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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

DARSHAN AMBIENT: Little Things (2013)

Updated: Aug 26, 2020

Michael goes out of his zone of comfort with a more audacious musical vision of which the eclectism leads us into varied musical territories

1 UnUsual Thursday 7:23

2 The Mystery of Sleep 6:20

3 W. 52nd 4:38

4 Shadow Country 6:27

5 Little Things 4:39

6 Soft Portrait 3:56

7 Slow Drum 5:17

8 Nocturne in 3 Parts 3:32

9 Fields 5:36

10 There! 6:53

11 Watch your Step 5:03

12 Exile 2:57

(CD/DDL 62:33) (V.F.)

(Ambient Folk)

It's an old friend who calls out to us right from the start. A fusion of guitar/synth shapes some slow morphic layers which float like sighs of hollow winds. We feel at ease. We are on familiar ground. Fragile, the notes of a piano as pensive as hesitating are falling down and forge a somber lullaby which is lacking finishing. We roam in our dreams, as well as in our soul, when the percussions harpoon the meditative approach of UnUsual Thursday. Their strikings draw a delicious down-tempo which swirls with so much sweetness. And quietly, behind these ochred breaths and these fractures to tenderness by the drum, the piano tightens its notes and forges a delicate melody that a six-strings embraces of its ghostly harmonies. I always liked the music of Darshan Ambient. I became fond of this American bard who drags his airs of mislaid blues or troubled folk in a fascinating neurasthenic mood since my ears crossed his very beautiful A Day Within Days, back in 2010. Following the precepts of melodies and ballads darkened by the mesmerizing melancholic approach of Falling Light, LITTLE THINGS deviates a little, on the other hand, from the usual route of Darshan Ambient by borrowing the delicate fragrances of an ethnic world, both African and oriental. This fusion of urban and ethnic folk brings some delicious colors to an album from an author with a torn soul which always has the gift to make vibrate the ropes of a sensibility repressed in the courses of a life.

If it's often black in the world of Darshan Ambient, the rhythm always has its place. A rhythm tucked by a ballad approach, like in The Mystery of Sleep. The approach is kind of tribal with these tears of violins which cry, while chords of guitars float with pensive harmonies which remind the universe of Patrick O'Hearn. The percussions are structuring an ambience of ethnic jazz on a structure of rhythm a bit dishevelled and stroboscopic. The voices, the bells plunge me into the superb Amerisynthecana from Sensitive Chaos. Very good! Just like the puzzling W. 52nd which, after a very ambiospherical intro, embraces a structure a bit jazzy where the rhythm is seduced by these breezes of trumpets which still caress the poetic universe of O'Hearn. The rhythm slow, Shadow Country infuses its chords of a guitar with harmonies tormented on a bed of bubbly percussions. The synth layers which decorate the very melancholic musical setting of LITTLE THINGS paint here some shadows of mist which welcome the lamentations of a Berber violin. The effect is rather attractive. The title-track is breathing of paradoxes. If the rhythm sounds subdued, with rustles which stick together in the shape of hoops of felt moving in echo. The melody is pensive and glues its notes of a forsaken piano on a bed of cracklings, forging a delicate diurnal reverie. After the somber and very pensive Soft Portrait, Slow Drum plunges us back into the oriental ethnic moods with an intro filled by the perfumes of a Sarangi. The sound texture lets spark a thick cloud of sound dusts which fills the air of a thousand chimed sound particles while that slowly the tempo turns into a slow disarticulated horse ride which bends the rhythm under jerky orchestrations. Nocturne in 3 Parts is an ambient track on which Darshan Ambient hooks the lamentations of a six-strings which drags the poverties of the world with the sound of distant bell ringings. No matter the approaches, Michael Allison always manages to instigate our interest by delicate harmonious endings. The tears of violins which cry into some maternal sighs open the very ambiospherical introduction of Fields. The percussions build waves of emotions while that, all slight, the guitar forges one of these meditative melodies which furnish the universe of Darshan Ambient. I know! We have already heard, but the effect always remains so fascinating. It's the same thing for There! whose opening presents an orchestration of violins which flows in a structure of musical cannon. We are in Steve Reich's universe, but with a more melodious approach. It's very beautiful! More cheerful, Watch your Step presents a beautiful ballad approach of an urban western genre with a rhythm finely drummed which submits its mane of rebel to the soft pads of a synth of which the aromas of sadness succeeds at no moment to eradicate the beautiful harmonies of the guitar. Exile bears the weight of its meaning with an ambient approach where the piano cries in the thoughts of a meditative guitar.

With LITTLE THINGS Michael Allison goes out of his zone of comfort with a more audacious musical vision. Always dragging his poet's coat with a tormented soul, the American rural bard digs up the roots of an eclectic and electronic folk to paint it of his unique colors of melancholy. There are several winks of eye in this album, where from eclecticism, to artists such as Patrick O'Hearn, Jim Combs (Sensitive Chaos) and even Miles Davis of which the paradoxes unite marvellously in a work which also drinks of a river of tribalism. A very beautiful album with wandering poetry as only Darshan Ambient signs since A Day Within Days.

Sylvain Lupari (September 19th, 2013) ***¾**

Available at Spotted Peccary Bandcamp

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