FORREST FANG: The Fata Morgana Dream (2019)
Updated: Sep 29
“Maybe his hardest to tame, but we just cannot resist to this vast array of instruments which in the end sculpts a journey into the wonderland of Forrest Fang”
1 The Mouth of the Sea 11:15 2 Matted Leaves 6:04 3 Night Procession 5:20 4 Her Fading Image 6:25 5 Lullaby for a Twin Moon 5:51 6 Remembrance Point 7:52 7 Dream of the Last Fisherman 11:34 8 To the End and Back 12:25 Projekt | PROJEKT 356
(CD/DDL 66:52) (V.F.) (Folk & tribal ambient)
A dark wind, nibbled by sonic dust, rises and falls, like a waltz in two steps, to bring the introduction of The Mouth of the Sea to our ears. Beautiful orchestrations float there, as well as effects of rattlesnakes, bringing the winds towards the mouth of a Japanese harp. A brief festive speech follows in this Oriental tribal dance tune which is part of Forrest Fang's sonic perfumes. Multilayers of winds and drones, supported by dark voices, embrace the Koto fever, enclosing the ambiances in an ambient tumult that will even exceed the borders of Matted Leaves. THE FATA MORGANA DREAM is, and this by far, the darkest and least accessible album that the Sino-American artist has produced since I discovered his universe in 2011 with the album Unbound. Which is saying a lot! The music is darker and less melodic, except for Lullaby for a Twin Moon, with a rage contained in the power of sound waves which carve nightmares or mirages. This doesn't mean an album to proscribe! Still very close to the territories of Steve Roach and Robert Rich, who also does the mastering, the music of Forrest Fang always has this little something special that charms the hearing. The tones of the Marxolin are quite attractive in this complex universe which responds quite well to the theme of the album; either forms of mirages which give the impression that objects float in the air. Minimalist concept, multilayer of synth drones, lines and voices. Tibetan percussions, oriental instruments and piano as well as shimmering melodious themes fill the ambiances of an album where the first 4 titles are a barrier of atmospheres which can discourage those who want to embrace the world of Forrest Fang.
Night Procession follows with an ambient and noisy rhythmic structure that transforms into a haunting slow-moving tribal dance, filled with the tears of a Marxolin Psaltery violin. It makes me think of the secret rhythms of Roach, Braheny & Burmer in Western Spaces. There is a fascinating intensity in this structure, both rhythmic and harmonic, because of an orchestral din as sibylline as the art of these Chinese shadows that fade here in mirages of all kinds. The sound character remains thunderous with these innumerable layers of synth which always carry these dusts of tones, these particles of sounds either deformed or resonant. Her Fading Image is an ambient tune without essences of rhythm. Only waves and winds which lead an evasive and melancholic melody carved by a keyboard and its pensive chords. Delicate, Lullaby for a Twin Moon is also very musical. Deprived of darkness coming from the charge of the breezes which have buried the first 4 tracks of THE FATA MORGANA DREAM, its melody seems to be the ancestor of Night Procession. Piano notes that break like a minimalist storm, Remembrance Point mixes wonderfully sweetness and anger on a melody played with such anger that it sculpts a strangely captivating pace. It sounds like Philip Glass! This is another minimalist movement projected by gongs that opens the slow march of Dream of the Last Fisherman. More ambient and more oriental in nature, especially with the addition of a kind of Koto, the music is overwhelmed by a huge layer of voices and fog effects which go astray in some nice orchestrations. A title very sweet and less musical than To the End and Back which ends masterfully an album that is worth to tame. And it will come...
Sylvain Lupari (February 18th, 2019) ***½**
Available at Projekt Records Bandcamp