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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Chris Russell Voyager (2022)

This is for the aficionados of dark and buzzing ambient music having cosmic aims

1 Pale Blue Sphere 11:16

2 Triton Encounter 8:00

3 Neptune Passage 7:25

4 Voyager 6:20

5 Beyond the Heliopause 12:40

6 Crossing the Shock 9:02

7 Jupiter Passage 14:52

(DDL 24Bits 69:35) (V.F.)

(Deep dark cosmic ambient music)

Inspired by NASA's Voyager mission, launched at the end of the 70's, Chris Russell has drawn from the depths of his imagination to offer a concept album that relates different stages of this long interstellar journey. In a very good sound quality that does justice to a palette of sounds in the colors of the imagination of the American musician-synthesist, VOYAGER is a journey in sounds that depicts quite faithfully this imaginary voyeurism that makes us dream of the possibility that one day our eyes can visualize the true colors of the Cosmos and its planets. In the meantime, the musician from Illinois has composed an electronic cosmic ode that he describes as liberating as the pandemic was ending. And he doesn't stray too far from his style by offering his musical vision that he keeps in its dark and rumbling atmospheric forms. Of the cosmic dark ambient with a zest of psybient of which the origins seem to be lost somewhere between Cosmos and Earth.

Pale Blue Sphere has what to seize our attention with a delicate sequence of ambient rhythm which drifts under nice synth layers which have several sound identities. We hear arcs unfolding with an orchestral cinematic texture, as well as anesthetic layers and drone waves. The mix creates a texture comparable to a weightless volcanic lava flow that radiates a color flirting between cerulean blue and a more metallurgical blue. The rhythm fades into an ambient finale that is lulled by synth layers whose seraphic harmonies must contend with the presence of drones. Background noises, mostly mechanical clinkings, add a dose of psybient to the track. Triton Encounter opens with a more self-effacing tone in its harmonic tinklings. The track develops a psychedelic tendency with noises of all forms, mixing voices and other vocal effects more of the organic kind. The softness is very anesthetizing with synth layers that drift in a Cosmos little lit by its stars. The music of Neptune Passage depicts the vision of its title quite well. It's a quiet and highly meditative track with synth lines and waves that mate in a very minimal movement. Like an interstellar journey to observe the aforementioned planet. Jerky effects and various tinklings embellish a finale that follows the same atmospheric vision of its opening. Quiet and lyrical, one must take the time to listen to a track like Voyager which is very musical, even in its heavy atmospheric envelope. The music of cosmic ambiences positions us in a state of weightlessness with a beautiful movement that waltzes slowly, not to write drift, and that is filled with synth lines and waves from which arabesques detach themselves in order to radiate a more buzzing and slightly more psychedelic tone. We drift between stars and other particles that sizzle with a crispy tone.

Beyond the Heliopause unfolds its almost 13 minutes in an environment similar to the other tracks of VOYAGER in terms of the mass of synth waves and layers. On the other hand, its music and its atmospheric impulses are adorned by a nice palette of underlying tonalities, giving it a good texture of intelligent psybient. A track heavy of both cosmic and terrestrial ambiences, Crossing the Shock exploits a dense texture of drones whose powerful gusts make sound elements tinkle with a metallic blue hint. It's like a tornado spinning swings, huge wind chimes or merry-go-rounds in a deserted fair. In this environment of aerospace tranquility, Jupiter Passage stands out with its carcass, filled with sonic turbulence, which disintegrates like the passage of a shuttle from Cosmos to Earth. The sounds come from as far as the void! Long cold laments cling to an opening where the breezes whisper as much as feign, as if an interstellar machine could have a soul. It's a heavy panorama with buzzing winds and whistling breezes from which emerge long guttural ribbons that monopolize our ears in this long track that evolves between its phases of tranquility and other more disturbing ones that abound in roars, as well as squeals. As if they were organic drones. Sharper elements fill up an already full sound agenda after the 6th minute, amplifying this sensation of a vertiginous fall to the bottom of an endless hole. Let's say that our ears fill the eardrums in this structure where the passage of Jupiter makes hear more the shrill colors of its metallic hydrogen environment.

This Chris Russell' VOYAGER is for above all for the aficionados of dark and buzzing ambient music having cosmic aims by the very drifting approach of its slow intersidereal waltzes. The mass, the sound load is quite impressive and roars with force in this hyper neat production where the use of a headphone is essential in order to catch all these details which give this astonishing richness to a music which delivers its secrets if one gives it opportunity.

Sylvain Lupari (November 16th, 2022) ***¾**

Available at Exosphere Bandcamp

(NB: The texts in blue are links you can click on)

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