AWENSON: Floating (2021)
Updated: Nov 14, 2021
“Floating is a harmonious ambient music album thrown by Awenson”
1 Tropical Sleep 12:21
2 Tribal Trip 11:10
3 Sacred Rite 10:26
4 Landscape from Outerspace 18:46
5 Perle 3:55
6 Flowers of Heaven 11:05
7 Love Dream 7:00
(CD/DDL 74:45) (V.F.)
(Ambient Floating Music)
Awenson got us used to albums that reflected the spirit of electronic music (EM) of the 70's. Long tracks evolving in a progressive and psychedelic context. In this respect, FLOATING is quite different. It's an ambient album with beautiful meditative vibrations that connects us with this desire to dream with our ears connected to a universe where music is a doorway to tranquility. One finds there many influences of Michael Stearns, in particular on the level of the harmonies and this seraphic vision more illuminated here and which surrounds the music of FLOATING of a lyrical aura.
It's with a twisted synth wave which degrades its tonal colors that Tropical Sleep comes out of the speakers. The sound is good and encircles this sonic shadow that undulates like a veil of anaesthetic mist, even drawing slender shapes that intertwine until our ears perceive a delicate dance of moiré arpeggios. Following an ascending pattern, like a Berlin School, these sonic pearls travel through the melodious orchestrations of misty violins, meeting in regular cycles the rumblings of tropical thunder. A beautiful element that adds a little more intensity to this track that sticks to nature, as evidenced by the countless whispers of birds, and to the reality of this brand-new album of the French musician as we float with cosmic algae. Tribal Trip lays down a rather animated structure with a sequence of percussive glass elements alternating these crystal strikes in strong breezes. Whistling breezes from which come out fluttery tunes that get lost under the force and impact of these cosmic breezes, judging by the different astral tones, sounding like very old Klaus Schulze by the way, that escape. One meditates for sure, but one certainly does not sleep there! Quite the opposite of Sacred Rite which is a splendid track. This superb piece of music starts with an echoing bouncing sequence, more or less in the style of Adelbert Von Deyen in Per Aspera Ad Astra, except that here the sequence has a bass tone. But the atmosphere, the procession and the setting are very similar. Still, a very beautiful, silky and lazy melody charms in the vibrating echo of the bass sequence. The track plays a bit on its modulations and intonations, which occur after the tinkling of an astral bell, while playing chimeric violins in the cosmic sky. Superbly nonchalant, this track mesmerizes me as much as the torrid gaze of my sweetheart.
The opening of Landscape from Outerspace is enveloped in faux violins that create a bed of orchestral ambience. Oboes can certainly be heard, but the dominant element is this veil of reverberations that holds this soundscape at bay. These reverberations come in methodical bursts that guitar riffs place in momentary sunny spells. It's the equivalent of Steve Roach's floating and tenebrous music, without the acoustic guitar. One easily loses oneself there by drifting in a meditative state in suspension. Perle is a short and rather melodious track with nice anaesthetizing layers where tinkling and fluttering water pearls end up making a percussive link. I think it's great! The orchestral contribution is still imposing, even for a short track. Flowers of Heaven is a good track that seeks to exploit the highest notes to properly distribute its handful of chills. The synth lets off those heavenly trumpet harmonies that melt into the reverberating effects of a music in suspension. The tinkling of the bells are discreet and decorate this play of the bass which provides these mute implosions necessary to make us travel on the wings of the layers of violins which always have this soporific effect. Love Dream begins with waves crashing on reefs. A sound wave rises just before the first minute, ejecting arpeggios whose limpid tone adjusts to our emotions on a slow movement seized by a layer of buzzes. A little behind the resonance of the ambient movement, these arpeggios tinkle like a light hammering on a crystal anvil and shape an astral rhyme that seems far away from our ears invaded by the dark ambient approach of Love Dream.
I found Awenson very comfortable with his meditative structures. A characteristic that I didn't quite know from Joël Bernard, even if some of his albums hide one or two meditative tracks and/or phases. And if you are looking for meditative music without necessarily falling into the emotionless ambient style, FLOATING is a beautiful proposal thrown by him. A sensitive being, the friend Joel knew how to channel his emotions in order to sculpt melodies as discreet as he is, which blend in this crossroads of ambient landscapes that are not so far from the masters of the time.
Sylvain Lupari (November 14th, 2021) *****
Available at Groove nl