Serene long-form ambient performance. Mantra is a single track of fifty three minutes and twenty five seconds - luminous and tranquil. The music of mantra is a sensitive layering of minimalist melody, warm, shifting texture and wafting percussives - reminiscent of floating in tropical waters. The rich drone beds flow in idle currents, hang in liquid haze or swell from within in liquid blossomings - vaguely voice-like murmurings with glassy highlights and metallic sheen. Lustrous pads loom and drift in sparse formation through this sonic ocean hinting at melody, harmonious, minimal and subtle. This suggestion of structure is taken up by a final overlayer of meandering notes that rise and fall in graceful slow motion; chime-like, piano like, synthetic - often heavily muted, softened, dulled. For a long while the closest thing to any percussion is the occasional steely ring deep in the mix, then in time the clack and rattle of faint impacts arises for a while, muted chimes afar off, slowly, imperceptibly giving way to a lighter effervescent fizzle. In places there is a sense of descent as if dropping carelessly, deep into an endless abyss, in other places the expanse is almost galactic as if alone under the night sky but for the hiss and sparkle of crickets.
Mantra presents a sublime sense of well-being and immersive relaxation. The environment is warm and inviting and once the listener is steeped in the sound, the sense of drifting amid peaceful tides and shifting densities is very compelling. For the most part, the surroundings have a fluid nature, the feeling of envelopment maintained by the burbling persistence of the drones. In places the dronescape lightens and becomes increasingly airy, insectile fizz adding to the impression of emergence - the large soft edged forms distantly inhabiting the space alternating somewhere between cloud banks and submerged oceanic behemoths.
Appropriately the imagery of Mantra is simple, ambiguous and beaming with inner light. An azure ground fills all panels illuminated by a turquoise pink brightness that suggests sun beams in clear water. The front cover holds a raised line of script reminiscent of painted stone - stark and solid against the surrounding expanse. The rear cover has only the expanse, minimal text - just titles, timing and label details. The same is true within - a single sheet insert - fluid blue space - 2009 Aucourant Records.
Robert Scott Thompson releases Mantra via his own Aucourant Records as a single track lasting almost an hour. The music was created using real-time performance techniques with an interesting approach, promotional material explains: "At the base of the work is a specialized computer program for audio processing which treats vocal sounds as live input from a microphone. The singing is analyzed by the program and a real-time accompaniment is created spontaneously, based on the pitch and amplitude of the sung sounds - among other attributes. Resulting sounds are mixed together by the program and form the main structural aspect of the composition." The Aucourant website contains three samples from the CD illustrating the gently evolving nature of the music.
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM
This is a very relaxing album with a positive spirit, buoyant and warming. The music is ideal for restful contemplation, creating an uplifting space or to take Robert's own words auditory retreat.