DARSHAN AMBIENT: A Day Like Any Other (2020)
“This music exudes a contagious joie de vivre, like if Michael Allison had just learned that he won the lottery of life”
1 City of the Seven Hymns 5:20
2 Ah! Sunflower 4:01
3 The Echoing Green 2:56
4 Wishful Thinking 4:33
5 A Little Wool Gathering 4:38
6 He Lamented his Thoughtless Acts 4:33
7 LightFighter 5:11
8 Shadow Lines 5:23
9 The Rain has Flown 4:49
10 A Day Like Any Other 4:02
11 The Republic of Dreams 4:44
(CD/DDL 50:17) (V.F.)
(EM Rock & Folk, Chillout, New Age)
A DAY LIKE ANY OTHER will never be a day like any other for Darshan Ambient! It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Michael Allison. And this sadness is even greater because I know that this last album of the American bard will probably be his last, unless the American label Spotted Peccary releases a kind of compilations with new titles. It remains to be seen ... and to be heard, of course. For a reason that I never know, the music of Darshan Ambient has always had an attractive power on my emotions. I know that we are far from the Berlin School style and the kind of EM as I like to hear and discover, but there is a vision of tenderness and imperturbable romance in this progressive New Age approach from this musician native of the beautiful region of San Francisco and whose traditional folk in this region breathes in each of his albums. A DAY LIKE ANY OTHER offers 11 tracks built on this amalgam of synth pads and guitars to which are added piano lines in a melancholy decor amplified by greyish mist streams. Darshan Ambient likes to pile up guitar lines, minimum two per track, which add more weight to his harmonies, while synths are the engine of the creativity of atmospheres and of superb arrangements. The piano is the soul of his compositions by bringing a very melancholy role to a music that oscillates between biting into life and its fatality.
City of the Seven Hymns begins with an electronic rhythm which flirts with an energetic psybient. The percussions resonate and are quite the opposite of this guitar which sniffs chords imbued of sadness. A second guitar line unties its loops, increasing the cadence of a track where acoustics and electronics make a beautiful union of the Erik Wollo genre crossed with Patrick O'Hearn. The atmospheres and the folk rhythm of Ah! Sunflower rightly sticks to the vision we can have of the title. The rhythm is playful and built on sober percussions which are trained by violins in folk staccato mode. Lively and delightfully beautiful with arrangements to give goosebumps to happiness! The Echoing Green is a short title structured on an electronic-Teutonic rhythm basis with a slight organic shading all around. This structure hosts a very simple and catchy melody with a hybrid approach in its hues. It reminds me some good Michael Rother. Wishful Thinking continues on this illusion with a rhythm floating of its sequences which alternate in an attractive stereo effect. A piano lays down an evasive melody line, which a guitar will join a few seconds later, while guitar loops solidify the impression of rhythm. When electronics meet a more folkloric vision, it gives a title like A Little Wool Gathering. A light title with a guitar which fixes interwoven harmonic lines in a structure nourished by its rhythmic echo with the addition of electronic percussions. These percussions and the decorations of the synth give a surreal dimension to the moods of a party for the deceased stigmatized by violins in mode gypsy.
He Lamented his Thoughtless Acts is a title of melancholy moods with riffs and guitar chords that fade in synth lines with patriotic tunes. Misty hoops fall apart in the introduction of LightFighter, creating a phosphorizing carpet where a mesh of piano and guitar notes fall and pill up. A ticking sound is heard in the background of this decor which sees a series of 5 guitar chords continues to fall and play. The radiation all over it remains in suspension. Ambient and celestial, this setting adopts a new vitality with layers of violin stimulated by a form of staccato and layers of voice which take the shape of this saccade of violins while the title ends in a slow tempo a little bit heavy. Shadow Lines offers an ambient structure with two guitar lines which collide in the resonance carpet of the pulsations of a bass line. An always very thoughtful piano crumbles its pain which is followed by songs of monks with celestial voices. It’s pretty sad. The Rain has Flown puts us in the footsteps of this mix between acoustics and electronics. A Day Like Any Other is a very playful and lively title. The guitar sticks its riffs to support the percussions and throws harmonies that stick to our brain with an impression of hearing Manuel Gottsching. It's a good electronic rock'n'folk which is also nourished by a strong presence of the synthesizer, allowing the melody to vary its intonations. The Republic of Dreams offers a finale much in the tone on a rhythm close to the roots of rural rock with a beautiful refrain from a synth-guitar combination taken up by an alley choir. Thrills and emotions guaranteed!
I don't know what mood Darshan Ambient was in when he composed the music for A DAY LIKE ANY OTHER. This music exudes a contagious joie de vivre, like if Michael Allison had just learned that he won the lottery of life. There are intense moments in this album that seem to be designed to shake us up, to give us emotions like in the credits of a dramatic film. An album of rare intensity that is beautiful ... and very beautiful. The best of Darshan Ambient? Hmm… Falling
Light is still my favorite, but A DAY LIKE ANY OTHER follows it very closely…
Sylvain Lupari (January 31st, 2020) ****½*
Available at Spotted Peccary Bandcamp