Tag Archives: ambient

Contemplative Ambient Soundscapes

Steve Roach – Soul Tones (Timeroom Editions, 2012)

Innovative electronic music artist Steve Roach has explored many sound realms, from deep ambient to tribal and Berlin-style electronics. On Soul Tones he generates mesmerizing ambient music atmospheres that evolve bit by bit, creating a calm timeless sense of floating in space.

The album contains only two compositions, the 45-minute long Soul ones and the 28-minute Resolved.

Soul Tones delivers exquisite ambient harmonies by one of the masters in the genre.

Buy the digital edition of Soul Tones.

The CD is available from steveroach.bandcamp.com/album/soul-tones

Entrancing Southeast Asian Electronic Ambiance

Forrest Fang – Animism (Projekt Records, 2012)

Animism is a superb ambient album by American multi-instrumentalist and composer Forrest Fang. He’s well known for his brilliant mix of ambient electronic music with acoustic instruments from various parts of the globe.

I’ve seen Fang labeled as new age, but his music leans much more towards the progressive side than the usual easy listening new age.

Throughout Animism, Fang produces mesmerizing layers of electronics that revolve around the acoustic sounds of gamelans, various string instruments and flutes.

Forrest Fang’s music takes you into new sonic worlds resembling crystalline rain drops, trance-like metallic percussion, hypnotic drones that float across your room, and exotic Asian and Middle Eastern melodies played on Turkish baglama, flutes and other instruments.

On Animism , Forrest Fang plays synthesizers; electronics; acoustic and electric violins; Turkish baglama; Vietnamese dan bau; flute; Southeast Asian kendang (barrel drum); Turkish lavta; Southeast Asian kulintang (row of gongs); marxolin (small fretless guitar-zither); mandolin; Spanish bandurria; cane flute; and percussion.

Buy Animism

Mesmerizing Sounds for Real or Imagined Films

Zero Times Everything – Sonic Cinema (ZXE Music, 2017)

Sonic Cinema is a fascinating sound exploration album by Zero Times Everything. The three musicians create a magical world of cinematic sounds that draw influences from various progressive music genres.

The album opens with the industrial sounds of “And Now This.” It’s followed by “Events in a Field” a mix of ambient and minimalist electronics.

On track 3, “Led” Zero Times Everything plays a mix of hard rock riffing and progressive rock lines.

Next is “Accident,” where you’ll find a mix of ambient sounds, effects, drones and distorted guitar.

“Natron 40” presents mysterious mechanical sounds and progressive rock-style guitars.

The eerie track 6, “Ghost” reveals hypnotic enveloping sounds and odd beats.

On track 7, “Kapital” the influences turn towards Berlin and Dusseldorf, with trance like Berlin-style sequencers, symphonic passages and robotic voices.

“Vox Populi” features a cacophony of sounds and voices with underlying sequences and string synths.

Track 9, “Schizoid” introduces nightmarish sounds, child voices and increasingly high pitched psychedelic guitars.

The album concludes with “The Cathedral of All Saints” where you hear a childlike organ sound and reverberating synths that morphs into deep ambient electronica.

The lineup includes Richard Sylvarnes on Kaoss pads, loops, synths, rhythms, guitars, and vocals; Pietro Russino on guitars, loops, and violin; and Tony Geballe on guitars, synths, and loops. Special guest: Sønje Sylvarnes on vocals.

Buy Sonic Cinema

Richard Barbieri’s Intergalactic Soundscapes

Richard Barbieri – Planets + Persona (KScope, 2017)

Planets + Persona is a new album by British keyboardist, composer and sound designer Richard Barbieri. He’s well known for his work with a new wave band called Japan as well as his keyboard creations for Porcupine Tree.

Richard Barbieri creates remarkable instrumental soundscapes that have a cinematic feel, incorporating ambient electronic elements, ethereal jazz, distant voices, minimalism and other mesmerizing sounds.

Planets + Persona includes a piece titled “Solar Sea.” Barbieri has released a video of “Solar Sea” that has a 360° option, produced by Miles Skarin. To watch it in 360° you will need to view “Solar Sea” using the latest version of the YouTube app on iOS and Android. By moving your smartphone or tablet, you will be able to look around the 360 degree view.

To watch “Solar Sea” on a desktop or laptop computer, you will need the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Opera. You will then be able to shift the view by clicking and dragging inside the video player or by using the WASD keys. For the most immersive experience, a VR headset is recommended.

Buy Planets + Persona in the Americas and rest of the world

Buy Planets + Persona in Europe

Artist Profiles: EchoTest

EchoTest

Bassists Julie Slick and Marco Machera met the Three of a Perfect Pair Music Camp in 2011. They started collaborating in April 2014 to play a short series of concerts in Tuscany, after Julie’s European tour with The Crimson ProjeKCt.

Very instinctively, new songs were written during a few days of rehearsals. The spur-of-the-moment bass duets ended up being so satisfying and well-received that Julie and Marco ultimately decided to write and record more material together. They named their project EchoTest. The group’s live performances and albums include various acclaimed musicians such as Pat Mastelotto, Tim Motzer, Zach LoPresti, Ali Wadsworth, Ian Gray, and Greg Rosen.

EchoTest have reinvented the role of solo electric bass and superbly display the songwriting abilities of the duo, characterized by a mesmerizing combination of loop music, ambient soundscapes and interlocking bass patterns.

Discography:

Fourth Dementia (2014)
Slick Mix Vol II (2015)
Le Fil Rouge
Live in Philadelphia (2016)

website: echotestmusic.com

Soundscapes from the Sultana Sessions

Darshan Ambient – Fire Light, Music from the Sultana Sessions (Spotted Peccary, 2016)

Darshan Ambient is the musical project of American musician Michael Allison. This recording titled Fire Light contains musical pieces that were left out of the soundtrack of the Civil War era documentary Remember The Sultana.

On Fire Light, Darshan Ambient brings together dreamy ambient electronics, evocative cinematic orchestrations, mesmerizing minimalism and melodic piano and synths. Even though the group’s name has the word ambient in it, Darshan Ambient’s sound is more melodic than most conventional ambient music projects.

In 1992, Michael Allison started his solo career, composing and recording music that before long became known as Darshan Ambient. Allison’s discography includes Providence, The Zen Master’s Diary, Autumn’s Apple, re: Karma, From Pale Hands To Weary Skies, A Day Within Days and Dream In Blue. Allison’s music has been used in movies, documentaries and television commercials.

Buy Fire Light, Music from the Sultana Sessions

Burnt Belief on the Frontline of Progressive Music

Burnt Belief – Emergent (Alchemy Records ALCD 1029/Hard World HWCD 012, 2016)

Burnt Belief is a remarkable transatlantic collaboration between British bassist Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree/Metallic Taste of Blood/O.R.k etc) and American guitarist Jon Durant. Their new album is titled Emergent and features a mix of progressive rock, jazz-rock, world music tunes and beats, Berlin-style sequencers, and ambient electronic music and soundscapes.

It’s refreshing to listen to these forward-thinking musicians, who create beautiful music that’s on the cutting edge of progressive music.

The eight instrumental track range from meditative and melodic compositions to exotic melodies, mysterious atmospheres and rock-fueled pieces featuring captivating instrumental interplay and overdubs.

A third musician, drummer Vinny Sabatino, has been added to the band, providing creative beats as well as powerful drumming in some of the tracks.

The lineup includes Colin Edwin on bass and programming; Jon Durant on guitars and pianos; and Vinny Sabatino on drums and percussion.

The musicians collaborated for the first time when Edwin contributed bass to Durant’s 2011 album, Dance of the Shadow Planets. It was recorded at three studios, two in the United States and one in the U.K. Edwin and Durant exchanged digital files over the Internet. The duo’s first joint collaboration was the album Burnt Belief released in 2012. it was followed by Etymology in 2014.

Emergent is a totally satisfying progressive music album by two of the finest creative minds in the current scene.

Buy Emergent in the Americas

Buy Emergent in Europe

A Beautiful Kaleidoscope of Electroacoustic Ambient and Tribal Sounds

Green Isac Orchestra – Green Isac Orchestra (Spotted Peccary, 2015)

Green Isac, a fabulous progressive electronic music duo from Norway, has expanded its project to a five-man ensemble called Green Isac Orchestra. Their new album Green Isac Orchestra presents an enthralling mix of electronic sounds with acoustic instruments.

There are mesmerizing, mysterious ambient music passages along with trance-like percussive segments, soaring space guitar, enchanting cello and distant melodies, as well as world music and cinematic elements.

The current lineup of Green Isac includes multi-instrumentalist Morten Lund and percussionist Andreas Eriksen along with the three new members: Frode Larsen on percussion; Tov Ramstad on electric cello and saw; and Jo Wang on piano, mellotron, therevox, and synthesizers. Elvind aarset appears on guitar.

Green Isac’s previous recordings include Passengers (2014), Etnotronica (2004), Groundrush (2001), Happy Endings (1997) and Strings & Pottery (1991).

Green Isac Orchestra is a beautifully composed album by one of the greatest progressive music acts in Scandinavia.

Buy Green Isac Orchestra

Masterful Prog and Beyond from Greece

Gravitysays_i – Quantum Unknown (Inner Ear Records, 2016)

Quantum Unknown is the third album by a fascinating progressive music band from Greece called Gravitysays_i. Their sound is a mix of epic progressive rock, Pink Floyd-style space rock, post rock, ambient electronics, experimental effects and world music influences. This makes Gravitysays_i one of the most interesting acts we’ve heard in recent months.

In addition to the usual rock band instruments, Gravitysays_i adds acoustic instruments like trumpet, Cretan lyra and the beautiful mesmerizing sound of the santur, a hammed dulcimer originally from Persia.

The vocals are in English and have a darkwave/post rock feel. Post rock has a tendency of meandering and not going anywhere. Thankfully, Gravitysays_i injects captivating electronic and prog rock arrangements and melodies that keep you engaged throughout the entire recording.

Gravitysays_i was formed in March of 2003 by Manos Paterakis and Nikos Retsos in Piraeus. Their debut album was “The Roughest Sea” (Sirius, 2007). The band’s second album was “The Figures of Enormous Grey and The Patterns of Fraud” (Restless Wind, 2011).

The lineup on the album includes Manos Paterakis on lead vocals, santur, lead and rhythm guitar, pocket piano, electric bass; Nikos Retsos on drums, synths, acoustic and electronic percussion, rhythm santur, 12-string guitar, Celtic harp; Mampre Kasardjian on double bass and electric bass and backing vocals; Alekos Georgoulopoulos on lead and rhythm guitar; Vangelis Katsarelis on trumpets and flugelhorn; Nikos Sotiropoulus on lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals; Costas Stergiou on keyboards and backing vocals; and Peggy Sarrou on vocals; and George Kontogiannis on Cretan lyra.

Quantum Unknown is a masterful progressive music recording showcasing the talent of some of the finest musicians from southern Europe.