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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Chronotope Project Passages (2016)

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

A fascinating dark ambient album where beat a gentle life of sequences and percussions underneath a deep dark sound sky

1 Churning the Ether 10:30 2 The Water of Life 9:34 3 Solaris 11:25 4 Moontide 8:40 5 Passages 9:31 Spotted Peccary | SPM-2804

(CD/DDL 49:41) (V.F.) (Dark ambient music) A distant dark breeze, sculptured in the wood, gets up on the West. It's sonic envelope growing, it brings a turbulence of crystal clear sequences which sparkle in symbiosis with fine jerky pulsations. Quietly and out of the oblivion is taking shape Churning the Ether. Here, and in every 5 spheres of PASSAGES, the flora of sounds and their propensity to change forms and tones calls the metamorphosis of the movements. The rhythm evolves with the flexibility of a feather which opposes to the direction of winds. And the feather is heavy! And the winds are vicious! Chords of what sounds like a Sitar and long laments of sharp breaths (one would say songs blown in a long horn or a Didge from another planet) and of hoarse mooing are squabbling those misty harmonies while the Tablas percussions, the lively and jerky pulsations as well as a superb series of sequences tinted of bluish prickles redirect the roots of this ambient rhythm towards other internal tearings. Between the soft Hindu trance and the rhythms of the Earth, Churning the Ether sets the tone to an album where Chronotope Project brings his perception of ambient music towards a confrontation of ideologies. And the sound is as wonderful as its rich palette of dark tones made in the last diaphanous rays. PASSAGES is Jeffrey Ericsson Allen's 2nd album on the Spotted Peccary label. And as with the very good Dawn Treader the American musician native of the Oregon displays his non-conventional arsenal of instruments in order to offer a sound narrative of a solitary soul in search of harmony in the middle of chaos and the closed doors of mystery.

If Churning the Ether fascinates by its rhythm charmingly smothered in an avalanche of magma of sounds and of ambient elements, the suite always remains so mysterious but terribly quieter. The lapping of The Water of Life rocks a delicate dangling of arpeggios which weave a pensive harmony and its reflections in suspension. The thick layers of synth and the multiple breezes add a very nostalgic dimension with aerial chants and laments of which the contrasts add to the weight of the sadness. The soft rhythmic cradle of The Water of Life follows an ascending curve with fine tom-toms which beat of an ethereal delicacy, increasing all its contrast. Solaris is a title denuded of sequences and beats. The winds, their singings and their slow evasive litanies flow all over, like the sorrow of the trial of our soul. We can hear some arpeggios to sparkle here and there. But their movement and their brightness are like of vain joys which are dying in the twilights of our profound introspections. It's especially very meditative and very dark. It's like a journey all black between these lost and painful souvenirs hard to find. The shagreen and the fear of losing ourselves could not have a more lugubrious face than here. Moontide raises the degree of intensity of the atmospheres with some long very musical laments which divide their pensive harmonies between the passivity of long hummings and the texture of the synth winds. Some delicate manual percussions stir up the fire of the floating shades. That does like the very ambient approaches of Rudy Adrian's New Zealand panoramas. The title-track is like this feeling to have succeed your quest. The rhythm is light and sounds like a legion of prisms shaken by delicate winds and of which the reflections bring towards a state of hypnosis. The harmonies are always embroidered around these astral breezes which seem to come straight from the Tibetan world and inject a breath of meditation, even in their envelopes at the antipodes of serenity. I am not an expert of ambient music or/and music of ambiences. I know the music of Steve Roach, Robert Rich and some artists here and there who write at times this music style which was very appreciated before the sequencing and the electronic rhythms came. Having said that, the music of Chronotope Project, whether it is in this PASSAGES or yet in Dawn Treader, brings something particular to the kind with a different approach in the modulation of the ambient airs and the subtle revisions of their phases. The use of the Haken Continuum Fingerboard and of oriental tom-toms add colors to the sound textures and to the ambient rhythms that our senses just cannot run away from a very attentive listening. For lovers of ambient music, although Churning the Ether and the title-track can raise passion and a deep interest among all fans of EM.

Sylvain Lupari (July 18th, 2016) *****

Available at Spotted Peccary Bandcamp

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