Author Topic: Drone On's review of "Lunar Monograph" CD by Beta Cloud  (Read 791 times)

drone on

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Drone On's review of "Lunar Monograph" CD by Beta Cloud
« on: June 04, 2012, 10:40:30 AM »
I've been meaning to write this for the last almost two months after literally stumbling across this gem on iTunes (you know, the "people who bought this also bought_____" deal).  I had heard the name previously.  The artist, Carl Pace, had a release on Relaxed Machinery (in fact I think it is a free download).  "Lunar Monograph," released in 2010 on Laughing Bride Media, is his third release, which is on a pressed CD (nice!) and was mastered by James Plotkin.  The track titles are all named after lunar marias (seas); there is also a sort of album concept that Pace explains as: "The album addresses our own perceptions of our lives; the world around us, the moon above, and what lies beyond that; the waxing and waning of our own personal existences."  Pace very effectively achieves this concept through the lush mix of environmental sounds, atmospheric guitars, piano, floating synth drones, and even drums and bass on one track.  I would call this music "earth based space music" in that there is a yearning quality to leave Earth's atmosphere yet there is also one foot placed firmly on, well, terra firma.  Effective opener "Marsh of Sleep" begins with radio sounds and someone flicking a Bic (wonder what they were smoking?); slowly ethereal synth chords waft in and a plaintive, melancholy electric guitar cries out over the environmental soundscapes.  Next up, 22-minute "Sea of Rains" fuses reverb-drench piano chords with rainy street sounds.  Again we have the feeling the music could be a simultaneous soundtrack to downtown Seattle on a rainy day or on the lunar surface.  The repetitive nature of this track and its length suggest it could have been edited down a bit, but it has such a narcotizing effect that you literally get lost in its gorgeousness.  Third track "Marsh of Epidemics" takes a radical turn and is a rocket ride into outer space with propulsive drums and expansive shoegaze guitars with the volume turned up to eleven.  We have officially left Earth.  What a great track!  I am reminded of the opening track on Solitaire's Recycle or Die album "Fearless," which employed a similar drum n' bass idea with heavy atmospherics.  In fact, if you like that album as much as I do, you will love "Lunar Monograph" as the overall feel of the entire album is very similar.  Track four, "Sea of Tranquility", is another mammoth 21-minute epic.  Here we are in spacey drone territory a la Oophoi with eerie soundscapes that last for several minutes; the track then lightens up with some organ-type sounds and dub effects such as echoed voice samples, heavenly choirs, and field recordings, bringing the listener's other foot back to Earth.  Finally, the 9-minute closer "Bay of Billows" returns to where the album began with the melodic and quite emotional guitar tones and environmental sounds that started the journey.  In summary, a phenomenal gem of a recording that I can highly recommend to all ambient space music heads out there.  I am really looking forward to hearing more in the future from this excellent sound sculptor.     

btocher

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Re: Drone On's review of "Lunar Monograph" CD by Beta Cloud
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012, 07:44:15 AM »
Ah, this looks interesting, thanks!

drone on

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Re: Drone On's review of "Lunar Monograph" CD by Beta Cloud
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2012, 08:01:19 PM »
Thanks, welcome to the forum!  Your reviews are excellent, I look forward to reading more.  :)

btocher

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Re: Drone On's review of "Lunar Monograph" CD by Beta Cloud
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2012, 10:36:39 AM »
Thanks, welcome to the forum!  Your reviews are excellent, I look forward to reading more.  :)


Thank you kindly! I'm very much enjoying yours too :)

In an email exchange earlier today with jkn, I discovered that the Beta Cloud album on rM is a charity-only release. It's available to download from CD Baby for $5 USD: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/betacloud3 . I bought it around an hour ago, though I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet.

jkn

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Re: Drone On's review of "Lunar Monograph" CD by Beta Cloud
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2012, 04:55:34 AM »
I like the fact that Lunar Monograph and Book of Five Rings have a similar pattern of 5 tracks - with the 3rd track being a louder heavier drum affair.  Carl's a wonderful guy from the Buffalo area and he's slowed down his music a ton the last few years since having a lovely little daughter. 

Book of Five Rings (link in Baxter's post) is setup to send 100% of the proceeds to the Cancer Research charity Carl supports.  It means a lot to him.  It means a lot to me.  I was really happy to help him get this album out. 

If you search on youtube - you'll find several live shows of his from The Ambient Ping up in Toronto... he used to be quite a regular performer.
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei