Forrest Fang Forever Cascade (2021)
Updated: Dec 10, 2022
“I was taken by surprise by the sudden violence of Forrest in Forever Cascade”
1 Four Points West 5:10
2 Circling the Eternal Lake 6:59
3 The Clockmaker 5:36
4 Forever Cascades 6:29
5 The Land of Nine Rivers 9:53
6 Moiré 4:33
7 Seahorses and Aeolians 5:56
8 Murmurances 9:20
9 Leaving Alpha 7:40
10 Out of Frame 5:31
(CD/DDL 67:11) (V.F.)
A series of pensive chords cascade with their contrasting hues in the opening of Four Points West. Scarlet synth blades scrawl at the dusk cutting out streamers where these sequenced chords bounce, while other sharper arpeggios adjust their tinkles in symbiosis with the shrill synth wails. This first ambient choreography of FOREVER CASCADE is more intense than meditative, more animated than vegetative with this ambient rhythm that twinkles as much as it hops with these sonorous tears that tinkle with a touch of melancholy equal to these blades that feast on our sensitivity. Intensity is the key word of this new opus of Forrest Fang on Projekt Records. In intense meshes of acoustic and electronic string instruments, Tibetan percussions and ghostly streaks of synth lines, the Chinese-American musician unveils 10 mostly furious acts that follow one another with cascading suites of sequenced keyboard chords that shimmer and flow in narrow minimalist corridors inspired by Philip Glass. These minimalist movements are repeated in succession, creating a sense of perpetual echo where the identification of instruments constantly thwarts our knowledge of Fang's sonic universe.
Beginning like a bitter memory, Circling the Eternal Lake makes those evasive arpeggios that linger in the corridors of this album sparkle. It sounds like two pianists confronting their ideals on a structure whose melancholy belongs to these synth waves prowling like shadows in this structure that finds its transition point around the 3rd minute. A solitary keyboard pushes a few chords in romantic zephyrs until a low chord falls and reignites the fire of Circling the Eternal Lake. The awakening is orchestral with chords falling as sharply as they do dryly in a musical drama that becomes an intense circle of passion cultivated by an imposing mesh of dulcimer chords, synth streaks, and orchestrations fitting into a narrow minimalist corridor. If I'm not mistaken, this track exposes the first barrage of musical cacophony from FOREVER CASCADE. As Circling the Eternal Lake ends, so begins The Clockmaker whose sound cascade phenomenon unfolds from the beginning with an orchestral layer, where one guesses the musicians adjusting their instruments, until the 5th minute, when the track sighs a few meditative seconds. After an excessive flight of falling keyboard chords, the title-track shares a melodic vision of instant happiness. The birds chirp to the tunes of a music whose intensity brings us closer and closer to a cacophony lead by these cyclical bursts of sounds where the identity of the instruments is lost in a semi-melodious din. Without being quite as fiery, The Land of Nine Rivers proposes a beautiful palette of sounds with a symphony of more or less violent winds where tinkle a texture of organic percussions, like if a shaman was waving rattlesnake tails. The winds are linear and blow with an aggressiveness that raises particles and other sound fragments in a landscapes that follows its passive course.
This leads us to Moiré and its Indonesian percussions that drum in a festive tribal atmosphere dominated by these tribal percussions, some of which have a power as harmonious as these synth layers that scroll in loops. The repetition of the sequenced segments carves an echo effect that is unique to the album's textures. If we liked the organic textures of the percussions in The Land of Nine Rivers, they radiate in the tribal rhythm of Seahorses and Aeolians. Another intense track in FOREVER CASCADE which started timidly with a delicate melodic thread. The work and texture of percussions are amazing on this track which makes use of a good bass line to support its rhythm. Sibylline, streaks and synth layers add a hint of magic to a structure that develops through cascades of rhythm and ambient elements on one of the most intense structures in this latest Forrest Fang release. Murmurances is another impressive collage of rhythmic textures that, once cyclical, ends up giving the illusion of a mosaic that continuously sways under the frenzy of string instruments and fire-dancing synth lines over a tangling of tribal percussions. Stepping out of the album's sonic frenzy context, Leaving Alpha offers a fascinating ballad, mostly acoustic, where hundreds of sonic prisms radiate. A very good track, just like Out of Frame which is a beautiful night ballad with synth waves floating like nets trying to catch the thin crystal clear arpeggios escaping from a keyboard whose musical thread will never be long enough.
What an album this FOREVER CASCADE is! I was taken by surprise by the sudden violence of Forrest Fang. So much so that I wonder on what shores he let his feet drag to offer such an aggressive palette of sounds and rhythms. This latest album will require some adjustments from his loyal fans who will quickly become familiar with this bubbling set of feverish rhythms.
Sylvain Lupari (December 22nd, 2021) *****
Available at Projekt Records