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Bach Side of the Moon (Baroque Adagios Reimagined) by Piers Adams & Larry Lush
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 1/16/2020
A refuge of favourites, lovingly caressed
I found fascinating juxtapositions emanating from this release that would touch me in ways I never imagined; my father and I had a difficult relationship at one time when I was a teenager, but we found a loving friendship through my love of electronic music (Vangelis/Tomita) and his love of all things classical, we shared musical ideas and pathways, ones which would create a great and long lasting relationship, when I look at Bach side of the Moon by Piers Adams & Larry Lush I see a familiar theme occurring.
There are, on this offering many tracks and composers I was introduced to, and I know if my father had of been alive today he would have adored this release, especially from two artists from the county where he once lived in Sussex, and where I once worked for the BBC. This journey of sorts starts with BACH Siciliano (from the Flute Sonata), this piece resonates in my heart to this day and the lush combination of recorder and synths, with that specific Bach motif is quite emotionally beautiful.
I remember to this day my father introducing me to ALBINONI Adagio (from Oboe Concerto Op. 9 No. 2). Still now it moves me and transports my thoughts back to Sunday afternoons in a winter sun listening to it, proving to me, if I needed proof, that music is indeed timeless. The talents of the two artists here is deeply respectful and thoroughly professional, as much can also be said for the tracks VIVALDI Adagio (from the Oboe Concerto), a deep and beautifully fluent arrangement and performance, and into the arms of a truly masterful opus entitled SAMMARTINI Siciliano (from the Recorder Concerto), a piece that retained a certain lightness of performance, but held within it an emotive energy that was so deeply enjoyable.
There are so many pieces that I know so well on this album, ones that have been lovingly caressed into the womb of the 21st century by the guiding hands of the recorder and synths/keyboards of Adams and Lush. An example is the quite exquisite HANDEL Largo (from Trio Sonata Op. 2 No. 1) a composer who was always more than Water Music, then the moody offering of PURCELL Dido's Lament (from Dido and Aeneas). A track where the scene is set so beautifully and with such depth by the synths of Lush, and to prove my previous ejaculation about Handel, his Eternal Source of Light (from Birthday Ode to Queen Anne) by the performances on all three I was completely transfixed.
If you have been in search of something different musically to enjoy, then that quest will be completed if you purchase this release, as you will find your new age classical fix being totally satisfied, especially with offerings like GLUCK Dance of the Blessed Spirits (from Orfeo) and one of my all-time favourites VIVALDI Cantabile (from the Flute Concerto 'Il Gardellino), such tender delights can be found within both pristine performances.
BACH Adagio (from the Flute Sonata) carries it’s calmness with such a wonderful regal posture, whilst VIVALDI Largo (from the Recorder Concerto) was literally transformed into an arrangement that would reveal an avant-garde energy, while the tones and timbre of ALBINONI Adagio (from the Oboe Concerto Op. 7 No. 3) would grace us by being our penultimate composition, one that would suit my futuristic desires beautifully. The whole project would be fluently finished off by a performance granting us a delicate presentation of BACH Andante (from the Flute Sonata), for me I couldn’t think of a better way to finish, and the recorder of Adams ends this illustrious voyage of plenty, with such style and panache.
Bach Side of the Moon by Piers Adams & Larry Lush is the album you may have been searching for all your life, for within its musical walls the listener will find not only a refuge from much of the banal material that one is bombarded with from the media these days, but a new playground of classical favourites, ones lovingly caressed into this new century by a pairing of artists who clearly both play with their hearts on their proverbial sleeves.
Rating: Excellent
Deeper Imaginings by Paul Adams
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 1/16/2020
Perfect performances and beautiful compositions
Adams and Geyer are tireless musicians who seek the perfection of tone and quality, a relentless pursuit of perfection, in the same way Sir Galahad sought the Holy Grail. Like the aforementioned Arthurian legend, it would seem to me that they have at last found this Eldorado of musical greatness, it is entitled Deeper Imaginings.
From the very first track, Endless Horizon, it really becomes apparent that you are listening to something earth shatteringly great. This smooth, tranquil almost dream-like opus of a multi-instrumental nature is the perfect entrance offering, one that allows us the listener so much room to walk within musically.
Much can be said of the breath taking composition that quickly follows entitled The Unfolding. I have listened to the energy and interplay of the flute here with the plethora of added instrumentation, and the resulting composition is utterly glorious, while Geyer is known for her work on Flugelhorn primarily, her skills on piano are illustrious on this offering, the eastern influences on this arrangement alone made this one of my favourite pieces off the release.
With tracks like the peace-filled energies of Acceptance, we have a track that almost takes me back to the glory days of German flautist and new age composer Deuter, combine this with Hoffman on Trumpet, who is sublime in his own right, and the gentle subtleties of Geyer on Piano and you have a stunning composition.
New Morning was one of those tracks that does exactly what it says on the can, one has to add that the multi-instrumental nature of this offering in particular was sublime in creating the mood of early morning, this can also be said about Essence & Flow, a smooth and beautiful pastiche of music, that literally manifested wave after wave of tranquil dimensions to explore, and then the piano and flute open a musical world of expectant serenity with the offering Allowing. I must admit I was close to falling into a deep meditative mood at this juncture, I believe that’s called, bliss.
That sense of oneness continued with the next track entitled Still Meadows, I found this so redolent of the subject matter and could with ease picture myself in a summer field watching the wonder of nature dance before my eyes.
Adams and Geyer have created something quite translucent here, and this next glowing offering is a testament to that statement, it’s entitled Awakening, a wonderful reality of anticipation could be drawn from this luscious musical narrative; its multi-instrumental flavours and its eastern musical essences, were an absolute delight to bathe within.
The brass is strong in this next offering, as is the flute and the connection of crafted genius that goes with a composition of this nature, one with a Jazzy feel about it’s construction, the said title is All That I Am, the spoken narrative was also equally enthralling; the rhythmic energies of this composition truly spoke to me.
The penultimate offering was a piece entitled Evening, its notes were like a fine red wine, perfection to taste and tranquillity beyond anything you have heard before, and always leaving you wanting more. The symbiotic flow took us into the arms of the last track called Hope For The Game, a perfect ending piece for this absolutely radiant and serene album.
I have heard many albums this year in the contemporary instrumental field, but in all honesty you’re not going to get any better than this. Deeper Imaginings by Paul Adams and Elizabeth Geyer is one of those albums, packed with perfect performances, an abundance of quality musicians and with a production quality that was as beautiful as the compositions within it. The impeccable nature of this album must surely make it utterly irresistible to the listener, so I urge you to make Deeper Imaginings part of your musical collection as soon as you can, your soul will love you for it.
Rating: Excellent
A Day Like Any Other by Darshan Ambient
- posted by Robin James on 1/13/2020
A Day Like Any Other
NOTE: it is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Michael Allison, aka Darshan Ambient, January 9, 2020

Instrumental electronica, with layers so loopy and delicate, with components of cycling patterns, with surprising line breaks, with quick, associative leaps, and peppy repetition on this moment of insight or revelation. The music overall constantly has the beat, especially the brighter melodies, it is consistently energetic. With all of its richness and vitality, this day is, in the end just “like any other,” subject to an exotic location and a masterpiece of varied tones and sample sources, such as you might hear from synthesizers, strings, guitars, and chimes. Electronics zoom in like a telephoto lens to see the dust inside yesterday and then tomorrow, and pulls back to consider the entire, ordinary day in which all these things occur. It also registers the mixture of repetition and variety in everyday life, with its insistence underscored by reiteration, to make a declaration about what is valuable, what is worth noticing, because that will so fascinate the listener. It is a day like any other, deliberately leaving open what “it” is meant to refer to, is “it” the meaning of this specific everyday moment? It’s a day like any other, calling us as it explores the complex and moving musical poetics of everyday life at the center of this work.

Darshan Ambient discovers a new, more vital mode of music, one highly attuned to what is happening right in front of our noses, all the time. In a way, he realizes a song could be born simply from paying close attention to the present and immediate, to what was happening outside the window, he turns away from the remote and the antique, and toward the common and familiar. Through his gift we are suddenly aware that this kind of “marvelous” event happens every day, and that only our inattention obscures it from view.

The first track is titled “City of the Seven Hymns” (5:20) and features percussion and synthesizer beats with celestial organ and steel guitar, using precise and fresh images to notate how the listener’s ear perceives the minute and shifting details of an ordinary dusk in an ordinary evening at sunset.

“Ah! Sunflower” (4:01) brings strings and uplifting feelings, the resulting sensation itself serves as both the fruit of that recognition and a recognition about subject matter, about attentiveness to daily life, and about form, with intelligent light.

Flowing out of fragments he chose but might have otherwise never used, “The Echoing Green” (2:56) is a slower darker deeper track to listen and think about, in an associative fashion that is possibly meant to mirror the way consciousness actually moves in daily life, as if concealed in each drop of water is the sea.

Up the pace again with piano sounds including the hammer strikes and reverb pedal wide open, embracing organic form, quotidian experience, and colloquial instrumental language, “Wishful Thinking” (4:33).

“A Little Wool Gathering” (4:38) so whimsical with strings bright pace, the listener’s jaw drops open at the wonderful, accidental congruence of this contingent everyday moment. Or so it seems now.

Next the sound is slower and darker, reflective and somber, “He Lamented His Thoughtless Acts” (4:34) echoing the colors of the setting sun in the sky and building facades, vividly etching the gritty details of the urban scene, with dizzy whirls between self and world, where the differences blur.

A succeeding sortie of heavy sustainment systems that allow long term survival, the bare necessities to live another day, behold “LightFighter” (5:11). Here and now I cannot adequately tell you why I like it (I do) and why it works (it does), it features many new textures including passages of backwards sounds, perhaps from a piano. An efficient design, demonstrating the benefits of the element of surprise, lyrical superiority in the air, to simultaneously have superior maneuverability, and to possess suitable melodic effectiveness.

This next track for me allows the present to mingle with memories of the past, in particular. Enjoy glimpses of the “Shadow Lines” (5:23) featuring guitar electronique, expanding loops which seem to effortlessly arrive at this commitment and devotion to the literal and unsymbolic day.

While the reference remains loose and indeterminate, “The Rain Has Flown” (4:49) favors a classical guitar sound, with electric guitar trills and decorations, a bit of steel guitar (country-western style slide guitar sounds) at a moderate pace that is not so up and also not so dark, to conjure up memories of other rhythm and rhyme.

The title song, “A Day Like Any Other” (4:02), has a nice energetic pace, strummed guitars with electric spices, a pronounced beat, a walk on a sunny day’s conclusion which turns the everyday – and everydayness – into its central theme and subject, as well as an object of representation, ‘a day like any other.’

The album’s listening adventure concludes with “The Republic Of Dreams” (4:44) perhaps a bit energetic for a sleep piece but illustrative of positive dreaming, an upbeat tune. It comes in with a quiet feeling and then rises in tempo and pace, to help us find out more, including how to control something marvelous happening, transforming everything. It then occurred to me that this happened more often than not, which catches the composer at the very moment of a conversion to an everyday-life aesthetic.

Michael Allison hales from San Francisco, California. In 1992 after several years as bassist, guitarist, and vocalist, for groups like Nona Hendryx & Zero Cool, Richard Hell And The Voidoids, China Shop and Empty House, he began a solo project using the name Darshan Ambient. The name Darshan is derived from the Sanskrit word darshana meaning something like “sight,” “vision,” or “appearance.” In 2008 his CD From Pale Hands To Weary Skies won Best Ambient Album for the New Age Reporter (NAR) Lifestyle Music Awards. His music has been used in films, documentaries and television commercials.

In an interview on the radio program Echoes (October 2013), Allison reveals that “Growing up with the Beatles and progressive rock, I’m always trying to be progressive with the music that I’m doing and that’s really what I, what I consider myself doing is more progressive music than anything else. And that could be anything. Progressive music could have jazz elements, classical rock, you know, that sort of thing.”

Overall, A Day Like Any Other is an upbeat, melodic and energetic album, positive and well lit, no brooding darkness or strange zones. Most of the songs are a walk on a bright sunny day, moving right along and with a happy feeling, as reflected in the cover art created by Spotted Peccary graphic design master Daniel Pipitone.

1 City of the Seven Hymns
2 Ah! Sunflower
3 The Echoing Green
4 Wishful Thinking
5 A Little Wool Gathering
6 He Lamented His Thoughtless Acts
7 LightFighter
8 Shadow Lines
9 The Rain Has Flown
10 A Day Like Any Other
11 The Republic Of Dreams
Rating: Excellent
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