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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

DAN POUND: Life Giving (2014)

Updated: May 29, 2020

Deeply ambiospherical, Life Giving is certainly one of the most seducing cosmic and sonic universe that I heard recently

1 Life Giving 7:41

2 Age of Innocence 3:41

3 In Suspension 9:50

4 Only One 6:22

5 Passing Through Time 16:17

6 Taken by the Dream 12:39

7 Life Pulse 11:10

8 What Matters Most 5:56

(CD/DDL 73:40) (V.F.)

(Deep cosmic soundscapes)

You should not really rely on the ambient noises and the monstrous organic tones which open Life Giving to judge this last album of Dan Pound. The delicate arpeggios which come down, like ashes of Vesuvius, will charm your ears and the muffled impulses which propel them, and eventually swallow them, will plunge you into an atmosphere of cosmic darkness. I quite liked this first contact with the music of Dan Pound. This prolific multi-instrumentalist from California presents an audacious approach by making travel a rather experimental ambient music in the corridors of Dark New Age and especially in the borders of cosmos with soundscapes drawn in a wide range of quirky tones. A sonic pallet to the colors of a rather audacious imagination and which can find anchoring in many ears, if we like an experience which is more sonic than musical. But the music, and its harmonies, is never too much far from these moods to the thousand paradoxes which stuff this impressive ambient fresco. And the title-track is a rather good indication of what our ears will go throughout the 74 minutes of LIFE GIVING where synth lines and waves, as harmonious as ambient, float and shimmer in a sound universe where the serenity is next to storms of static ambient elements.

Age of Innocence is a beautiful small jewel of meditation where dreamy arpeggios float in beautiful synth lines to the soft perfumes of contemplativity. Longer and that would have been even more beautiful! The descent of joyful serpentines which liven up the introduction of In Suspension feeds all the paradoxes which surround the music of Dan Pound. Melodic and very charming, these serpentines wear an invigorating tone which challenges the soporific axes of an impenetrable cosmic music. And the parameters, as well as the depth, of the cosmic approach from this album are doubtless among the most beautiful and the most complete that I heard. Here, the amorphous breezes of synth draw black horizons from where slender translucent filets leak out, whereas these small serpentines are unwinding a bright effect of weightlessness which sticks us on our earphones. This is very immersive and rather realistic of the visions from its author. The symphony of breaths from the long didgeridoos gives a rather tribal / ambient side to Only One. The sampling of multilayer synth lines, as well as the didge breezes, amplifies the black vibes that even the delicate notes of guitar cannot uproot of its catatonic envelope. Didge burps are also opening the twilights of Passing through Time which mixes marvellously the heat of synths to the hoarse breaths of deserts' trumpets and of their jerky echoes. Some discreet sequences dance around this uncommon meshing, giving an appearance of rhythm to a long track which is a real sonic mishmash, both at the level of the elements and of this perpetual duel between rising rhythm and these atmospheres which in the end become very seraphic. Taken by the Dream is my crush here. The structure is always soaked with this sonic confrontation between the serenity and the ambiospherical agitation. What is charming even more is this superb down-tempo, coming out of nowhere, which shakes the elements and which gives an unsuspected relief to an odyssey of sounds and distorted vibes which strews all the parameters of this surprising album of Dan Pound. This slow rhythm has a break in the middle of 12 minutes, making room to splendid arpeggios which draw a magnificent ambient glass musing. This is very beautiful, with a subtle dramatic crescendo, and every second which passes is overfed by a sonic fauna of which the wealth is such as it is impossible to discover it in full in a single listening. The music fades in the barriers of the nothingness of Life Pulse. There where the life breathes weakly behind a heavy curtain of black vibes and stirs into organic gurglings and shamanic percussions which draw hypnotic lines. This mixture of cosmic music and spiritual witchcraft lets filter an armada of implosive impulses which forge the very ambiocosmic beat of Life Pulse which floats and floats like a long spaceship at adrift. What Matters Most concludes with a very meditative piano, among which the notes which pearl in a dense cosmic envelope awaken in me memories of Vangelis. And this, even if this small duel between these organic impulses and these waves of serenity which torment the ambiences to the nuances tinted with paradoxes of LIFE GIVING can as well one day enchant and one evening tear the peace of mind of the listening of an album which plunges us literally into a sonic universe without borders.

Sylvain Lupari (September 30th, 2014) ***½**

Available at Dan Pound Bandcamp

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