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Messages - richardgurtler

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81


James Johnson | Aperus "Ecotone" CD

Wow, this is a very impressive joint effort involving respected veteran ambient composer James Johnson and gifted sound sculptor Brian McWilliams known as Aperus or Remanence (together with John Phipps). While James Johnson is equipped with vast discography, mostly releasing on AtmoWorks or on his Zero Music label, Aperus has recorded highly treasured works such as "Tumbleweed Obfuscated By Camera Failure" (now newly reissued!!!) or "Hinterland" released on mPath Records about 10 years ago. What was mPath Records before, now became Geophonic Records, run by Brian McWilliams, and "Ecotone" is a premiere CD on this label published at March 31st, 2013.

Although released in ordinary jewel case, the artwork looks totally stunning!!! Both protagonists are indeed highly accomplished photographers, so besides 4-panel insert there is included also a vellum envelope with 4 additional pictures, randomly selected from 9 available shoots. The visual presentation of this release immediately gets extra points and that was the case with all previous works of Aperus and Remanence. But that's just the beginning, because gorgeous images are soon joined as the opening piece, "Descending Arc", blossoms with its deeply evocative mood. Natural environments, assorted primordial tinkles and rumbles (evoking Gamelan), and gentle drone cascades reveal all their tranquil allure and magic, 11 minutes of purely contemplative sonic bliss!!! But the duo keeps on excelling, "Cycle 17" invites with graciously warm, panoramic washes melted with raising and falling, briskly shimmering embellishments. Deep immersion immediately guaranteed, what a journey!!! Shorter "Nostalgia And Memory", as indicated by its title, returns to calmer terrains, enriched by sparse, but expressive, sad piano passage and other elliptical, smoothly disharmonious fragments. Quietly minimal and pleasingly displaying its title. "Crow Over Walnut Canyon" is another beautifully entitled track, it attracts with its gorgeously serene symmetry between modern classical elements, background subtleties and slightly rougher hums and organics. A music of sheer brilliance that will top any of the giants bridging modern classical textures with ambient soundscapes!!! The longest piece, clocking to nearly 12 minutes, "Long Goodbye" dives into deeply reflective realms filled with haunting piano and string expressions, warmly drifting tapestries, assorted high-pitched metallic squeaks and outbursts and distant natural sounds. Amalgamated in absolutely masterful way, painting wonderfully wide-screen sceneries of harmoniously heartening introspection. Another virtuoso performance!!! The next piece, "Ancestral Voices", unites all kinds of rumbles, tinkles, rings and other traceries in one, quite cacophonous sculpture guarded by ceremonial chants. Uniquely distracting, transporting the listener to a pilgrimage site!!! "The Moth Jar" moves into piano-fragmented, reverberant terrains, again intermingled with razor sharp, discomforting metallics and processed, richly flavored arrangements. Uniquely mesmerizing escapade!!! "Transmigration" is a quite eclectically built texture, flavored with voice-like drones, few modern classical ingredients evoking nostalgic moments and ebbing infusions, softly buzzing, beating, vibrant and swirling. Adventurously distinguishing journey continues!!! Shorter outro "Traces" consists of gentle Gamelan-like tinkles and buzzing resonations, achieving a deeply meditative state. Brief, but strongly effective!!!

"Ecotone" is enormously fruitful, all-inclusive collaboration between two efficient aural and visual hikers. The synergistic wizardry of both these Americans is just amazing on "Ecotone", where broad palette of atmospheres and sounds is expertly navigated into spectacularly complex and harmonious form, precisely polished in every detail. Audiophile sound quality included, so get ready your headphones too. "Ecotone" is a huge monument paying splendid tribute to Earth's magics!!! Unquestionably one of the pinnacles of 2013, hats off to James Johnson & Brian McWilliams!!!

Richard Gürtler (Jun 09, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

82


Dirk Serries "Microphonics XXI-XXV" CD

Dirk Serries, the legendary Belgian genius behind vidnaObmana and Fear Falls Burning projects, celebrates here another chapter of his challenging "Microphonics" efforts. After the conclusion of previously mentioned projects, Dirk keeps on his journey to the boundaries of uncharted sonic terrains, a territory fusing all his long time musical experiences, visions and virtuosities. "Microphonics XXI-XXV" CD, a follow up to Dirk's debut "Microphonics I-V" from the end 2008, was released by Dutch Tonefloat Records in the middle of March, 2013 and it comes in attractive mini album gatefold sleeve featuring stunning urban pictures by Martina Verhoeven, Dirk's wife. Mastered by James Plotkin.

The opener, "Mounting Among The Waves" unfolds with quite harsh guitar dissonances, although minimally sculpted, the sound palette is quite wide, where intensely emerging passages of noise perplexes blend with floating backgrounds. The piece gradually build and steadily increase into powerfully immense sonic sceneries of utterly deep evocativeness. Even if having throughout its slightly ear-splitting surface, these peaking drones develop into a stunningly visualizing movements filled with sheer beauty and poignancy. Elegiac strings invade "There's A Light In Vein", but this melancholic stillness is soon intermingled on the background with slowly evolving panoramic textures, expanding by every second in its intensity and monstrousness. Ultra thick guitar dronescapes reach full bloom and paint genuinely magnificent and harmonious canvas, where unforgettable memories of vidnaObmana are awaken... This composition is a huge milestone melting the most magical moments of both, vidnaObmana and Fear Falls Burning, with Dirk's most recent harmonic desolations, a brightly shinning kaleidoscope of sounds, sensitiveness and reminiscences, an emotional powerhouse gratifying the listener's soul!!! "There's A Light In Vein" will counterpart any of the most famous vidnaObmana compositions, guitar drone manipulations have never sounded better!!! Thank you so much, Maestro, for this truly unique listening delight!!! "The Burden Of Hope" is announced by rawer riffs, again its shape sounds rather minimal, especially during the first three minutes, but always effective. The background drone blanket slowly enlarges into thicker volume and fully blossom into another breathtaking wide-screen scenario, melting rougher tensities with weighty dose of expansive drone roars and streams into one, monumentally monolithic sculpture, gloriously encircling and stimulating. Certainly another phenomenal piece in this set!!! "Thousands Of Rivers" relieves the tension a bit, although keeping its harsh edge, again masterfully intertwined with warmly gliding cloudscapes. Beautifully disturbing!!!

Yes, I am still deeply missing vidnaObmana, and always will, but with this album Dirk Serries has accomplished another huge step in his musical explorations. "Microphonics XXI-XXV" is a triumphant piece of art displaying extraordinary emotional sonorousness and invites each devoted listener to the frontier of intriguing guitar drone wizardry!!! And by the way, "Low Volume Music 2" with his long time traveler Steve Roach is the works too...

Richard Gürtler (Jun 02, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

83


Amir Baghiri "Prayers For The Earth" CDr

The glowing discography of Amir Baghiri, in Lemgo, Germany based, but native of Iran, sonic designer and painter, gets here its newest jewel. This time released (March 2013) on German Attenuation Circuit label as limited edition of 120 copies packaged in attractive folded cardboard sleeve with gorgeous digital mandala image by no one else but Kati Astraeir.

The first of six prayers, dedicated to Mother Earth, entitled "An Earth Mantra", is shorter intro swiftly emerging into more expansive terrains with beautifully craving, intense drifts. The next piece, charmingly titled "For The Love Of The Earth", is the longest one, when clocking over 13-minute mark. It enters straight away into magnificently sublime dreamscaping realms. Tranquilly expanding and ebbing into extra massive panoramas, always glaring and sweeping with utterly graceful immensity and contemplation. This is a pure atmospheric bliss, bravissimo, Maestro!!! "Through The Memories Of This Place" is almost as lengthy as its predecessor and also as much enchantingly sonorous and absorbing. Slightly more darker, gently enriched here and there by distant sonic invasions and escalations. All the natural magic of nocturnal desert soundscaping is masterfully captured, ambient maximus guaranteed!!! "Nameless Sky", as indicated by its title, guides us through uncharted, vast open domains with colossally drifting, circling and cascading synth textures, harmoniously flowing through light and dark colors, through great emptiness of delightful nothingness. "A Sacred Place" remains in these deeply imaginative and spacious terrains, but it smoothly shifts into dreamtime era, where cloud banks of drones, both sublime and dramatic, are bridged with sparse, placid tribal undercurrents and tranquil environments. Thrilling dose of expansive soundscapes is delivered here by rooting both future and past, and revealing the most essential and fascinating horizons. "Somewhere In Nowhere", the closing prayer, spreads with rising and falling washes and heavenly choirs, sublimely embracing the listener. The texture gradually evolves into monstrously intense drone zones, hauntingly meandering and mesmerizingly spiraling, before peacefully calming and fading away. Amir Baghiri explores through "Prayers For The Earth" rather familiar terrains, but his virtuosity of drifting towards the deepest end of atmospheric brilliancy is just amazing. Experience it, feel the serenity, spirit and grandness of planet Earth, it's time to take a deeply spellbinding journey without leaving your listening room!!!

On the top of that, Amir is quite busy with dusting off his rare recordings, a 5 CD "Private Archive" collection, packaged in special wooden case is planned. Plus "Light Textures" album is scheduled for the summer release on Databloem's sister label Bluebox, the usual output for Amir Baghiri's soundworlds since 2005. As always, I will keep my ear to the ground...

Richard Gürtler (Jun 01, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

84


The Circular Ruins and Mystified "Fantastic Journey" CDr

The Circular Ruins/Anthony Paul Kerby and Mystified/Thomas Park have already collaborated back in 2009 on the album "One Thousand Dreams", on which APK appears as Nunc Stans. Now both of these sound sculptors have reunited for another chapter, celebrating early science fiction writings and paying tribute to pioneers such as Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and others. Released during February 2013 on APK's DataObscura label.

Cavernous primitive tinkles, along with field recordings and deep drone clouds, unfold the first journey, "Twenty Thousand Leagues". At 13 minutes it is the longest track on the album. Myriads of unfathomable noises, rumbles and gurgles provide a truly breathtaking ride through underwater domains full of wonders and mysteries. "The World Beneath", with hypnagogic drones merged with sparse and subtle phantasmagorical cacophonies, invites you to an adventurous journey through huge caverns of Dinotopia, a hidden island inhabited by humans and sentient dinosaurs who have formed together a harmonious society. Richly colorful sonic marvels embellish "Forbidden Planet" along with hissy organics, ghostly apparition and distant crypto drones. Wow, a truly unique and fascinating piece exploring fabulous primordial mysteries!!! Sonic adventure continues as we land on "Mysterious Island", surrounded by serenely expanding and meandering primal dronescapes, later cascading through deeper soundwalls to densely blurred passages. It showcases absolutely thrilling aural alchemy between both explorers!!! The next track, "Beyond The Farthest Star", reveals with mysterious drone rumbles and assorted weird voices, noises, soars and organics, moving up and down and all wrapped by hissy blankets. Another extraordinary listening odyssey awaits, even if not easily accessible!!! The final cut,"The Voyage Home", opens with deep drones and rumbles, but soon warmly expansive cinematic drifts invade, enriched by some subtly tinkling fragments, and express moments of sadness. The second third dives deeply into abyssal realms, powerfully immersing and masterfully flavored by diverse tinkles, rumbles and eerie voices. The track moves through raw, dissonant accompaniments and brings the journey to its final point, exactly where it was initiated 60 minutes ago. For all lovers of stunningly adventurous dronescapes, this is a genuinely "Fantastic Journey"!!! The more you listen to it, I mean deeply devoted, the more the soundscapes embrace you!!! Great job, Anthony & Thomas, certainly one of the top releases of 2013 so far!!!

Richard Gürtler (May 25, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

85


Juta Takahashi "Seabound" CD

In Sendai based Japanese ambient mastermind Juta Takahashi returns after "Quiet Rain" with another remastered edition, this time it's "Seabound" album, released at the beginning of April, 2013 on his Lunisolar Records. "Seabound", Juta's 5th album, was originally released during 2009 as a CDr version. As typical for this crafted sonic sculptor, the album is comprised of three longer compositions, clocking between 17 and 23 minutes in length. The opening and longest piece, "Undercurrent" features layers of gently immense drifts and whirling curiosities, which are intertwined with mesmerizingly repetitive piano motifs, here and there enhanced by rather high-pitched squeaks and disruptions. Heavenly choirs occasionally sneak in and out. Juta's characteristic alchemy of quietly soothing passages with more disturbing traceries is of course apparent, moving through manifold cascades, but always keeping its hauntingly harmonious and enveloping atmosphere. "Poseidon" dives straightly into deeper drone realms, colored by ear-splitting noises, frightening hums and other harshly rumbling ghostscapes. Hint of distant melody floats through these spectacular, unfathomable depths. Enter now the domain of the sea guard and experience this variegated subaqueous sonic tempest, this must be Juta Takahashi at his most discordant!!! Sea waves lead "Seabound", the closing title composition, into beautifully relaxing and expansive panoramas, built of strangely, but majestically meandering, coiling and elevating aerial melodies with slightly orchestral color. Additional sonic submergences appear occasionally. Stunning sea imageries can be captured throughout this pleasantly sweeping in-depth journey. A peacefully reflective atmospheric experience filled with warm, radiant and soothing subtleties. Juta Takahashi keeps on impressing me, because after beautifully sublime "Quiet Rain", he comes with another strong recording originated longer time ago and now available on well-deserved glass mastered CD. "Seabound" is another album by this Japanese composer embracing the listener with continuous delight, no matter if tranquil or adventurous!!! Kudos to Lucas Simons for nicely fitting cover image. I hope Juta has still in the pipeline, except his future projects, also some other, well treasured sonic documents taken from his earlier discography. Arigato, Juta Takahashi san!!!

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

86


Maneki Neko "Auracle" CD

Maneki Neko's "Auracle" album was released longer time ago, in the summer of 2005 on Stray Pointer Records, which, I believe, is a label of Al Mikula, the sole protagonist of Maneki Neko. Based in Austin, Texas, Al Mikula is a sculptor of soothing electro-acoustic blankets for yoga, relaxation, meditation, and massage therapy. To be honest, I have never heard of this release and artist until my good friend Karel aka Sonic-Hypnosis pointed me to this crafted sonic healer (Díky, Karle!!!). "Auracle" is Maneki Neko's debut and I was immediately impressed by its excerpts. And the album only proves this, "Auracle" is a great revelation for my ears!!! Equipped with array of acoustic instruments such as Tibetan prayer bells, Egyptian ney, gongs, Japanese shakuhachi, wind chimes..., Maneki Neko masterfully bridges deeply contemplative acoustic sounds with sparse, but expansive drones and gentle natural splashes. "Miroku" unfolds with meditative bells, soon followed by low drone circles and stunningly expressive Egyptian ney flute magics. Celestial choir-like drones come into play later, while sparkling instrumental work steps in and out. "Daybreak", the longest reverie, clocking over 20 and half minute mark, is announced by flute roars, sporadic fragile bells (tinkling every 60 seconds) and heartwarming panoramic washes, richly spacious and softly cascading up and down. Here and there flavored by tranquilizing organic embellishments. The gates of sonic paradise are fully opened and the listener enters the realm of beautifully floating contemplation and stillness!!! Soaring wind, gentle bell and vague chimes lead the next composition, "Cats Sleeping On Clouds". But soon the drones and shakuhachi wizardry steal the journey. Flute barks and resonations attractively amalgamate with peacefully meandering and hovering drifts. The sounds of shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute, are absolutely magnificent!!! This is Maneki Neko at its most distinctive and harmonious!!! "Drifting Between Stars" is more otherworldly and mysterious composition with gracefully floating, evolving and shimmering dronefields, intensified by few wide-screen dissonances, again strongly embracing. "The Road To Madurai" is a pilgrimage to the ancient temple city of Madurai in South India, to famous Meenakshi Amman Temple. Another flute excellence, merged with deeper drones, closes this journey, again mysteriously fragranced, this time with overtone chanting-infused vibrations. "Auracle" is a brilliantly accomplished album with distinguishably immersing arrangements, that for sure will appeal to all connoisseurs of deeply meditative ambience. To me, Maneki Neko is one of the best kept secrets on the scene, a virtuoso sonic meditator!!! I should add that Maneki Neko's next album, entitled "Muichi Motsu" was scheduled for release during autumn 2012, it was mastered already, but unfortunately since September there are no news nor updates on Maneki Neko's website. I pray for the return of Al Mikula/Maneki Neko...

Richard Gürtler (May 19, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

87


Alpha Wave Movement "Yasumu" CDr

Gregory Kyryluk, the mastermind behind Alpha Wave Movement and Within Reason projects, returns again to prove his enormous composing talent, but this time he leaves shimmering Berlin school vintage, desert ambient infused terrains or hypnotic cyber escapades and ventures into soothingly contemplative atmospheric splendors. Released at the beginning of February, 2013 on his own Harmonic Resonance Recordings. Moving back to 2012, the previous year has brought to us two absolute masterworks by this synth wizard, "Subtle Shift", a cyber-tech groovy milestone by Within Reason and "Eolian Reflections", a primal desertscaping jewel by Alpha Wave Movement. So as usual, my expectations are again very high... Healing sound of tibetan bowls announce "Pentatonic Peace" merged with bell resonations, fragile tinkles and heartwarming washes. Later oriental strings scent this utterly tranquil journey, along with sparse primeval fragments, and it gently shifts and expands into captivatingly inviting and immense sonic magnitudes. This is a truly beautiful intro, precisely setting the atmosphere. Gregory Kyryluk arrives again in top-grade form!!! Relaxing nature sounds open "Awaken" together with peacefully circling and drifting loops and paint a deeply reflective essence. With over 13 minutes the longest composition. Heavenly tinkles harmoniously interweave with spaciously angelic soundscapes and distant soft beats. Ethereal auralscape at its most serene and gorgeous, enveloping the listener in a hauntingly delicate atmosphere of recovering long buried memories!!! Certainly, this is another magnum opus by Alpha Wave Movement!!! And by the way, it slightly evokes everlastingly splendid nostalgia of "The River Of Appearance" groundbreaker... "Tranquility Temple" is the next piece, which sounds exactly as it is titled. Keeping its exotic touch from the opening track, it calmly meanders through intensely evocative and peaceful panoramas, exquisitely augmented by warmly glimmering images and embracing sadness of bowed strings. The closing composition, "Hindutonic Waves", unfolds with monotonous drifts, subtle tinkles and mesmerizing distant ingredients. Velvety tribal drumming joins the scene too in ear-catching synergy with tranquilly intangible atmospheric currents. Balmily soothing inner realms are unlocked!!! "Yasumu" is a masterfully crafted collection of deep sonic meditations with magnificently absorbing aural harmony, lucidity and stillness!!! Another stellar recording by Gregory Kyryluk and your everyday's panacea!!!

Richard Gürtler (May 12, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

88


Eyes Cast Down "The Separate Ones" CDr

Eyes Cast Down is Greg Moorcroft from Chicago and "The Separate Ones" is his debut work released on his own Kalindi Music label at the end of February 2013. As mentioned on Greg's website, the album was recorded during the time span of 7 years. "First Day Apart", a composition based on the longer separation with daughter, unfolds with sublime and sparse guitar dreamscapes, slowly meandering like a feather in the breeze. Strong longing feel is explored throughout this hazy and introspective soundscape, smoothly cascading from quieter contemplations to slightly more intense soars, yet still remaining enough consonant and allowing each listener to dive deeply into Eyes Cast Down's own sonorous cavern. "Rebuild From Memory" keeps its reflective dimension, but it's surrounded by diversely scattered dissonant vibrations. "Knife Of Karma", with 17 and half minutes the second longest composition, is invaded by fragile tinkles and mysteriously flavored drones, enhanced by diverse eerie fragments, cavernous rumbles and disruptive, nearly cacophonous embellishments. Here and there distant tribal groove fade in and out, and also occasional fanfares do their highly distinguishing work within this uniquely fragranced soundsculpting. All in all, it's quite disturbing, but also as much challenging, a real masterpiece!!! Celestial voice magics by guest singer Alannah lead "Expanse Of Heart" along with rather minimal and slowly shifting, organ-like drones create a truly mesmerizing reverie taking the listener on a soothing mind journey. The next composition, "Like A Riven Cloud", clocking over 21-minute mark, reveals with deeper organic drones, enhanced by low rumbles and ghostly female whispers by another guest, Greg's wife Dasi. Composed as a dedication to a friend that committed suicide, it paints a truly mysterious and grieving sceneries, especially when deeply evocative washes merge with the reciting voice along with expanding mournful violin expressions by Ezra Azmon. Few piano subtleties tranquilly float through too. Thoroughly gorgeous!!! "Radha's Tears" closes the album with coiling and resonating, hypnotic guitar drone, again conjugated with Dasi's celestial chants. Overall, this is definitely not your ordinary accessible ambient recording, for sure "The Separate Ones" album craves for numerous listening sessions with deeply dedicated attention and immersion, but then it offers huge amount of fruitful and joyous moments filled with highly reflective, but enormously distinctive and intriguing palette of sounds and atmospheres. "The Separate Ones" is your ticket to magnificently perfumed and anomalously mindscaping sonic realms, a must have!!! Photographs by Boris Lelong and Kris Tilbury nicely accomplish this album, while the credit for mastering goes to Bobby Jones. For a debut work like this, I won't hesitate to say, this is a virtuoso performance!!! And since Greg Moorcroft was working during the last 7 years on several other albums, some of them are scheduled for this year's release, so make sure you will keep an eye and ear on this highly capable and crafted ambient venturer!!!

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

89
Beautiful review of beautiful music!!!

Richard

90


John Puchiele Ensemble "Life Cycle" CD

John Puchiele is for me a new name on the ambient map, in Toronto, Canada based film, television, dance... composer was also a member of The Glass Orchestra, famous Canadian ensemble founded back in 1977, who have performed with glass objects and glass instruments. "Life Cycle", a thematic work mapping the human life cycle stages, is according to my knowledge debut work under the name of John Puchiele Ensemble. Released at the beginning April 2013 on Antediluvian Records, which I believe is John's own label. The album comes in elegantly designed 4-panel digipak (created by Null). "From There To Here" announces the new human life with warmly floating cinematic washes, gracefully expanding into dramatic climax, beautifully enriched by sparse, but gently expressive piano motifs. Shorter "First Step" keeps its wide-screen dimension along with its heartening feel. It's evident that John Puchiele is strongly influenced by his film score composing. The next, again shorter piece, "Foundations", moves into deeply evocative modern classical terrains. "The Big Sky" is the first longer composition on album, crossing over 7-minute mark, but musically remains in sublimely captivating orchestral spheres, very nice!!! "Thinking", with 10 minutes the longest stage of "Life Cycle", dives into dreamlike zones with female chants and celestial choirs. These utterly alluring soundscapes are later intertwined by male choirs. Sculpted with infinite grace and beauty!!! "Second Step" meanders over the cumulus cloud beds, flavored with intense moments. "Life Gets Busy, Pt. I" unfolds quietly, but soon bowed string epic steal the show and evolves into richly orchestral and dramatically colored arrangements. "Life Gets Busy, Pt. II" attracts immediately with eloquent piano playing, certainly the most uplifting piece masterfully celebrating the rhythm of life. But "Third Step" shifts into nostalgic-infused period conducted by cello-like drones and circling, high-pitched dissonances. The next longer composition, "Climbing", envelops each listener with its strongly yearning mood, precisely sculpted with expressive modern classical movements, highlighted by bowed string mastery. Deeply visualizing and retrospective soundscape, certainly one of the high points!!! "N.D.E." dives into low drone territories, ebbing and meandering through exquisitely fragranced dreamlike dimensions with angelic appearance and dense orchestral cascades. A close call comes... "The Edge Of Infinity" is hazed by deeper transcendental dronescapes. "From Here To There" closes the journey with brief, but gorgeous eulogistic symphony to honor the memory of a loved one. "Life Cycle" is a very solid performance by John Puchiele, who has decided to work without the motion pictures and invited each listener to paint his/her own life allegories while journeying through "Life Cycle" and pay homage to human life.

Richard Gürtler (May 05, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

91
Yes, I can imagine there are even darker soundscapes created by Anton, thank you so much for the link, but my ventures into dark ambient territories are very rare...  ;)

Richard

92


Closing The Eternity & Mathias Grassow "No Title" CD+3"CDr

Wow, no title, no track list (except mini CDr), according to some vague net infos recorded back in 2010, but released some weeks ago, during March 2013 on Russian Aquarellist label. Wrapped by enormous mystery since the very first day. But if these are some low points, then be prepared for a truly spectacular sonic and visual odyssey. Yes, the CD is packaged in beautiful 6-panel digipak featuring stunning pictures of subterranean domain, forest pond and flora. Note that limited edition of 50 copies comes with additional mini CDr, while the album is a glass mastered CD. The normal edition is limited to 150 copies. The visual part is imposing, so let's experience its synergy with music. Closing The Eternity is a Russian drone solo project of Anton Shafarostov, who acts as 121 and who is also a member of dark ambient, industrial project Velehentor. To be honest, I don't know too much about Closing The Eternity's soundworlds (shame on me!!!), while the German drone virtuoso Mathias Grassow needs no introduction here. Soft tinkles announce the first track, as mentioned above, the track list is missing, but Aquarellist's website refers to this as "Shegultan", a city in Ural, Russia. But soon we enter into magnificent cavernous realms, where smooth background drones of Mathias Grassow hover in tranquil coexistence with crystalline authentic watery field recordings and other primordial organics crafted by 121. Add a superb sonic quality to this deeply meditative trance, which reveals all the magics of this grandiose underground lake and interacts precisely with the images. The next composition unfolds with variety of organic rumbles and tinkles, merged with spiraling dronescapes and tranquilizing natural sounds. Cascading through beautifully immersing passages ranging from more primeval through mysterious to slightly more soothing. The drone wizardry steps towards the fore in the second half and levels with primitive embellishments and location recordings. Deeply sublime and contemplative reverie, explore the remarkable "Volchimya Rifts"!!! Softly tinkling chimes open the closing piece of the CD, which is entitled on the website as "Blue Night Over Telpos-Iz", a 29-minutes long journey. Telpos-Iz is the highest mount in the Northern Ural. Sparse, but lushly swirling around the ears, then profoundly meditative singing bowls passage takes the lead until colossal, monochromatic drones steal these fascinatingly permeating moments of nocturnal stillness. Powerfully intense and immense, spiced by occasional bone-trembling beats with roughly orotund and eerie sonic explosions. An ultimate wildlife adventure with stunningly culminating sceneries to discover unimaginable sounds and creatures of the harsh night in taiga. Totally awesome!!!

Bonus 3"CDr features 14 and half minutes long composition, "Midnight Over Paitur Fens". And it unfolds massively with rather smooth drone with sacred chants-like sounds on the distant background. But the drone gradually builds, expands and envelops, expertly enriched by soft percussive ornaments. Continuous mind-bending intensity, holding the unique signature of Mathias Grassow, is reached after 4 minutes, the gates of drone inferno are again unlocked, welcome!!! But 121's organic alchemy adds enthralling emerald colors to this once-in-a-lifetime drone experience!!! Pure sonic ecstasy guaranteed!!!

Closing The Eternity & Mathias Grassow have sculpted one of the most mysterious albums I have heard lately and certainly one of the best too!!! Highly recommended journey beyond the borders of the most breathtaking territories, even as a "normal" limited edition without 3"CDr, but if you can, hunt for it too!!! A true masterpiece by two drone lords!!!

Richard Gürtler (May 04, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

93
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: AMBIcon 2013 Update
« on: May 04, 2013, 04:28:17 PM »
Yes, Andrey, at least we can watch it this way, so far truly amazing performances!!! Anton/Closing The Eternity is a happy man!!! Keep on enjoying!!!  :)

Richard

94
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: AMBIcon 2013 Update
« on: May 03, 2013, 10:26:16 PM »
I am wishing to all performers and spectators a truly enjoyable and memorable event, have a great time!!! And don't forget to take a lot of audio and visual documents!!! I wish I could be in San Rafael this weekend...

Richard

95
I can only agree, "Ecotone" is a masterwork, one of the best of 2013!!!

Richard

96


Hollan Holmes "Phase Shift" CD

In Euless, Texas, located deep space traveler Hollan Holmes returns with his 3rd album, as usual released on his own during March 2013 and again, just like with his previous "The Farthest Fringes" and "A Distant Light" albums, elegantly designed and packaged in glossy 6-panel disc eco wallet. Both above works were highly applauded and now "Phase Shift" is here to confirm huge composing potential of Hollan Holmes. The opening piece, "A Precarious Trajectory", immediately delves into graciously celestial zones, smoothly floating, expanding and during its second half bridging with sharper and elevating, sequencer-driven passages. A very strong intro!!! "The Road To Perdition" starts where its predecessor wrapped up, with briskly swirling sequencer mastery enriched by many dramatic cascades and eruptions. A quite hazardous journey perfectly exhibiting the theme behind this track. Warmly evocative, cinematic terrains are entered through "Lost Memories". This sublime sonic symphony is later joined by subtly pulsing sequences, yet still keeping its heartwarming aura. A truly gorgeous composition!!! "Morphogenesis" is the first longer piece here, clocking over 14 and half minute mark. Beautifully immense panoramas are masterly revealed with heavenly drones and angelic choir-like contemplations, here and there enhanced by various cybernetic hums and dissonant fragments. The piece gently drifts and builds until it reaches its peak when absolutely breathtaking sceneries can be explored. Get ready for total immersion, this is gracefully grandiose soundscape!!! The closing title long-form track, "Phase Shift" gets to nearly 33 minutes. Another big dose of sonic elixir for your body and mind is delivered here with tranquilly floating and ebbing infinite, rather flatlined drones. A masterful conclusion with monumentally expansive tension and ultra transporting effect!!! "Phase Shift" is a superb epic odyssey and another fantastic release by Hollan Holmes, both, visually and sonically. Without doubt, Hollan Holmes enters now the pantheon with the giants of deep space voyaging!!! "Phase Shift", which was mastered by his fellow Texas sonic sculptor Chad Kettering in his Soniclayers Mastering studio, is dedicated to Neil Armstrong. A must have for all connoisseurs of outer space oscillations and drifts!!!

Richard Gürtler (Apr 28, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Ran Kirlian "Formations" CDr

Spaniard Ran Kirlian, one of the driving forces behind Altera Orbe label, has released in October 2012 his third official solo CDr release "Formations", mostly based on live improvisations during 2009 and 2011. After dark ambient styled "Dissolution" and deep space-infused "Continuum" Ran Kirlian now delves into mysteriously fragranced and uniquely shaped sonic terrains, masterfully bridging deep organic mindscapes with delicate tribal groove escapades. The most challenging part of this blend is the use of overtone voices, which adds a quite distinctive dimension to already hauntingly immersing soundsculpting. "First Hours" ignite this mystifying journey with stunningly expressive overtone magics intriguing with intensely primordial ambience. Top-notch intro!!! Cavernous rumbles enrich eerie voice drones on "Aerthanna", later smooth and slightly cyber-tech flavored tribals step in, superiorly blending primitive culture with modern sound wizardry. Another massively absorbing expedition, bravo, Ran!!! Ancient woods are calling, "Crimson Trees" keep the path, with 14 minutes the longest "Formation". Again strangely flavored and hauntingly tapestried with few elusive melodic passages for fully intense shaman's healing journey. This is Ran Kirlian at his most organic and magical!!! The next piece, "Formations I", shifts to more serene and aerial spheres, gently expanding and drifting into more massive panoramas, enriched on the back by few distant cybernetic fragments. The gates of "Dark Territories" are unlocked and the listener is taken into fascinating nocturnal, deeply contemplative sceneries, which later percolate into lushly vibrant tribal canvas. "Forgotten Survivor" calms down at the beginning with darker drones, but later mild downtempos join the stage, expanding and relieving at the same time. "Quh Ong I" reveals with monstrous drone, that quickly steps down into quieter zone, but soon the ghostly overtone dissonances intertwine. Immense, rough, excessive, shrilling, but always deeply mesmerizing and transcendental, an "all-inclusive" bliss designed for your nightly musings!!! Once again, bravo!!! Expansive drone landscapes lead "Quh Ong II" until radiant shamanistic tribals invade, coalesce and encompass us with its hypnotic rite. Highly effective finale!!! Ran Kirlian has ventured with "Formations" into incredibly spectacular spirited terrains, quite uncharted when comparing to his previous two albums. More spins are required, but as soon you reach your deep immersion, all the mysteries behind "Formations" are revealed. Max Corbacho gets credit for the final mastering job. A superb performance by Ran Kirlian!!!

Richard Gürtler (Apr 23, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)

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Independent Music Reviews / My review of "Bardo" CD by Oöphoi
« on: April 20, 2013, 08:06:58 AM »


Oöphoi "Bardo" CD

Even if "Bardo" was released long time ago, back in 2002 on Russian Electroshock Records, with this review I would like to pay a little tribute to sole protagonist of Oöphoi, Gianluigi "Gigi" Gasparetti, who has recently passed away after a long fight with illness at the age of 55 years. I consider "Bardo" as one of the most treasured and influential works of this Italian drone shaman. Yes, undoubtedly "Bardo" is absolutely fascinating sonic voyage beyond the gates, accomplishing the state of sheer contemplation and transcendence. Based on Bardo, which means in Tibetan Buddhism a state between death and rebirth, the intermediate state. There are six states of Bardo, the album focuses on four of them. The journey unfolds with "Samten Bardo - Contemplation" (Bardo of Meditation), which dives deeply into mammoth sonic cave, where monstrous drone tsunami is occasionally reinforced by various primordial reverberations, ominous voices and tremulous hums. An ultimate sonic therapy!!! And appropriate exercise for your speakers too... Drone meditations have never sounded more grandiose and immersing, this is a track for your Throne of Drones!!! Flatlined drones invade "Chikai Bardo - Dissolution" (Bardo of the Course of Death), but soon they are united with eerie, hallucinogenic voices and assorted industrialized dissonances (some of them evoking screeching sounds of the passing train). Stunningly weird, but intense and stimulating deep trance-ambient solitudes. Ear- and mind-bending too... This deeply meditative drone odyssey overlaps also to the next composition, "Chonyi Bardo - A Path Of The Lights" (Bardo of the After-death). Intriguing mystery soon reveals, when exotic embellishments and sparse gongs and bells join this long-form piece, clocking to 29 minutes. After about 8 minutes Tibetan Buddhist Monks begin chanting their prayers along with ear-tickling percussions here and there and shift this composition into absolutely essential and magnificent high-altitude plateau. Slowly droning and gradually expanding into gracefully spectacular pilgrimage site. Yes, this is a truly unforgettable aural adventure that everyone must experience to reach this spiritual oasis!!! This is for me, along with David Parsons' "Mani", a true Sagarmāthā among the Tibetan Buddhism-infused ambient contemplations!!! "Sipai Bardo - Crossing The Bridge Of Existence The Eternal Cycle" (Bardo of the Rebirth within Samsara) blossoms with low rumbling drone expansions, ghostly voices and diverse noisier disruptions, and smoothly cascades and culminates through immense, mysteriously permeated terrains, before reaching powerfully intense pinnacle, a grand finale I must say!!! "Bardo" is one of the many milestones in Oöphoi's amazing discography!!! But the words are pouring very hard and I am not ashamed of tears in my eyes as the Lord of unfathomable drones now continues his journey beyond the gates of this world with kindred spirits such as Klaus and Kristian. Grazie Gigi, grazie grande Oöphoi, you will never be forgotten!!!

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

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: R.I.P. Oophoi
« on: April 12, 2013, 01:31:37 PM »


Gigi/Oöphoi & Kristián/Nextera

Courtesy of Jarka Medunová, private archive. Thank you, Jarka, for publishing this nice memorable photo. Using Jarka's words: "Now they are both reunited again." Rest in peace, Gigi & Kristián.

Richard

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: R.I.P. Oophoi
« on: April 12, 2013, 01:23:55 PM »


Another nice one, source unknown.

Richard

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