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Messages - richardgurtler

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Amir Baghiri- The Serenity

I usually don't pay much attention to him but this is a great album.

Castleview, give a try also to Amir's following two albums "Prayers For The Earth" (March 2013) and "Light Textures" (July 2013), both released as CDr editions on small German label Attenuation Circuit, highly recommended!!!  ;)

Richard

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Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Far Go" CD by Al Gromer Khan
« on: November 02, 2013, 03:43:59 AM »


Al Gromer Khan "Far Go" CD

"Far Go" is the newest album by famous German composer, sitar virtuoso and novel writer Al Gromer Khan. Released at March 1st, 2013 through RASA Music, Al's own label, as limited edition of 100 copies. It's packaged in nice digipak (design by Ramona Popa) with beautiful painting by Ghulam Ali Khan, a prolific painter in Mughal Delhi in the first half of the 19th century.

Pristine sitar strings wrapped in hissy clouds open "Jasmin Blossom Day" and hover on the wings of tranquilly drifting aerials. This, rather shorter composition reveals all the sublime beauty of exotically scented soundscapes. Very nice intro!!! "Procession For Vilayat Khan (Study In Raga Gujari Todi)" is a tribute to India's famous sitar player Vilayat Khan. It masterfully bridges expressive, ear-tickling sitar sounds with gorgeously soulful tabla playing, heavenly chants, additional spoken words and background drone blankets. "Gambhira (The Inscrutable)" remains in quieter, mildly percussive terrains with few sharper sitar essences. Female chants along with other voices lead "Procession For Hb". Pensive sitar and deliberate percussions excel as well on the fore, while colored on the background by assorted hissing sounds and sparsely meandering atmozones. "Constantinople (A Deja Vu)" is invaded by distant, static drone, gorgeously divine chants and occasionally emerging warm string-infused fragments. 9-minute, strongly meditative sonic splendor!!! The next piece, "The Nawab Astride ... (Study In Raga Ahir Bhairav)", displayed by the cover image, is merging sitar, tabla (tabla samples by Suman Sarkar), female chants and serene far-off drifts. Hauntingly calm and unique!!! "Urbanicum (Excerpt)" is more droning, quite minimal, with few gently swirling tinkles, while the following cut, "A Strange Kind Of Peace", keeps its meditative backing drone path, expansive, panoramic and immersing, but flavored here and there by some small, soothingly arising motifs. Deep sound contemplation, a journey to tranquilly mesmerizing realms of rare beauty!!! "Black Raga (Study In Raga Malkauns)" dives straightly into mysteriously exotic terrains with intermingling sharp, heavily scented sitar texture and deep sounding tabla expressions. Sinister clouds of voice-like drone ride atop. "Three Kings" are sculpted by serenely sweeping washes, crystalline tinkles, spoken words (by Al's wife Ute) and chants, sporadic calm sitar passage and distant, slowed down heartbeat. Sublimely relieving and exceptionally embracing piece of music!!! "Forêt Diplomatique" is most likely the shorter version of the track from "Forêt Diplomatique" CD (released in 2011). Rather monotonous drone with French spoken vocals (again by Ute), infrequent sitar and remote heartbeat create a quite minimalistic and mysterious feel, exquisitely distinctive, when delicately coalescing ancient with future. Awesome!!! "I Walk Everywhere... (Study In Tantric Jazz)" closes the journey with jazzy, chillout ingredients thrown in. Again a truly unique blend featuring also sitar wizardry and warmly inviting, cinematic uptempos.

"Far Go" is absolutely adventurous ride offering to each listener wealthy palette of atmospheres with filigree instrumentation, where soul, passion and dedication are always exhibited. If you are searching for ambient soundscapes with long lasting oriental fragrance, this is the name you can always bet on. Al Gromer Khan is elite performer and his extensive discography offers a lot of sonic jewels!!! They are not that faraway as you might think...

Richard Gürtler (Nov 2, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Additional info regarding "Seven Sisters" track. In my review I referred this title to the famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs, in the Seven Sisters Country Park on the Sussex Heritage Coast. But I was wrong. Johan Rehn of gterma sent me the following update: "The track title "Seven Sisters" is a wordplay that refers to the old Nordic Midsummer-tradition of picking seven kinds of wildflower to place under your pillow. In doing so, the person who collected the flowers may encounter the one they are destined to live their lives with, in their dreams.". Thank you so much, Johan, for bringing more light into "Seven Sisters" track, I really appreciate that!!! :)

Richard

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Mathias Grassow "Sonnenwende" 2xCD

"Sonnenwende" double CD is another chapter on Swedish gterma label focusing on fascinating mysteries of the cosmos. Released during May of 2013, German drone master returns at the top of his unmeasurable craft on "Sonnenwende" and explores solstice event. Disc one is exposing summer solstice, while the second one is taking you to winter solstice realms. As usual for all gterma artworks, the release is accompanied by stunning pictures (16-page booklet) by gterma's protagonist Johan Rehn. Extensive booklets are quite rare these days on this scene, but the label keeps this concept, so I can't start with anything else than awarding first extra points to Johan. You have my deep respect!!!

Mathias fires this exceptional odyssey through summer solstice with long-form piece "Drifting Dawn", which clocks to nearly 30 minutes. Monotonously mind-bending drone, calls of fauna and fragile mysterious tinkles invite each listener to experience absolutely magnificent spheres filled with infinite spirit and grace. Overtone voice magic-like drone steals the show and floats through endless spirals of massive intensity and revealing grandness. Will this man ever stop? This is a pure sonic magic!!! The next composition, "Endless", gets over 7 minutes "only". It's less monumental, but enough chasmal at the beginning and also more "melodious", when slightly tribal-infused pulse sneaks in, prevails and circles, while additional layer intensely cascades and culminates. "Into The Small Hours" shifts quickly into minimal, flatline atmozones, drifting into aerially sublime and tranquilly mesmerizing horizons of gracious immenseness. Gorgeously relieving trip!!! Fragile acoustic strings invade the following cut, entitled "Seven Sisters", and caress the ears (Seven Sisters is the name of chalk cliffs on the Sussex Heritage Coast). Later slowly expanding surroundings appear and intermingle with the stringed wizardry, all wrapped in slightly medieval mood. Dramatic transitions during the second third shift into droning passageway leading to more rhythmic part spiced by expressive bowed strings. Quite unique stuff, this must be Mathias Grassow at his weirdest!!!

Winter solstice is ignited by "The Sleeping Forest", another longer piece getting to nearly 23 minutes. It briskly moves back to traditional dronescaping territory where Mathias masterfully sandwiches layers of drifts. Driven by gracefully divine choir-like drone, here and there emphasized by intenser peaks, yet still tremendously expansive and spellbindingly immersing. This is a gigantic, multi-dimensional drone alchemy of the highest caliber, the gates to the drone heaven are unlocked!!! 22-minute "Twilight Tribes" unfold quite relieving at the beginning, although ghostly guards ride above the deep abyss. Gradually evolving texture becomes more tangible and dense, while the voices transform into heavenly form. Mysterious tinkles and remote rumbles emerge occasionally. Dronewalls get thicker and thicker and climb to a phantasmal peak. Colossal intensity of this track is just unbelievable, an utterly transcendental journey awaits!!! Following composition entitled "Pearls Of Ice" spreads with serene intro, but soon gorgeously spacious bowed strings awake along with celestially exquisite female choirs. Stunningly symphonic feel is quickly achieved and graciously floats throughout the entire length of 29-minutes. Deeply magnificent mindscaping experience continues!!! "Midwinter Century" is the closing, shorter piece hauntingly merging slower, but booming and echoed tribal beats with distant static drones, which slowly increase into more panoramic size.

"Sonnenwende" is a truly monstrous double set, an all-embracing virtuoso performance by The Drone Shaman and one of the most remarkable releases of 2013!!! Kudos to both, Mathias Grassow & gterma!!! A drone tour de force!!! And by the way, 4 days ago was released on gterma a brand new CD by Mathias Grassow, entitled "Tamanoshima", diving into more minimal terrains... Does The Drone King ever sleep?

Richard Gürtler (Oct 27, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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I find no evidence of this on his website.  (???)


Hi Chris, it looks like Aucourant Records website is not updated anymore, so all the most recent releases can be found and ordered via Robert's site at Bandcamp.

http://robert-scott-thompson.bandcamp.com/album/upon-the-edge-of-night
http://robert-scott-thompson.bandcamp.com/merch

Enjoy!!! :)

Richard

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Thanks a lot, BigLooper!!! Yes, I am a really huge fan, collector and supporter of ambient, tribal and deep space, it's my passion!!! All the best!!! :)

Richard

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Robert Scott Thompson "Upon The Edge Of Night" CDr

In Roswell, Georgia, based composer Robert Scott Thompson describes himself as a musical alchemist and this is definitely the best description suiting to his soundsculptings. Robert Scott Thompson has crossed my radar for the first time during the second half of the 90's with his two stunning works, "The Silent Shore" (1996) and "Frontier" (1998), released on Canadian Mirage label. At that time he had released about 6 other albums, yet still remained quite unrecognized. Now, 15 years later, Robert Scott Thompson owns huge discography counting over 50 solo albums and collaborations, with nearly all of them released through his own Aucourant Records (Hypnos and Lens Records are few exceptions), ranging from more ambient infused titles through electroacoustic, acousmatic, avantgarde and contemporary electronica to more minimal meditative.

"Upon The Edge Of Night" album, released on Aucourant Records during December of 2012 as a CDr edition packaged in elegant digipak, has immediately caught my attention with its title and cover images. 16 and half minutes long opener "Strange Lines And Distances" ranges in the same category with Robert's above mentioned ambient jewels such as "The Silent Shore" and "Frontier". Tranquilly floating dronescaping ambience is masterfully emphasized by gorgeously infinite celestial choir-like gracefulness and few distant piano embellishments. Some cool strange sounds emerge here and there. Warmly inviting and hauntingly expansive beginning, pure beauty, more please!!! Nicely titled "Glass Is The Enemy Of The Secret" shifts straightly into more textured terrains, although backing panoramas remain soothingly sweeping and the main motifs are gently harmonious and poetic with some additional, fragilely swirling synthesized glass-like fragments precisely displaying the track title. All quite sparse and evocative. "The Misty Place" keeps minimal feel of its predecessor. Contemplative atmofields are precisely bridged with translucent tinkles and few ear-catching disruptions pop-up throughout. The piece slowly evolves then again fades into calmer passages, but always having its balmy and nostalgic mood. Essentially sedative journey!!! And it overlaps also to the next composition entitled "In The Flow That Follows". It blends relaxing organic sounds and soft urban rumbles with deeply evocative, cinematic blankets, wistful piano and sluggish strings. Subtly pleasant sceneries arise, quietly relaxing and gently immersing, and for long time buried memories start to awake. Utterly captivating masterpiece!!! "Listening Before Radar" is a short, transitional piece sounding slightly more discordant when comparing to previous cuts. "Far Side Of The Sky" returns again into enveloping panoramas, this time with its eloquently sorrowful touch. "A Winter's Music" is another longer piece, clocking to 16 and half minute mark. Quietly expansive dronescape is attractively colored with highly expressive and captivating strings with some softly swirling trinkets attached. A truly magnificent, deeply meditative composition masterly displaying serene atmosphere of gorgeously glimmering winter wonderland!!! The closing title track, "Upon The Edge Of Night", reveals all the magic of nightfall heaven with coalescing splendidly ethereal washes with bass hums, singing cicadas and ephemeral organics and chimes. Brilliantly beautiful finale bringing to mind (along with "In The Flow That Follows") "The River Of Appearance", one of the great classics.

"Upon The Edge Of Night" is undeniably a very strong album, it quickly became one of my fave atmospheric ambient works by this highly crafted composer, who is currently a Professor of Music Composition/Music Recording Technology at Georgia State University School of Music in Atlanta. I think this recording is still mostly unrecognized, it's a big shame, because Robert Scott Thompson always delivers significant signature, versatility and refinement in his music. This virtuosity certainly deserves to be explored!!!

Richard Gürtler (Oct 24, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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As always, great pleasure on my side too, Juta!!!  :)

Richard

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Juta Takahashi "Transcendence" CD

Japanese ambient sculptor Juta Takahashi has released his previous album "Angel" during the summer of 2012. Then followed two remastered reissues, released as factory-pressed CDs, "Quiet Rain" (October 2012) and "Seabound" (April 2013). Now it's time to introduce his newest album "Transcendence", which has landed at September 21st, 2013, as Juta's 10th album. As for the cover image, Juta again, as with his previous albums, presents another stunning DeviantArt(ist), this time it's Nicolas Monin-Baroille, who is acting as "The Unknown Being", a designer and illustrator based in Offenburg, Germany. Yes, the cover artwork, entitled as "The Garden of Eden", is absolutely magnificent!!!

Juta's compositions are usually longer, 3-4 tracks per album, and "Transcendence" is no exception to this rule. 4 tracks are featured, all clocking between 16 and 17 minutes in length. "Higurashi", a tribute to Japanese late summer forest, is the starting point, where heavenly washes tranquilly unfold, while cicada blankets smoothly meander throughout. Serene piano fragments, emerging here and there, are gorgeously soothing and confront with high-pitched spiraling drones. The more discomforting these drones are, the more embracing they become. Juta is the master of ambient dissonances, they are always utterly spellbinding and slowly become his identifiable trademark. This is absolute monster masterpiece, "Higurashi" could be labeled as magnum opus among Juta's compositions, bravo Maestro!!! Then follows "Nirvana Électronique" with monotonously circling sitar-like drones, flavored by occasional, distinctive flute infusions with few warmer scenic views included. The overall feel is quite exotic and especially deeply mesmerizing. "Maitrī" dives straightly into deeply contemplative, minimalistic realms captured by echoed singing bowl and fragile tinkles. Tranquilly evolving and gorgeously evocative aerial washes step in and then fade away throughout the piece. This is Juta Takahashi at his most minimal and silent, where each listener is continuously immersed by pleasantly atmospheric meditations filled with rare beauty and subtlety. A stunning composition!!! "Transcendence", the title piece, is invaded by intense ethereal expansions, floating with infinite majesty and grace, embellished by nimbly coiling hypnoscapes. Always warmly colossal and soothingly sweeping. This is a truly splendid finale, we simply couldn't ask for more to close this enthralling journey!!!

Yes, "Transcendence" is undoubtedly a new, triumphant masterwork by Juta Takahashi, showcasing again his, rather minimal, but always freshly distinguishing sound magic loaded with many, fully rewarding treasures. So get ready and dive deeply into these realms!!! I can only strongly recommend this grandiosely magnificent recording, because you will enjoy it again and again. Bravo, Juta, "Transcendence" is a must have for all connoisseurs of spectacularly drifting ambience!!!

Richard Gürtler (Oct 20, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Byron Metcalf & Rob Thomas "Medicine Work" CD

An invitation to journey through ancient realms by two medicine men, productive Arizonian shamanic tribal trance drummer Byron Metcalf and virtuoso didgeridoo performer Rob Thomas, one half of the legendary Inlakesh project. "Medicine Work" CD was released during June 2013 on Byron's Dr. BAM's Music. Yes, I was very excited when heard about this collaborative project for the first time. Byron Metcalf keeps busy with his solo projects during the last few years as well as with numerous, highly acclaimed projects with Steve Roach, Mark Seelig or Dashmesh Khalsa. On the other side, Inlakesh was quite silent since their 1999's masterpiece "The Gathering", but I know Rob & Tanya were involved in numerous projects during this period of time, including their latest move from New Mexico's Santa Fe to the mountains of North Carolina to work full-time for Didgeridoo Down Under school programs that combine music, art, social studies, science, reading encouragement, character building. Deep respect for their beautiful mission!!! Of course I will always miss Inlakesh, but who knows, maybe one day... In any case, I will keep my ear to the ground.

The album's title and immersing cover image by Kati Astraeir set the atmosphere even before the first note. But then 14-minute opener "This Way" unfolds with primordial hum, but soon Rob's mysterious didgeridoo drone joins along with Byron's rattle and shaker magics and sparse shamanic drums. Unmeasurable artistry of both curanderos melts together into one, hauntingly cohesive body and slowly unwraps into deeply magnificent and utterly mindscaping vibrant ancient terrains. A true shamanic tribal trance experience awaits!!! "A Deeper Descent", slightly longer than its ancestor, is leaded by spellbinding growls of didge, surrounded by humming wind and deep groans. During the second third thunderous drum passage sneak in, but also intensely mesmerizing shaker rhythms want to keep the pace and highlight this ceremonial rite. Your body and mind is bathed with pure sonic elixir exhibiting chromatic range of two acoustic virtuosities, more please!!! The title track "Medicine Work" keeps on the path with didge drone mysteries, but soon drumming mastery steal the show and takes it into hyper-active organics bridged with sharply shimmering shakers and tight didge backups. A highly tempestuous amalgamate, nearly 17 minutes long, reaches its volcanic peak two minutes before its end. A genuine sound magic!!! 8-minute "Gates Of Initiation" continue with more relieving mind-trip, merging hypnotic tribal rhythms, dreamtime didge, expressive breaths and primal rumbles. Yes, slightly lighter composition, but still profoundly immersing and transcendent!!! "Servants Of The Mystery" is the closing and longest piece, revealing with pristine trance-induced percussions and circling drone pipe hypnotics and growls. Evolving and cascading through briskly moving, positively psychoactive rhythm expansions before diffusing on the cloud banks of didge drones. Another fascinating soundscape!!!

Byron Metcalf and Rob Thomas are high-spirited performers, who are exposing on "Medicine Work" all their musical intelligence and artistry and demonstrate their iconic, distinctive musicianship. They both make music with heart and passion, that's "Medicine Work"!!! Amazing sound quality too, so headphones are highly recommended!!! A truly essential, deeply rewarding listening!!! And most recently, about two weeks ago Mark Seelig has stopped in Prescott Valley at Byron's new studio to enjoy their recording session for their newest collaborative project...

Richard Gürtler (Oct 06, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Amir Baghiri "Light Textures" CDr

Collaboration between ambient composer and painter Amir Baghiri, a native Iranian based in Germany and ambitious German Attenuation Circuit label keeps on growing. Just the same as with "Prayers For The Earth" album, also "Light Textures" CDr comes in nice origami-style cardboard sleeve with eye-catching artwork by Kati Astraeir and design by Attenuation Circuit's leader Sascha Stadlmeier known as Emerge. The album was released in July 2013 in limited edition of 55 copies and is dedicated to a Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet Omar Khayyam, who was one of the important philosophers and teachers of the medieval period.

"Crossing The Sky" fires the journey as the longest piece clocking to nearly 20-minute mark and immediately setting the atmosphere with moon landing voice transmissions, didgeridoo dronescape, slower tribal rhythm and subtle organic infusions. Smoothly moving through various, richly sculpted elevations, from primordial magic through expansive panoramic drifts to gentle tribal grooves, always immaculately harmonious and fascinatingly spacious. A truly immersing odyssey to the deepest end of atmospheric delightfulness!!! Amir is back at his best and I am completely hooked again!!! Rather noisier didge drones straightly invade "Red, Green And Blue", flavored by humming tinkles, but soon frenzied tribal drumming escapade steal the center stage, with phantoms guarding atop. After about 4 minutes the track converses like a chamaeleon into a landscape of tranquilly moving meanders, here and there enhanced by distant roars and undulating strains. The next, 10-minute cut, "Came With Dust Gone With Winds", unfolds with gracefully floating, ebbing and swelling peaceful washes. Utterly immense soundfields are explored, a virtuoso atmospheric performance continues!!! "Neither Stay, Nor Be Away" remains in continuously embracing terrains, slightly less colossal, but as much warmly sweeping and hauntingly sonorous as its predecessor. And this calmly absorbing journey proceeds with "When The Veil Falls", where rising and falling drifts paint ethereally vaporous tapestries, monstrously wide-screen and mesmerizingly amorphous dronewalls!!! "Sleepwalking Through....", a 10-plus minutes long piece closes this masterfully sublime and divine walk through supremely soothing aural paradise with eternally tiding nocturnal blankets with deep hums showcasing apparent influence by the Master. Fascinating listening experience for all stargazers!!!

"Light Textures" album features a very solid soundscapes by Amir Baghiri, where sonics are beautifully bridged with both, the main theme and the visuals and where the overall, incredibly grandiose spaciousness is cleverly colored by some refine earthy delicacies. If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't wait too long before ordering "Light Textures" CDr because of smaller run, so act now!!!

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

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Thank you, Chris, I am sure you will fully enjoy it!!!  :)

Richard

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Independent Music Reviews / My review of "369" CDr by Zero Ohms
« on: September 22, 2013, 05:32:10 AM »


Zero Ohms "369" CDr

US virtuoso flutist Richard Roberts known as Zero Ohms is back with his second installment for Relaxed Machinery label by utilizing his usual inventory of flutes, bass flutes and wind-controlled synthesizers. Released at the end of July 2013 (with cover design by Steve Brand), "369" is a follow-up to his masterwork "Worlds, Afterworlds" (October 2011). Zero Ohms' impressive body of work since 1998 includes also recordings for labels such as Lotuspike, Space For Music or Richard's own Zop Opus label. Acknowledged also for notable collaborations with Craig Padilla, Skip Murphy, Brannan Lane, Gordon Rhyne or Markus Reuter (this last one available as download only via Ian Boddy's DiN label).

"3", a 25-minute long piece, launches the journey with meditative flute dronescapes conjugated with the lush sounds of a fauna and sharply rustling leaves with few additional unrecognized voices, rumbling noises and baby cry thrown in. A deep listening session unfolds into pleasant long paths and undulations, painting strongly tranquilizing sceneries of forested landscapes. A truly gorgeous walk through the rural areas of outstanding natural beauty!!! Next cut, slightly shorter "6", keeps its serenely atmospheric feel although the woodwind drones create more expansive, reverberating and murmuring ambience, a quite mindscaping too. A gentle stillness hanging in the air is fully exhilarating. Fully immerse yourself and dive deeply into this relaxing soundscape and enjoy the whole essence of this impeccably magical place that is within. "9" is the ending piece clocking to 11 minutes and comprising more urgent and aerially unbounded wind-synth blankets, drifting, sweeping, humming and hypnotizing with all its warmly immense grace and great depth. Toward the end peaceful environmental sounds again sneak in, almost unperceivably and take this journey into its finale.

"369" showcases charming harmony between minimal, but strongly mesmeric soulful woodwind reveries and calmly embracing natural surroundings. Richard Roberts is the master of subtle delicacy. That's Zero Ohms in a nutshell!!! So if you are a connoisseur of masterly placid ambient music that has a properly colorful, organic touch, Zero Ohms is your ticket to a soothingly balsamic listening experience!!!

Richard Gürtler (Sep 22, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Hi, please check your inbox, thanks!!!

Richard

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Independent Music Reviews / My review of "The Great Hoop" CDr by Steve Brand
« on: September 18, 2013, 11:00:15 AM »


Steve Brand "The Great Hoop" CDr

"The Great Hoop" album is one of the latest recordings by acclaimed US ambient journeyer Steve Brand. Released on one of his usual labels, Relaxed Machinery, in mid-June, 2013. Just like one of his older works, "Cahokia", also "The Great Hoop" is inspired by the magical power of Cahokia Mounds, the site of an ancient Native American city, where advanced, sophisticated and influential culture was built, centuries before Columbus reached the shores of America. Abandoned more than a century before Europeans arrived in North America, today, Cahokia Mounds is the largest archaeological site in North America, north of Central Mexico and one of only 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites within United States.

Firstly, I am impressed by the cover image of small terra cotta figure as well as by inside panoramic photo featuring words of Black Elk, of the Oglala Sioux. His writings, as stated by Steve Brand, inspired some of the track titles. The opener, 16-plus minutes long "Great Plains", grabs quickly my attention with its minimal texture, but enormously expressive with the use ancient tools such as flute, rattles, shakers, guarded by distant, soothingly waving washes and occasional spirited whisperings by Jill Brand, Steve's wife. Very sparse, but strongly embracing, with gorgeous interactions between contemplative primordial ambience and majestically permeating stillness. This composition is magnificently displayed by the insert's inside panoramas. Slightly longer "Hoop Of The Earth" is again sparsely sculpted, but slightly more frightening as chorus of howling coyotes (contributed by Shane Morris) breaks the dark night. Then the fore is invaded by rising and falling drone reverberations along with emerging field recordings of rain. Small flute cacophony joins the stage with assorted, peculiarly unsettling rumbles, some heavy drum beat infusions and other sounds of archetypal instruments. Quite minimal, yet richly transmuting sonic travel into deeper shamanistic realms. Expansive soulful flute wizardry leads "Medicine Bag Ghosts" surrounded by morning frog calls after a rainy night. Deeply humming drones sneak in later with trance-inducing tribal rhythms delivered by guest Paul Casper aka Frore and hallucinogenic voice magics. Massively immersing and intensively transcendental alchemy creating a powerful tribute to Native American spirituality. Large dose of ultimate sonic medicine is served here, a true masterpiece!!! "Mountain Pass" unfolds with graceful bass flute murmur spreading across the valley, intervened by cavernous twinkles with some uncanny faunal sounds swirling above. Deeply panoramic drone warmly rises and expands in gorgeous harmony with acoustic musings and mysterious ethnographics. Another virtuoso performance, bravo!!! "Suspension Vision" remains in stunningly flavored terrains, amalgamating evocative ethnic instruments, distinctive whistling traceries, placid natural sounds and gradually evolving, climaxing and dissolving, spectacularly imposing drone walls. This is a truly grandiose conclusion of "The Great Hoop"!!!

CDr edition with slim jewel case packaging doesn't justify the content of this album, but this is the same old story mentioned in my previous reviews of Steve Brand's recordings. But one thing is clear, "The Great Hoop" is absolutely breathtaking journey to the frontier of primordial shamanistic electroacoustic soundmagic. The best work of Steve Brand to date and one of the finest albums of 2013 so far!!! Deep respect, Maestro!!!

Richard Gürtler (Sep 18, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Oöphoi & Ran Kirlian "The Physics Of Heaven" CDr

This collaborative project was released by Altera Orbe at April 20, 2013, just one week after the passing of Gigi, the grandmaster behind Oöphoi. The semi-finished recordings for this album were sculpted by Gigi at his studio Kiva during 2009-2011, while Ran Kirlian brought this highly ethereal effort into its final shape at his Blue_Room studio during 2012-2013. Italian Gianluigi "Gigi" Gasparetti aka Oöphoi needs no introduction here, he is one of the most respected drone virtuosos, who has left us tremendous amount of unforgettable aural meditations and who will always live in the memories we deeply treasure. Ran Kirlian, one of the driving forces behind Altera Orbe label, is one of the rising stars of the compelling Spanish ambient scene along the likes of Max Corbacho, Bruno Sanfilippo, Landru and Joxan Ruiz.

"The Physics Of Heaven" album immediately attracts with its impressive cover artwork, based on Oöphoi's original image with some additional manipulations by Ran Kirlian. The voyage launches with "Breath", which dives straightly into monstrous chasm of waving voice-like drones, monotonously embracing and guarded by distant rumbling metallic eeriness and organic traceries. 10 and a half minutes long drone wizardry, transporting into superiorly magnificent realms. "Ascend" takes us directly into a towering spiral journey, continuously expanding and excessively drifting through spatial immenseness. Grandiosely reverberating mind-bender!!! "White Shores I", the longest composition here with 20 minutes in length, unfolds into gorgeously graceful dimensions, where ebbing and floating washes are merged with soothingly sweeping ocean waves and seagulls calls. A beautifully continuous and mesmerizingly contemplative images are emerging and carrying the listener away into magically eternal domains. A deeply sophisticated atmospheric bliss, a journey into a vast emptiness of unexplored nothingness, an ultimate magnum opus!!! Exploratory odyssey culminates and reaches "White Shores II" and then tardily fades away into tranquil sublimity of celestial grandness. Relentlessly amorphous and warmly luminous!!! "Transmigration" shifts into monotonous shadowy drone terrains, rather monochromatic with flood tide of intenser, slightly fearing soundwalls. Profoundly mindscaping experience awaits!!! "The Golden Fields" close this exceptional journey with drones swerving into tremendously heartening metamorphosis, where light and dark colors compassionately coalesce together with soothingly encircling field recordings and emit marvelous gleam of blissfulness. Pure magic, thank you so much!!!

"The Physics Of Heaven" is absolutely essential, spiritually powerful recording, uniting together two kindred spirits, who explore the continuum of life and death. Ran, we are very grateful for bringing this album to us, Gigi would be really proud of it!!! The memory of this wonderful person will always be in our hearts. Gigi, we all miss you greatly!!!

Richard Gürtler (Sep 14, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 09, 2013, 07:47:53 AM »
To richardgurtler
A few words from 121 about new release.

Quote
Superstring Paradigma is still in production, and to be finished in about 10 days… or even more - dunno exactly. Anyway, afaik, limited edition with special inserts is sold out already, therefore only regular print-run is still available now. I bet less than 60 copies are left for sale.

Thanks a lot, Andrey, for your & 121's updates. During yesterday I also got a message from Infinite Fog about some delays regarding this special edition. Anyway, I will wait patiently.

Richard

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Meg Bowles "The Shimmering Land" CD

"The Shimmering Land" is a brand new album by highly applauded US ambient composer Meg Bowles, released during June 2013 through Meg's own Kumatone label. A follow-up to "A Quiet Light" album from February 2011, which marked composer's return after 12 years of silence. In mind with extraordinary works from the 90's such as "Blue Cosmos" or "From The Dark Earth" (featuring David Bilger, Principal Trumpet of the Philadelphia Orchestra), I am always ready for another deeply contemplative listening exploration by this crafted artist from Connecticut.

The album, packaged in elegant 4-panel digipak, starts with 7-minute "Undulant Sea", which spreads with serenely floating washes, smoothly meandering throughout the piece, coupled with gently fragranced, crystalline embellishments. Synthetic percussive part, nicely echoed, moves to the fore and elatedly swirls across the ears in beautiful harmony with warmly melodious sequences and sublimely expanding horizons. Graceful waves of angelic choir-like drifts invade for the closing 3 minutes. Absolutely gorgeous opening, Meg Bowles is back at her best!!! "The Sweetness Of Mist" immediately attracts with its deeply reflective atmosphere with continuously embracing and immersing majesty and grace of opaque realms. Serenely floating and slowly culminating into more monumental splendor. Then again peacefully diminishing into balmy harmonious reverie. The journey continues, this is another hauntingly enveloping texture!!! "Venus Rising" is the longest piece, clocking to nearly 14 and half minute mark. Serene expansions and subtle transitions from tranquil wide-screen blankets to more dramatic scenarios with spaciously intense and powerful tides, richly magnificent in depth. These sonic panoramas are masterfully bridged and harmonized and deliver a truly captivating listening experience to each enthusiast of sublimely comforting soundscapes. This atmospheric essence safely overlaps to the next composition, "Into The Gloaming". Again gracefully moving through enchantingly celestial realms, with fascinating interactions between calmly washing passages, guarded by angelic appearance, and unfolding dramatic culminations. Skilfully enriched here and there by various high-tech hissy clusters and organic rattles, adding distinctive, slightly cybernetic touch to this stunningly absorbing and glowingly exhilarating ambience. Bravo, certainly one of the pinnacles of "The Shimmering Land"!!! "Beneath The Radiant Stars" remains in magnificently tranquil nocturnal terrains, slightly mysterious, surrounded by beautifully textured cascades with alluringly illuminating clinks, tinkles and swirls. Again majestically meandering and gently peaking and intensifying, definitely another full-bodied soundsculpting showcasing the virtuosity of Meg Bowles!!! "Nightwalk Across The Isle Of Dream" reveals with darker drone hum on the back and warmly inviting celestial choir on the fore. Ever-changing texture is filled with strikingly beautiful ethereal sonic crescendos and stunningly immersing enigmatic atmozones with delicate orchestral touch. Sparse exotic sound traceries can be detected as well. The music is as much charmingly soothing as its title, a very strong conclusion!!!

Not to forget, on the top of the pure sonic beauty and tranquility, you get also superb sound quality, the album was mastered by Richard Price, a husband of Meg Bowles and a Grammy award-winning producer, mastering engineer and president of Candlewood Digital, a classical music recording company based in New Fairfield, Connecticut. "The Shimmering Land" CD is another greatly accomplished recording from Meg Bowles, don't miss this sonic jewel!!!

Richard Gürtler (Sep 08, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

99
Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 08, 2013, 12:16:32 AM »
Klaus Wiese  ‎–  Zen Room / Positive Zero - 2011 (Very unusual Klaus Wiese work and his last) Fell in love with it from  the first notes.
Closing The Eternity & Mathias Grassow  ‎–  No Title - 2013 ( Ocean of pleasure)
Closing The Eternity  ‎–  Northern Nights Ambience - 2012 ( Most cold CTE album)
Closing The Eternity  ‎–  Kosmodrones - 2011  (Early work) Fantastic drone!
Closing The Eternity  ‎–  Noughtwards - 2009 (One of my favorite CTE album)
Velehentor  ‎–  Ceremonial Death - 2011 (Vinyl, 7")

A very strong batch of dronescapes, Andrey!!! I am now waiting for the collector's edition of "Superstring Paradigma" by Closing The Eternity, really looking forward to it as I missed the original 4 x mini CDr edition by Fight Muzik. Did you get it already?

Richard

100
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Digipack vs Jewel Cases
« on: September 07, 2013, 08:50:46 AM »
the complete link:

http://www.musictools.de/cdhuellen_verschluss.htm

product number 3013


Thank you, Mirko, definitely another choice!!!

Richard

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