Ambienism Volume One

Released March 15 2004

Introducing Ambienism Volume One, a self guided tour through the dream worlds of the sonic frontier, featuring a variety of ambient terrain provided by some of North America’s most progressive ambient music visionaries.

Review: "Combining previously released tracks with new ones, Spiralight Recordings proves themselves as adroit at choosing from various artists' offerings as it is in selecting which artists recordings to release under its own banner (e.g. Zero One, Richard Bone, Magic Sound Fabric). Speaking of Zero One and Mr. Bone, they are among the artists represented on Ambienism Volume One . Other artists included on this compilation are Alpha Wave Movement, Dino Pacifici, Mystical Sun, Bluetech, and Cyberchump.

As a compilation, Ambienism (which, since it is earmarked as Volume 1 , I trust there will be future volumes forthcoming) is very solid, encompassing both rhythmic and floating ambient music. The pulsing beats and pumping rhythms of chill out and electronica are heard from in earlier tracks, e.g. Zero One's "Dreamworld" from his CD psy-fi , Mystical Sun's "Something Very Pure," a previously unreleased slice of rapid fire pulsing beats, vocal samples and dub-like electronic textures and melodies, Bluetech's "Elementary Particles," a new track which underscores this artist's talent for marrying exquisite and atypical beats and cyber-organic rhythms with catchy skittering electronics, and Magic Sound Fabric's "Cosmic Consciousness" (from the upcoming Spiralight label album Freedom Star ), an excursion into world fusion hand percussion rhythms, exotic male chant samples, and sensually flowing electronic textures.

Later, the CD shift gears and become more classically "ambient" in nature, i.e. more floating and spacy with rhythms that serve more to chill and cushion and not to induce toe-tapping. Richard Bone's previously unreleased contribution, "Stillness Repeating," is a delicious blend of dark and light, with sampled plucked guitar notes (heavily echoed) played out against shadowy synth chords and washes, peppered with wonderful synth-vibes that reverberate and pan from left to right and back again and sultry hand percussion. Dino Pacifici's track (also brand new) is "Clouds Drift" and if ever a song title was apt, this is the one. Lush washes of warm keyboards slowly move into and out of the soundfield, accompanied by billowy wafting tones and sampled flutes, all of it buoyed by a great undercurrent of a looped keyboard refrain that imparts a sense of slow rhythm to the piece. One of two tracks from Alpha Wave Movement (Gregory Kyryluk) is next (the other one which appears earlier is the previously released "Another Time.Another Place" from Drifted Into Deeper Lands ). This new song, recorded (per the liner notes) "live in studio with no additional overdubs" continues to showcase this artist's considerable talent for fashioning excellent spacemusic in the grand tradition of masters like Jonn Serrie. Serene keyboards weave a deep cosmic web with the addition of subtle background textures and occasional more spacy touches of overt electronics. Closing out the album is Cyberchump's "Abstract Air" from the album of the same name, and it's a beaut. Minimal bell tones (with a vibe-like characteristic) reverberate endlessly against a series of calming electronics that blanket the boundaries of the soundfield. A sampled melodica (!) comes and goes, almost and it's as if we were strolling in Paris at night and caught the sound of a street musician in the background. This track actually reminds me quite a bit of Darshan Ambient's pastoral ambient work.

All in all, Ambienism is one of the best "varied" collections in this genre of the past few years. By starting with more active and dynamic music and closing with the more drifting and floating tracks, the CD's variety works perfectly. Since five of the nine tracks are previously unreleased (and one of the remaining ones, Magic Sound Fabric's "Cosmic Consciousness" hasn't hit the streets yet), I have no reservations in recommending this album even if you already have one or two of these artist's recordings from which their track is lifted. In fact, for fans of drifting spacy ambient music, I'd flat out insist they buy this just for the new songs from Bone, Pacifici, and Kyryluk, which are all outstanding and shouldn't be missed. Highly recommended.- Bill Binkleman, Wind and Wire www.windandwire.com

back to the spheres