated with subtly pulsing traceries and oracular fragments. Yet gradually expanding and voluminously engrossing. The gates to the transcendental Eden are unlocked... The title composition "Between Darkness And Twilight" only authenticates this, beyond the ordinary route. Spellbindingly immersing magmatic thickness is perpetually counterpointed with remotely sweeping cinematic glimpses. What a journey! "Silent Movements" shift the silence into absolutely staggering magnitudes, sonorously awe-inspiring and delightfully ear-blowing. Well, fairly except the unexpected outburst at the end that scares me to death with each new spin. "Zero Seconds" EP starts with the same titled piece, which glides into quieter static terrains, reinforced by massively nuanced plateaus with gossamery ephemeral filigrees throw in. "Chronon" is fueled by ambiguously hypogeal spirals, magnified by assorted glancing glimmers and tenebrous perplexes. A genuinely mind-blowing odyssey continues! "Metamorphosis" envelops the listener with gargantuan humming reverberations, which are meticulously softened by vaguely vibrating subterranean sheets, yet constantly perforated by frightening shrills. "Flow Motion" quickly augments into powerfully engulfing celestial immenseness, drifting, sinuating, crescendoing, enrapturing... Sheer monumental grace!!!

Frankly, 73--minute "Between Darkness And Twilight / Zero Seconds" is a breathtakingly phenomenal and profoundly focused, yet abundantly colored all-intensive drone recording, a top-notch collector's item, which needs to be explored and celebrated instantaneously and exhaustively! Welcome to the Drone Pantheon!!! And undeniably one of the biggest revelations for me as well! I will certainly keep an ear and eye on this gifted Italian drone maestro in the future. Bravo, Arnaldo Tarsetti, for this drone tour de force and keep on expanding your multi-talent!!! As far I am informed, copies of "Between Darkness And Twilight/Zero Seconds" are still available through Nightskies Bandcamp site or directly from BeTon label via Antonio Benini's Discogs account. And when focusing on further related drone sculptings, I strongly recommend also "Dronescapes" and "Dronescapes II" CD editions, each packaged in a window tin box with additional two circular booklets. These ones are out since January 2017 on another Italian label MariOrb. Arnaldo Tarsetti aka Nightskies offers a truly miraculous and infinitely magnificent listening experience, more please!!! And keep in mind, as mentioned already, there is also Nightwind...

Richard Gürtler (Jul 17, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)


Crows Labyrinth "Travels" CD

Dutch bass guitar dronescaper Theo Tol aka Crows Labyrinth has self-released his debut CD "Travels" already several years ago, back in January 2013, but I think his intriguingly engrossing sonic alchemy, when utilizing only bass guitar and various effects, definitely deserves to be experienced and praised. Simple, but elegantly immersing 4-panel digipak features cover art and design executed by the artist himself. Additional credit goes to Arian Prins, who did the mastering at Hydra Music Studio.

The opening "Frontier", which covers 10 and a half minutes, straightly dives into nebulously rumbling terrains, more disturbing than harmonious, yet stunningly transporting into subterraneanly perplexing sceneries. Subtly outbursting and eerily titillating metallic rawness is coupled with reverberating solitary meridians. Rather minimal, but strikingly encircling! "Influx", slightly shorter than it's predecessor, is relatively quieter, but still powerfully engulfing. Sculpted with hypogeally labyrinthine transcendental drones, which are bridged with mysteriously cascading blankets and deliberately reinforced by assorted intangible squeaks and mind-blowing vibrations. Massively tenebrous venture awaits here, undoubtedly a top-notch track!!! 6-minute "Gibberish" immediately transmute into weirdly spiraling realms, constantly permeated by various noisy scraps. So no wonder piece like this drives me almost nuts. This is also the only composition with few overdubs, otherwise the rest of the album is a pure improvisation. "Reverie", the longest cut on "Travels" getting over 11 minutes, is another rather hallucinogenic amalgamate, where disruptive stringed layers persistently commingle with ambiguously traversing echoes, while helixing humming drone infrequently arise as well. Delightfully dissonant sonic palette! "Stratagem" is for sure more, let's say polished with its accessible feel. Although still rambling through subterrestrially colored domains, the ride is augmented by variety of shimmering, skittering and dizzy traceries. A quite peculiar potpourri, exquisitely merging enigmatic undercurrents with lightly glimmering ornaments. "Below", which clocks to only 2-plus minutes, is the only solo bass performance, recorded separately apart from the rest of the album. Written more than 10 years ago, the piece focuses on sensitively luminous lyrical poignancy, while surrounded by distant velvety curtains of abandoned hissy quietudes, the only field recording used on "Travels". Disparately flavored, yet tenaciously following the trace. 7-minute "Heliograph" brings the album into its conclusion with calmly expansive and insistently embracing bass nuances masterfully coalesced with display of evocatively swirling and euphorically ear-tickling trimmings. A very strong one too!!!

Albeit rather more experimental, puzzling and piercing at times to my by far more conservative drifting taste, the album proficiently keeps its strong authentic focus and concept throughout 53 minutes, where the listener is constantly confronted with challenging enigma-inducing tapestries. And that's what really counts on "Travels" for me, well-done, Theo!!! After exploring Remco Helbers' "On Some Road" CD one year ago, here comes another distinguishing hidden gem Made in The Netherlands!!! Even if "Travels" CD remains the only physical edition by Crows Labyrinth, don't hesitate to give a listen also to few digital tracks available via Bandcamp. "Consolation" 3-track EP is the last one released about one year ago.

Richard Gürtler (Jul 08, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)


Mathias Grassow "Kreuzblut" CD

The connection between German Drone Kaiser and multifariously focused GS Productions label keeps on blooming. "Kreuzblut", the lastest album by Mathias Grassow for this in Moscow based imprint is another proof of this and it follows previous releases on GSP such as "Opus Posthumum" (reissue from 2014), "Harmonia Mundi" (2014), "AeroAreA" (4CD, 2015), "Interstellar Gravity" (2016) and "Tranceformation" (EP, 2016). Out since December 2016 in a limited edition of 100 copies and housed in a 4-panel digipak, the album is graced by stunningly gorgeous abstract cover painting by Mathias Grassow and his wife Cornelia Kern. Really nice job on this one, folks!!! Actually, I think the painting itself would be even more transporting without that white framing and heading. But anyway, let's enter the Drone Eden!!!

"Prologue" is rather shorter piece running just slightly over 4 minutes and it ignites the trip with expansively static droneforging persistently amalgamated with intangibly cavernous and oracularly encircling pulses and drops. Long-form 62-minute title track "Kreuzblut" straightly dives into spellbindingly unfathomable sceneries bridging monochromously mindscaping stratums with eerily percolating arctic-charged desolations and remote machinery breaths on one side, while warmer cinematic, choir-infused meridians are constantly arising and guarding above along with ephemeral mesmerizing ponderous beat. Powerfully immersing drone tour de force is fully unfolded here to stimulate the synapses of all addicted connoisseurs of tenebrously driven drone phenomenons. Beyond the gates domains are securely achieved, exactly in the manner as it is ordinary for this German Maestro. His unmistakable sonic insignias are all over this all-intensive transcendental opus!!! Assorted solitary industrial shrills and cybernetic signals clandestinely keep on permeating, while the monolithic multi-dimensional infinite layers effortlessly soar through graceful plateaus, awe-inspiring solitudes and breathtaking magnitudes. Staggeringly mind-blowing listening delight, bravo and thank you, Mathias!!! 7-minute "Epilogue" closes the odyssey with less intenser soundscape, yet similarly flatlined, although painting perpetual spirals centered around insistently glimmering traces. Ambiguously impalpable groans are hanging above as well.

"Kreuzblut", recorded back in January 2011, is intriguingly fascinating and nebulously engrossing album offering a truly splendid journey into thrillingly bottomless depths of inner realms, the zones with all its mysteries and terra incognitas, where the Drone Shaman is tenaciously dwelling with his majestically stalwart, massively abundant and profoundly mind-bending dronesculptings since the second half of the 80's. Thus "Kreuzblut" is another superb album by Mathias Grassow!!! Oh, before I forget, credit for remastering duties goes, as usual, to 121. And when focusing on the most recent physical releases, you also might want to explore two other CDs with dusted off archived works on Swedish gterma label, "The Darklight Quest" (July 2016, featuring mostly recordings from 1998) and "The Nightquest Sessions" (November 2016, originally composed in 1994 and 1998).

Richard Gürtler (Jul 06, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)


Eternell "Children Of Infinity" CDr

Ludvig Cimbrelius, the sole sonic healer behind Eternell, is for sure better known for his other highly applauded project Purl, delicately focusing on soothingly hazy introspectiveness with mesmerizing dub techno tapestries thrown in and releasing mostly on renowned Canadian Silent Season label as well as lately also on rising Spanish imprint Archives. However, I was always fascinated by Ludvig's more embracing atmospheric quietudes revealed under Eternell moniker, so when "Children Of Infinity" has been announced on Eternell's Bandcamp site as a limited physical edition of 100 copies, I immediately raised my eyebrows! Self-released since March 17th, 2017, "Children Of Infinity" album comes in a really gorgeous glossy 4-panel digipak with artwork credits given to Russell Stephenson (front and back cover) and to Brian Young (inside art). Very nice job, gentlemen! Actually, both these visual artists are already credited on several other Eternell and Purl releases.

10-minute opener "Abode" straightly carries the listener into sonorously tranquilizing garden, where ethereally contemplative gongs are delightfully amalgamated with nuanced hissy drone reflections, monochromatic intangible expansions, meandering evocative blankets and stringed lyrical subtleties. What a beauty captures my listening room!!! Rasmus Alkestrand is listed as a co-writer and co-producer on this composition together with Ludvig Cimbrelius. "Corona", which is only slightly longer than its predecessor, delves deeply into thrillingly expressive nostalgic terrains, impeccably merging powerfully evocative driftscapes with impalpably remote heartbeat, utterly poignant choir-driven luminosity, elusive string titillations and glimpsing faunal balm with rainy shimmers. Pure magic, Ludvig Cimbrelius serves here infinite aural ambrosia to caress your inner realms!!! On "Moksha" Rasmus Alkestrand returns to the stage and creates together with Mr. Eternell another exquisitely immersing scenario, propelled by persistently droning flatlined immenseness, calmly reverberating and insistently engrossing, and counterpointed by evanescent organic filigrees. Eternell at the top of his deepest sonic meditations! But the vertex of a blissful listening splendor comes most likely with 15 and a half minutes long "Child Of Infinity", when utterly warm drizzling sceneries are meticulously invaded by perpetually billowing monumental vistas revealing breathtakingly expansive horizons. Auxiliary tinkling gossamery contemplations clandestinely sneak in along with ear-tickling emotional traceries. Yet this magnificently engulfing spectacle is sensationally reinforced by lissomly gliding chants guarding above. Wow, a jaw-droppingly absorbing harmony between all aural fragrances brings my equilibrium into absolute heaven. After "Corona" another ultimate Hall of Fame composition!!! Bravo, Ludvig!!! The next piece "Sister" keeps on the path with chanting blossoms, when Lovisa Cimbrelius joins Ludvig with her heavenly voice, I believe, according to the title, it's Ludvig's sister. The voice cushions gracefully commingle with heartwarmingly sublime magnitudes, soothingly riding across gorgeously evocative landscapes of dusted off memories. Marvelously balsamic track! "Puja", next longer piece covering more than 14 minutes, brings back again Rasmus Alkestrand. The composition wanders through enveloping piano, chants and flute infused reveries, delicately enhanced by stringed musings, both poetic and euphoric, and fading away calmly through the curtains of rain droplets. The closing 9-minute "Eden" is featured on this recording as a bonus, this piece was already released digitally during the summer of 2016 on "Portals" album. "Eden" serenely floats on the wings of elated imageries. where lower end subtleties are proficiently fused with spirited glimmers, vivid reminiscences and longing placidness.

Ludvig Cimbrelius excels as a virtuoso sonic meditator on 77-minute "Children Of Infinity", this masterfully crafted collection of tranquilizing auralscapes is constantly driven by his unmistakable insignias, where sublimity, warmth, intimacy and stillness coexist in a truly encircling harmony. "Children Of Infinity" masterpiece must be your everyday's medicine!!! If you still don't know the discography of this tremendously talented Swedish soundscaper, don't wait any second, because all Eternell and Purl physical albums, both glass mastered and pro CDr, are highly recommended!!! And for those, who prefer digital worlds, many other albums are available and not only as Eternell or Purl, but also as Alveol, Surr, Rust, Xpire or most recent Illuvia and Kokong (the last one together with above credited Rasmus Alkestrand).

Richard Gürtler (Jun 20, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Atmosphere" CDr by Warpness
« on: June 19, 2017, 05:09:07 AM »

Warpness "Atmosphere" CDr

Wow, what a surprise landed into my mailbox!!! Although I have noticed the pre-release info of this album at the end of March 2017, it quite unexpectedly graced my collection only one week later. With the official release date at April 21st, 2017, "Atmosphere" CDr is out on Tape The Sound in a nice 4-panel digipak designed by the artist himself. Oh, and who is hidden behind this project? Remember the name Tom Ståle Engebretsen? I have reviewed his fantastic album "Tralfamadore", released under Elrox Ambient Session moniker about one and a half years ago. And among other I also said this Norwegian soundcarver is living his dream. "Atmosphere" is certainly another proof of these words!!! I should add that Tape The Sound label is run Tom and his debut work as Warpness, entitled "One Note", is out since December 2016 on a cassette format. Actually, as far I know, this crafted Norwegian is also veiled behind another project Castana with one cassette release "Olvenion". So if you are a true tape aficionado, certainly don't miss these two releases, they both look really nice. Anyway, let's dive deeply into "Atmosphere", consisting of 9 untitled parts...

The shortest piece on the album, "Part 1", running over 2 and a half minutes, immediately transports the listener into spellbindingly ambiguous solitudes proficiently navigated by tenebrously sinuous drone, which is precisely bridged with assorted subterranean murmurs and intangible glimmers. A rather ephemeral intro, but powerfully immersing!!! "Part 2" shifts into slightly more active terrains, where mesmerizingly helixing monochromatic mindscapes are persistently coalesced with cyber-biotic traceries, inconspicuously pervading titillating reverberations and balmily contemplative glimpses. 6-minute "Part 3" safely keeps on magnificently enigmatic traces fronted by insistently spiraling cinematic drone, gliding through warmly introspective horizons and guarded by choir-infused meridians, while occasionally imbued by transient primordial mirages. A large dose of aural medicine is served here!!! "Part 4" intriguingly merges rather quiescent driftscape with a labyrinth of celestial calls and a fleeting glance of throbbing grooves. Solitary drone emerge from unfathomable depths and serenely shifts "Part 5" into immensely engrossing realms counterpointed by gossamer pulses, elusive resonations and trenchantly ascending ear-tickling hypogeal vistas. "Part 6" is guided by static, nearly transcendental spirals, which are soon percolated by reflectively tinkling and bouncing miniatures as well as by continuously crescendoing driftscapes with panoptic vertexes. The magic of hypnotically gripping droneforging is fully unfolded! "Part 7" in some ways resurrects a bit "The Earthlings Dome", one of many unforgettable sonic elixirs from "Tralfamadore" album. Twisted drone, spellbinding oscillations, buzzing undercurrents, vague bowed fragments, organic tapestries, ancient vestiges..., a truly delightful potpourri exhibiting peculiarly creative craftsmanship of Tom Ståle Engebretsen. Bravo!!! The splendor continues also throughout "Part 8", which amalgamates lower end droning specters with hissy particles, evocative undulations and industrialized subtleties. "Part 9", with 7 and a half minutes the longest track on the album, closes the journey with sonorously droning scenario, which is exquisitely enhanced by unbounded subterrestrial hummings, encircling shimmering chimes and awe-inspiringly magnified cascades. A very strong conclusion indeed!!!

47-minute "Atmosphere" is another triumphant work by Tom Ståle Engebretsen, this time acting as Warpness, which needs to be explored as soon as possible, just like his above mentioned, blazingly distinguishing "Tralfamadore" album published under project's name Elrox Ambient Session. This Norwegian artist certainly belongs to the long list of undiscovered ambient soundsculptors across the globe waiting for their voice to be heard and then praised. Don't be afraid of this venturous ride, because a fully rewarding listening experience awaits here!!! Tom Ståle Engebretsen absolutely deserves this chance as "Atmosphere" stands stalwartly side by side with sonic monuments of 2017!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jun 18, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)


dreamSTATE vs. Heiki "Stone Shore" CDr

More than 4 years have passed since the phenomenal collaboration "The North Shore" between renowned Canadian dronescapers dreamSTATE and their fellow Toronto based electronic veteran Heiki Sillaste, who is also the driving force behind Paper+Sound label. dreamSTATE's Scott M2 and Jamie Todd as well as Heiki Sillaste are the core members behind The Ambient Ping, a Toronto based creative community of audio artists, performers, musicians and visual artists, who will celebrate this summer already their 18th Anniversary. Of course I always keep an eye and ear on their activities and I was eagerly awaiting the follow-up to "The North Shore". Actually, as far I remember, the next chapter was tentatively entitled "The South Shore", however, it ended up as "Stone Shore" CDr EP format packaged in a standard jewel case with 2-page front insert ("Stone Shore" is available also on cassette). Released at the end of April 2017, at the very first point, when revealing "Stone Shore" I was quite disappointed as the track list consisted of 3 pieces only with running time around 22 minutes. But after inserting the CDr into my player, I was a bit confused as the index showed 5 tracks with total run time over 43 minutes. It obviously reached its pinnacle when the track number 4 followed with one minute of silence. Fortunately, the 5th track was a real one and as later informed by Heiki, it was a kind of hidden gift for all those who buy a physical edition of "Stone Shore". Thus the EP album, which was recorded live at Christ's Church Cathedral, Hamilton, Canada on May 10th, 2013, is now extended to a rather satisfactory length. But nice trick, guys!

8-plus minutes long "Strange Harbour" is announced by a soothing shoreline field recordings, which are soon joined by subterranean choir-infused drone cascades, calmly buzzing, at times nearly didge-like groaning dissonances, introspectively engrossing blankets, invading cinematic vistas and glimpsing cyber-tech gossamers. The track glides consistently through stunningly awe-inspiring crepuscular seacost sceneries, masterfully exhibiting picturesque vast realms of Georgian Bay. "Laurentide" clocks to nearly 6 minutes and it straightly dives into enigmatically weeping panoramic expanses bringing back the memories of freezing rugged solitaries of "The North Shore". But this time it glides even further and immerses the listener into a kind of sonic timelapse exquisitely evoking the glacial period, when the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered most of Canada with a massive sheet of ice. Tenebrously undulating epic dronscapes are carefully bridged with ambiguously rumbling undercurrents. Breathtakingly sonorous! 7-minute "Stoney Beach" returns into gorgeously scenic quietudes guided by the stoney shoreline, where infinitely mesmerizing nocturnal symphonies persistently commingle with embracing tranquilities of drifting panoramic stratums, subtly crescendoing patterns, intangibly lyrical pillows and perpetually ascending rattling meridians. Soothingly rewarding journey! Then transmuting through the silence into the veiled closing, 21 minutes long opus named "Secret Shore", a composition driven by intensified drone helixes, intriguingly reinforced by a gamut of warmly panoptic glimmers, mindscaping disruptive vertexes, intricate hypogean gleams and cyber-biotic elixirs. As much engrossing as disturbing aural climax to close this strikingly venturous dronebalm, bravo, gentlemen!!!

Sure, I will always missing the longer story of "The North Shore" as well as its glass mastered format packaged in an attractive 4-panel digipak with additional signed art cards, however, "Stone Shore" is another powerful drone tour de force focusing on the magic of coastal sceneries of The Great Lakes and Georgian Bay, a truly ethereal environment serving the deepest inspiration for Scott M2, Jamie Todd and Heiki Sillaste. Explore "Stone Shore" now!!! And in case you are not familiar yet with "The North Shore", grab a copy of this one too!!! As mentioned by Heiki, two follow-up collaborative albums are in the works, so I will definitely stay tuned! And when focusing on the most recent solo releases, dreamSTATE has a new "DRoNE DAY" CDr out since May 22nd, 2017, on their own e-SPACE Editions. The album was recorded live on the first National Drone Day on May 10th, 2014 at Array Space in Toronto. Since then, Drone Day became a celebration of drone, experimental, and ambient music, and is celebrated annually in May. Regarding Heiki Sillaste's latest projects, he has compiled the latest "Quiet Drones 8" compilation, featuring 7 various projects from Canada, marking the 50th release for Paper+Sound label.

Richard Gürtler (Jun 11, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)


Keosz "Be Left To Oneself" CD

Keosz is for me one of the biggest discoveries during the last few years and certainly the most unexpected. Erik Osvald, the sole protagonist behind Keosz, comes from my homecountry Slovakia (the town of Dubnica nad Váhom) and he has released his debut CD "Be Left To Oneself" on renowned Cryo Chamber label more than one year ago, but he was quite safely escaping my radar for many months to come. Shame on me for this!!! Fortunately, I am very thankful to Emil/Strom Noir for his hint on this talented dronecarver. Yeah, along with Strom Noir, this is another acclaimed soundsculptor coming from a country where drone ambient scene is basically non-existent, so it's always a truly exiting moment when I can focus on a recording made by a Slovak soundscaper. Based on two previous digital albums "Sollicitus" and "Insecure", "Be Left To Oneself" is out since April 2016 in a 6-panel digipak with stunning artwork created by the artist himself.

Exceptionally immersing journey is ignited by the opening 6-minute title track "Be Left To Oneself", which straightly drifts into massively embracing and ambiguously colored drone landscapes, bridging tenebrously nuanced dense layers with constantly permeating epic vistas. A very strong beginning!!! "Occurred" keeps tightly on intense traces, it even culminates the droning scenario, where helixing deep bass meridians persistently commingle with intangibly rawer glimpses and awe-inspiring cinematic expanses. The gates to the Drone Eden are unlocked, enter now!!! "Forfeited", the longest track on the album covering nearly 7 minutes, shifts clandestinely into calmer, cyber-tech infused terrains, illuminated during the unfolding passage by solitary pulses, then slowly metamorphosing into powerfully immense stratums, where emerging panoptic undulations alternate with multi-dimensional monochromatic monoliths, all exquisitely guarded by mesmerizingly elusive industrial oscillations. Another aural bliss by Keosz awaits here! This guy rules!!! Bravo, Erik!!! "Forlorn", the shortest cut on the CD, moves back to grandiosely atmospheric poignancy, powered by gracefully weeping spirals and introspectively engrossing hums, while sacred choirs and contemplative tinkles are occasionally riding atop. "Traitor" reveals with spiraling intensity exquisitely amalgamated with fascinatingly crescendoing and profoundly longing, nearly orchestral hymnic horizons. An all-inclusive drone elixir is served here!!! "Insecure" dives deeply into abysmally pensive sceneries, where infinite hissy coils relentlessly coalesce with evanescent voice-like mirages and ear-tickling high-pitched glimmers. Wow, this must be Keosz at his most transcendental!!! Lowest end drones safely navigate "Clearance" through breathtakingly climaxing and thrillingly enigmatic plateaus, while "Low Down" glides through unfathomably infused oracular realms, propelled by breathing machineries wrapped by steam and reinforced by remote chants (bringing back my DCD memories...). The closing track, "Before The End", is carried by balmy rain and organic sounds, which are carefully bridged with serene cascades of rawer quietudes and ambrosial evocativeness. A tranquilly dissonant conclusion!

Man, I am so proud of the talent of Erik Osvald, who is not only an extremely gifted dronescaper and visual artist, but he has a very good eye as a photographer too. And keep in mind, this is not the last sound magic by Keosz!!! Since April 19th, 2017, his second album for Cryo Chamber entitled "Ava" is out and it even shifts Keosz into another, artistically magnificent level, which deserves to be immediately explored and praised!!! And when focusing on Erik's soundsculpting wizardry, certainly don't miss also his other sonic endeavors, more beat-driven, available in digital formats through his own Bandcamp page. In any case, 49 minutes long "Be Left To Oneself" is a really outstanding debut album by Keosz, hats off to you, Erik, keep on droning and keep on unfolding your multi-talent!!! No mistakes allowed on my side this time, so I will always keep a focused ear to the ground!!! And by the way, this guy doesn't even know many of my ambient heroes as his main influences rather come from the videogame soundtracks sector, so the more I am delighted by his inherent sonic visions!!! And last but not least, kudos to Simon Heath of Cryo Chamber, who gets the mastering credit, for exploring Erik's dronescaping potential!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jun 07, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Boira" CDr by Landru
« on: June 04, 2017, 03:44:37 AM »

Landru "Boira" CDr

Patxi Hernández aka Landru has crossed my radar for the first time during the spring of 2012, not only as one of the driving forces behind Spanish label Altera Orbe, together with another fellow soundscaping countryman Ran Kirlian, but also as a creator of very impressive debut CDr "Neurotransmitters" (released in November 2011). In the meantime Landru has released several other notable solo albums available on CDr format like "Fimbria", "Scotoma", "Facets" and a collaborative project "Waterfront" with above mentioned labelmate Ran Kirlian. Some of them I have reviewed throughout 2012 and 2013. Although, I believe, Altera Orbe is on hiatus now, both artists still continue on releasing their own music, particularly Landru has a new album "Boira" out since June 2016 on his newly formed label Lepysma, even if the CDr edition was released as a limited edition few months later. "Boira", which means fog in Catalan language, comes in a standard jewel case with immersing black and white 4-page front insert.

Nearly 7-minute long "Dormant State", the shortest one on "Boira", ignites the venture with subterraneanly labyrinthine drone cascades, which are delicately reinforced by assorted, translucently cyber-tech swirls and smashes or ambiguously cavernous pulses and bleeps. Auxiliary warmer cinematic vignettes clandestinely permeate across engulfing hypogeal sceneries. A very strong opening! "The Water Cycle", stretching to 11 minutes, merges richly biotic and mesmerizingly transporting location recordings with constantly circling longing undulations, while intangibly noisier bangs are persistently guarding above. The next piece, "Hydroscopic Particles", only slightly shorter than its predecessor, straightly shifts into sonorously dronescaping Eden, where magnificently multi-dimensional monochromatic monoliths are meticulously coalesced with perpetually helixing primal rumbles and intriguingly traverse through awe-inspiringly panoptic vistas. A towering dronezones at its climax!!! "Evolving Landscape" delves into more future-tech-driven terrains highlighted by polished crystalline bleeps and oddities, and surrounded by balmily expanding and tranquilly nuanced cinematic horizons. Another big one!!! "From A Certain Height" masterfully blends nebulously engrossing choir-infused solitudes with subtly vibrating and intricately high-tech grooves. As much engrossing as electrifying, an aural elixir is served here! "Quiescense" reveals with soaring enigmatic drifts, roaming through perplexing altitudes and backed by remotely elusive throbs and eerily glancing groans and squeaks. The closing 20-plus minutes long title opus "Boira" dives deeply into grandiosely unfathomable depths, navigated by gracefully celestial and spellbindingly humming drone stratums and oracularly illuminated by extraterrestrial signals. And then inconspicuously crescendoing through jaw-droppingly transporting meridians. Massively mysterious finale fully reveals all its magic!!! Bravo, Landru!!!

Landru offers with "Boira" 75 minutes of prodigiously tenebrous atmozones exquisitely augmented by a diversity of cybernetic, futuristic or primordial-charged curiosities, no matter if shimmering, pellucid, granular or puzzling. Undoubtedly "Boira" is another very strong recording by Landru, so don't hesitate to explore this crafted Spaniard, because he really deserves much more attention than he gets. Landru's discography features several well hidden gems and your support would be greatly appreciated with many rewards awaiting!!! Patxi, muchas gracias and keep on creating!!!

Richard Gürtler (May 31, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)


Byron Metcalf "Inner Rhythm Meditations" CD

When looking back at the year 2016, this was undoubtedly an enormously triumphant and strikingly fruitful period of time for shamanic par excellence drummer Byron Metcalf. Firstly, just within a few days, two phenomenal albums "Earth Luminous" and "Shamanic Trance Dance" were released, the first one as a collaborative project with Norwegian ambient guitar virtuoso Erik Wøllo on Projekt, while the other one "Shamanic Trance Dance" on Sounds True features several kindred spirits from across the globe as guests. Both these albums certainly belong to the pinnacles of 2016, but the story is still not complete... "Inner Rhythm Meditations" CD, released on Sounds True at October 1st, 2016, in an attractive 6-panel eco wallet with extensive liner notes, resurrects once again the synergistic spirit with Erik Wøllo and the team is completed by a Grammy Award and Native American Music Award nominee, a world flute wizard Peter Phippen from Wisconsin. What a line-up!!! The additional credits go to Sounds True producer, Mitchell Clute, to Liv Khalsa at Invincible Recording for his mastering experiences and to David M. Schrader for cover image.

The opening piece, wonderfully entitled "Garden Of The Peaceful Warrior", which clocks over 10 minutes, unfolds with quietly expansive washes by Erik Wøllo, which are propelled by sublime drumming, both heavier and gauzy, by Byron Metcalf and Peter Phippen's gorgeously evocative flute calls. The trio immediately sets their creative insignias into absolute equilibrium and the listener enters a truly magnificent sonic Eden, where he/she is welcomed by a large dose of aural ambrosia. Pure beauty!!! "As Clouds Dance" is only several seconds shorter than its predecessor, keeps tightly on the path, but this time more translucent udu beats steal the center stage, although always commingling with bulkier frame drums, while hissy desolations are clandestinely glancing on the horizon. Weeping blankets slowly emerge and permeate across along with gently shimmering pulses. Ear-tickling gossamer, yet razor sharp groovy gallops join the spectacle as well and persistently interact with drum/udu magic and utterly engrossing and warmly panoramic elevations. The track title is exquisitely displayed by the passionate musicianship!!! Erik's lushly lyrical strings announce "Patterns Of Awareness", but the percussive vibrancy by Byron soon levels the score along with Peter's poignant bansuri narrations. A quite laid-back, yet intensely magnified and insistently absorbing ride awaits here, bravo, gentlemen!!! "A Perfect Place" delves into quieter terra incognita sceneries, reinforced by cavernously crystalline echoes of udu, pungently galvanizing drums, ethereally embracing E-bow magic, emotive stringed vistas and hauntingly enveloping shakuhachi cushions. A genuine magic by three sonic curanderos in full bloom!!! "The Awakened Heart", covering 11 and a half minutes, shifts the splendor into another, spellbindingly fascinating altitude when masterfully merging engulfing panoptic reflections, healing flute serenities, intangibly pulsing cinematic motifs and vigorously high-spirited drumming. The driving mixture of ponderously punching drums and pellucid udu balm is just breathtakingly immersing and it meticulously completes this splendiferous composition. It's strongly evident, Byron Metcalf, Erik Wøllo and Peter Phippen deliver here the very top of their celebrated artistries, beyond question, "The Awakened Heart" is a Hall Of Fame performance!!! The longest piece, 15-minute "Presence Of Longing", closes this awe-inspiring, 65 minutes long journey with meditatively repetitive deep bass drum beat carefully bridged with cascading epic quietudes, introspectively embracing flute curtains and transient breezy strings. A sonorously contemplative outro!

"Inner Rhythm Meditations" album is another giant sonic installment sculpted by Byron Metcalf and graced by thrillingly gifted contributions by like-minded spirits Erik Wøllo and Peter Phippen. And the sound quality is top-notch too! Thank you, Maestros, for such virtuosic dream team brilliance, congratulations and deep respect for this milestone!!! So it's quite obvious recording like this gets one of my nominations for Best Album of 2016, while "Earth Luminous" and "Shamanic Trance Dance" are already included! And regarding Byron's connection to Sounds True, a 6CD program based on his Shaman's Heart Meditation Series is in the works for a release during the spring of 2018.

Richard Gürtler (May 29, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Excellent album. Been playing it frequently on Spotify past few weeks. First time I have heard this lads music. Impressed.

And don't miss also "Reflection Of Time" and "Eternity" albums, they are highly recommended too!!!

Richard :)

I love this album and still enjoy playing the shorter original version as well.

Yeah, Seren, the original version is absolutely magnificent as well!!!

Richard :)

Great review Richard , of a beautiful album. One of Steve's best imho.

On my playlist for later today  8)

Thanks a lot, thirdsystem, for your kind words, I really appreciate that!!! Keep on enjoying "The Passing"!!!

Richard :)

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