Sylken "Music For Spaceports" CDr
I will start straightly, there is no need to evade the truth, Sylken is certainly one of the best kept secrets on the ambient scene!!! In Toronto based Eric Hopper, the main driving force behind Sylken, is known for his extensive collaborations with many other members of The Ambient Ping gang, the creative community of audio artists, performers, musicians and visual artists, mostly based in Toronto area. "Music For Spaceports" CDr, the upcoming album by Sylken, is no exception, because Eric has again teamed with many fellow soundscapers and this ensemble offers to each listener gorgeously textured soundscapes, which stunningly capture all the beauty and immenseness of space-infused ambience. The release date is scheduled for May 1st, 2014, via Erik Hopper's Sylken Music.
The journey ignites Eric Hopper alone with "Sunstreams", which has a soothingly joyful feel. Gracefully expansive pads are hauntingly crossed with many, shimmeringly moving ingredients. Delicately crafted cascades and nuances provide a strongly transporting effect throughout the whole length of this track, with clocking over 8 and half minutes, "Sunstreams" is the longest composition on this album. The track title is masterfully displayed, a very strong opener!!! On "Dreamship" is Eric joined by Wally Jericho and Beau Lukes. Celestial choirs graciously emerge from behind the gentle electronic clouds, but soon these placid spheres are invaded by incredibly expressive trumpet by Wally Jericho. Also assorted cyber-tech fragments join the stage and give to this piece a slightly futuristic feel, but of course it is a magic trumpet that creates this incomparable cinematic elegance. However, the show is not over yet, as Wally Jericho gradually adds distant saxophone, which is fascinatingly counterpointed with his trumpet. I don't know exactly how Eric and Beau have divided the rest of their duties on this composition, I believe Beau was responsible for balmily mesmerizing percussions, but it really doesn't matter, because "Dreamship" is an incredibly extraordinary musical experience to me!!! Remember the milestone "From The Dark Earth" by Meg Bowles and David Bilger? So this is the same top league, welcome to the Ambient Hall of Fame!!! Bravo, Eric, Wally & Beau!!! On "Universa" Scott M2 of dreamSTATE steps to the scene and together with Eric they deliver richly textured space ambience, which serenely meanders through assorted ear-catching elevations, here and there enriched by tranquil organics. Pleasantly spacious and refreshing as a coastal breeze!!! On the next track, "Galaxis", Eric remains in expansive realms, moving up and down with his nostalgic tones, while fragile tinkles euphoniously glisten above. The track title "Ancient Skies" indicates shift into slightly shadowy terrains, although flimsy clinks lighten the overall mood. But distant processed flute flavoring adds a quite mysterious dimension. Rob Hoare (for his flute) and Steven Sauvé are credited on this track. Marvelously unfathomable listening experience, definitely another pinnacle on this album!!! On the shortest piece, "Interspace", Eric acts as a sole protagonist and he merges various small fragments into a quite minimal texture, on which sparser expressions are nicely permeated with stillness. "Starsong", with additional performances by Beau Lukes and Michael Holcer, swiftly returns into dreamier spheres, but hauntingly warm melody steals the forefront with a mix of laid-back velvety percussions swirling overhead, with some of them having a very pleasant tribal touch. Everything is blended very effectively and the final result is a strongly relaxing and high-spirited. Another ear candy!!! "Celestica" is accurately portrayed by its ethereal washes, floating with all the grace and infinity, bathing the listener in balmy foam to entirely soothe his/her body and mind!!! Eric Hopper excels at this one alone, but on the closing two tracks Terrence O'Brien of Anomalous Disturbances shows to add his touch. The first "Solaris" rather remains on the same, massively embracing paths as its predecessor, tranquilly winding, but an array of cybernetic infusions attractively illuminate the trajectory. "Mobieus" quietly unfolds and safely keeps its course through gorgeously boundless space, rather minimal than colossal, painting continuously mesmerizing circles, while occasional distant gong-like sounds add a quite contemplative conclusion to this wonderfully virtuosic odyssey!!!
Yes, several artists on one utterly magnificent journey, that's "Music For Spaceports"!!! I have been always fascinated by Canadian ambient scene for its diversity, richness and innovativeness. On "Music For Spaceports" you will find excelling many protagonists of this scene. On a personal note, more than 20 years have passed since I was visiting Toronto last time, but I would be very happy if I could comeback one day, personally meet all the people behind this scene, raise a glass of good beer with them and thank them for all their inspirational music they constantly create. Please note, it's a quite difficult task to locate Sylken albums, so the easiest way is to contact Eric Hopper directly via his FB account. Don't hesitate to do it even if some of you don't like this type of networking, because otherwise you will miss a true gem!!! "Music For Spaceports" is a definite must have album!!!
Richard Gürtler (Mar 30, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)