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Messages - richardgurtler

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Dirk Serries "Disorientation Flow" CD

Dirk Serries, the Belgian giant behind vanished vidnaObmana, is back with another spectacular chapter of his intriguing guitar drone magic. "Disorientation Flow" album, which is out since May 2015, is a follow-up to his previous acclaimed Projekt release "The Origin Reversal". Packaged in rather simple 4-panel eco wallet, exhibiting as usual immersing cover images taken by Dirk's wife, Martina Verhoeven, who is renowned for her unique, mostly organic and abstract photographs, which can be found on many releases and collaborations by Dirk, under vidnaObmana or Fear Falls Burning aliases. As usual, graphic design is executed by Projekt's Sam Rosenthal.

Nearly 14-minute "The Imperative Edge" unwraps in a truly grandiose way, although emerging silently, almost inconspicuously, stunningly gorgeous drone euphory permeates and cyclically floats and nuances on the wings of utterly majestic graciousness, while earmarking high-pitched reverberations persistently tickle the ears of each devoted journeyer. Dirk Serries fully utilizes his innate mastery in painting a jaw-droppingly intense elegiac evocativeness and delivers some of the most, prodigiously expressive compositions since closing the circle with vidnaObmana. Although I am familiar only with Dirk's CD albums, not with his numerous "Streams Of Consciousness" vinyl releases, this must be together with "There's A Light In Vein" one of the absolute pinnacles of his soundscaping escapades crafted under his real name. A true milestone resurrecting exquisitely memorable delights of vidnaObmana's extensive existence. Harmoniously enrapturing splendor is back once more, this time reshaped through meticulously resonating real-time improvisations with electric guitar and various effects during the crepuscular autumn and winter days, bravo, Dirk!!! "Metamorphosis" clocks to quite similar length than its predecessor and again it tranquilly arises from enveloping stillness. Hauntingly meandering structure might be slightly less reminiscent, without mindscaping disruptive subtleties, yet intensified spiraling magnitudes clandestinely sneak in and infuse this isochronally kaleidoscaping scenario with extraordinarily full-bodied euphoniousness. Well, did I say not as much engrossing as "The Imperative Edge"? Towards the end of this sonorously bewitching dronescape I realize more and more this might be just my uncertain feel, because this is undoubtedly another splendiferous powerhouse!!! "Disorientation Flow", the title track and also the longest one on this album, reaching almost 16-minute mark, languishingly emanates and counterpoints with poignant glimpses of silence. Then a milder tension persistently pervades across the evolving monolithic undulations, while shrilling traceries insistently glance on this harmoniously encircling wistfulness. "Blistering" keeps on the path of deeply profound scenic expanses, sinuously moving through lyrically warmhearted nostalgic evocations and dazzlingly coalesced with mesmerizingly ear-piercing reflections. With 9 minutes the shortest composition on the album, but certainly one of the most grandiose and thrillingly rewarding. A shimmering phenomenon of the legendary "The River Of Appearance" is reawaken, the legacy returns... It's obvious that a true aural bliss awaits here!!! "The Lament Broke" delves into soothingly immersing terrains with calmly gliding and tiding surface with intangibly ephemeral climaxes. A rather meager texture gently closing this gloriously monumental, 65 minutes long performance.

As I have mentioned before, I will always miss vidnaObmana, that's for sure, but with releases such as "Disorientation Flow", I am grieving less and less. Thank you so much, Dirk, for your guitar drone manipulations par excellence!!! "Disorientation Flow" album is a must-have, I even won't hesitate to call it another milestone in Dirk Serries' prolific career of a soundexplorer!!! And since "Disorientation Flow" CD is available in limited edition of 300 copies, I wouldn't wait too long with acquiring an own copy. And about the same time when "Disorientation Flow" was released on Projekt, Belgian label Consouling Sounds has published "Buoyant" CD, a collaborative project featuring Dirk Serries and Dutch soundsculptor Rutger Zuydervelt, who is known as Machinefabriek. And another two Dirk's collaborations involve Japanese droneforgers, Hakobune and Chihei Hatakeyama. "Obscured By Beams Of Sorrow" CD with Hakobune is out since September 2015 on Japanese White Paddy Mountain label, while joint effort with Chihei Hatakeyama is entitled "The Storm Of Silence" and the CD is scheduled to be released during January 2016 on Italian label Glacial Movements. That's a lot of serious reasons to keep an ear to the ground!!!

Richard Gürtler (Dec 06, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Forrest Fang news
« on: December 04, 2015, 12:34:39 PM »
Very intriguing cover art!

Yeah, as much intriguing as Forrest's soundworlds!!! Really looking forward to it!!!

Richard  :)

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: December 01, 2015, 12:39:12 PM »
Surprised this isn't on Bandcamp, at least not yet.

Because  three "Quest Sessions" and "Untitled Rooms" will be published by GS Production as plant pressed CDs.

Wow, great news, Andrey, thanks a lot for your update!!!  :)


Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Ephemeral Blue" CD by Aglaia
« on: November 30, 2015, 10:44:31 AM »

Aglaia "Ephemeral Blue" CD

After two albums released just before the Christmas 2014, "Primeval Nebula" and "Intangible Opacity", Aglaia's soundscape shaman Gino Fioravanti returns with another two new beauties, "Ephemeral Blue" and "Florealia Nocturna", both released during October 2015 under the usual flag of Stefano Musso's Hic Sunt Leones in limited editions of 300 copies. And it's obvious the CD comes in attractive 6-panel digipak with stunningly gorgeous photographs by Linda Serra (with additional artwork by Hic Sunt Leones), who already contributed her image mastery to several other Hic Sunt Leones releases, including above mentioned "Primeval Nebula" and "Intangible Opacity". This visual splendor immediately sets the distinctively enchanting woodland ambience Aglaia is celebrated for, a genius loci awaits you, enter now!!!

Nearly 10-minute piece, "Empty Nights", unfolds this fascinating ramble with sinuously poetic euphoniousness, reinforced by euphoric quietudes and spriralingly engrossing high-pitched subtleties. A very strong intro!!! "Holy Ghost", with almost similar length, delves deeper into weirdly organic terrains, with strangely oscillating texture painting mesmerizingly mindscaping mandalas. "Bright Venus" keeps firmly on spellbinding path leaded by graciously nuanced drones coalesced with warmly delicate moony meanders and gossamer hypno-cyber-biotic snippets. Journeying along "Dark River" is absolutely bewitching, euphorically cascading lyrical paradigms are meticulously amalgamated with bizarrely swinging traceries slightly evocative of processed bullroarer, while additional capricious twinkles stimulate the mind and illuminate the pathway guiding the listener through distinctively enrapturing atmospheric nocturnal enigmas. Undoubtedly all Aglaia's insignias are fully activated to rejoice this 8-plus minutes long night-blooming spectacle!!! Bravissimo, Gino!!! The next piece, "From The Stars", keeps its hauntingly disturbing measure, persistently radiating, which is intriguingly counterpointed with contemplative crystalline chimes, while ethereally-charged monochromatic layer continuously hangs above. Utterly captivating aural sceneries of a star-filled nighttime are revealed. "Quiet Wings" delves into desolately humming realms, hypnotically helical and surreptitiously permeated by crepuscular organics and chimeric oddments. "Cypress Trees", the longest track, clocking to nearly 13 minutes, follows the footsteps of its predecessor with mysteriously traversing backgrounds, isochronally sweeping with some medieval fragrances thrown in, while the fore blends a broad array of stochastic embellishments, from transient to abstruse, from calm to ear-tickling. With 6 minutes the shortest composition on album, "Invisible Forces" closes the journey with spaciously expansive harmonic drifts, insistently filled with engrossingly undulating balmy motifs, exhibiting undeniable signatures that can only be Aglaia. A true sonic elixir for my ears and a grand finale!!! I only wish this piece could be longer...

"Ephemeral Blue" is a very solid, almost 69 minutes long album by Aglaia, always prodigiously enigmatic, yet euphorically flavored within gorgeously organic terrains with incredibly unmatched moonlit feel. This is certainly the hallmark of Aglaia, an Italian project with extensive discography, featuring solo releases of Gino Fioravanti or as a duo with Gianluigi Toso. Also acting under Nada Experiences and Momenti Per L'Armonia monikers. All in all, this abundant body of work counts over 60 albums with many of them being enormously challenging to track down, especially for physical formats. And while surveying, pay attention also to already mentioned "Ephemeral Blue" album's companion "Florealia Nocturna". Join this fascinating nocturnal magic now!!!

Richard Gürtler (Nov 29, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Good news, I definitely stay tuned for "A Tide Pool Of Memories" CD, Julio!!! All the best!!!

Richard  :)

Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Sanctuary" 2xCDr by Steve Brand
« on: November 15, 2015, 11:45:48 AM »

Steve Brand "Sanctuary" 2xCDr

2015 is undoubtedly a very prolific year for Steve Brand, who has released so far four outstanding albums on his Pioneer Light Music label. "Sanctuary", being the third of them, is a double pro CDr album, which is out since the middle of June in limited edition of 50 copies and follows "Into The Current" (February) and "Second Spring" (March). The album features two long form pieces and it comes in a very elegant double eco wallet packaging with stunning cover and inside images. Regarding to this, Sarah Jane Hunt gets credit for inset art. As usual, the design is handled by Steve Brand himself, who is also the guy behind many nice layouts on various releases by Relaxed Machinery artists.

I am entering "Sanctuary" with disc one, 69-minute "Place Of Honoring (Inner Temple)". Calmly nuanced drone smoothly transmutes into humming reverberations, which mind-bendingly hang above. Ephemeral rumbles continuously permeate along with gossamer tinkles. Primordial cave fully reveals all its magic when Steve Brand's chants join these awe-inspiring sceneries. The distant drone constantly paints fascinatingly flatlined magnitude and primeval artifacts tickle the ears with delicately oracular diaphanousness. Metamorphosing drones evolve into voluminously expansive spirals, masterfully juxtaposed with sinuous dissonances, elusive, sweeping, buzzing, ear-bending. Wow, a truly jaw-dropping ride!!! Then Steve Brand rises his flute and delivers another breathtakingly mind-blowing pinnacle with his magnificently undulating whistling creativity. The listener constantly encounters absolutely unexpected surges of textural brilliance within this utterly enrapturing drone ambient scenario. Towards the 40th minute, this powerfully immersing journey diminuendoes into majestically relieving terrains, yet always secluded within grandiosely spectacular subterranean realms. But when glancing through the gates, this might be just a calm before the storm... After about 10 minutes quiet tides awake, escalate and intensely pervade across and commingle with emerging solitary magmatic flow. Spaciously sweeping drifts invade as well with warmer glimpses and navigate the closing passage through tranquilly grandiose expanses into intimate stillness. An epic listening delight!!!

"Place Of Unconditional Love And Acceptance (Valley)" unfolds with remote massive hums, which are promptly contrasted with nearly poetic waves, altering here and there during the opening 10 minutes into distinguishly disrupting high-pitched climaxes, later inconspicuously dissolving most of its intensity on the wings of warmly embracing drifts. Gorgeously panoramic vistas are revealed. Majestically immense and euphoniously resonant, yet persistently confronted with ear-tickling shimmers. Then flute calls ascend and float across this strikingly scenic valley. Elixir of natural water sounds joins the forefront, while graciously gliding blankets are surreptitiously invaded by progressing structure. Lucid tinkles also emanate, dizzy swirl and contemplatively bridge with field recordings, while humming dark nimbostratus clouds guard above meandering high-frequency evocativeness. Intricate didgeridoo growls clandestinely percolate for the closing 7 minutes, vivaciously interact with helixing drone murmurs and resurface soulful flute earmarks, before vanishing in the horizon of crepuscular depths and bringing the journey full circle back to the origin. 58 minutes of pure sonic bliss, what a ride!!!

After two phenomenal albums, "Into The Current" and "Second Spring", here comes another fascinatingly mindscaping listening escapade. These two long form pieces precisely display the reputation of this Kansan soundsculptor as one of the undisputable giant forces on the drone ambient scene nowadays. Steve Brand has a genius for powerfully transcendental soundcarving, meticulously amalgamating massively emerging unfathomable dronewalls, both diaphanous and prodigious, yet always ear-piercing discharges, enigmatically embracing acoustic insignias, subterranean voices, balmy organics, all thrillingly counterpointed with splendorous glimpses of graceful stillness. A real tour de force within the genre!!! If I would be forced to pick up my fave and most accomplished artist outside of the glass mastered CD "industry" releasing his music in small limited runs, most likely I would point to Steve Brand. Yes, hugely underrated, yet the more crafted, passionate and dedicated to his art!!! Bravo, Steve Brand!!! And last but not least, "Songs From Unknown Territory" is the title of the newest album by this soundexplorer, available on Pioneer Light Music since the end of September.

Richard Gürtler (Nov 15, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Cyclic Movement" CDr by Frore
« on: November 14, 2015, 01:06:24 AM »

Frore "Cyclic Movement" CDr

Paul Casper from Virginia Beach, the sole protagonist behind Frore, remains united with Relaxed Machinery gang and his second album for this label, entitled "Cyclic Movement", is out since January 2015. Featuring attractive new rM design concept with cover image by Jan Casper, Paul's wife, who is a professional portrait photographer. Since not every rM artist takes the path with physical releases, I am really grateful to see Frore available at least on CDr format, keep on going, Paul!!! Frore's previous rM release "Shadowlands" from 2013 still strongly resonates, so let's dive deeply into another thrillingly fragranced tribal ambient adventure!!!

"Spirit Call", an 11 and half minute long piece ignites the journey with slowly circling enigmatic expanses along with awaken intangibly rumbling primordial ephemeralness. Then primeval percussions permeate and soon this vivaciously emerging rhythmic parade steal the center stage and gratifyingly interact with evocative native flute nuances, intricate shamanic chants and weirdly twisted whistles. Undoubtedly all Frore's distinguishingly rewarding insignias are fully activated and trigger a truly fascinating ride to the forefront of the galvanizing ceremony to Mother Earth. Superb, full-bodied intro!!! "Northern Wind", almost similar in length with its predecessor, drifts on the wings of celestial tranquility, while elusive ear-tickling cyber-tech subtleties with smoothly increasing laid-back downtempos persistently mesmerize and balmily commingle with warmly cinematic meanders, transient flute calls and primitive artefacts. A true elixir for my ears!!! But Frore sturdily keeps on unfolding all his intrinsic magic also on the next piece entitled "Gavia", which reveals with heavenly washes counterpointed with progressing array of percussions and high-tech swirls. The texture graciously expands into magnificently panoramic sceneries reinforced by climaxing tribal wizardry, gossamer ocarina-like glimpses and organic tapestries. Wow, the acoustics and electronics are sophisticatedly sculpted and meticulously balanced in this prodigiously delightful composition, which might be one of the most phenomenal Frore has ever recorded, bravo, Paul!!! A 15 minutes of pure tribal ambient ecstasy awaits here!!! "The Bell Garden" calmly blossoms with spaciously scenic glides bridged with contemplative tinkles and high-pitched yearning undulations. Remote percussions surreptitiously pervade until they capture intensely ponderous and spellbindingly mindscaping magnitude, occasionally illuminated by primordial gleams. "Fading Embers", which clocks just over 9 and half minute mark, immediately overwhelms with its gracefully drifting scenario, later occupied by enrapturing percussive splendiferousness, both indigenous and cybernetic with additional twinkling sequences thrown in. "Luminary" incorporates a variety of native flavored whistles, tiding flute invocations, ear-piercing rattles, evanescent bells and clandestine didgeridoo roars, all masterfully surrounded by exuberant biotic zones. Then this natural cacophony is overran by ascending high-spirited and mesmerizingly circling tribal grooves with heavy pounding beats. Again a big one and a perfect closer for this splendidly carved album!!!

"Cyclic Movement" is another triumphant, 69 minutes long proof of Frore's peculiar voice within the tribal/ambient soundsculpting, exhibiting his exquisitely filigree signatures when fastidiously coalescing immersing primeval languages with galvanizingly provoking electro/industrial-charged cadence. Bravo, Paul!!! Certainly a must-have exploration!!! And don't forget, Frore is also responsible, together with his Arkansas based collaborator Shane Morris, for one of the highlights of 2015, entitled "Blood Moon", which followed few months after "Cyclic Movement" on Spotted Peccary.

Richard Gürtler (Nov 11, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)


Deborah Martin "Eye Of The Wizard" CD

Deborah Martin joined Spotted Peccary team in 1991, became partner/owner of this label and debuted on "Tracks In Time" label compilation with several collaboration and solo contributions. In 1995 her first album "Under The Moon" was released, this quickly became a benchmark release for the label and artist and it was used also during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. By the way, about 7 months ago, a 20th Anniversary special, re-mastered edition of "Under The Moon" was released on Spotted Peccary. But the most recent album, "Eye Of The Wizard", which is out since the beginning of October 2015, marks return of Deborah Martin after her longer silence on this Californian label. About 6 years have passed since Deborah's last Spotted Peccary release, a collaboration "Between Worlds" with Norwegian ambient guitar ace Erik Wøllo. Back to the newest recording, "Eye Of The Wizard" 4-panel eco wallet immediately strikes with gorgeously enigmatic cover images shaped by Spotted Peccary's visual master Daniel Pipitone. What a beauty!!!

"Dance Of The Faeries" unfolds this magical journey with pristinely balladic acoustic strings counterpointed with calmly ethereal washes and distantly meandering whistles. Soon vivacious hand percussions join the stage along with additional fanfares and clandestinely emerging mesmerizing shakers. A highly spirited blend of richly flavored acoustics and subtly glimpsed ambience. The next composition, "Watchers", reveals with another lyrical delight scrupulously amalgamating hypnotically pulsing subtleties, fascinatingly nuanced oracular blankets and persistently ear-tickling glimmers of dulcimer. Stringed poignancy announces "Lords Of The Vale", while ephemeral percussive echoes intermingle with empyreal choirs and orchestral patterns. Crystalline clinks inconspicuously sneak in as well and add another dimension to this textural delicacy. "Waiting" explores quietly mysterious horizons, where placidly, yet spellbindingly undulating and mind-bendingly helixing layers are permeated by warmly cinematic blankets and intricately coalesce with serenely arising bulky drone glimmers and organically swirling fragments. Intensely transporting soundscape!!! "Metamorphic", with 8-plus minutes the longest piece on the album, quickly returns into acoustic stringed terrains, poetically embracing, while guarded by distant waves of hummed winds. After about 2 and half minutes the track calmly transmutes into a sparklingly cadenced and abundantly fragranced texture, ingeniously wandering through variously crescendoing and diminuendoing passages, before closing the circle. "The Alchemist's Robe" is ignited by euphorically enrapturing dulcimer magic, meticulously backed by spaciously drifting enigmas and tinkling fragility. Then another stirringly chamaeleonic change resurges and shifts the composition into high-tech-infused laid-back scenario, exquisitely nuanced and leaded by synthetic downtempos, shaking hypnotics and dulcimer wizardry. Wow!!! This must be one of the most pinnacling moments on this magnificently rewarding odyssey, masterfully melting galvanizing electronic enhancements with brilliantly engrossing acoustic tapestries, more please!!! On the title track, "Eye Of The Wizard", Paul Frye on E-bow guitar joins Deborah Martin and Matthew Stewart, who accompanies the main protagonist throughout the album. Buzzing electric guitar dissonances keep on meandering and add a brand new feel to this expansive ballad, while acoustic strings, mesmeric pulses, gossamer percussions and sinuous oddities join this fascinating spectacle as well. Another tour de force of strikingly crafted hypnotic-charged ambient alchemy!!! Shorter "Into Mist" closes the album with heavenly-driven, orchestral-like washes reinforced by intangibly shimmering chimes, dreamy strings and transient opaqueness.

To make the credits complete, Jon Jenkins joins the team on the opening composition with his technical support and extra mixing, Chriss Lemmon (Deborah's husband) enriches the creative process with additional support, while Howard Givens controls the mastering duties. "Eye Of The Wizard" album, which clocks to nearly 43-minutes, is a truly fascinating potpourri of tricky melodies, mesmerizing beats and ambiguous soundscapes, exhibiting distinguishing artistry of Deborah Martin and her guests, and showcasing uncanny finesse in bringing acoustics and electronics into an intriguing equilibrium. Deborah Martin is incredibly passionate and experienced story teller and her craft on "Eye Of The Wizard" safely guides each listener through bewitching forest realms imbued by fabulously magical mysteries. A little gem of soundsculpting and musically superior listening experience!!! I should also mention that other notable Spotted Peccary collaborations involving Deborah Martin include label mates and artists such as Steve Gordon, Greg Klamt, Mark Rownd, Cheryl Gallagher and J. Arif Verner.

Richard Gürtler (Nov 07, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)


The Gateless Gate "Сибирь Sibir" CDr

Canadian duo The Gateless Gate, comprised of Allister Thompson and Teri-Lynn Janveau, has released before six digital albums. Active since 2012, actually firstly as a solo project of Allister Thompson, while Teri-Lynn Janveau joined The Gateless Gate during 2013. "Сибирь Sibir" CDr album was released at the end of November 2014 on Irish label Psychonavigation, better said on its sub-label Offshoot, in an attractive 4-panel digipak with layout by Emma Dolan and cover NASA images of the Sea of Okhotsk, taken by Jeff Schmaltz.

10-minute "Winter In Yakutia" opens this highly adventurous sonic exploration with soothingly nuanced ethereal dronescape, graciously gliding across the stunningly scenic and immensely uninhabited panoramas of Yakutia's snow-capped wilderness, some of the coldest places in the Northern Hemisphere. Rather monochromatically drifting layers are relentlessly guarded by wistful choir drones, while some flute-infused passages sneak in to add exquisitely embracing evocativeness. A very nice beginning indeed!!! "Yenisei", a big Siberian river that flows into the Arctic Ocean, is another piece clocking to 10 minues, it unfolds with tranquil shoreline recordings, which are quickly bridged with gorgeously expressive bowed strings scenario. Organic subtleties transmute into mesmerizingly insistent sounds and intangible female choirs persistently ride atop. Another beauty, bravo, folks!!! Additional credit for field recordings used in this composition goes to Kiril "Dantes" Danilov. The next piece, "The Hills Of Buryatia", reaches nearly 9 minutes and transports the listener into awe-inspiring landscapes of conspicuously Buddhist and Mongolian influenced territories. Rawly spiraling drones invade along with throat singing transcendence, strangely swirling hypnotic traceries and peculiar voice fragments. Later on harsh strings try to steal the show, but overtone magic safely levels this breathtakingly enrapturing listening experience, where distinctive sacred fragrances meticulously melt with spellbindingly helixing dronecarving. A truly shamanistic and ecstatic ride!!! "Wrangel Island", is a remote mountainous island located in the Artic Ocean, it also may have been the last place on earth where woolly mammoths survived and today it's one of the most protected wilderness areas in the world. This peaceful place is also very often called as "polar bear nursery". It reveals with rather quieter, multi-dimensional, albeit enigmatically flatlined drifts. Then stern sheets continuously permeate, heighten and reach cinematically inexplicable magnitude masterfully exhibiting this pristine environment, truly an ultima Thule on the way to the Pole. What a journey!!! 21-plus minutes long opus "The Sea Of Okhotsk" closes this fascinatingly intriguing expedition with serenely wistful drones, mindscapingly monochromous and clandestinely undulating, spiced with weird faunal groans and calls. This expansive sea, located in the north-west corner of the Pacific Ocean is with its plentiful wildlife also known as "bird lover's paradise". And just the same as with previous compositions, The Gateless Gate duo flawlessly captures the incredible beauty and magnificent grandness of this maritime territory. A splendidly epic conclusion!!!

The music on "Сибирь Sibir" is mostly rather rawer, "unpolished" with low-fi surface, yet always utterly immersing and imposingly evocative, but I suppose both protagonists made this intentionally in order to authentically document the harsh grace of Siberian landscapes and all above mentioned natural wonders. Huge thanks, Allister & Teri-Lynn for your thrillingly rewarding, one hour long explorations!!! With minimum expenses I was taken to some of the most spectacular places on the Earth. Thus to all dronescaping adventurers out there, join the journey!!! And when visiting The Gateless Gate's Bandcamp site, don't miss additional three "Сибирь Sibir" digital bonus tracks recorded during the same sessions. And during 2015 another four digital albums were released by The Gateless Gate, including "Cold Front", which is out since October 20th. And not to forget, Allister Thompson is also the driving force behind Make Your Own Taste blog, where he shared his passion about music. And even if the end of this summer saw Allister's signing off, the site remains accessible with all its archives, so in case you don't know it yet, feel free to give it a look, because a very nice reading awaits you!!!

Richard Gürtler (Oct 28, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Forrest Fang news
« on: October 29, 2015, 10:34:20 AM »
Yeah, a double CD album, what a great news, Forrest, I stay deeply focused!!! All the best!!!

Richard   :)

Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Sector Four" CDr by Phobos
« on: October 29, 2015, 10:30:51 AM »

Phobos "Sector Four" CDr

Phobos is a pseudonym of UK based droneforger David Thompson, who is active on the scene since 2009, when his CDr debut "Darkness Within" was released on AmbientLive label. Since his second "Monolith" CDr, which was released during 2010 on US label Dark Duck Records, Phobos continues with releasing his drone escapades on his own. Few digital downloads plus additional 4 CDr albums complete his discography, with "Sector Four" being the last one released at the beginning of September 2014 in limited edition of 50 copies. The CDr is packaged in standard jewel case with transparent tray with 8-panel front insert featuring images, design and layout by Phobos.

As displayed by the artwork, album's title and the long-form scenario, clocking to nearly 70-minute mark, the listener is ready to take a venturesome journey way beyond the ordinary realms. Desolate hums and derelict rumbles ignite the ride, but soon emerge massive drone wall and smoothly crescendoes into powerfully undulating zones guarded by gracefully gliding phantasmal choirs. Intangibly tinkling subterranean fragments inconspicuously emerge here and there. Intricately magnified tides are masterfully reinforced by ear-bending convulsions and perplexing cyber-biotic subtleties. Around 20th minute the colossal thunderousness clandestinely diminuendoes into more serene, yet still enigmatically colored barren terrains. But this metamorphosed scenery easily could be a quiet calm before the storm... The track gently progresses through desolate drone passages, but towering helixes awake, slowly permeate across the monolithic stratum and elevate into climaxing heights. Now the horizon finally reveals the magnificent vista, enter now the gates of the drone pantheon!!! The entryway is rather quiet, but 46th minute seems to be the ultimate turning point, when the journey transmute into awe-inspiring transcendental zones. Rather flatlined at the very beginning, but the center stage is quickly stolen by continuously nuanced multi-dimensional drone inferno. Additional ear-piercing disruptions join the stage for more intensified exploration. Heavy drone wizardry at its most grandiose!!! During 63rd minute the journey starts to evanesce into tranquilly embracing expanses navigating the listener through warmer drone layers into earthy existence. Although ephemeral ghost calls pop up occasionally and counterpoint with ethereal choirs, the odyssey ends safely in halcyon oasis.

To be honest, about one year ago when considering to enter into Phobos' droneworlds, I wasn't really sure about this adventure, as I am not a huge aficionado of dark ambient-infused domains. But now, after unveiling complete CDr discography of Phobos, I can confirm this was a really rewarding discovery, meticulously hanging on the edges of ambient and dark ambient styles. "Sector Four" is a truly precise example of carefully balanced ominously devastating magmatic endeavors with more drifting soundsculpting. For all connoisseurs of ultra deep dronecarving, put your headphones on and experience tour de force entitled "Sector Four"!!! Bravo, Phobos, bravo, David, I can't wait for your future explorations!!!

Richard Gürtler (Oct 25, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)


Darwin Raymond & Jacob Newman "Transitions" CDr

Starting with Darwin Raymond, an Ohio based guitar-infused soundsculptor, I must say he is a brand new name to me, while his teammate in this project, Jacob Newman from Colorado, I noticed for the first time back in 2011 when he released on DataObscura a thrillingly textured collaboration "The Vivid Unmapped" with Devin Underwood. To be honest, I first overlooked this release when making my DataObscura order, but fortunately Anthony Paul Kerby (APK), the driving force behind this highly sympathetic Canadian label turned me onto this well-hidden project, and I am now very grateful for his efforts!!! Huge thanks, Anthony!!! "Transitions" CDr is out since the beginning of July 2015 and as usual for all DataObscura physical editions, it comes in a slim poly case, which is very handy, light and stable, especially when it comes to rather longer and pricey overseas shipping nowadays. The artwork is always attractive, identified as a wrap-around insert, printed on both sides. Usually executed by APK (who is also responsible for mastering), but this time Jacob Newman joins the visual part with his photographs.

Focusing on a wintery theme, which is quite common for this label, the album opens with "Beneath A Frozen Moon". Although some glaciate soundscaping might be expected, the journey reveals gorgeously expansive, yet velvety meanders. Ethereal voice-like drones are hovering above and mingle with soothingly yearning traceries. A really nice introduction to these "Transitions"!!! "The Quiet Air" with poetically silken strings precisely displays the track title, while deeply poignant retrospective drones, hauntingly hazed, emanate here and there along with transiently tinkling contemplativeness. Fragile, sparse and cinematic. This is strikingly evocative aural bliss, bravo, gentlemen!!! "Wind And Winter" promptly elevates into graciously immense monochromatic magnitudes meticulously interwoven with delicate grains and wistful harmonies. Another beauty!!! Glitchy fragments announce "Night, Shimmers", but the center stage is quickly stolen by deeply evocative stringed subtlety, while transient organics, intangible tinkles and misty reflections precisely interact. Rather shorter with 3-minute length, but utterly captivating!!! "Flames And Shadow", only a few seconds longer, delves into grandiosely drifting enigmatic paths, again quite flatlined. It looks like more floating pieces on the album constantly alternate with strings-driven nostalgia. The next composition, "A Plains Remembrance", at nearly 9 minutes the longest piece on "Transitions", immediately confirms this scenario with richly textured, yet utterly nostalgic electric guitar filigrees delicately surrounded by subtle drone reverberations. Immensely reflective aural paradise!!! "Blue Evening Snow" soothingly embraces the listener with its euphonious sinuousness, spreading across strikingly beautiful crepuscular sceneries. "Frost Covered Field" keeps on a fascinatingly scenic path, this time reinforced by enigmatic opaqueness, where faintly humming monochromatism is bridged with stringed imageries and continuously emerging, gently dramatic cinematic tides. "Fade To Sleep" sustains its monotonously droning surface, while fragile strings commingle here and there, along with distant yearning blankets and vague contemplativeness. My ears are bathed in absolute atmospheric elixir!!! Shorter "Distant Mirage" with its mild undulations might serve here as a transitional piece, because "Re-emerging" quickly attracts us with its heartwarmingly poetic strings backed by grandiosely infinite sky-high drifts and murmuring glimpses. Gossamer guitar magic at its most enveloping in punctilious equilibrium with vaporously sweeping remoteness. A magnum opus!!! "Unseen" follows a rather sinuous route, persistently permeated by gleams of stillness. "Re-emerging (ii) Spring Sun Turning" closes this highly accomplished collaborative effort with voluminously gliding layers coalesced with longing meanders and masterly juxtaposed by diaphanously tinkling chimes.

62-minute "Transitions" exhibits a truly splendid amalgamation of two undeniable virtuosic subtleties. Darwin Raymond's guitar wizardry is intricately synchronized with Jacob Newman's dronescaping, and all is impeccably polished. Creative insignias of two talented artists are in full bloom, "Transitions" album is a hidden gem and a must-have for each true connoisseur of distinctive guitar drone auralscaping!!! When focusing on the most recent works of both protagonists, I should add that Darwin Raymond has released several weeks ago his digital album "Honor", dedicated to all Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island, while Jacob Newman has resurrected his collaboration with Devin Underwood and their second CD album entitled "Sending The Past" is out since the end of August on Carpe Sonum Records. Plus two additional solo digital downloads "Quanta Flora" and "Summer" on his credit. And the summertime at DataObscura was quite busy too with three additional CDr albums, Nunc Stans "Further Afield", The Winterhouse "Slow Awakening", and Robert Davies "Dwelling Place". Lots of amazing music to discover!!!

Richard Gürtler (Oct 25, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Thanks a lot for your kind words, David and Seren, I really appreciate that!!!

Richard  :)


Oophoi "Penumbra Recollected 3" CD

Dennis Knopper, the driving force behind Dutch label Databloem continues in keeping alive the legacy of Gianluigi "Gigi" Gasparetti, The Lord of unfathomable drones, and persistently dusts off some rare, deeply treasured Umbra and Penumbra CDr editions. June 2015 was graced by additional 4 CDs with remastered Penumbra titles, originally released during 2005 and 2006, "Penumbra Recollected 3" is one of them. With kind permission of Gigi's wife Alessandra Clini, we can continuously celebrate some of the deepest primordial, beyond the gates adventures available within the drone ambient soundsculpting. On "Penumbra Recollected 3", released in slim maxi single jewel case with j-card featuring winter images of Alessandra, is Gigi joined by several of his regular kindred souls such as Luna, Tau Ceti (Enrico Cosimi) and Perceptual Defence (Gabriele Quirici).

Over 24 minutes long opus "Awakening The Nagas" reveals this magnificently immersing journey diving deeply into ultra abysmal depths, precisely enhanced by profoundly contemplative chimes and rumbles and counterpointed with reawakened, heavily reverberating climaxes, while intangibly mysterious tenuous chants of Luna persistently emerge from awe-inspiring subterranean domains. The magic of thrillingly enigmatic drone sceneries is fully unfolded and authentically transcendental listening therapy can be experienced, the Drone Heaven awaits, enter now!!! This composition was originally released on "Awakening The Nagas" CDr EP on Penumbra in 2005 and was recorded live in concert, autumn 2002. The next piece, a 22-minute "Algol", where Tau Ceti joins Gigi, is resurrected from Penumbra's "Algol" CDr EP from 2006. "Algol" transforms the listener into weirdly enveloping terrains, sculpted with ominous oscillations, transient phantasmagorical groans, nuanced dronescaping bizarreness, razor-sharp ear-blowing outbursts. This broad palette of dim colors and strange spices creates a massively submerging and intensely mindscaping atmospheric splendor, guiding each devoted ears way beyond the ordinary known, intriguingly perplexing horizons. The closing "Where The Green Ants Dream", which clocks just over a 21-minute mark, utilizes additional choir samples by Perceptual Defence and efficiently melts them with rumbling primeval artifacts and colossally humming monochromatism. Towards the 15th minute, organic subtleties clandestinely sneak in, evoking the midnight zone, but ear-piercing towering helixes culminate and erupt, followed shortly by crescendoing gargantuan drone walls. Then calmly diminuendoing before strangely transmuting into another climaxing amplitude, highlighted by bizarrely twisted choirs. A grand finale!!! This track was recorded live in concert, spring 2004, and released during 2005 on Penumbra's "Where The Green Ants Dream" CDr EP.

Regarding to this CD, I should mention that another three CDs released together with this collection are "Penumbra Recollected 1", "Penumbra Recollected 2" and the last one with Tau Ceti,"Penumbra Recollected 4". If you are an aficionado of both, Oophoi and ultra deep dronescaping, each "Penumbra Recollected" CD is highly recommended!!! With deep respect to Gigi, who is greatly missed, grazie Gigi, grazie grande Oophoi, we will always remember!!! Extra kudos deserve also all Gigi's guests participating on this recollection!!! And huge thanks to Dennis and Alessandra for making all this possible, we are all really grateful for these gifts, which eternally revive our connection to Gigi's soulful oasis!!!

Richard Gürtler (Oct 18, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Thank you so much, guys, I am always very happy when my words help a bit someone in exploring new music, so I really appreciate your comments!!! Keep on journeying!!!

Richard  :)

Thank you so much, Julio, for your very kind words, I am deeply honored!!! And I really hope you will continue releasing your music on physical formats, as mentioned already, your upcoming "A Tide Pool of Memories" CD eco wallet design looks really gorgeous, keep on going!!!

With friendly greetings, Richard  :)


Julio Di Benedetto "Original Light" CD

Julio Di Benedetto is a Floridian soundcarver, based on the Treasure Coast, who returns to a glass mastered format after 7 years, when his 2CD debut "Living At A Higher Frequency" was released through his Digital Voices label. In the meantime, during 2012, he has released three digital only albums ("The Sense Of Being There", "Pathway To Pelada" and "A Tide Pool Of Memories"), but the newest album "Original Light", composed between 2012 and 2015, gets deserved physical version. Out since May 2015 in simple, but nice, 4-panel matte eco wallet with captivating panoramic images in a limited edition of 150 copies. The artist himself is credited also for photographs and sleeve design. Nice work!!! No wonder, Julio is also known as a crafted photographer, you might want to check out some of his photographs for his Driftwood Photographs project published on his Ello account. Back to album's credits, "Original Light" was mastered by Don Tyler at IO Mastering.

A 7-plus minutes long "Before Gravity" ignites the journey with humming dronescape, reinforced by an array of rawer, intricately high-pitched meanders, crescendos and diminuendos, which are masterfully counterpointed by spaciously embracing introspectiveness. A very strong opening!!! "Inner Radiance" clocks to nearly 8 minutes and delves deeper into stunningly enigmatic terrains, constantly highlighted by monolithic, yet weirdly nuanced drone layers, intensely flavored with otherworldly eclectic squeaks, shrills, glitches and rumbles. With your headphones on, get ready for a real mind-blower!!! Then "Inner Radiance" tranquilly evanesces into "Chromosphere", where unfathomable depths reveal, although fizzling tides persistently interact with yearning reverberations. Almost 9-minute "Helios Rising" unfolds with more contemplative buzz of tinkles, but shortly it's invaded by heavier sheets of eccentrically helixing drones, elusively undulating dissonances and sweepingly nostalgic glimpses. Incredibly distinguishing sonic ride!!! "Spectral Horizon", with 5:55 the shortest piece, is imbued by waves of scenic patterns, smoothly emerging and expanding with ephemeral hissy subtleties thrown in. But the stage is quickly stolen by amplified drone magnitudes, gorgeously embracing with ethereal choir-like evocations and meticulously intensified by ear-tickling razor sharp twinkles. Wow, a truly jaw-dropping listening delight, bravo, Julio!!! "Still Quiet After" bridges velvetly oscillating sibilant fragments with poignant silken piano motifs, while warmer solitary subtleties with poetic drifts surreptitiously guard above with all its intangible grace. The title, 10 and half minutes long composition "Original Light" closes this gratifying trip with graciously enrapturing washes masterly coalesced with calmly ebbing and flowing, yet richly structured wistfulness. Reaching trebling magnitudes when serenely pinnacling and climaxing, but always surrounded by magnificently panoptic aerial vistas occasionally permeated by opaque coastal reminiscences. An utterly expressive conclusion!!!

"Original Light" is an uniquely sculpted recording showcasing sophisticated artistry in amalgamating fabulously engrossing yearning stratums with finest essences of extraordinarily ear-bending ambiguousness. Numerous deep listening sessions with headphones are required, but then the listener unlocks the gates of sonic Eden, where splendidly textured drone consonance meets rewardingly dissonant exquisiteness. Almost 56-minute "Original Light" is a must-have CD for each connoisseur of abundantly flavored enigmatic drone ambient escapades!!! And on the top of all this, Julio Di Benedetto is planning to release on physical formats also his three previous, above mentioned digital albums. At some moment he was even considering a 3CD edition, but the most recent scenario speaks about three separate releases. But in any case, we can really look forward to these CDs!!! I already saw on Julio's Ello page a CD artwork for his "A Tide Pool of Memories" album (mastered by 12k's Taylor Deupree) and it looks strikingly beautiful. According to the latest info from Julio, this one is scheduled for November 2015, so I can't wait!!!

Richard Gürtler (Oct 17, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)


Strom Noir "ΕΣΟΠΤΡΟΝ" cassette

For this gorgeously looking release Slovak guitar dronescaper Emil Maťko aka Strom Noir has teamed with sympathetic Russian label ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ, based in Yaroslavl and run by Tim Six. This label has quickly achieved its glory with attractive hand-made editions of CDrs or cassettes. This young label is active since the beginning of 2014 and so far they have released almost 20 various CDrs and cassettes in limited editions, featuring artists like Creation VI, SiJ, Dvory, XPAAM and others. Each release is a true collector's item and Strom Noir's "ΕΣΟΠΤΡΟΝ" cassette is no exception. Released at March 4th, 2015 in edition of 50 copies, white-shell cassette comes with additional 0-card sleeve and three inserts. A top-notch work, kudos to Tim Six, Aloe (who is also credited for the artwork) & ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ!!!

8 and half minutes long title track "Esoptron" ignites the journey with stunningly spiraling texture, which floats into magnificently panoramic introspectiveness imbued by warmly nuanced tapestries and meticulously hazed by hissy subtleties. Monotonously encircling, yet stunningly evocative masterpiece, more please!!! 6-minute "Kaleidoscope" delves, as revealed by its name, into more vivacious terrains, mesmerizingly mindscaping. Nearly hallucinogenic helixes are backed by continuously permeating and voluminously increasing harsher string collages. "Heart Of Stone" unfolds with soothingly enveloping mood, which slowly evolves and heads towards deeply contemplative zones, spiced with hauntingly shimmering undercurrents. The B side opens with "Polnoc Celı Deň", clocking just over the 8-minute mark. This is the only piece with Slovak title, which can be translated as "Midnight Whole Day". This composition incorporates all Strom Noir's trademarking insignias ranging from intensely hypnotic oscillations through roughly desolate consonances and pensive stringed imageries to exquisitely poignant evocativeness. Another listening delight awaits here. Did I mention these dronesculptings are highly recommended to enjoy with your headphones? No, so put them on and dive deeply into Strom Noir's thrillingly ambiguous harmonic drone ventures!!! The next composition "There Are Still Secrets" magnetically melts winding drone monochromatism with intangibly gurgling effects, stringed solitudes, sinuous weepiness and ephemeral sibilant fragments. A spellbindingly enigmatic 7-plus minutes mindscape!!! Poetic "Where Rainbow Ends" closes this intense listening bliss (and visual too!!!) with warmly embracing and insistently tiding reflections, where stirringly meandering palette of stringed arrangements dusts off long-lost memories. Slightly shorter, but very decent conclusion.

Even if the tracks on "ΕΣΟΠΤΡΟΝ" were recorded in two quite different time periods, August 2012 and November 2014, the overall feel seems to be rather homogeneous, yet richly flavored with always presented distinguishing signatures of Strom Noir, which earned a very strong reputation during the last 5 years. 42-minute "ΕΣΟΠΤΡΟΝ" cassette is a truly rewarding addition to the growing discography of this Slovak guitar drone wizard along with other cassette editions such as "Analog Venus" (Ginjoha), "Tanec Rusaliek" (Dronarivm) and "Travel To A Human Heart" (Sacred Phrases). Not to forget, today is Emil Maťko's birthday, so this review is my little gift, all the best, cheers and keep on droning, man!!! And by the way, I am not sure if "ΕΣΟΠΤΡΟΝ" cassette is still available, it looks like it's sold out on ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ label, but some copies might be still obtainable via Discogs. Or go for "name your price" download, in any case, I can't recommend this release highly enough!!! And just the same is for the complete discographies of both, Strom Noir and ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ!!!

Richard Gürtler (Oct 11, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Alio Die on BC
« on: October 13, 2015, 08:43:43 AM »
I just noticed this evening that there are two new Aglaia releases listed on Alio Die's bandcamp page. Does anyone have any scoop on this (e.g., whether there will be physical releases)? The samples are wonderful; I would hate to impulsively buy these digital albums and find out next week that the CDs are being pressed.

No newsletter updates or updates on Stefano's website yet.


Got message from Stefano, both new Aglaia albums, "Ephemeral Blue" and "Florealia Nocturna", are available on CD format, out now, first orders being prepared today... Although no news yet on Stefano's Alio Die website, just send him e-mail with your order, if interested in physical copies. Really looking forward to both these beauties, Gino is a true genius of fantabulously spellbinding ambience!!! All the best!!!  ;)



Hakobune "All My Regret For Nothing Remembered" cassette

Wow, since I returned to reviewing back in 2010, this is the first time I will focus on a release available on a cassette format. Yes, except vinyl it seems like also this almost dusted format is being resurrected quite successfully by some labels and artists. Warm Drone Label (simple, but concise name, I like it so much!!!) is a newborn Dutch label, run by Casper van der Veen, big drone aficionado from Utrecht and his companion Bram Gollin from Hilversum, who is the sole protagonist behind dark ambient project Kave. Japanese drone guitar virtuoso Takahiro Yorifuji, known as Hakobune, is a quite productive ambient composer releasing his music through various established labels across the globe such as U-Cover, gterma, Somehow Recordings, Hibernate and Rural Colours, Psychonavigation, Dronarivm, White Paddy Mountain... "All My Regret For Nothing Remembered" is a C25 cassette with j-card printed on textured recycled paper, released at September 8th, 2015 as a premiere release of Warm Drone Label in limited edition of 200 copies.

"Part I", exactly clocking to 10 minute mark, reveals with gently intense dronescape, graciously drifting on gorgeously nostalgic blankets. Sublimely helixing dissonances continuously pervade and paint slightly reverberating images, hauntingly mindscaping, but they are promptly softened with mellowly nuanced layers. Monolithic on the first glimpse, but underneath delightfully multi-dimensional palette of ascending and gradient patterns persistently unfolds. The length of this composition passes rather quickly due its powerfully enrapturing aura, I definitely want more, so let's turn to the next side. "Part II" is only several seconds longer than the first track and it immediately shifts into kind-hearted terrains, again meticulously graced by expansive drone scenario, which immerses the listener into profoundly deep atmospheric bliss even if some high-pitched subtleties or hummed consonances inconspicuously percolate here and there. On the top of that weeping sinuousness magnificently sneaks in, crescendoes and reaches the balmily sweeping zone, a sort of grand finale, which exquisitely exhibits the label's name. Yes, a hallmark sound of Warm Drone Label just have been introduced!!!

"All My Regret For Nothing Remembered" is a very strong and sympathetic debut of Warm Drone Label, I could easily enjoy much longer recording, because Hakobune masterfully utilizes during these 20 minutes all his dronescaping potential and creativity. Although I am not that much familiar with his other releases, I certainly want to explore much more. And his most recent collaborative effort with Dirk Serries, entitled "Obscured By Beams Of Sorrow" and released few weeks ago on White Paddy Mountain seems to be the right choice. Anyway, back to "All My Regret For Nothing Remembered" cassette, hats off to Hakobune and kudos to Casper van der Veen & Bram Gollin for originating Warm Drone Label. I hope the future will bring many exciting releases from this Dutch label, keep strong!!! Speaking about the physical format, as far I know the cassette is still available through Warm Drone Label's Bandcamp site as well as via Discogs directly from the source. Or pick up your digital version.

Richard Gürtler (Oct 10, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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