Faith Strange Recordings Reviews

To The Last Man

orchestramaxfieldparrish presents ÆRA – To The Last Man / Index Of Dreaming


from Igloo Magazine:

orchestramaxfieldparrish presents ÆRA :: To The Last Man/Index Of Dreaming (Faith Strange)

“…A double-set from what seems an even more hermetic vehicle than OMP, this ÆRA is one of stern synthetic driftscapes, with sounds mainly seeking upper spheres – of the ær rather than the earth…”

Alan Lockett, Contributing Editor

Mike Fazio conceived of ÆRA as a personal take on symphonic music merged with the art and the literary worlds. The art/literary element can be seen minimally in arcane presentational trappings, but it’s musical matter that matters here. A subtle Eastern European dark-night-of-the-soul undercurrent runs through ÆRA; under influence of late-modernist composers – Górecki (check), Pärt (check), Penderecki (check), Kancheli (check) – the prevailing ambient drone of Fazio’s guitar manipulations, familiar from outings under the cloak of orchestramaxfieldparrish, gets a headier, more mysterious, flavour. The ‘X presents Y’ billing is comparable to the Coil presents… projects: where musical expression emerges in a slightly different voice from an artist’s customary articulation, yet is recognisably of the same blood. So ÆRA bespeaks another place while vibrating with a resonance recognisable from Fazio’s ‘parrish. A double-set from what seems an even more hermetic vehicle than OMP, this ÆRA is one of stern synthetic driftscapes, with sounds mainly seeking upper spheres – of the ær rather than the earth. Long wisps and swathes of tonefloat are drawn out languorously arcing over tracts alternately teeming and evacuated, finely flowing from a sonic palette deployed for exploration of memory and dreams, of ritual and forgotten memories, scenes found not deleted – recovered from the There and Then of a Future-past hybrid projection.

So, artfully navigating the interstices between experimental ambient and a distillate of neo-classical, Disc 1, To The Last Man, tends to the melodramatic and dense, while Index Of Dreaming to the oneiromantic and spatial. “Elegæa” initiates the ritual, wispy atmospherics laced with orchestral infusions setting in train a multi-hued journey attended by dark portent. “To Touch The Sky” bristles with micro-chatter and campanology, tone-whorls over dark drone and post-Gothic colourings. “Ennoæ” injects percussive patterns into the synthetic base, vague echoes of Steve Roach emerging. At other points Fazio displays affiliations with other iconic ambient/space/drone artists. On “Out Of Many, One” synth sonorities suggest ’70s Kosmische – Klaus Schulze, vintage TD. Disc 1 spans organic environmental to outer space cosmicity, taking in various stops on the La Monte Young-Phil Niblock-Fripp/Eno-Robert Rich line. Where the first CD is questing and restless in experiment, the second is more restrained and stay-at-home. On the second, “1/1” opens in titular hommage to Music for Airports (note similar parallels in the disc’s nomenclature, Index Of Dreaming – cf. Eno/Fripp’s “An Index of Metals”). The extended “1/3” grows to epic proportions through fields of static and chimes – a lulling paean of heady post-industrial vapours, swells and billows. This ÆRA bestrides musical eras effortlessly and engrossingly.

from Brainwashed:

A new approach (or at least moniker) for orchestramaxfieldparrish’s Mike Fazio, this album presents two separate discs, each individually named, for a double dose of dark and moody ambience as rendered by Fazio’s nearly neo-classical approach. Long though it may be, there is enough depth to the material here that suggests numerous listens, yet it is also bare enough that it is just as suitable as background accompaniment, albeit to a consistently grim undertaking.

The first disc, To the Last Man, features a lengthy presentation of seven pieces each exploring a similarly shaded demeanor materializing and decomposing tonal matter. The shimmering bell-like resonances of “To Touch the Sky” writhe uncomfortably above the dark underpinnings of drone that situate themselves amongst an almost Gothic sonic backdrop infested by gargoyles and ghosts alike. It is a strange, unnerving approach that manages to paint new material with old techniques.

The filmic quality of much of this material is undeniable considering the strength of its spare and evocative mood setting. With delicate placement, each piece here finds new corners and awkward, creeping modes of the same general tone. As the previously mentioned track slips into “Ennoæ,” a distant hand drum rhythm brings new color to the bleakness, adding an echoing force behind the thick swabs of blackness being worked with. When a series of pipes come in, the work begins to resemble a mini percussion orchestra, riding atop some steady drone that bobs up and down in untended black waters.

Fazio’s greatest abilities lie in his decisions, as each work displays many that point toward a general caution executed in the creation of his pieces. Never one to overindulge himself, Fazio’s textures and patterns service the tune far more than any egotistical self-journey. There is a meditative, almost minimalist effect to many of these, as the carefully produced sounds bounce in and out of the mix with trance-inducing effect.

Yet Fazio’s signature sound seems to stem far more from Arvo Part than Reich or Glass, while also interweaving an almost proggy sense of the dramatic. “Ecquænam” may be short, but it has enough dramatic flourishes to make it an ample close to the first disc. “1/1” opens the next disc in a seeming homage to Eno’s Music for Airports, a connection made stronger by the title of the disc and its close approximation to Eno’s collaborative effort with Robert Fripp on “An Index of Metals.” If greater convincing is required, then it can be found in the ambient structures constructed throughout, as the aforementioned proggy elements are brought to the fore and coaxed into writhing electronic sculptures that bend and sway against the skies.

The two discs represent a fine and strongly crafted construction that, though quite a lot for one listen, serves its listener well over the course of numerous re-dippings into the cold waters. That these are as beautiful as they are only makes the darkness more alluring, as the closing “1/3” certainly displays. Almost a half-hour long, the piece builds slowly through static mine fields and church bells. It may be intimidating, and it may long, but the allure of such a mystique can’t be denied.

Written by Henry Smith
Sunday, 03 May 2009

from WHITE_LINE:

orchestramaxfieldparrish is, for want of a better description, an ambient project, encompassing everything that that much overused “A” word brings with it. However, this beautifully presented double CD comes with a Faith Strange quality guarantee, and over two hours, the listener is treated to OMP’s now trademark deep soundscaping. OMP’s founder and central composer, Mike Fazio finds strength in uniting bold themes with his grandiose, sombre arrangements, and the press release explains that the “Ae” diphthong of the title, translates to a dual tonality, a kind of linguistic trip of the tongue where one tone skips to another. The album’s expansive, dreamy atmosphere is immediately captivating, and the tracks segue into each other in a seamless montage of prolonged tonal tracts, wispy atmospherics, and grand orchestrations, reminiscent to me of early Tangerine Dream pieces, particularly Phaedra, which coincidentally utilises the “ae” dipthong in its title.

The accompanying CD, Index of Dreaming dispenses with titles and nomenclature, and simply numbers each piece, presumably as some kind of personal cataloguing, or reference points that we as listeners are not yet privy to, or have to decipher as each tract unfolds. Indeed the slightly cryptic use of Viking Eggeling’s pictorial series, “Diagonale Symphonie”, in the internal sleeve adds to the air of enigma shrouding this release, and I am left pondering this audio-visual conundrum as I listen to the washy, tidal strains emitting from my sound system.

Aera is an impressive foray, and is perhaps something of a defining moment for Fazio’s project thus far..tempting us to investigate further. Aera is effortlessly immersive, and I can think of few other ways in which to absorb my senses for two hours..listened to consecutively, Fazio’s hand is more than capable. An epic release. BGN

from textura:

A bit of background first: called “ash” in English, the majuscule Æ (minuscule: æ) is, in aural terms, a diphthong (literally “two sounds” or “two tones”), a “contour” vowel whose separate components run together in rapid speech such that the sound changes as the tongue moves from one articulation to the next (Æ is also formally called a ligature due to the physical union of its two letters). Perhaps Mike Fazio (aka orchestramaxfieldparrish and Gods Of Electricity member) chose the ÆRA (“ash-ra”) name for his latest solo project as a gesture of tribute to Ash Ra Tempel, the German Krautrock band formed in 1971 by Manuel Göttsching, Klaus Schulze, and Hartmut Enke. Regardless, there’s definitely a cosmic quality to the ÆRA material.

In any case, the companion recordings constitute an audacious maiden voyage for Fazio’s new project with To The Last Man and Index Of Dreaming best regarded as a single, two-volume work. The recordings are dominated by heavily synthetic landscapes that more naturally reside in the upper spheres than on earth. Infinitely long trails of electrical tones—wholly guitar-generated, presumably—stretch over silent expanses like shooting stars captured in slow-motion, and tones shift and notes bend as they arc across the sky. To The Last Man takes the listener on a journey of varying moods with dark portentous lines sweeping across the open plains in the scene-setter “Elegæa.” The sixteen-minute “To Touch The Sky” follows, with prickly micro-noise, suggestive of the rapid chatter of insects or squirrels, sputtering across and bell-like tones occasionally punctuating flowing tendrils of simmering tones. “Ennoæ” introduces a pronounced physical dimension by layering percussive patterns atop the synthetic base, with hand drums and acoustic-sounding blocks giving the piece a natural character. In the ten-minute meditation “Out Of Many, One,” a more readily identifiable synthesizer sonority emerges during the final minutes, deepening the connection to the space-rock tradition associated with outfits such as Tangerine Dream.

Index Of Dreaming eschews conventional track titles for numbers (e.g., “1/1,” “2/2”) but sonically the ÆRA style carries over from one disc to the other; with “1/1” even seeming to pick up from where To The Last Man’s closing “Ecquænam” leaves off. If anything Index Of Dreaming may be the “purer” release of the two, as Fazio reduces the latter’s meditations and drones to their essence by largely banishing natural sounds altogether (the clear exception being “1/2” and “2/2” where choir exhalations accompany the tracks’ sweeping tones). The recording’s simmering prisms of light and sparkle reach an epic culmination in “1/3,” a lulling meditation where speckled, semi-industrial sheets of vaporous sound slowly billow, ripple, rise, and fall for twenty-eight hypnotic minutes. Natural additions to Fazio’s discography, both releases exemplify the astral traveler’s long-standing commitment to perpetuating the progressive and experimental traditions, electronic or otherwise, and should strongly appeal to fans of his recent orchestramaxfieldparrish The Silent Breath Of Emptiness which is sonically kin to the new material, regardless of moniker difference.

January 2009

Gods Of Electricity – Sundiving

gods of electricity

Gods Of Electricity’s Sundiving is one of the top selling avant-garde albums of all time for CD Baby.

from Chain D.L.K.:

Gods of Electricity is one of those projects I would love seeing coming through my studio, but in a big city like NY for some reason I end up working with completely different type of artists most of the time. Think about the electrified air and the mellow moods of endless hours of sound manipulation and knob tweaking mania in the comfort of a dimmed light recording studio with two creative talents such as Mike Fazio and Thomas Hamlin. Think about the moods that can be created in the making of a record like “Sundiving”, with ambiances spanning for anywhere between 2 and 38 minutes: stretching, modulating, oscilating, vibrating, morphing from sound into sound, from light into dark, from silence into noise, from rhythm into layers, from sounds into rawness. Engineer, guitar player, sound designer, producer and composer Mike Fazio (also creator of the orchestramaxfieldparrish processed guitar project) has put the greatest attention in the smallest of the details of this recording, attempting to recreate his own vision of electro-acoustic ambient-electronica, aided by drummer Thomas Hamlin (previously with World One and still with Black47), who adds his swing and his delicate touch to these compositions in a way that only few percussionists can. Eerie low deep drones, layers of ecstatic pads, a wide sonic palette borrowing from everything from traditional to modern… rhythmical elements that transcend beat to turn into an expression of the piece itself, migrating from a enhancment of an even otherwise tribal atmosphere to the mere juxtaposition of percussive ear candies in symphonies of mystic and aural states of mind… all of that and more comes into play in this beautiful CD, which is so multifaceted and gorgeous that you can hardly even reference back to other artists without having to mention a bunch of them, who don’t even necessarily have all that in common with Gods of Electricity, when considered as a stand-alone reference… Try to think of a blend of Clock DVA, Synaesthesia, Manuel Goettsching, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Young Gods, Vision of Excess, Artemy Artemiev, Mana Erg, Richard Bone, Victor Cerullo, Gabor Csupo and so many other excellent artists who have given so much to the art of making good and heartfelt soundscapes. You’ll get a vague idea, but you’ll still need to give this hi-definition audio masterpiece a try and see/hear for yourself… Highly recommended.

– Marc Urselli-Schaerer

from Foxy Digitalis:

The epic, album-length suite “Clouds of Granite in A Clearing Sky” opens the debut release from this Black 47 side project, featuring Mike Fazio (electricity) and Thomas Hamlin (percussive noises). The first movement “Dreamland” is a musical interpretation of the series of electrical shocks our neurons have assembled which ultimately create our dream images. It’s a novel approach – using electronics and circuit bending to emulate the physical chemical reactions in the brain, thus creating perhaps the world’s first form of “brainwave music” and is perhaps the closest thing to having electrodes attached to Fazio’s brain to create his own musical EEG from the resulting soundwaves. This dude must have some dark dreams, as the music is a very metallic, industrialized collection of scratchy bleeps and bloops that suggests he watches a lot of horror movies. For example, this would make a perfect imaginary soundtrack to Richard Stanley’s 1990 cult classic, “Hardware.” The result is 20+ minutes of bubbling cauldrons, razor-sharp buzzsaws, metal-on-steel mental sword fights, crackling open circuits of electrical energy all supported by Hamlin’s syncopated, pounding heartbeat rhythms. Imagine, if you will, running the collective EEGs and EKGs of our dynamic duo through the mixing desk and recording the results and you’re in the ballpark, or should I say laboratory. This, of course, is not something you are going to toss on during a dinner party with the in-laws, but it does make for some fascinating listening and interpretation in the privacy of your own sleep chamber.

The pair’s dreams are interrupted by the second movement “Starstreams,” which, as expected, is a realization of the interpretation of the sound that stars make as they streak across the night sky. It’s both expansive and empty, ominous and stark, and, well, spacey! And since the album was created at the Luna County Observatory, one can surmise that the compositions were born out of instantaneous observation of the night sky – sort of a “spontaneous soundtrack” to the movement of the night sky in much the same way that several artists have recently been providing imaginary, improvisational soundtracks to silent films, such as Hilkka’s soundtrack to Jodorowsky’s “Holy Mountain,” Christina Carter (Charalambides)’s soundtrack to Man Ray’s “L’Etoile de Mer,” or Confession and Recantation (featuring members of Salamander and Skye Klad)’s live accompaniment to the screening of Dreyer’s “The Passion of Joan of Arc” at the College of St. Catherine in Minnesota last April.

Our intrepid travelers’ adventure floats to an end as the third movement, “The Sky Opens Below” flutters by as the image of the track’s title is perfectly realised in this soft, weightless journey on the back of a cumulus cloud.

“Slick-O-Matic” could just as easily have been called “Stick-O-Matic,” as it’s basically a 10-minute drum solo with musical accompaniment. It amply showcases Hamlin’s chops, but may alienate the non-drummers in the aurdience. But overall, this is an engaging electronic album that deftly mixes funky dance grooves (a la “The Sound You Make When You Reach For Tomorrow”) with more experimental electrical circuitry that should be of interest to fans of such circuit-bending classics as Sonic Boom’s “Data Rape,” the work of Reed Ghazala, and the eclectic collection of home-made instruments rattling around inside the “Gravikords, Whirlies and Pyrophones” and “Orbitones, Spoonharps and Bellowphones” compilations.- Jeff Penczak

From All Music Guide:

Gods of Electricity’s debut effort, Sundiving, finds their two core musicians, Mike Fazio and Thomas Hamlin, creating an involving hourlong effort that balances varying impulses from prog rock-inspired multi-part complexity to moody ambient minimalism. While a synthesis of a number of approaches instead of a sudden new direction, what gives Sundiving a little extra edge is how cleverly the two establish and then suddenly undermine moods in their songs — a soft drone may suddenly be interrupted with a harsh buzz; a loping, dub-tinged beat can be halted by a proto-industrial synth bassline. As a result, the closest sonic comparison might be the more exploratory instrumental work in the Nurse with Wound/Current 93/Coil axis — the overall feeling, while melancholy, is shot through with inspired chaos and moments of sudden soothing grace. The three-part “Clouds of Granite in a Clearing Sky,” which takes up two-thirds of the disc, demonstrates all these qualities in full, with the opening segment, “Dreamland,” in particular living up to its title, suggesting both sweet reverie and sudden nightmare. When a sudden, straightforwardly beautiful piano break appears, the effect is almost shocking. The remaining four songs veer between brief experiments (the two-minute-long “The Whole Electric City in Front of Us,” which does indeed sound like a murky city soundtrack in the vein of Paul Schütze’s work) and lengthier efforts like the title track. Fazio as overall producer does an excellent job putting all the pieces together but Hamlin’s role is clear as the percussionist, and it is his rhythms — steady, stuttering, hyperactive, and all points in between — that are the not so secret weapon (“Starstreams” is a great example of his ability). “Slick-O-Phonic” takes the most intriguing turn in ways, its aggressive beats and swooping, elegant keyboards suggesting a route that the Future Sound of London might have taken after Dead Cities. – Ned Raggett

From Phosphor #120 June 2006:

Gods of Electricity: Sundiving CD

Divided in five movements, Sundiving offers the debut work of two Black 47 members.

The opening track by this duo is a 38-minute long rhythmic ambient spacey drone-scape, slightly reminding of Maeror Tri goes late Clock DVA. It’s like a hypnotic slow train journey with lots of filmic moments.

Guitarist/synthesist Mike Fazio and drummer/percussionist Thomas Hamlin have more to offer, like several astral, trance-like psychedelic percussion kits. Their music always offers a nice, relaxed rhythm, not typical dance, sometimes tending towards tribal. Listening to Sundiving is a nice experience, this album makes clear that both musicians are quite experienced and know what they are doing. The music contains a nice flow and enough diversity. Well done!

From Aural Innovations #33 (March 2006)

Guitarist/synthesist/composer Mike Fazio, whose ambient guitar project orchestramaxfieldparrish (yes, that’s how it’s written) was one of last year’s pleasant surprises, teams up with percussionist Thomas Hamlin for a wonderfully synergistic exploration of the possibilities of electro-acoustic sound sculpture in the age of the ever-shrinking computer chip. Though Gods of Electricity clearly have identifiable antecedents (including the divine Bill Nelson, the ever enigmatic Eno, as well as such neo-classicists as Ligeti and Penderecki), both Fazio and Hamlin create a music that is at once unclassifiable and strangely engaging. In fact, Sundiving is thoroughly absorbing, creating a hallucinatory landscape for the senses and a sanctuary for the information-overloaded spirit of our increasingly hyperaccelerated world. Punctuated with huge modular drones, sweeping atmospheric pads and array of tuned and untuned percussives, the five pieces on Sundiving create the icy chill of deep astral regions and resonate with the illuminated echoes of inward vistas. Like both Robert Rich and Lustmord, Gods of Electricity are aural alchemists who distill and synthesize strange new properties from the elements of sound. This is nowhere more evident than on “Clouds of Granite in a Clearing Sky,” the centerpiece of Sundiving, an intoxicating voyage through the ever shifting terrain of yawning cosmic silences penetrated by bursts of sound both structured and unstructured. Ligeti’s Atmospheres and Lux Aeterna are clear references one can invoke to describe this piece, though perhaps a more apt analogy would be to the imaginary music made by the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey: utterly alien and otherworldly yet somehow vaguely human in its unearthliness. Comprising nearly two-thirds of the entire album and clocking in at a daunting 38:14, “Clouds…” features an astonishing array of discrete movements collated into a massive block of sound, perhaps the sonic equivalent of a gigantic prism reflecting its numerous hues throughout the tonal continuum. It’s a dreamy mix of the dark and the light, the spacious and the claustrophobic, the harmonic and the cacophonic, all driven by the kind of random precision that makes such music adventurous, yet difficult for the uninitiated. The more down-to-earth pieces (relatively speaking, of course) showcase the percussive talents of Hamlin, straying occasionally into more palatable regions of ambient, trance and drum ‘n’ bass. More rhythmically complex in construction, “Slick-o-phonic” and “The Sound You Make When You Reach for Tomorrow” are enjoyable digressions and, at least to these jaded ears, much preferable to the thoughtless sonic drivel of better known, though lesser talented, ambient/trance artists. “Sundiving,” the disc’s concluding track, continues the accent on electro-rhythm, though incorporates more of the airy dissonance of the album’s initial tracks. It’s an effective merger of Fazio’s penchant for oblique harmony and Hamlin’s industrial-strength approach to cybernetic drumming. In short, Sundiving is highly recommended, especially for aficionados of the eccentric and the innovative. Hopefully, Gods of Electricity will turn out to be more than just a galvanizing one-shot. – Charles Van de Kree

from Godsend:

Gods Of Electricity – “Sundiving” CD – The duo of Mike Fazio and Thomas Hamlin have been active as members of BLACK 47 as well as a slew of other projects over the past 20 years. Now, with their debut as GODS OF ELECTRICITY, they have developed an experimental new project that may come as a surprise to those familiar with their past. ‘Sundiving’ is a collection of superior electronic soundtracks that combine deep programming (as many as 300 tracks according to the press release!), tribal drumming, electronic beats and rhythms, and otherworldly ambience. The overall futuristic leanings recall such out-electronic artists as COIL or MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO, especially in their meldings of structure and controlled chaos. ‘Slick-O-Phonic’ even jumps into a wild breakbeat-tinged jazz-meets-‘Twin Peaks’ arena–which doesn’t succeed as well. Nonetheless, an overall strong (and sometimes challenging) set of tunes that should please any fan of leftfield electronic music. – Todd Zachritz

from Ampersand etcetera (Notes 2006):

Drums and wires

From the sublime. Gods of Electricity are Mike Fazio (heard in & etc in a number of guises, on guitar and electronics) with Thomas Hamlin (percussion), and their album Sundiving is out on Faithstrange (fs6-2005, http://www.faithstrange.com). Four shorter tracks demonstrate their approach. The whole electric city in front of us is insistent beats with clouds of synths, spatters and pulsing organ; Slick-o-phonic has drones & rocking drums as a bass, while strings and sitar shift in the foreground. More retro synth beatloop in The sound… synth shimmers and lights, a tinkle beat percussion all shifting, and Sundiving’s semi-reggae feel, swirling metal synth/bells, shifting around and introducing some mellotron, clicking, fade and return. The main piece is the 38 minute Clouds Of Granite In A Clearing Sky which takes all of these elements and plays around with them, weaving a constantly changing tapestry. There are pianos, voice washes, tones, voices, clicks, radio squirls, resonances, beat moving from front to back, and much much more – possibly too much. The scene changes so much that as something catches your attention it almost immediately shifts out of view. But as a labyrinthine kaleidoscope it is still fascinating. An album that requires and repays time with it.

orchestramaxfieldparrish – The Silent Breath Of Emptiness

orchestramaxfieldparrish - the silent breath of emptiness

from tokafi:

CD Feature / orchestramaxfieldparrish “The Silent Breath Of Emptiness”

Heartbreaking charme: Interrelated tones conglomerating into thick tonal tufts.

What is it about the stars? Poets are comparing them to the eyes of their lover, scientists are breaking apart at the weight of their mysteries and uncountable generations of musicians have used them as a metaphor for the final frontier and the finity of all human knowledge. To Mike Fazio, however, the sky is the canvas and his guitar the brush for a musical work full of little galaxies.

On the scale usually applied by music industry executives, time between two subsequent orchestramaxfieldparrish releases should indeed be measured in lightyears. Previous album “Tears”, now available again in a completely remastered edition, was published in 2002 and in between, Fazio has been active in various parallel universes as a collaborator and band member. The thought that “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” was essentially recorded on a single night makes these stretches seem even more romantic. It is almost, as if Fazio has been waiting for that one inspired moment to arrive and to follow it wherever it might lead him.

His second album is a fully improvisational effort bemused by the panoramically plaintive view of the Luna County Observatory. Recorded on Christmas Day, however, it not only captures the yearning sensation of sensing one’s own irrelevance underneath the sky’s umbrella, but also conveys the doleful emotion of a year drawing towards its close: “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” is about things ending, about horizons we’ll never see, places we’ll never reach. On top of that, though, it is also about the inspiration one can get from feeling one’s fragility and about the need to make the best from the little time we are given.

Fazio’s sound is wide and epic, his themes composed of intricate interrelated tones which initially combine into longing melodies before conglomerating into thick tonal tufts, their decay in turn constituting dreamy drones in their own right. After introducing his material in full in the beginning, he often merely quotes poignant passages, sometimes only a single note, to create cohesion, familiarity and alienation at the same time. On other occasions, things are allowed to drift and develop in a floating kind of way, with sheets of sound overlapping to create harmonic tension.

The most radical piece on the record is the third part of this aural quadrilogy, a sixteen minute series of inhaling and exhaling, each breath appearing different from its predecessor and revealing tiny new details. Growing from a noisy opening with percussive patters, a swelling deep bass pad leads into an icecold Dark Ambient meditation, which at first puts the listener in a vulnerable and insecure position, but then intangibly transforms into a comforting rhythm of sound and silence.

In the thirteen-minute “Reconstruction – Afterthought”, the album receives an unexpected recap, its motives reoccuring as if filtered through a sieve of melancholic memory. Entire passages are played backwards, tracks are combined into new compositions, melodies are twisted and deformed, others allowed to shine even more then previously. On paper a seemingly unnecessary addendum to an otherwhise agreably concise album, this final chapter in practise proves to be vital in adding a consiliatory and calming finale to a work which otherwhise profits from its irridescent intensity.

With its heartbreaking charme, “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” is of course no food for gloomy characters or rationally-minded analysts. It is an album, which can only be understood by intuition and by piecing wordless metaphors together. They may not make sense from an objective perspective, but translate into something far bigger and more important than us. Just like the stars above us.

By Tobias Fischer

from Aural Innovations 39 (May 2008):

Cultivating sonic terrain first explored by Fripp, Eno and other ambient anarchists, Mike Fazio (who, for all intents and purposes, is orchestramaxfieldparrish) ventures into the hinterlands of tonal expressionism, creating strange un-guitarisms that congeal and mass into virtual icebergs of sound. On each of the five distinct parts of “The Silent Breath Of Emptiness,” Fazio conceives and utilizes his guitar as an orchestral instrument, his sweeping chords achieving an almost symphonic grandeur while the drone of endless delays and the slow glacial drift of key changes imply a studied minimalism absorbed from Glass and Reich but filtered through Branca and other 80’s New York guitar terrorists. Among the infinitely-sustained, ringing tones of Fazio’s guitar, one is at times assaulted by abrasive dissonances and harsh metallic clusters of sound that evoke the clatter of machinery and the kling-klang of heavy industry. But there are also moments of stark beauty in several movements of this 50-minute composition. At times, Fazio’s uncanny guitar symphony approaches the soaring ecstasy of a Gregorian choir, creating a mood of temporary detachment from the terrestrial world. Ultimately, what Fazio demonstrates on The Silent Breath Of Emptiness is that he’s equally at home in both the secular and the ecclesiastical and in both the lyrical and the mechanical, as well. Like Fripp, he’s a man at work with his machine.

Charles Van de Kree

from textura:

orchestramaxfieldparrish: The Silent Breath Of Emptiness

Faith Strange

The Silent Breath Of Emptiness, a fifty-minute set of guitar-generated soundscapes issued by Mike Fazio under the name orchestramaxfieldparrish, is rather similar in sonic spirit and perhaps equal in quality to Robert Fripp’s superb At the End of Time: Churchscapes, Live in England & Estonia, 2006. Like his better-known kin, Fazio uses various effects to expand his solo guitar playing into an hypnotic polyphony of rolling waves, supplicant peals, and hazy drones; conventional guitar sounds are all but absent as Fazio generates industrial sheets and metallic washes throughout the five explorations, the first four of which are in fact a single live improvisation he recorded (sans overdubs) on December 25th, 2006 at the Luna County Observatory (indexed into four sections for the recording), while the final piece is a reconstruction of the preceding material that may be more deliberately conceived but sounds no less spontaneous. The sixteen-minute third section is the release’s most aggressive though Fazio never intensifies its industrial character to an unmusical or unpleasant degree. Part four exudes a devotional character reminiscent of the Fripp release, and Fazio’s guitar shimmers celestially too. Though devotees of experimental guitar playing will find much to admire about this follow-up to 2002’s Tears, The Silent Breath of Emptiness is so captivating in terms of execution and its material so arresting that it deserves a listening audience far greater than that associated with a singular fanatical group. To Fazio’s credit, the recording manages to be avant-garde in spirit yet also thoroughly accessible, in large part due to the material’s “symphonic” character. Put simply, a beautiful recording.

March 2008

from cyclic defrost:

The Silent Breath Of Emptiness is like encountering a static photograph that, upon closer inspection, reveals itself to be a timelapse film. The slow building, reflective guitar drones absorb as though a dark starry field. These pieces stand without any foreground or background. Rather, they exist as a network of needling threads, crosshatched and manipulated, sketching a welter of variations on a single theme.

Pieces are played with a gentle spirit and an attention to the occult and elemental. At first, the work is a treacle of strums, which unfurl and circle in the shifting light of successive sound washes. With the momentum being slow, an intense concentration on the interlocking lines is made possible, better still, it is encouraged or even requested, though always in a hushed manner. Indeed, the piece lays itself open while at the same time making its emotions felt subliminally, as though transmitting or sharing a secret, rather than making it known explicitly.

The remaining segments continue to coil into themselves with stronger and more malicious thrusts. “Part 3″ sinks into a morose, melodic continuum and almost epiphanic chimes, before oozing into a distantly undulating crescent of atmospheric noise. “Part 4″ continues to seep into dark, tunneling visions, using what sounds like several guitars to produce a dense, almost symphonic feedback drone. Even here, though, shards of light filter through the darkness, giving the piece a movement and vibrancy that is knotty and wholly inflaming.

Max Schaefer

from Musique Machine:

orchestramaxfieldparrish is Mike Fazio, a composer, as well as a (studio) member of New York City’s Black 47. The Silent Breath of Emptiness seems miles away from the Celtic inspired rock of Black 47. It’s important to note then, that Fazio, and a couple other members of Black 47 originally backed up Avant-Garde musician and poet Copernicus (Joseph Smalkowski). Maxfield Parrish was a Philadelphian painter and illustrator, who lived from 1870-1966. Though he was a commercially successful illustrator, his paintings were quite often fantastical. I’m not sure how his work ties into Mike Fazio’s project, but Parrish’s art is well worth exploring.

The Silent Breath of Emptiness consists chiefly of four segments of live improvisations recorded in one take at the Luna County Observatory, with no overdubs. The music was created solely on electric guitar, but the sounds presented here rarely conform to the traditional sound associated with the instrument. Instead, Fazio treads ground which runs the gamut from pleasant ambience ala Eno or Bill Nelson to sheets of drone, which could be more closely tied to Andrew Chalk and his work with Mirror.

Fazio’s technical ability certainly shows through, as these pieces rarely sound like music created by one individual. The improvisations are distinctly different from one another, yet they run together nicely. The music runs from quiet, neo-orchestral ambience to fairly noisy drones. Apart from the previous comparison to Andrew Chalk, the latter passages remind me quite a bit of John Duncan’s seemingly straight-lined drones (though Duncan doesn’t use guitars), which upon closer inspection are anything but.

The feeling of event is paramount to the success of any spontaneous performance, and the Silent Breath of Emptiness is steeped in that spark of inspiration. Perhaps that inspiration was the result of the observatory setting, but judging from the mastery of the different approaches on display here, it’s more likely that Mike Fazio’s enthusiasm and technical ability are responsible. It’s rare for a performer to pull something together which is subtle and genuine, while displaying obvious skill. More often than not, those with technical ability are more interested in showing how well than can play, rather than investing their music with soul and depth. The Silent Breath of Emptiness, thankfully, is honest, unpretentious and, in it’s own odd way, soulful. – Erwin Michelfelder

from Chain D.L.K.:

Despite the name of the band, this is the solo work of Mike Fazio. I had not heard of this project, but I am familiar with his work in Copernicus, which is a wonderful blend of poetry and music. The label describes the disc thus: “This new recording consists of an improvised solo electric guitar soundscape originally intended for an exhibition of local area visual artists that never came to be. This piece was totally improvised and freeform, recorded live and captured in one take and then divided into 4 parts.” Guitar drone is often polarized in terms of quality—when it’s good it’s really good and when it’s bad it’s really bad and there is little in between. Fortunately, this falls on the good side of the spectrum, probably because it doesn’t really sound like just guitar drone. I’m assuming that there are a lot of effects being used to create the variety of sounds in these tracks. The album opens with what sounds like an orchestra warming up for performance. As the disc progresses, the layers become more and more intertwined to the point where, in Part 3, it becomes almost like a wall of noise that continually crescendos and decrescendos. But this wall of noise is not to be confused with the Merzbow style of wall of noise. It never becomes oppressive, just intense. Overall, this is a nice disc to relax to but still engaging. I suppose it would work for your next gallery installation as well…. The main comparison that comes to mind is Vidna Obmana. This disc weighs in at 49 minutes and is nicely packaged in a digipak. You can check out some of it at his myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/orchestramaxfieldparrish.

Review by: eskaton

from All Music:

Besides his various group and collaborative efforts, Mike Fazio has pursued irregular solo ventures under the Orchestramaxfieldparrish name, an interesting choice of nom de plume but one with an admittedly evocative edge given the reputation of that painter and graphic designer. The Silent Breath of Emptiness surfaced after a six-year-gap from the previous effort, showing that Fazio‘s ear for atmospheric textures via electric guitar remains strong; if there are now any number of releases exploring this form worldwide, Fazio‘s approach remains one of the better ones. The core of the album consists of four untitled pieces recorded on a single day, ranging from artful reflectiveness to a sculpted, understatedly angry grind, the latter most prevalent on the third track. The fifth song recaps and reworks all the other pieces into a “Reconstruction” as titled, a sort of summary of the entire album that becomes its own distinct piece. Functioning both as meditative background and direct sonic captivation, The Silent Breath of Emptiness is a gentle treat. – Ned Raggett

from Wonderful Wooden Reasons:

Contrary to the suggestion made in the name this is the work of one man, Mike Fazio. ‘The Silent Breath Of Emptiness’ consists of a single solo guitar improvisation, subsequently edited into four discrete and cohesive parts and accompanied by a fifth reconstruction. It’s a stunningly melancholic and hallucinogenic experience with Fazio’s guitar often sounding more like a bank of synthesizers than a guitar. The use of ‘Orchestra’ in the project name is readily apparent in Mike’s playing style which is described in the press notes as ‘symphonic’ and I can find no more apt word to replace it with. In style OMP is reminiscent of people such as Andrew Chalk but in sound is very much related to the ambient recordings of Eno, or Phaedra-era Tangerine Dream with lush electronic chords layered to create a sumptuous bath of sound into which you can submerge. I think I would have liked to hear more variety in the effects with which the guitar has been treated but equally I am quibbling over small things as this is a fine and recommended release.

from Foxy Digitalis:

orchestramaxfieldparrish is nom de plume of the underground New York musician Mike Fazio. “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” is a solo electric guitar piece that was originally created as a soundtrack for an art exhibition that never actually got off the ground. The piece itself was recorded in a single take and is presented here without overdubs, divided into four tracks. A fifth track, which is an abbreviated reworking of the entire piece is also included on the disc. The entire album contains a variety of ambient guitar loops and sounds that traverse many moods. In fact, the guitar effects often cause it to sound like other instruments, namely keyboards and various orchestral strings.

Really, much of the work could be labeled as ambient music. For example, the first track, called “Part 1” has an ethereal feeling as guitar echoes over a low background drone. “Part 2” has a similar feeling, but gives way to more powerful sounds, to the point that it almost sounds heavy. Layered distortion and effects come into the latter part of the song and produce a droning, almost mechanical, eerie feeling. In many ways, “Part 3” continues what was begun on the previous track, rising and falling into cacophony several times before slowly fading out. The fourth track, “Part 4” returns to the ethereal beauty of “Part 1” to bookend the original long piece. Finally, comes the album recap, which is entitled “Reconstruction | Afterthought.” Amazingly enough, this track does call on many of the sounds and themes present in the previous tracks. Still, it does not come off as a rehash of the other music. In fact, it combines well with the rest to nicely close out the disc.

“The Silent Breath Of Emptiness” is ultimately a great disc to settle back with and take in. It’s very easy to get lost in its complex tones and textures and I have a feeling that this will prove itself to be a favorite in those quieter times in life. Definitely, a recommended disc. — Matt Blackall

from WHITE_LINE:

This five tracker is culled from an improvisational session at the Luna County Observatory in December 2006, and as such stands as a document of a unique performance by OrchestraMaxfield Parrish. I know nothing of this group, but the elegantly executed digipak cover with rural photography that echoes the work of Jon Wozencroft on Touch gives some small indication of the contents within.

Essentially, this is a convincing dronescape, that swirls and evaporates around heavily reverbed strings and guitars, a series of gently unwinding pieces permeated with an air of unthreatening darkness and melancholy. The strings pieces are underpinned by shimmering and repetitive sampling, creating endless loops and whorls that cascade into infinity.

The sleeve notes proudly announce that there are no added overdubs, and as such, “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” stands as it is, un-edited and slightly tainted in places, some of the richness of the work is lost as a result.

As with all improvisation, there are minute hiccups and breaches, but nothing that detracts from the general swell and flow of the pieces, and one imagines being set adrift and immersed in a sea of tones and cycles, that are at once compelling and calming. We are rewarded in the final track, with an uninterrupted rendering of the piece in 24 bit audiophile audio. Encompassing everything from Robert Fripp to Thomas Koner, this an aural delight.

Very nice indeed.

BGN

from soundofmusic.nu:

Med den mycket lämpliga titeln “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” återvänder amerikanska Orchestramaxfieldparrish med sin första platta på över fem år. Upprepade slingor av improviserade, maskerade gitarrdroner gör att musiken får en klart minimalistisk prägel trots en tät struktur. Man skyndar långsamt framåt och de ljudvågor som sköljer över lyssnaren är så pastorala att det är svårt att tänka sig något som fungerar bättre en grådassig morgon.

Tydligen var musiken ursprungligen tänkt att ackompanjera en konstutställning som aldrig blev av och att döma av den nerv som finns närvarande rakt igenom skivans fem utdragna spår kan man inte låta bli att låta fantasin måla egna bilder. Varma melodifragment tittar förbi ett kort tag för att sedan försvinna in i ett muller av mörk gitarrabstraktion. Fjäderlätta moln hotas ständigt av en annalkande storm över öppet hav. Skivan illustrerar på ett förnämligt sätt litenhet i något väldigt mycket större. Skrämmande? Ibland, men allt som oftast är känslan av att släppa taget, det fria fallet, att tidlöst stirra ut i det tomma intet, något befriande och själsligt rengörande. Knappast ett banbrytande album men så imponerande genomfört att det är omöjligt att inte förföras. – Av: Mats Gustafsson

from Earlabs

orchestramaxfieldparrish – The Silent Breath Of Emptiness

reviewed by Larry Johnson

3-2-2008

Although involved in the underground/experimental music scene since the 1980‘s, Mike Fazio is a another new name to me. Using the alias of orchestramaxfieldparrish since 1999, this diverse purveyor of experimental guitar music has been composing and improvising atmospheric drone and drift since before these terms were widely used or even recognized. The Silent Breath of Emptiness is the seventh release on Faith Strange Recordings of which Mike is a co-founder.

The press release says that followers of such established avant-garde music artists as Arvo Pärt, Robert Fripp, Brian Eno, Andrew Chalk, Thomas Köner, and trombonist Stewart Dempster among others “will find much to savor here.” The common denominator being beautiful experimental/ambient music that comes from the heart. I’ll add to this list of icons Canadian multi-instrumentalist Aidan Baker another like-minded improviser of spacious experimental guitar drones.

Initially a single improvised, free-form performance for an exhibition that was never realized, The Silent Breath of Emptiness was recorded in one take (with no additional sounds added) and for this album has been split into four segments of varying lengths. The fifth track is an almost thirteen-minute beautifully opulent reinterpretation of the original performance. All of the segments are guitar-based cinematic drones having a symphonic quality. The first and fourth segments are vibrant, harmonious and translucent. In contrast, the second segment begins a descent into darker, denser, more atonal drones. The third segment continues the dark, droning atmosphere initiated by its predecessor but takes the listener even deeper into thick, murky, distorted, inharmonious ambiances.

For the dedicated drone enthusiast, you might not hear a whole new here, however, the symphonic touch is a nice twist on an old theme, and it’s clear that Fazio’s sounds originate deep within his psyche. On the other hand, the novice or occasional drone listener will find much to enjoy and appreciate on The Silent Breath of Emptiness.

from Bad Alchemy (BA 57):

ORCHESTRAMAXFIELDPARRISH The Silent Breath Of Emptiness (Faith Strange Recordings, Faith Strange 07): Wenn man in der Vergangenheit des Gitarristen Mike Fazio stöbert, stößt man auf Life With The Lions, auf Chill Faction mit ihrem FunkNoFunk und auf die irischen AgitPop-Stews von Black 47, zwei New Yorker Projekte mit dem Green-Suede-Shoes-Crooner Larry Kirwan. Zusammen mit Thomas Hamlin, einem alten Weggefährten bereits seit den 80ern, bildet er auch die Gods Of Electricity, die Dark-Ambient-Welten jenseits von Eno erschaffen. Hier jedoch lässt er allein seine Gitarrenwellen aufrauschen und durch den Raum branden. Ältere dürfen an aufgeraute Robert-Fripp-Soundscapes denken, Jüngere an Fear Falls Burning. Nennt es Dröhnminimalismus oder psychedelisches Tripping ins Parrish-Blaue, Fazio ist lange genug dabei, um dafür als einer der Blueprints zu gelten, nicht als Kopie. Er erzeugt seinen nahezu symphonischen ‚Orgel‘-Klang ohne Overdubs, im intuitiven Freispiel, Welle für Welle für Welle. Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) war übrigens ein stilbildender Märchenillustrator und Maler von androgynen Träumern und phantastischen, anfänglich goldschimmernden und später mondlichtblauen Landschaften. Seine präraffaelitischen Wesen sind zu ätherisch für Fazios Klang. Der gehört zu den Monument Valleys und erhabenen Plateaus ihrer Traum-Monde. [BA 57 rbd] – Rigobert Dittmann

from Touching Extremes

orchestramaxfieldparrish – The Silent Breath Of Emptiness (Faith Strange)

One realizes that things have to be hurried up when opening a packet and reading “Merry Christmas, Massimo” on the accompanying card – in June. But it’s not too late to invite you to discover another participant to the “celestial guitars” contest: Mike Fazio from New York, whose work has been quietly progressing since the 80s under various monikers and through a lot of situations (including the “college/indie dark folk outfit” Life With The Lions). This is my first encounter with his ideas, most definitely a pleasurable occasion. Orchestramaxfieldparrish is a solo project dating from 1999, this music originally conceived for “an exhibition of local area artists that never came to be”. A soundscape of solitary improvised guitar captured in a single take yet, on record, divided in four parts plus a fifth containing a “reconstruction” of the others. Those who are interested in Robert Fripp’s most recent outings or in Aidan Baker’s stratified trips – and also people who remember “Hypnotics” by Suso Saiz well – will surely appreciate this CD very much, especially because Fazio doesn’t allow the effects to be too overtly recognizable. The sound waves remain suspended mid-air, at times menacing, elsewhere with a higher degree of serenity, the effect on the psyche always interesting. The game of superimposed resonances and vibrating frequencies is played with experience, sudden openings and layered hues at the basis of a sonic palette that for once won’t make us drown in “been there done that” syrups. The cover design is certainly notable. A nice Christmas present for the summer.

Massimo Ricci

From Connexion Bizarre:

Mike Fazio has been recording avant-garde, electronic and indie rock music since the early 1980’s and has contributed guitar and electronic input to releases by dark folk outfit Life with Lions, New York City’s Black 47 and toured with post-punk psych rockers Chill Faction and performance poet Copernicus. Orchestramaxfieldparrish is Fazio’s solo ambient project based around improvised electric guitar soundscapes.

“The Silent Breath of Emptiness” follows 2002’s “Tears” – also on Faith Strange – and was performed and recorded in a single take on Christmas Day 2006 at Luna County Observatory. The recording consists of the single improvised piece that is split into four parts with a fifth track consisting of a remix of the full performance. The music was originally intended for an exhibition of local area artists that never came to fruition.

Musically, “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” consists of huge undulating waves of guitar texture that tumble and flow over each other in cascades of fluid sound. Sometimes resembling layers of gently droning electronic texture (“Part 3”) and at others taking on an entirely more orchestral quality (“Part 1”), it is hard to believe that this music was created and documented as it happened, such is the intensity of feeling it creates. Often deep and enveloping with thick encapsulating swathes of droning texture, Fazio’s music sounds as though it has been meticulously crafted in a studio by carefully layering electric guitar and electronically generated sounds. “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” is essentially a journey in four suites that takes us from the warmth of “Part 1″‘s electronic tones through the grand church organ like emotive drones of “Part 2” on to huge demonic mechanical grind of “Part 3” to conclude with bright organ-like optimism of “Part 4”. It is almost as though we follow a train of thought that slips deeper into the dark depths of despair before emerging renewed and invigorated on the other side. As a bonus, the almost 13 minute final track is a remix of the entire musical piece entitled “Reconstruction | Afterthought” which draws recognisable elements of the preceding four tracks and gives it an edgier mood by adding undulating drones and deep vibrating undertones that result in an entirely more anxious atmosphere throughout.

Listening to “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” it is amazing to think that it was recorded live as it was performed and in a single take as music of this type is often carefully orchestrated in a studio using layering techniques and all manner of electronic effects and gadgets. Considering the core of this recording consists of electric guitar textures that are manipulated and produced live, this album could be described as ambient, drone, experimental or avant-garde but also as absorbing, intense, dark or hypnotic.

— Paul Lloyd [8/10]

Eggman On The Deuce And Other Stories

chill faction - eggman on the deauce and other stories

from Modern-Dance – The A-Z Music Review Magazine:

New Yorkers Chill Faction refuse to be pigeonholed here. Elements of rock, new wave, experimental and even the inklings of prog rock resound throughout. The singer also has that shouting, higher register reach to his vocals, which reminds me very much of early indie, post-punk bands of the early 1980’s. All 5 members of the band are notable players of their various instruments, and there’s a good variety here. Chief amongst is the fretless bass, which gets a good airing on many of the tracks. Add in drums and synths and you get a pretty strong bass line. Aside from this, you do get the feeling that it’s the vocals, and more importantly, the lyrics that are of primary concern. They do stand out, although sadly there’s no lyric sheet provided. Still, you can always use your own imagination to make out what you think they are saying, as I used to do with the Cocteau Twins! There are plenty of outstanding tracks out of the 15 on offer (and squeezing the CD’s capacity at 77mins, 55 secs). There’s even their rather good interpretation of The Beatles ‘I Am The Walrus’. There’s no faulting the playing on any of these tracks and it’s good to hear a group that just gets on and play the music they enjoy. If you’ve heard of the group, nothing’s going to stop you wanting this. For others, see if you can get to listen to a sample before you decide. (Liam)

from The Dutch Progressive Rock Page, 2005, Volume 1:

…And of course I should address the album’s only cover song and the one that gives it at least part of its name. I’ve always thought I Am the Walrus was one of the weirdest songs from any band or any era that I’d ever heard – but, if you share that opinion, you ain’t heard nothin’ till you play Chill Faction’s version a few times. I’m usually deeply skeptical about Beatles covers, but I’m pretty sure I prefer Chill Faction’s version of the song to the original, because it not only takes the weird lyrics and runs with them but also weirds up the music, taking the Beatles’ plod and funkifying it, vocalist Larry Kirwan making the lyrics hug the beat almost as if his voice were another percussion instrument. In this version, the oddness of the song is almost scary.

But odd as it is, I Am the Walrus isn’t the oddest song on this album. This was an inventive and quirky group in its own right, and you’ll get a kick out of many of the lyrics. From Hostage of the Heart: “I call up the White House / But they won’t reverse the charges / They don’t accept phone calls / From unidentified hostages.” And from 42nd Street, whose rhythm and overall ambience remind me a bit of ABC’s Poison Arrow: “I wish I could be sentimental when I think of you / I should have known better than to love you / ‘Cause your plastic heart is melting from the heat / On forty, forty, forty-second street.” These guys are having fun with the words as well as with the music… – Gerald Wandio

from Ampersand etcetera, Volume 7 – Notes 13, 2004:

…And a confounding package it is: NY art punk from the eighties, with rhythmic hints of Kissing The Pink and A Certain Ratio; bass drums guitar synths with all that means like the synth sound on The Affairs Of The Heart, dirty and exotic guitars at various places, rhythms and melodies that drive you along; drones and complexities; and over it all Larry Kirwan’s voice that reminded me, at various times, of Pavlov’s Dog, Fischer Z, the Cure, The Fall and Tymon Dogg – yes one of those high, emotive individual instruments. Across the album, even though it is a short time, you hear the group develop, adding density and complexity (Parcells’ trombone becomes highlighted) and finding their own take on the sound of the time. The version of I Am The Walrus emphasises their punky direction, the stripped back sound of their middle period. The final tracks with string synths, additional production and development are suggestive of some even more interesting directions they could have gone …but this is fascinating and enjoyable taste of the zeitgeist. – Jeremy Keens

from Expose, Issue No. 31, March 2005:

…Upbeat, tense, and danceable, as was pandemic in the 80’s, Chill Faction’s muse throws a quirky twist into the fray, with the fretless jazz bass, and (the high point of the CD) Fazio’s supersonic fretwork, which manages to send a minimalist new wave Talking Heads form, plunging towards 80’s Crimson or Random Hold. The musical backing’s squelched, reductionist emotive range (almost requisite in 80’s rock, it infiltrated everything from Laurie Anderson to Camel) focuses the spotlight on vocals, wherein is spent the bulk of the tension in CF’s songwriting…

1987 wasn’t exactly the acme of popular music during my lifetime: even Univers Zero couldn’t remain intact, while major labels welcomed only new age or ethnic music to fulfill their quota of creative music. As such, Chill Faction was assuredly fighting an uphilll battle, and it shows in their work, which will be appreciated by fans of that high-quality needle in the haystack of an otherwise lackluster decade in rock music. – Michael Ezzo

from Amazon:

5.0 out of 5 stars Urban Melancholy, December 11, 2004
By Eleanor Lance (WI)

Chill Faction-Eggman On The Deuce and Other Stories is a masterpiece of urban melancholy.It’s timeless,gritty,surreal,gripping,energetic and engaging.Lucky for those of us nostalgic fans, they resurrected this collection of songs by the inimitable Chill Faction.Whose masterful performances lay bare a synergy that runs rampant through their musicianship. In a time when we need more intelligent music like this that evokes universal themes of desolation and longing. There are so many tracks that thread this albums life force. WHENEVER WERE TOGETHER and CHRISTMAS IN THE WHOREHOUSE, are just a few that are provocatively memorable.The entire album summons forth the lost days of bands that can create a dramatically light and dark tapestry of emotion. SWEET AND SOUR SADNESS has the dire sound of a post-modern “Summertime”Larry Kirwan’s vocals thrust at your heart with his earnest tone that rings of self-preservation.Dave Conrad’s bass guitar and Thomas Hamlin’s drums are hypnotic. Fred Parcell’s trombone style has an extraordinary uniqueness. And Mike Fazio’s soundscapes induced by both his dream like guitar and synthesizers forge the sound together and drag you into a world of vast and vivid projection. Somewhere there is a film that is should use this entire album as it’s guiding soundtrack.

5.0 out of 5 stars Hi-art with a decidedly funky feel, November 12, 2004
By Paul Browse (US) –

Chill Faction spin deceptively complex psychedelic riffs and rhythms into eerie and shifting Kafka-esque dreamscapes. Some songs capture whimsy (Long Hot Summer) or bittersweet memories (Christmas In The Whorehouse), (Whenever We’re Together) and others make you look over your shoulder to see who is lurking behind you (Hostage Of The Heart), (Nuclear Missiles), (42nd Street). All while never ever dropping the groove. You certainly can get exhausted by the sheer energy of this record. It never lets up. It begs you to get up and contort yourself. Try and sit still to Don’t Fall In The Crack, Jack or Marilyn or Bride Of Jesus. You simply can’t. Hostage of the heart is reason alone to listen to Eggman. Stunningly disturbing.

You can certainly dance to this record but you can also contemplate your future, or your past for that matter, probably at the same time. How many records do you have like this in your collection?

This band was an art band and even that moniker doesn’t do them justice.

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential listening, November 12, 2004

By Hope Blister (USA) –

This album was done in the mid 1980’s and sounds more contemporary than the works of many of today’s so-called “hipsters”. Chill Faction was one of those groups far ahead of their time. The musicians are superb & have a sophistication not generally found in today’s music. They seemed to have invented their own brand of music: literary, sophisticated, melodic, violent, wonderfully disturbing, bittersweet, complex, sinister. Unique. Not for the squeamish. This is essential listening.

Brilliant musicianship by one and all. David Conrad can certainly stand toe to toe with Jamaaladeen Tacuma or Mick Karn and the clever interplay between him and Thomas Hamlin on drums is a delight to savor. One of the tightest rhythm sections I have heard in the last 25 years. Mike Fazio’s piercing guitar playing is years ahead of what came later in the 80’s, 90’s and even today. Certainly an admirer of Fripp, Rundgren & Hendrix, you can also hear a Steve Cropper mentality in his playing quite like John McGeough’s wonderful guitar playing with Siouxsie & The Banshees. Larry Kirwan’s vocals are very different from what most people know of him do today in Black 47. His urgency stands on par with Robert Smith circa The Cure years between Pornography and The Top and he stretches in angst-ridden leaps and bounds like a pissed-off Peter Hammill. Fred Parcell’s electronic approach to trombone is in a class by itself. No one, and I mean no one sounds like him.

As the album progresses in chronological timeframe, so does the band’s stretch into uncharted territory. You can hear in the beginning tracks the bands raw unproduced New York mindset not unlike Liquid Liquid, Bush Tetras, Television and Talking Heads (Affairs Of The Heart) (Down By The Waterfront) urging into something entirely new (You Send Me Like So Many Nuclear Missiles) (Hell Without You).

(Sweet & Sour Sadness Of Sunday Afternoons) and (Nuclear Missiles) have their non-stop eerie moments. The Beatles cover of I Am The Walrus has absolutely nothing to do with the original and somehow forges Van Der Graaf Generator with A Certain Ratio. In fact, the whole vibe of this album is one of an eerie sense of taking the best funk/punk elements of the first few brilliant A Certain Ratio or 23 Skidoo albums with Howard Devoto & Magazine’s unique bent on post punk progressive and elaborating those elements with the art and power of Van Der Graaf Generator with of course, different instruments. Quite a feat considering no one from the 80’s ever attempted this before. But the highlight of the album for me remains the weird atmospheric Hostage Of The Heart, an awesome number with mysterious hypnotic appeal and the arrangement, especially the drone-like guitar, reminds me of what Kitchens Of Distinction would do later in the eighties or Interpol is attempting even now. To me, it’s on a par with Magazine’s beautifully strange masterpiece Back To Nature on the Secondhand Daylight album. Chill Faction was a band of many talents but unfortunately did not continue. This collection is therefore to be treasured. Anyone interested in the annals of indy New York rock should not miss this.

Jo Gabriel – The Unreachable Sky

Jo Gabriel - The Unreachable Sky

review by Bill Binkelman (Wind And Wire)

Here’s an intriguing album comprised of both instrumental and a few vocal tracks. Jo Gabriel plays piano, electric guitar, and keyboard samples and is possessed of a singing voice that reminds me of a combination of Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos; she has that combination of raw human emotion and a multi-octave range that either appeals to a person or doesn’t. I doubt that anyone who hears her on the several vocal tracks will have a neutral reaction. Myself, I found her style intensely intimate and well-suited for integration with the somber and minimal piano-driven instrumental songs.

Somber is a perfect choice to describe the whole of The Unreachable Sky. Even when the music drives forward with purpose at a fast pace (such as on the rapid piano runs of “Tinderbox Waltz”), the preponderance of minor tone melodies evokes gray skies, bitter remembrance, and even naked pain. However, this is not the elegant neo-chamber music of Tim Story. There is an urgency and a pleading quality to many of the pieces here, and I’d recommend against playing this as background music. It warrants your full attention (and, in fact, as background music, it suffers by comparison).

While some songs feature prominent use of sampled instruments, Gabriel’s piano is far and away the main attraction here, and she has the chops to make it worthwhile listening. If you usually find “new age” music piano to be too sweet and undemanding, you won’t have that reaction here, trust me. Yet, seldom is The Unreachable Sky inaccessible or abrasive. Unconventional, yes, but not overly formidable.

Gabriel does share Tim Story’s idiosyncratic approach to titling songs; witness selections such as “Turbulent Silence” (somber reflective echoed piano), “Spill” (echoed piano played against an enveloping droning wall of strummed electric guitar and twinkling tones before submerging into a quiet swell of subdued drones), “Be My Deity” (lower register string ensembles coursing under solo piano), and the album closer “If Not” (minor key Harold Budd-like treated piano with drone undercurrents and sparse vocals).

Regarding the vocal tracks’ lyrics, since they are not included and, as is my wont, I am too lazy to decipher them, I won’t comment on them except to tell you that they are closer to poetry than to pop music, so be assured you won’t hear a lot of “Baby, baby, baby” anywhere on this album!

To my ears, the mix on this CD could be cleared up a bit, although I wonder if this muddiness is intentional and contributes to the mood of the songs. Even given that, though, the piano could have used better mic’ing, in my opinion. I also think that eighteen songs is a lot of territory to cover, even when some tracks are only between one and two minutes long; some songs begged for more development while others seemed like throwaways.

On the whole, though, The Unreachable Sky is worthwhile if you enjoy moody piano music, along with some sampled keyboards (mostly strings) and a few vocal tracks here and there. I don’t know that you could classify this as ambient music, and it sure isn’t new age or adult contemporary. In some ways, it cleaves closer to neo-classical, especially with how Gabriel plays her piano (her technique really is quite good). There are also some avant garde elements and a bit of Projekt-type goth/shoegazer mixed in there as well. While nowhere near as depressing as the recordings from Projekt (such as those from Black Tape for a Blue Girl), this is still not the CD you would reach for is you just won the lottery. But, the world needs sad, even tragic, music too. After all, if the sky is unreachable, we can’t be expected to be happy, can we?
from Collected Sounds:

a Review by Anna Maria Stjärnell

Jo Gabriel’s new album is mostly piano instrumentals, but has some vocal tracks as well. There’s enough tension to ensure the instrumental tracks are brilliant. Gabriel’s a masterful pianist and her tunes are haunting.

“Tinderbox Waltz” is soundtrack music waiting for a film. It conjures forth images of rain-swept beaches and impossible romances.

“Mother May I?” features a strong vocal and a great melody. Jo Gabriel’s resemblance to Kate Bush is quite obvious here.

The title track is short, but still strong. It’s atmospheric and fluent.

“7 Little Secrets” is a soft ballad with Gabriel lending her most evocative vocal to some suggestive lyrics.

This is a lovely album that s should give you a strong reason to investigate Gabriel’s music

Jo Gabriel – Tinderbox

Jo Gabriel - Tinderbox

from Collected Sounds:

a Review by Anna Maria Stjärnell

Jo Gabriel has been recording for quite a while now, but has failed to get the attention she deserves. Her new record “Tinderbox” is a short album dominated by her voice and piano.

The title track has very disturbing lyrics and Gabriel’s haunted voice gets to the heart of them.

“Island” is a lovely, sweeping song. Gabriel’s work here reminds me of Kate Bush, which is a good thing obviously.

“Give it Back” uses Jo Gabriel’s most fluid piano-playing and she sings it wonderfully. Strands of Hildegard von Bingen’s music is used in an artful way.

“Broken” sees Gabriel borrowing a bit more from Hildegard and adding her own melody and lyrics.

“Little Birds” is another stunning track.

It’s a short but worthwhile record. I hope Jo Gabriel gets heard more this time round.

orchestramaxfieldparrish – Tears

orchestramaxfieldparrish - Tears

From Aural Innovations #31 June 2005:

Deeply influenced by the 80s academy of ambient guitarists (Bill Nelson, Robert Fripp, Michael Rother, Durutti Column), Mike Fazio’s orchestramaxfieldparrish project is a splendid concatenation of soaring e-bow guitars, heavenly synthesizers, crystalline percussion and an assortment of other instruments finely tuned to the frequencies of the heart and soul. Fazio’s closest spiritual antecedents, however, serve as mere ghostly projections that infuse his compositions with a kind of invisible aura and rarely a heavy-handed presence. At their best, Fazio’s songs are channels to other times and places that resonate in the pools of memory, anthems of transcendence for fallen angels and romantic warriors. The lovely “Bow” is a case in point. Chiming electric guitars create a lush dreamscape over which an orchestra of tuned percussion, wood, glass and assorted metals flicker like fireflies on a summer evening. Both intoxicating and entrancing, “Waiting for Twilight” builds swelling guitars into a symphonic architecture of longing ascension, where rich chordal clusters rise and fall like the shadows of velvet birds cast against a kaleidoscopic horizon. These and the other shorter pieces (“…and then a crowd, impossible to number…” and “Where the Angels Crash and Die,” for instance) all share a consistency and fluidity of vision that the extended suites (“The Tears of Christ” and “Music from the Empty Corner”) occasionally lack. This isn’t to say that the longer compositions are too repetitive or directionless, only that within the less consciously circumscribed, more open-minded framework, Fazio tends to drift far afield to esoteric circles that only true initiates can fully appreciate. “The Tears of Christ” effectively utilizes musical space for the creation of sounding structures through time – a kind of kyrie eleison for solo guitar processed with a multitude of effects. “Music from the Empty Corner” is perhaps Fazio’s clearest and most heartfelt expression of his connection to the Orphic myth he alludes to in the album’s liner notes. Using little more than bells, gongs and synth, Fazio sculpts a mesmerizing tone poem of luminescent beauty. Here, timbre and pitch are constructed in the same way that a painter might use light and shadow on a canvas. Shimmering and radiant, “Music from the Empty Corner” sunders the darkness like veils of light from another sun – truly splendid music for the deep silences of the night. Tears is a rare oasis in what is increasingly becoming a barren world of sound. – Charles Van de Kree

From FUNPROX – July, 2005:

…‘Tears’ by the formation orchestramaxfieldparrish is a record one mustn’t skip.

‘Tears’ is an evocative and dynamic blend of all sorts of instruments (listed separately beneath each track in the cd-booklet) as electric guitars, drums, piano, synthesizers and acoustic guitars. Keywords to describe the music would be: atmospheric, soundtrackish and dreamy. The overall audial impression of the record is not dark at all, more soothing then menacing, sometimes even more poppy than ambient.

The rich variation of styles is clear in ‘A lot like you’. After the initial drones, orchestramaxfieldparrish suddenly breaks the ambient structure and starts a moody and catchy song. In the next track, besides droning electronics, also drums and a bass-line are present, but this time more to support atmosphere than to create a songstructure. ‘Bow’ is definitely my favourite track, which sounds like a mixture of Raison d’être and Alio Die. The echoing, reverbing guitarsounds create a very powerful lush feeling of desolation and sadness. Like Orpheus’ lyre twanging sad strains, emitting nice vibrating sounds. These chilling, distant guitarstrains are present in most of the tracks; resulting in an album that sounds as a whole. Everyone sensitive to soundscapes will absolutely be touched by the efforts of this band from the big apple.

Orchestramaxfieldparrish combines the best ingredients of ambient-electronic music on the one hand, and post-rock-alike guitar drones on the other. A definite recommendation. – JS

from EXPOSE – issue 27, JULY, 2003:

I chose this CD for review based solely on the name. What a welcome change to see a project that absorbs influences from other art forms, not a common enough trait. And the serenity in the paintings of Parrish – once the whipping boy of hip mid-century moderns, for whom all but splashes and blobs of ugliness was bourgeois and out-of-fashion – is the perfect afflatus for the beautiful ambient sound paintings of OMP. And it is all the work of one man, Mike Fazio. Striking is Fazio’s grasp of the production savvy needed to achieve a professionalism that exceeds the grasp of most other ambient music projects. Surely the emphasis is on mood and atmosphere – each track explores a different side of the craft, delivered by a distinct orchestration. Electric guitars here, Mellotron, piano and acoustic guitars there; synths and samples on another; and so on. Cues are taken from various ends of the genre: Fripp & Eno, Harold Budd, Bill Nelson, David Sylvian, etc. But he reveals his instruments more prominently, adding bass, even a touch of drums and symphonic elements as well, something that most ambient composers run scared from. It all coalesces into a wonderfully coherent statement, not a hodge podge. Ambient music is easy to fool around and dabble with, but deceptively difficult to get right. OMP hits the mark splendidly, and I recommend it. – Michael Ezzo

Mike Ezzo’s Best of 2002:

New Releases:

1. Univers Zero – Rhythmix

2. Jonas Hellborg – Icon

3. Pat Metheny – Speaking of Now

4. Lars Hollmer’s Global Project – Sola

5. Peter Hammill – Clutch

6. Manring/McGill/Stevens – Controlled By Radar

7. orchestramaxfieldparrish – Tears

8. Tangerine Dream – Inferno

9. Wayne Shorter – Footprints Live

10. Softworks – Softworks

from APERSAND ETCETERA – SEPTEMBER, 2002:

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

orchestramaxfieldparrish

Tears

faith strange – fs2

Mike Fazio is the Orchestra, and has been around since 1987 – the sleeve includes a useful bio: Black 47 prominent for over a decade amongst other gigs, various production. Among the enthusiasm of a pr insert, the references to Bill Nelson and David Sylvian strike a chord at first listening (celebrated by the cheeky sampling of samples from the Orchestra Arcana for one track).

‘Beauty and wonder’ is that, echoed and delightful backwards and forwards guitar tones, reminiscent of Bill Nelson, which is furthered by the choppy Chinese chimes and sweeping guitar in the first half of ‘Dorothea gets her wish’ but then a big percussion enters with voice tones and piano and OMP is finding its own voice, perhaps symbolised by the squeezed guitar at the end. But the Nelson sampled samples of ‘…and then a crowd, impossible to number…’ surrounded by long tones and washes, sounds swirling around the slightly echoed voices.

I have often wondered about track lengths – and there does seem to be a pointed nature to ‘A lot like you’ being 8:01 long (we are the 801, we are the central shaft). But it opens in an un-Eno way with a couple of minutes of tidal crackle rumbles before a very nice guitar solo with piano accompaniment that fades back into the rumble that is extended to fill the time. Some echoes of Windham Hill, but there seems to be a little more edge. Unstable and phasing surging and pinging tones (including some high guitar) grounded by drum and rubbery bass are ‘Where the angels crash and die’.

The lush echoed and reverbed guitar provides a varied density melody surrounded by restrained chimes and soft scraping noises in ‘Bow’ after which long tones in ‘Waiting for twilight’ form embracing and warm clouds of sound, with room for a bass solo and then some edgy guitar. The Fripp-ish nature of that sound is echoed in ‘The tears of christ’ a 17 minute soundscape that is a spacious work with phasey looped and delayed guitar, lyric chromatic clusters that nod towards Fripp’s soundscapes but develops OMP’s own sound. Finally ‘Music from the empty quarter’ is a contemplative piece for gongs and deep rumble, chimes and tones drifting and surging, some larger echoed sounds, but generally relaxed. Or almost finally, as there is a brief extra piece of backward and ringing guitar to balance the opening track.

This is one of those albums which is going to get replayed because it is full of timeless pleasure – from the more dramatic guitar pieces to the extended spacious contemplations – a musical suite to savour (especially if you like Bill Nelson).

– Jeremy Keens

&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Progressive Newsletter 2005

Im Moment scheint wieder mal die Zeit für elektronische Musik reif zu sein. Brachte zum Anfang des Jahres InsideOut über ihr neues Label Revisited Rec. gleich vier Alben von Elektronikpionier Klaus Schulze als CD Wiederveröffentlichung unters Volk, so ist auch das Projekt Orchestramaxfieldparrish in den Gestaden der elektronischen Klänge angesiedelt. Reiner Zufall oder nicht: die ätherischen, schwebenden Klängen passen einfach vortrefflich zum nasskalten, schneereichen Wetter dieses Winters. Mike Fazio, der sich als alleiniger Musiker hinter dem Pseudonym Orchestramaxfieldparrish verbirgt, ist vom Arbeitsgerät keineswegs allein auf die Tasten fixiert. Neben Synthesizer, Mellotron und Klavier, reproduziert vor allem die elektrische Gitarre den Großteil seiner feingliedrigen, komplett instrumentalen Klanglandschaften. Seine Bandbreite ist weitgefächert und reicht von abstrakten Ambientklängen bzw. allein auf Stimmungen aufgebauten Soundcollagen hin bis zu “normaler” Musik in melodischer Schlichtheit. Dadurch gelingt es die eher schwebenden Klänge wieder zu erden, eine Balance neben reiner Atmosphäre, durch fragile Songfragmente zu finden. Der Spagat zwischen Experiment, Avantgarde und struktureller Denkweise gelingt auf diesem Album über weite Strecken, dennoch ist die ganze Synthese des amerikanischen Musikers nicht unbedingt leicht Kost, sondern eher als Extrem Ambient einzustufen.

– Kristian Selm

from WIND AND WIRE – November 2003

Volume 1, Number 7

I have mixed feelings about this ambient music CD, the work of Mike Fazio recording here under the pseudonym orchestramaxfieldparrish. Those songs that I do like on Tears I like a lot. Then there are two to which I have a negative reaction. On balance, though, I would give the CD a solid recommendation because of the brave nature of what Fazio is doing as well as the music contained on the tracks I do enjoy. And, while I had to hit the “skip” a few times when playing the album, you may not have to.

Instrumentation on the nine tracks (which range from one and half to over seventeen minutes in length) varies from electric and acoustic guitars, drums, piano and bass to more traditionally ambient tools of the trade (samplers, synths). This variety also extends to the music, as I hinted at above. The album opens with a short (the minute and a half piece mentioned earlier) abstract electric guitar song, “Beauty and Wonder,” and segues into the full-bodied (guitars, drums, piano and synths) upbeat “Dorothea Gets Her Wish,” full of sparkling electronic notes, rolling piano chords and soaring electric guitars (placed back of the mix). From there, we are treated to a very nice pure ambient cut, “…and then a crowd, impossible to number,” featuring layers of billowing serene but minor key synths helped along by some dialogue snippets (one sounds like Spock, one sounds like Lousie Fletcher from Brainstorm and the other one I’m unsure of).

As I mentioned above, some of the tracks on Tears are misses for me, including the disjointed “A Lot Like You,” which tries to evolve an opening stretch of noise and static into an acoustic guitar and piano number resembling an instrumental folk music piece. For me, it didn’t gel and neither of the disparate parts hit me much either. Likewise, the next song, “Where The Angels Crash And Die,” while deserving of its pessimistic title, plays like a goth rock band (electric guitars, drums, bass) jamming to no real purpose except to craft a lot of dark textures. If that turns your crank, you’ll love this.

Things take a sharp turn upwards (meaning, for the better) starting with “Bow,” a drifting but melancholy Jeff Pearce-like electric guitar song that also features assorted percussive effects on metal, glass, and wood which are, remarkably enough, cohesive and non-pretentious. Guitars on this track are both strummed and also used as drone-like ambience. From here on out, the album is on a roll, with one solid number after another. “Waiting For Twilight” is a serene ambient cut, on which Fazio’s electric guitars sound more like synths as they weave a darkish, but not too, pattern in the night sky. At more than seventeen minutes, “The Tears Of Christ” is far and away the most ambitious track on the CD. Using nothing but electric guitars, Fazio explores abstract minimalism, experimenting with the silence between notes as well as a variety of tones, shadings, and more overt “guitar-like” musical stylings. The only other artist doing anything at all like this that I’m familiar with is Jon Durant, and Fazio stands toe-to-toe with him on this piece. It’s possible that the track could have been shortened, yet with minimalistic music like this, how much is enough or not enough?

For me, the closing track is also far and away my favorite. “Music From the Empty Corner” (an alarmingly appropriate title) also journeys down minimal pathways, but this time does so with assorted bells and gongs, most of them reverberating and sustaining for long periods of time. The various tones, each of them pleasant in their own right, coalesce to form fascinating patterns yet in a completely random fashion. While the music is not “dark,” there is a brilliant juxtaposition of contemplation tinted with profound sadness (or at least that’s my reaction) which transfixed me every time I played this cut. While twelve minutes long, I never tired of the wind-chime like allure of this selection.

The upside of Tears far outweighs my complaints and since it’s easy enough to program out the two cuts I don’t care for, I can recommend it to ambient and minimalist fans with breezy confidence, assuming the listener is not opposed to non-traditional (i.e. not synthesizers) sources for his/her ambient bliss. Because, the majority of this album contains more than a few blissful moments, as well as stretches of artistic creativity and virtuosity that bode well for Mike Fazio’s future releases. – Bill Binkelman

Axiom Of Choice

Summary:

Mike Fazio has been involved with numerous artists in New York City including Black 47 and Chill Faction. This is an ambientish release from 2002.

The music:

The artwork and titles already indicate this to be an artistic and tasteful release. And it is. The opener is a short one moving right into Dorothea Gets Her Wish. Reverb and guitar sounds dominate. Follw up …And Then A Crowd, Impossible To Number… is a prime example of ambient with spoken words, vocoded and an angelic atmosphere. A sample is nicked from Bill Nelson which says something.A Lot Like You has warm piano playing, strings, acoustic guitar and a zooming bass sound, while Where The Angels Crash And Die (I really like that title) is rather experimental and eerie. Lots of things happening at the same time making it come off as rather chaotic. Think of Frippians soundscapes on The Gates Of Paradise. Incidental drum work occurs on this one.

With Bow we are back to serene ambient, complete with the tinkle of bells. Comparisons can be made to the excellent More Than A Just A Seagull by Gandalf here, although Orchestramaxfieldparrish is a bit less melodic. Waiting For Twilight continues on a soothing note with ambientish bass and guitar. Think Fripp, Sylvian and Eno (but mainly the former, as on his That Which Passes).

The final two pieces are of more than respectable length, and are more Soundscapes like in essence. The first of these is The Tears Of Christ, which indeed features only guitars. Music From The Empty Corner is similar but uses what is called a ‘reaktor’ instead. This is more in the line of typical Electronic Music ambient.

Conclusion:

A really nice ambientish releases with a bit of experiment, but not overly much. The sound is warm and soothing, as it should be, except of course when the artist decides differently. Main reference point is Fripp’s solo work.

– Jurriaan Hage

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