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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Chronotope Project Dawn Treader (2015)

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

“Here is a nice first opus from a newcomer who seems to have plenty of good EM to offer in a very diversified style which goes from progressive New Age to good ambient Berlin School”

1 Dawn Treader 7:56 2 The Scent of Evening Flowers 7:06 3 Basho's Journey 9:24 4 Ocean of Subtle Flames 10:03 5 Omphalos 6:30 6 Canticle of the Stars 7:15 7 She Who Hears the Cries of the World 7:33 Spotted Peccary | SPM-2803 (CD/DDL 55:52) (V.F.) (Tribal ambient and Prog New Age)

I quite like the productions of the American label Spotted Peccary. They are neat. The music is gleaming and agreeably stylized. The styles are always astride the limits between ambient music, tribal ambient, contemplative soundscapes, progressive New Age and Berlin School. And this is exactly the sound pallet of this first album from Chronotope Project. Project of the American cellist and multi-instrumentalist native of the Oregon, Jeffrey Ericson Allen, Chronotope Project offers a highly esthetic approach where a panoply of acoustic instruments that engraves the main spirit of DAWN TREADER surfs marvelously with an electronic approach that seems to be inspired as much from Steve Roach's silent beats as the ethereal movements of the Berlin School style.

The title-track sets the tone with a structure of sequences which moves forward its keys by brief movements of jerks. That gives an effect of ambient Berlin School with  sound effects that brings us near cosmos. The introduction is then transformed into a kind of ethereal ballad with a structure of mid-tempo where the elements sparkle throughout the soft caresses by the effects of a guitar and its clothes of Lap Steel, just as unctuous as these cosmic choirs that will feed the last phases of the slightly spasmodic rhythm of Dawn Treader. The Scent of Evening Flowers follows with a more ambient structure where the sequenced keys sparkle on the slow movements of the synth lines that make this illusion that the cosmos is crying. There are essences of Robert Rich in there. Basho's Journey leads us in some very introspective territories with a nice Kyoto of which the strings resound in the tears of a Chinese violin. It's more ambient and very meditative. Ocean of Subtle Flames is going to wake us a little with a structure of rhythm which makes its keys gallop on the vast sonic territories of the East. Still here, the effects of Chinese violin invade the moods loaded by long occult hummings. But not as much as the black winds which moo in Omphalos where a tick-tock teases our ears with a timer that will never explode. We are in Steve Roach's very dark ambient territories here, even if the carillons try to whisper an aura of Tibetan monastery. Canticle of the Stars bears well its naming. It's a nice spiral melody with ambient voices and clouds of interstellar mist which haunt the senses and of which the warm breaths caress  the rotary and  minimalist unreeling of the sequences whose movements embrace a little those of the ambient rhythms of the Berlin School. She Who Hears the Cries of the World ends this first opus with a carillon approach that reminds me the delicacies of Sensitive Chaos' music. It's an ambient piece where the sequenced keys are ringing in a shape of small bells pushed by lushes of woosh and wiish. Each luster is reflected on Chinese shadows which spread their harmonies in a more or less sibylline envelope, reminding that the music of Chronotope Project has as borders only the limits of our imagination.

Sylvain Lupari (August 28th, 2015) *****

Available at Spotted Peccary Bandcamp

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