Robert Scott Thompson "Upon The Edge Of Night" CDr
In Roswell, Georgia, based composer Robert Scott Thompson describes himself as a musical alchemist and this is definitely the best description suiting to his soundsculptings. Robert Scott Thompson has crossed my radar for the first time during the second half of the 90's with his two stunning works, "The Silent Shore" (1996) and "Frontier" (1998), released on Canadian Mirage label. At that time he had released about 6 other albums, yet still remained quite unrecognized. Now, 15 years later, Robert Scott Thompson owns huge discography counting over 50 solo albums and collaborations, with nearly all of them released through his own Aucourant Records (Hypnos and Lens Records are few exceptions), ranging from more ambient infused titles through electroacoustic, acousmatic, avantgarde and contemporary electronica to more minimal meditative.
"Upon The Edge Of Night" album, released on Aucourant Records during December of 2012 as a CDr edition packaged in elegant digipak, has immediately caught my attention with its title and cover images. 16 and half minutes long opener "Strange Lines And Distances" ranges in the same category with Robert's above mentioned ambient jewels such as "The Silent Shore" and "Frontier". Tranquilly floating dronescaping ambience is masterfully emphasized by gorgeously infinite celestial choir-like gracefulness and few distant piano embellishments. Some cool strange sounds emerge here and there. Warmly inviting and hauntingly expansive beginning, pure beauty, more please!!! Nicely titled "Glass Is The Enemy Of The Secret" shifts straightly into more textured terrains, although backing panoramas remain soothingly sweeping and the main motifs are gently harmonious and poetic with some additional, fragilely swirling synthesized glass-like fragments precisely displaying the track title. All quite sparse and evocative. "The Misty Place" keeps minimal feel of its predecessor. Contemplative atmofields are precisely bridged with translucent tinkles and few ear-catching disruptions pop-up throughout. The piece slowly evolves then again fades into calmer passages, but always having its balmy and nostalgic mood. Essentially sedative journey!!! And it overlaps also to the next composition entitled "In The Flow That Follows". It blends relaxing organic sounds and soft urban rumbles with deeply evocative, cinematic blankets, wistful piano and sluggish strings. Subtly pleasant sceneries arise, quietly relaxing and gently immersing, and for long time buried memories start to awake. Utterly captivating masterpiece!!! "Listening Before Radar" is a short, transitional piece sounding slightly more discordant when comparing to previous cuts. "Far Side Of The Sky" returns again into enveloping panoramas, this time with its eloquently sorrowful touch. "A Winter's Music" is another longer piece, clocking to 16 and half minute mark. Quietly expansive dronescape is attractively colored with highly expressive and captivating strings with some softly swirling trinkets attached. A truly magnificent, deeply meditative composition masterly displaying serene atmosphere of gorgeously glimmering winter wonderland!!! The closing title track, "Upon The Edge Of Night", reveals all the magic of nightfall heaven with coalescing splendidly ethereal washes with bass hums, singing cicadas and ephemeral organics and chimes. Brilliantly beautiful finale bringing to mind (along with "In The Flow That Follows") "The River Of Appearance", one of the great classics.
"Upon The Edge Of Night" is undeniably a very strong album, it quickly became one of my fave atmospheric ambient works by this highly crafted composer, who is currently a Professor of Music Composition/Music Recording Technology at Georgia State University School of Music in Atlanta. I think this recording is still mostly unrecognized, it's a big shame, because Robert Scott Thompson always delivers significant signature, versatility and refinement in his music. This virtuosity certainly deserves to be explored!!!
Richard Gürtler (Oct 24, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)