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Elevations by Erik Wøllo
- posted by Astral Jim on 8/8/2019
Remastered special edition
The sound is bright and cold, against a deep black sky, with an astounding variety of tone colors, and melodies that are sometimes haunting and sometimes uplifting. And there are these little interesting odd mysterious things that happen in there. A series of Odysseys and time spent looking down onto mountain tops. Alternating clusters of tunes with a beat and some tunes with no such containers. I am a big science fiction fan and this works really well for evoking amazing vistas on distant spheres, among other cosmic delights. Favorites: “Novalis” which has an energetic pulse and repeating alternating patterns under a tart guiding melody; “Green Odyssey” for the abstract Bossa Nova jungle scenes, and “The Land of Birds” which features layered classical guitars floating in space, working out a slow motion call and response.
Rating: Excellent
Fire Opal by Massergy
- posted by Astral Jim on 8/8/2019
From the Texas wilderness comes a gem
The range of sounds gathered to create Fire Opal includes guitars, with the usual analog technology and synthesizers that Massergy uses to bring the wilderness of that part of Texas into your listening experience, in his unique way. True to his musical legacy and his approach to composition, occasionally exploring the textural and cerebral sonic territories where there is no driving beat, these guitar sounds range from harmonic finger picking to melodic expositions, usually in the proximity of ambient synthesizers, sometimes alone and sometimes supported by a bass guitar. My favorites are “Lunar Cinema” with what sounds like a horn, thoughtfully examining the ancient stone ruins on the moon using a spotlight at night; and “Cold White Smoke” which has an extended swirling dialog between what sounds to me like some sort of a metallic glockenspiel, with keyboards and the electric guitars, all under a synthesizer glow.
Rating: Excellent
How It Happened by Tom Eaton
- posted by Astral Jim on 8/8/2019
The music floats like an Aurora Borealis
Dark electronic wonderment, inspired by imagining the story of rivers in the winter. Slow shivering piano with synthesizer textures and sparkles. Meditations from deep under water, slow and relaxed. There is a polished and breathtaking quality consistently through all the work here. The cover art shows winter with no snow, the grass growing by the river is brown and dry, but the colors are rich and you can feel the season. This music lasts forever, time stops, and you can experience the eternity of deep listening. Once upon a time music that could put people to sleep was considered to be a problem, this music does not force you to sleep but it does allow for your thoughts to emerge in a natural way and you will very likely find yourself feeling relaxed. It is pretty to listen to, very delicate and haunting. Mr. Eaton has a career of experience with recording and producing some of the finest music on the planet; this new album takes the work to a new place. The sound on How it Happened comes from from many sources, including electronic, compared to the mostly piano-based music that precedes this album (Matjora is Still Alive, Abendromen and Indesterren). There is plenty of piano on How it Happened but this album is a study in sounds that are not so much focused on the piano. My personal favorite here is “Later, At Night, by the Lake,” the sound just shimmers there behind the speakers and I want to turn the lights off and see if it glows in the dark.
Rating: Excellent
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