Byron Metcalf & Shane Morris Ancestral Resonance (2023)
“A very solid album and a must for fans of the genre”
1 Spectrum of Possibilities 8:33
2 Mystical Meanderings 7:10
3 Portal 48 9:07
4 Sounds of Awareness 7:06
5 Mythic Momentum 7:15
6 A Dynamic Presence 8:04
7 Symbiotic Reflections 7:50
8 Ancestral Resonance 8:36
(CD/DDL 63:40) (V.F.)
(Ethnic ambient & trance)
An artistic union between Byron Metcalf and Shane Morris is sure to excite fans of tribal-style electronic music (EM) with a hint of dark psybient in its musical panoramas. While the American shaman and master of acoustic percussion needs no introduction, Shane Morris is a lesser-known artist with a solid track record in ethnic music that draws its richness from a variety of sampling sources collected in natural environments. His track record includes more than 30 albums, including collaborations with Frore and Mystified in a series of albums where Jurassic universes challenge our curiosity. The two musicians unite their visions in an amazing musical adventure where the richness of one gives a new dimension to the ingenuity of the other. Available as a download and as a 6-panel CD Digipack, ANCESTRAL RESONANCE activates our neurons with all the richness of the 2 musicians' acoustic percussion, structuring passive and animated trance rhythms in a sonic panorama that far surpasses Byron Metcalf's more desertic ones. When the visions of the first people of our universe meet the dominance of those more current, that can only give an album whose extent exceeds our expectations. A very beautiful realization of the American label Projekt Records which will be released tomorrow, February 3rd, 2023.
A breath of a misty savannah is at the origin of Spectrum of Possibilities. The first beats of the percussion orient the music towards a dramatic portion, but especially initiates the arrival of the shamanic bells. Other acoustic drums hatch in clusters before structuring a passive trance rhythm. And that sense of hearing those drums flooding our listening room is as ubiquitous here as it is on the other albums by the Arizona percussionist and sculptor of meditative moods. A short fluty tune rises, the first bastion of another charming element that will help cement our listening to this first Metcalf/Morris collaboration. Moreover, the sound of the Arkansas musician's synthesizers is easily guessed with nebulous arabesques that crisscross the quiet rhythm of Spectrum of Possibilities. Also, the presence of Shane Morris brings a thin cabalistic layer, weaving a discreet dramatic web, in the universe of Byron Metcalf. She injects this effect into the opening of Mystical Meanderings, a more atmospheric and meditative track covered by synth shadows, metallic haze and twilight glows. The arrangements also bring a more cinematic vision to the present work of this new duo. The dull beats and the agitated dance of the ceremonial bells surprise after this quiet title, shaking Portal 48 of a frenetic rhythm which is finely slowed down by synth waves hovering like dark threats. We are in the spells of the Byron Metcalf universe who hammers our ears here with a fascinating and very catchy part of acoustic percussions. These percussions resonate and roll from one eardrum to the other, like a rhythmic river, annihilating any chance of a nanosecond of tranquility. The muffled beats of a bass-drum help to accentuate the illusion of a meditative trance. It's downright spellbinding! As much for the legs as for the mind.
On the other hand, a track like the very ambient Sounds of Awareness comes straight out of Shane Norris' visions of Jurassic ambiences. One hears samplings of a nature which remains to be defined in a moment of sound happening well dictated by the percussions of the Arizonan shaman. If the percussions thunder with enthusiasm in Mythic Momentum, the ceremonial rattling diminishes it. The rhythm is thus slow. Like a percussion beast, it watches our senses. Accentuating its flow little by little, it stimulates a trance around an imaginary fire where vipers rub shoulders with diurnal specters. The synth multiplies the sound arabesques which come and go to melt and thus obscure a panorama well detailed by subtle samplings. Perhaps a bit more energetic, A Dynamic Presence is easily comparable to Portal 48 with a much more creative set of percussion, and percussive effects, here. The guttural winds of the didgeridoo and those synth shadows lamenting like disowned specters as well as an organic language are among the sonic elements that accentuate the charms of this frenetic trance. The percussion work is also more sculptural in the very ambient and atmospheric Symbiotic Reflections. The fluty sound of the synths is not really omnipresent in this album. The fact that our ears meet its full splendor in the title-track enhances the interest for this purely meditative track that concludes this other musical spell to come out of the Projekt Records label.
It is to be wished that this ANCESTRAL RESONANCE is only the beginning of a long collaboration between these two American icons of ethnic ambiences music. Byron Metcalf, like Shane Morris, enriches the sound and musical vocabulary, already very fleshed out, of the one and the other. The two artists complement each other wonderfully in an album that is more musical for Byron, and more animated for Shane. It's the best of both worlds that charm our ears with sonic frescoes where the percussions activate our senses, and the mythical abstruse secrets cover them with an aura of spiritual mysteries. A must for fans of the genre!
Sylvain Lupari (February 2nd, 2023) *****