Amongst Myselves "Ambient, Landscape And Space" CDr/DVDr
It's always very interesting and challenging to see an ambient artist who pays attention also to the visual part of his compositions. But a CD/DVDr combined release is nothing new for Australian Steve Roberts, the protagonist of Amongst Myselves. Back in 2007 he has released his album "Auburn Silhouette" with bonus DVDr featuring 3 short films. Now he returns again with this format, only pressed CD is this time replaced by a CDr, but again nicely packaged in standard 2CD jewel case with printed 6-panel front cover. The album, released at the beginning of March 2012 through Steve Roberts' own Amongst Projects label, consists of 12 tracks, 9 of them are remixes of previously released pieces plus 3 unreleased. Even is solo project, Steve Roberts is joined on this album by Bernard Haseloff on guitar synth and Garry Roberts on electronic percussion. The journey opens with "Greybox Shadow (Into The Light Mix)", serenely washing organic ambience, here and there spiced by drums or electric guitar as well as by some gracefully floating celestial choir-like sounds. A very tranquil and relaxing intro! "Bay Of Dreams (Through The Memories Mix)" merges all kinds of environmental recordings (bird calls, child's voices, everyday's rumlings...) with smoothly drifting soundscapes, various buzzing and tinkling sounds and heavenly choirs. Richly colorful and enchanting piece of organic ambience! Recordings of ocean waves lead "Shoreline Fading", a short, transitional piece. "Argo Navis (Blinded Mix)" opens with buzzing effects, then the texture gets more richer, mysteriously droning on the back, with melodramatic expressions on the fore, although the piece remains rather minimal, but still quite effective and evocative. "Southern Lights (Black Hole Mix)" invade the journey with deeper, aerial drones enhanced here and there by high-tech effects, distant choir-like sounds. The texture keeps on expanding until it changes like chamaeleon into rhythm-infused, tribal adventure colored by few catchy sounds of birds. A very nicely bridged serenely gliding cloudscapes with stirring allegros. "Interstellar Message" is the next filler, sculpted with cybernetic experiments. "Ship Of Dreams (The Journey Continues Mix)" is invaded by crystalline tinkling and buzzing sounds, interplaying with the moments of silence. The piece keeps on cascading until it reaches fully orchestrated and cinematic feel leaded my marching rhythms. "Syene (A New World Mix)" holds its soundtracking mood, based on slightly distorted lazy, Mediterranean melody, with ocassional voices and shoutings appearing on the back. A very unique composition within ambient genre!!! "Demon Haunted World - Somnium" fits precisely its title, organic drifts are joined by sharper industrial rumblings, distorted grooves, alienating sounds and children's cryings. Another really strange, nearly cacophonic piece!!! "Interlude - The Dark And Cold" is painted by rainy, thunder and windy sounds as well as by assorted sonic experiments, rumblings and creakings, and strange voices. "Up Into The Air And Over The Edge (Between The Trees And Clouds Mix)" starts with arctic, windy atmospheres, slowly elevating into more massive and immersing level, enriched by expressively tender strings and fragilely tinkling bells, to capture a beautifully picturesque experience!!! The album reaches its finale with "Tales (It's Been A Good Trip Mix)", a truly ear-catching, melodic piece with its euphoric rhythms and atmospheres, infectiously blending synths, guitar and drums. Absolutely stunning closer, the name of the mix fits perfectly!!! Hats off to these Aussies for their highly distinctive, unique and courageous approach, when combining elements of various styles into richly sculpted and enormously diverse recording!!! And I am awarding this work with extra points also for audiophile sound quality.
I would like to pen few words also on the visual content. According to the infos, the visual pieces on the DVDr were created by Amongst Myselves' leader, Steve Roberts and visual artist, musician Bernard Haseloff. Loaded with 75 minutes of visuals, mostly based on time-lapse technique used by Steve Roberts and supported by oil paintings by Bernard Haseloff. Some pieces are leaded by time-lapse sceneries, presenting spectacularly beautiful, vast Australian landscapes, but also scenes from Egypt or Paris for example can be seen, some visuals are drifting into deeper space, some capture shadowy nocturnal beauty, while some others feature manipulated images. Few spooky paintings enter the show as well. The more rhythmed parts feature also some live performance footage. There are also polyhedra and rudimentary 3D graphics, created by Steve Roberts, and appearing on "Tales" track, on the first version interacting with live performance footage and time-lapse technique, while on the later version the 3D graphic take the dominating role, with time-lapse landscapes, but without live footage this time. I must say the visuals magnificently portray the music, a very nice work, guys!!!
"Ambient, Landscape And Space" is an all-inclusive audio/video package, explore it and be transported to many different adventurous places, a must have!!!
Richard Gürtler (Apr 10, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)