« on: May 09, 2015, 02:22:52 PM »
Steve Brand "Into The Current" CDr
In September of 2007 Steve Brand has attended Steve Roach's SoundCurrent Master Class along with other 3 artists Chad Kettering, Roy Mattson and Ben Garvie, held at the historic Apache Spring Ranch, in scenic Gardner Canyon in Sonoita, Arizona, which was at that time the base for Steve's Timeroom studio and his wife, author and horse trainer, Linda Kohanov's Epona Equestrian Center. "Into The Current" was released by Steve Brand's own Pioneer Light Music label at February 6th just before his another trip to Arizona, this time to Tucson. The album, or better said a 60-minute long-form recording, comes as a pro CDr in limited edition of 50 copies packaged in a cardboard sleeve. Simple, but simply elegant with evocative cover photograph. So with this sonic document I am ready to be carried away into this magical high desert oasis filled with balmy tranquility and surrounded with grasslands, Arizonian sycamores, cottonwoods, canyons and cactus-laden slopes of Santa Rita Mountains, as these "sky islands" are part of The Coronado National Forest mountain ranges.
The journey unfolds with utterly evocative flute calls, which are soon joined by tiding washes and soothing sounds of crickets, all meticulously counterpointed with the still of the desert. Love so much the wooden flute wizardry, with its crescendoing and diminuendoing breathy aeolian sounds, at some points even slightly reminiscent of fujara, a Slovak drone pipe. Peaceful and quiet magic of Gardner Canyon depths deliberately blossoms into an awe-inspiring display of beauty, where all memories calmly awake and deeply resonate. Heavier, humming drone stratum inconspicuously sneaks in, followed by crystalline water sounds, echoed throughout the enigmatically colossal cavernous space and captivatingly coalesces this euphonious symphony with ephemeral ear-piercing discharges. A blissful climax? Then again gorgeous flute nuances and heart-warming wavy synth blankets steal the core of dusty desert floor, but tenser drone reverberations resurface and unnoticeably culminate in exquisitely amorphous magnitudes. Mesmerizingly chirping sounds of crickets announce a breezy desert twilight with profoundly embracing and eternally lasting aural delight, while last flute deliriousness silently evanesces throughout guarding, droningly mindscaping, yet intangibly massive thunderstorm cloudscapes. Pure magic happens here!!!
Kudos to Steve Brand, who is one of the driving forces behind Relaxed Machinery and their design guru, for dusting off these wonderfully evocative memories!!! I am not a composer and I am pretty useless in this creative process (except few IPA-driven jam sessions with kindred souls...), but I can easily imagine how inspirational and challenging must be this, one of a kind experience. Personally, I have never been to Apache Spring Ranch in Sonoita, but with "Into The Current" I was able to journey through this life-enhancing experience of Steve Brand and his SoundCurrent spirits. I must write this encounter constantly nourishes my body and mind!!! On the top of all this, few months ago I was enough fortunate to explore the magic of The Timeroom and Epona Equestrian Center, now in different locations within an one hour drive of Sonoita, so the more I am fascinated by this extremely immersing sonic document!!! And becoming an owner of if, while hanging at the Sonoran Desert, that's another deeply treasured moment to me!!! "Into The Current", mastered by Peter James, is a must-have, even without live experiencing this breathtaking environment!!! And by the way, Steve Brand has released in the meantime on Pioneer Light Music another album entitled "Second Spring", so don't miss this one too!!!
Richard Gürtler (May 09, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)