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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Divine Matrix Cloud Surfing (2015)

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

The artwork says it all, this is cosmic ambient music deeply soaked into harmonious New Age

1 Cirrus at Siargao 9:48 2 Cloud Surfing 8:48 3 Contrails 9:13 4 Mammatus 7:12 5 Ne Swell 6:52 6 Nimbostratus 7:25 7 Ominous Sky 7:39 8 Riding a Mackerell Sky 9:47 AD Music | AD141 CD-r

(CD-r/DDL 66:44) (V.F.) (Ambient, cosmic, New Age)

Divine Matrix is a little jewel still unknown in the universe of EM of the ambient style. Nevertheless, the music of Steve Barnes reaches points of the soothing emotionalism since his very first album Invisible Landscapes where he has barded its meditative structures of fine New Age harmonies. The following two albums showed a good control of the New Berlin School's floating rhythms which are built around sequenced moves always perfumed by esoteric mist. Steve Barnes pushes his reflection on the ambient music even farther with CLOUD SURFING (Soundscapes Volume 1). As long as I had a vague impression to travel back in time. In the 70's! Even the artwork follows this path where the New Age glittered with an immense pond of sonic priests who exploited the benefactions, the mysteries and the wealth of the esotericism. Each track here is forged in the intensity of synth lines' thick movements to the colors of the psychedelism. The movements are slow, sometimes dark and rather often radiant. Yes! A little like in the old time.

Cirrus at Siargao attacks our ears with such an intensity that one would believe that the celestial bodies of Orion split into one thousand crumbs. Hoarse breezes, and their radiant echoes, muted hummings and thin synth lines with azured sharp edges untie their shadows which float like goddesses' tears frightened in a firmament which leaves little room to the solitary arpeggios which sing with the fear of being buried. The sound image is equal to a big synth chord launched at high speed in heavens and of which the impact creates slow sound spatters which spread their mists like smokes of fireworks spread their mirages in a dark sky. The movement is very ambient and very cosmic with synth larvas which agglutinate like those of a volcano which implodes. Intense and slow, Cirrus at Siargao is the main cradle of the sources which light this 4th album of divine Matrix and finds its echo up until the borders of the title-track, and far beyond, I think in particular of Nimbostratus, with always some intense movements of air mass, which are powdered of crystalline drizzle, and of heavy cruises of the clouds which split the blue azure of the sky or the dark ebony of the cosmos.

A little like the innocence of the good, Cloud Surfing spreads a charming cosmic melody among which the dusts of arpeggios are rolling over intense layers of bass and of enveloping orchestrations which exult a very esoteric approach. Everything is Eden here. Even with the cosmic tones and breezes! I have the feeling to be in the moods of Steven Halpern's universe with these bright arpeggios and their harmonies as fragile as to the chirpings of the miniature birds which whistle them. Birds that we also find on the dark Ominous Sky which bronze under the caresses of the voices of astral nymphs! Everything is very New Age here and very enveloping. There are also good dark and hollow moments. Like in Mammatus with its resounding waves which multiply their echoes in the whimperings of lines in suspension. That does very Michael Stearns, because of the cosmic approach, while the spaces of open-air caves of Ne Swell and its wall of tears which ooze reminds me the Western Spaces' era from Steve Roach. It's a good track. Riding a Mackerell Sky concludes this incursion in the esoteric soundscapes of Divine Matrix with a very Zen piece of music where the vapors of synth spit the colors of the zenith in a structure which seems to look for its place in forbidden territories. It's also very deep with good short phases of spiritual bewitchment which are hiding behind every effect. Relaxing, Zen, spiritual and esoteric with a beautiful dose of ambiences as cosmic as earthly; it's the ambient mosaic of CLOUD SURFING (Soundscapes Volume 1). A nice rendezvous for those who search above all a meditative and introspective music.

Sylvain Lupari (September 24th, 2015) ***½**

Available at AD Music

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