DARSHA AMBIENT: Songs from the Deep Field (2014)
“Soft, poetic, melodic and intensely touching, the music of this Darshan Ambient last album is a great mix of O'Hearn, Oldfield and Vangelis”
1 Star Born 5:11 2 Cluster 4:09 3 The Deep Field 7:52 4 Blue Lotus 5:43 5 Heaven in a Wildflower 5:09 6 You Will Never be Alone 8:37 7 Microlife 4:29 8 Grey Sea 4:54 9 Hidden Stars 7:35 10 Tears to Rain 4:06 11 Sleepers Awake! 4:32 Spotted Peccary | SPM-2402
(CD/DDL 62:17) (V.F.) (Electronic rock&folk)
Ah... the music of Michael Allison! I know, it's not really sequencer-based style, even less ambient and atmospherical, although this last album brushes a bit the corridors of cosmos. But Darshan Ambient succeeds this audacious bet to make chant a music without words by mixing skillfully his synths and guitars into a musical texture of his own. And each time, I tell myself that his new one is his best. So, this one, with some splendid orchestrations, doesn't make an exception. It's by the very beautiful images took by the Hubble Space Telescope taken in the cosmic territories known under Hubble Deep Field, that Darshan Ambient drawn his reflections in order to concoct SONGS FROM THE DEEP FIELD. The San Francisco-based musician may aim stars, cosmos and its infinite possibilities that his music is still anchored in his roots of electronic rock and folk. Rocking between rhythms charmingly activated by ritornellos in staccato and by deliciously ambient melodies, Darshan Ambient gives us another strong album where the music stays at the heart of everything, even when he tries a leap in the unknow.
A breath of astral breezes initiates the nervous and convulsive movement of Star Born. Wriggling on metallic elytrons and on agitated percussions, the rhythm hiccups like a keen up-tempo. Its brief jerks are nevertheless taken in the whirlwinds of a melody murmured by indefinable winds and by the charms of a magnetizing guitar of which the minimalist notes swirl in panting orchestrations. Doubtless the liveliest track of Darshan Ambient repertoire, Star Born gives the kick-off to a much-diversified album where the poetry of the man in black is breathing behind every note, behind every tune. Cluster lands in our ears with the elegiac breezes so characteristic to his universe. Lazy bass notes are dragging a somber melancholy à la Patrick O'Hearn's style whereas parasitic noises forge a rainy appearance. Percussions fall with the same nonchalance as the bass while that very slowly Cluster is livening up of a tribal rhythm which reminds me of Mike Oldfield's festivities in The Songs of Distant Earth. Lively and circular, the introductory rhythm of The Deep Field is gracefully forged in jerky orchestrations' layers whereas sober percussions beat a countermeasure, blurring a kind of down-tempo which spins lasciviously in the velocity of the arrangements. The track is abundantly sprayed of dreamy notes of the guitar, as well as by O'Hearn's bass lines style, and is getting lost quietly in more ambient spheres. There where sit the very ambient Blue Lotus and its mixture of synth/guitar strata which push the pensive harmonies from a meditative piano. Heaven in a Wildflower is also feeding of the curt knocks of cello bows, displaying so a ritornello with a very Aboriginal flavor. The movement is very lively but stays in an ambient phase with other orchestrations in staccato and a weeping violin which root the track in moods as dramatic than celestial. You Will Never be Alone is the open door of some very deep ambient phases in this album. The movement is slow and offers the sweetness of pious voices which caress the soft harmony of a rather nostalgic piano. It's like seeing a sorrow by the back door of a mirror. And the angelic voice is bringing me closer to the ambiences of the Atomic Seasons' saga from Tangerine Dream. It's rather poignant at times and we eventually find it very personal. Microlife shakes the ambiences with a good structure of rhythm that we can identify as an electronic ballad but with a more accentuated pace. It's sound like a kind of electronic country-rock. All the ingredients are there to capture the ear: good percussions, rustles of angels, other great orchestrations but especially this very beautiful guitar of which the sober play is reaching our soul. This is very good. Grey Sea is as dark, quiet and melancholic as Blue Lotus, while Hidden Stars is THE track on SONGS FROM THE DEEP FIELD. A mixture of Mike Oldfield and David Wright, it offers a subtly tribal rhythm with a cheerful approach and where the guitar snatches our tears from the heart, but not as much as the crescendo which lives throughout this paradisiacal movement. This is the kind of music where we stop everything in order to listen it. Superb! It's kind of difficult to follow such a great track and that's why Tears to Rain adopts the ambient forms of Grey Sea but in a clearly more lunar, more cosmic envelope. Sleepers Awake! is another beautiful ballad, slower and more surrounding than Microlife, which ends another great album from Darshan Ambient who always manages to reach the dens of my memories.
Sylvain Lupari (September 27th, 2014) ****½*
Available at Spotted Peccary Bandcamp