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Messages - Chronotope Project

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The sensuous ambient music of Chronotope Project has been featured on all of the major syndicated ambient and space music radio programs, including Hearts of Space, Echoes, Galactic Travels, Musical Starstreams, Ultima Thule and Star's End. The newest album, Event Horizon, is released today on the Relaxed Machinery label.
    • Read the review by Michael Diamond:
     http://michaeldiamondmusic.com/2013/10/17/event-horizon-by-chronotope-project/#more-3546

Each of the nine tracks has a strong sense of gravimetric pull toward a central motif, which enters the soundfield, evolves with the structure, then dissolves back into silence. The textures blend elements common to the art of Chronotope Project: an earthy foundation of sustained drones and rich chordal soundbeds, flowing watery melodies, the scintillating sparkle of fiery sequences, arpeggios and percussive inflections, and the etheric and mysterious veils that surround and envelop the texture.

      •
Hear Samples and Order at CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/chronotopeproject3

     •  Hear Samples and Download at Bandcamp:http://chronotopeproject.bandcamp.com/

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In celebration of the 20th anniversary of my first solo album, Vanish into Blue, I am pleased to offer a free download of the track that started my ambient music career, "Medicine Wheel," which was featured on Hearts of Space in 1993 and 1994. How space-time flies!
 http://chronotopeproject.bandcamp.com/track/medicine-wheel

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The nationally-syndicated ambient music program Hearts of Space is featuring the title track from Chronotope Project's "Solar Winds" in this week's program, also entitled "Solar Winds."  Other featured artists are John Lyell;  Broekhuis, Keller and Schonwalder, Meg Bowles, Craig Padilla and Zero Ohms; Hollan Holmes; and Nimanty and Solarsoul.

Host  Stephen Hill describes the program in this way:

In summer, the energy of the sun seems more intense. But the sun is a nuclear furnace that never stops, and the sun's corona is so hot that high energy particles there reach escape velocity, flying into space at over a million miles an hour in a stream called the solar wind.

Made of ionized atomic particles and magnetic fields from the sun's corona, the solar wind is spun into a spiral as the sun rotates every 27 days. Here on earth, variations in the sun's magnetic field carried by the solar wind create auroras — the northern and southern lights — the plasma tails of comets, and geomagnetic storms that can knock out power grids.

On this transmission of Hearts of Space...another interstellar journey on electronic waves, on a program called SOLAR WINDS.


Check your local station for broadcast times and dates. For more information about the program, visit Hearts of Space:
http://www.hos.com/#program/1017

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Artist: Chronotope Project  http://www.chronotope-project.com
Album: Chrysalis
Released: 5 November 2012
Label: Relaxed Machinery
 
Chronotope Project, the musical persona of Jeffrey Ericson Allen, produces an electronic music realized without turning off the conscious mind. His CD Chrysalis (72'12") presents five intriguing and renewing thought experiments - mental adventures on a darkling plain. The sounds themselves have but a small force of their own. Yet through Ericson Allen's arrangement, pacing and appealing sonic dynamics he convincingly re-conjures the singularly gorgeous auditory realm first heard on albums such as Light From Orion, The Stargazer's Journey and The Way Home. A deconstruction and deceleration of classic sequencer Spacemusic albums, Chrysalis offers lush detailing, the stability of consonance and a pleasant musical arc. The composer is in possession of a diverse musical background, which is kept in reserve - placing the more delicate ideas of texture and atmosphere over technique and virtuosity. When Ericson Allen occasionally connects with a melody, it is in a profound way. Whether sliding from one rounded note to the next, or beautifully converting a spare evenly paced melodic line into dramatically shifting chords, the listener is constantly being invited inside the piece. Other galaxy expanding works on Chrysalis pull our attention across a digital twilight realm defined by echoing chimes, slow slurring solos and a syncopated synthesizer pulse. Each chord change alters the direction, color and mood, and by album's end we feel a great resolution has been reached - leaving us with much to dream about.

- Chuck van Zyl / STAR'S END   21 February 2013

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CHRONOTOPE PROJECT
Chrysalis
CD-R/DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, Relaxed Machinery, 2102

The musician behind Chronotope Project is Jeffrey Ericson Allen, who has an eclectic background in classical, new acoustic and theatrical music. As a composer, Jeffrey is triggered by themes that contrast yin and yang, of mysteries that open themselves slowly, gradually unfolding and revealing hidden facets.

"Chrysalis" contains music centered on the theme of transformation and refers to the unity of space and time, the intimate connection of the relative and the absolute. Moreover, it’s a subtle and quite ambitious ambient/space release bridging smooth pulsations with dreamy, soft breathing textures, all spiced and deepened with extensive melodic curls and shapes.

The evocative and sensitive music on the five tracks glistens and evolves slowly, backed by some spatial percussive elements (executed in a minimal sense on three pieces) as it gently carries along. The ethereal and the atmospheric "shake hands" throughout the single tracks, evoking similar imaginary spheres and rich emotions as found on certain Robert Roach and Steve Roach releases, while executing its own true voice most of the time. The deepest, most tranquil spaces surface on the soft shimmering"Reflecting Pool". 


All in all, the sonic vistas created on"Chrysalis" are a mesmerizing kind of storytelling with a strong sense of wonder and true spirit running underneath.
A good pair of headphones is highly recommended for immersing in the aural splendor of this quality ambient release. Well done, Jeffrey!

Website: www.chronotope-project.com
© Bert Strolenberg, Sonic Immersion, 2/20/2013
www.sonicimmersion.org/review.php?letter=C&review=72619
reprinted with permission

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Canadian composer Blake Gibson, aka Broken Harbour, has quite obviously been in an intensive musical growth phase over these past couple of years. He explores still new stylistic material in this latest release, an extension of the ideas developed in his Gramophone Transmissions. As in this earlier album, the compositions pulse and oscillate with a mysterious sense of message;  I am reminded of the science fiction movie Contact. Gibson seems to be "tuning into" some kind of transmission, and its origin is distant, or perhaps as close as inner space. In his liner notes, he explains how the material emerged from a stem recording (entitled Ansible, like the final track), underwent extensive metamorphosis, and emerged transformed, burning away all traces of the original. I think that is such an interesting and original way to work, and it's really paid off in this worthy recording. "Ansible," by the way, is a term coined by Ursula LeGuin, to refer to a device capable of instantaneous communication over vast distances. It's a key concept for this album, and most probably a core motif for the work of Broken Harbour.

The component pieces of The Geometry of Shadows are vast soundscapes, carefully crafted to present themselves as whole entites from the beginning-- and as evolving journeys that carry the listener from one state to another. They each have a way of coming gradually into focus, revolving and revealing themselves, and then retracting from view. I use visual metaphors because the music lends itself so easily to abstract visualization. They are very much, as the composer says, reflections on the "interplay of light and darkness." I always check how I feel after an intensive headphone listening session of ambient music--in the this recording, I feel refreshed and quiet, like the music has cleansed me and returned me to the world more myself; I really can't ask for much more out of music.

There is plenty of variation in the textures of each of the five generous soundscapes, but there are also some recurrent motifs that bring unity to the work as a whole, including a metallic, shimmery wave that returns periodically--almost like a cosmic Morse code--and sounds that very slowly approach, promising epiphany. Some pieces are more subdued and coaxing to the ear (such as Superluminal and Ansible), while the whole frequency range is opened up in other places, ravishing the ear with a wall of sound, such as in Between the Darkness and the Light. Overall, they make an effective set, and offer the listener a wonderful immersive experience.
http://brokenharbour.ca/

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Broken Harbour: Gramophone Transmissions (2011)

There is something wonderfully incongruous about listening to these ambient meditations of Blake Gibson, aka Broken Harbour, like hanging out in a 19th century parlor with a DJ. The style is classically minimalistic, a small number of cycling motifs gradually morphing from one texture to the next. The pieces evolve slowly--and deep listening is required to let them play out their own logic. For a variety of reasons, I highly recommend headphones--and no distractions--to properly hear this music. Among other things, headphone listening will reveal the fascinating play of sound in the stereo field; it's dynamic and three-dimensional. Really nice mixing and mastering.

In Gramaphone Transmissions, the sonorities have been assembled from a variety of sources. One can almost work out what classical music phonograph records were sampled--splashes of impressionistic and bitonal harmonies suggest composers like Gustav Holst, but Broken Harbour has layered the loops so artfully that where the original sounds leave off and where his own tracks begin is hard to say. It's a kind of like sonic steampunk—pristine digital sampling and gritty analog recording combined. The album art—to die for, by the way—expresses this same artful melding of anachonistic elements.

It took the recording industry decades to evolve from scratchy 78s, and Broken Harbour evokes the history of the medium—and the history of music--to create an effect that I find very compelling in this album—old and new reflecting and illuminating one another. Modern digital recording is pristine, but we tend to take that for granted. It takes an artist (with guts!) to layer in the gritty sound of early analog records and thereby etch a patina of sonic noise in front of the perfect orbs that hover and glow behind them. Like a philosophical "Cloud of Unknowing," that requires a seeker to project his spiritual aspirations beyond the mists of our limited minds, we are asked to listen through a veil, and the added strain somehow makes the clear vision of the music all the more beautiful. This recording deserves--and even requires—repeated listening to reveal itself fully. It's a worthwhile journey, one that delights me both as a composer and a listener. Bravo!

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Spotify - your experiences ?
« on: January 24, 2013, 07:32:11 PM »
The pay for artists is paltry--it's true--but there may be some value in the exposure. As a listener, I have to say, I think it's great, and I do pay for the service, since it's commercial -free and streams at a decent bit rate. Lots of ambient artists are on it, and since I spend time listening every day, it's worth $10 a month to me.

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An important discussion, since "more is better" or "new is better" can be serious (and expensive!) distractions. When my mouth starts drooling over some new gear or software, I try to ask myself several questions:

1. What can I do with this that I cannot do now? Do I have a particular project or direction that really requires another gear-buy, or am I being seduced by advertising, or envy?

2.  Have I fully exploited the gear I already have? Do I really even know what I already have in my toolkit? I try to spend a couple of hours each week just auditioning sounds, and often come across some extraordinary things I never knew I even had.  And then, there are the many sounds I almost automatically reject. (Paid for, but not used.) Are they really unequivocal "rejects?" One powerful exercise for an electronic music composer is to identify some "reject" sounds, and to try to tweak or use them in a creative way. Sometimes, the "power of limits" can create a very fertile ground for new work. Sometimes, this leads absolutely nowhere, but sometimes--for me--it opens up a new avenue.

3. Am I using my current tools fully and creatively? Since I'm a cellist, I've explored all kinds of "extended technique" to open up the sonic possibilities of the instrument. If with this single instrument, I can create a whole universe of sounds, why not apply this philosophy to all of my instruments? This involves spending some more time with the "guts" of electronic instruments and software, rolling up one's sleeves, learning  more about their inner workings, and some admittedly "unproductive" time spent goofing around. But it can be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience, and lead to new frontiers in one's sound.

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