BYRON METCALF & MARK SEELIG: Persistent Visions (2019)
“I don't think you will sleep nor dance but you will be blasted away by these percussions technics and the sweet flamering fluty chants”
1 Vision 1 10:31 2 Vision 2 14:41 3 Vision 3 14:30 4 Vision 4 10:02 5 Vision 5 10:14 6 Vision 6 11:03
I never thought that one day I would become a fan of this music. These spiritual trances rhythms which are soothing while exciting the senses when the intensity is eating away more and more the latent evolution of these atmospheres. And yet, many albums later from Steve Roach and from the American label Projekt Records my senses stunned by pain-killers made me appreciate this music whose beauty lies mainly in these tribal percussions from Byron Metcalf. I'm not disliking here the delicacy of Mark Seelig's lips on his flute, far from me this idea. The flute is very beautiful. But too much is like not enough! While the percussions, their different languages and tones as their variations in the momentum of the rhythms are elements of enchantment. And they dominate here with a nice assortment and an excitement that grows more and more up to the point of explosion in Vision 3. Subsequently, it's the ecstasy until the extinction of the drums. As usual with Projekt, PERSISTENT VISIONS is offered in a CD manufactured version with a 4-sided digipack panel embellished by a nice artwork and the texts and graphics related to the album. A downloadable version is also available and comes with the full version of the album in an entire 71-minute title with CUE points to index the 6 parts.
The opening of Vision 1 is equal to these openings of ambient tribal rhythms. Its decor is that of the open air with insects that communicate by stridulatory waves under a sky delimited by dark breezes and faint gleams of ambient drones which bound the distant horizons. Byron Metcalf's magical hands dance lusciously on his frame drums, causing Mark Seelig's Bansuri flute to flicker like a flame over the different shades of Shaman Metcalf's tribal percussions. If the percussions play with their tones, the flute sharpens its pagan songs with intonations as low as very airy. Synth pads add a little more ethereal mists while the percussions adjust the tempo for a little more force when Vision 2 walks on the borders of Vision 1. The flute is not outdone. Mark Seelig controls the air of his lungs by blowing in the beak of his instrument those same songs which follow however the new cadence. It's only further that we notice these ambient mists of Paul Casper & Frore's synths become denser and more on the move. They look like seraphic violins waltzing with the sparks of the percussions. We are approaching the territories of Vision 3 and the rhythm is beating with new fervor. The sky is filled with these layers misted by visions of Steve Roach. Imperturbable, the American flutist makes his songs dance like that flame tortured by the winds. The avalanche of drums, of talking drums, can be swept away, and the spiritual trance may well be excited that this sonic flame remains phlegmatic. Her harmonies even transcend the agitation of the drums. We can't sleep anymore, so much the drums are resounding. And these resonances forge a continual trance with a harmonic hint in the elastic reverberations of the drums. Hints supported by these fog pads that have become an essential asset, while Mark Seelig now extends the silences of his interludes. Vision 4 brings the moods to its point of origin with a flexible rhythm flooded by the tonal caresses of Seelig and by the fog layers of the two other synthesists invited to deepen the sound field of PERSISTENT VISIONS. Metcalf's hands seem out of breath since the flute expires its soporific songs that no longer dance, but that animate the ambiances of Vision 5 where the tonal drones buzz in a kind of astral blues, so much the rhythm is became lascivious. And it's Mark Seelig who takes the destinies of this album to lead it in a finale where our ears hear again these crickets which had fled the fervor of the multiple percussions of Byron Metcalf.
Sylvain Lupari (April 26th, 2019) ***½**
Available at Projekt Bandcamp