CHRONOTOPE PROJECT: Lotus Rising (2018)
“Lotus Rising is a great album where New Age has never been so far from its commercial lands while being very accessible because of this very intriguing side of the HCF”
1 Crossing the Great Water 9:03 2 Lotus Rising 7:54 3 Zazen 6:41 4 Opening the Hand of Thought 8:12 5 A Prayer for Tenderness 5:34 6 Gateless Gate 4:29 7 Mountains are Mountains, Rivers are Rivers 3:59 8 Homage to the Three Jewels 13:00 Spotted Peccary|SPM-2806 (CD/DDL 58:52) (V.F.) (Tribal Ambient and smooth sequenced beats)
There is something rather unique in the music of Chronotope Project! Mixing with a poetic vision the tribal rhythms of Tibet to structures of sequenced and electronic rhythms, Jeffrey Ericson Allen proposes a music both dark and angelic where the threads of Sensitive Chaos, Steve Roach, Robert Rich and even Darshan Ambient get gather into a sonic ball that the musician from Oregon (USA) reweaves into a musical silk which flows tenderly along our sensory threads. LOTUS RISING is the fourth album from Chronotope Project on Spotted Peccary. In all, we are talking about 9 albums for the one who reached an obvious maturity last year with the beautiful Ovum. And it's good to make the link, since that LOTUS RISINGis a worthy successor to one of the best harmonic meditative music albums in 2017. A more constructive and less pejorative way of describing a New Age of a very big caliber here.
And it's pretty hard not to fall under the spell with Crossing the Great Water. The music breathes on a light rhythm with a beautiful meshing of manual percussions, quite diverse I must say, and sequences which sparkle like a stream in suspension while alternating their rhythmic visions. This rhythm can easily be compared to a spiritual tribal trance. From then on, the Hakken Continuum Fingerbooard astonishes and bewitches with harmonies whose sound horn seems to come from Zeus. This harmonious texture is the signature of Jeffrey Allen who proposes a very distinct tone where celestial murmurs and seraphic chants float and have only to flow on an impressive work of the percussions as well as of the sequencer of its very judicious use. There is a subtle gradation in the movement with percussive elements that seem so innocuous, so much the chants are subduing the senses. The title track offers a slow and dark departure with a Tibetan atmosphere and morose synth chants which drag a mantle of nostalgia among sound prisms and lapping of waves in suspension. Those chants, a bit nasal, elevate their emotional reach through some translucent filters which shimmer in the same discretion as the prisms, helping Lotus Rising to reach its emotional and musical bloom. An acoustic guitar wanders with its notes while the airs cross a higher field of emotion with laments as sweet as the most beautiful incantations of a soprano smoking his joint. Some very Steve Roach sequencing elements spin into a hypnotic spiral, further enhancing the electronic reach of the title track.
Although very present, the Hakken Continuum Fingerbooard is not used too much for nothing. Chronotope Project manages to extract all of the charms at well thought moments. And Zazen proves it by also exposing these delicate jingles of sequences which swirl in a melodious magnetising spiral. The tonal envelope is very dense and very musical with these astral chants and layers which float and groan in a lush landscape of meditative moods. Jeffrey Ericson Allen is also capable of rhythms! Opening the Hand of Thought is a rather intense title that is divided between a heavenly envelope and a heavy rhythm, more lively and darker here than elsewhere, whose beats is hopping from one lobe to another. On the one hand, there is this fight between layers forged in the occult which try to slow down its pace. And on the other hand, there are these seraphic pads which soften a violence braised in this sibylline setting. A Prayer for Tenderness calms again the moods. It’s a fairly ethereal title with pretty nice melodious lines and soft pads of voices which call for tranquility. There is a rather good cosmic essence in this title which stimulates me to hear again the best moments of Western Spaces (Steve Roach, Kevin Braheny and Richard Burmer) and Structure from Silence in this lunar setting tempered by a sequencer, weaver of ambient melody, and good Tibetan tam-tams. It's a pretty solid music piece that I class in the timeless music; section to relax and fall asleep. Gateless Gate is a title with a swaying rhythm which crawls and refolds into a lunar universe. A universe that fills up little by little with scarlet strata, partially tearing this canvas of atmospheres always at the gates of heaven. The percussions (or sequences?) and spiritual rattling resonate, tinkle with as much magic as this duel between the cello and the always intriguing Hakken Continuum Fingerbooard. Mountains are Mountains, Rivers are Rivers is drinking of its ending to germinate with a vision of seraphic and ultimately darker ambiances. Homage to the Three Jewels is the longest track on this album which is a kind of homage, a musical incantation to the famous lotus and all of its definitions in the Buddha religion. Sitting on good and captivating Buddhist manual percussions, the rhythm imposes a delicious spiritual trance which grows through the intensity of the different layers of synths and of the HCF. Reaching the zenith and its decline, the rhythm fades into a serene phase of meditation, ending an impressive album rich of its colors and of its angelic harmonies.
Despite the term New Age, LOTUS RISING is a great album where New Age has never been so far from its commercial lands while being very accessible because of this very intriguing side of the Hakken Continuum Fingerbooard. In addition, one finds some pretty good EM patterns so dear to those Berlin School sequenced visions. Add charming sequenced harmonies and dark vibes, then we have here all that we need to have a great time listening to some strong and meditative EM. Sylvain Lupari (December 24th, 2018) *****
Available at Spotted Peccary Music Bandcamp