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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Forrest Fang The Oort Cloud Meditations (2023)

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Celestial and cosmic Dark Ambient that should appeal to fans of the genre

1 Planetary Hum 11:15

2 Diaphanes 18:12

3 The Lighthouse 15:30

4 Distant Signals 14:52

5 Solus 9:40

(CD/DDL 69:29) (V.F.)

(Cosmic & Dark Ambient)

Meditating on the Oort cloud! The Oort cloud is a vast spherical shell of ice that is thought to reside at the periphery of our solar system. According to the hypothesis of Dutch astronomer Jan Oort, the cloud contains billions of cometary nuclei, stable because solar radiation is so weak at this distance. Nothing in this cloud has yet been seen, but it could contain icy objects, including comets that have approached the sun. It would provide a continual supply of new comets, replacing those that are destroyed. It is around this cloud that Forrest Fang has decided to build his new album. It's a far cry from the ambient tribal style to which the Chinese-American musician has been accustomed us for the past couple of years. In fact, Fang returns to the Dark Ambient movements known from his 2011 album Unbound, produced in collaboration with Sans Serif (Projekt PRO257).

It's a warm breeze that opens up the dimensions of Planetary Hum. This breeze becomes a buzzing shadow whose linear movement is like a star's journey through the cosmos. The movement propels itself from its implosions, rather like the straight-line journey of a giant squid moving at the speed of a sloth on valium. The sound is very dark. It rustles of those fiery jets that surround its envelope and give it those iridescent effects, at times accentuating the quiet power of its sonic reach. Close your eyes and you feel like this celestial body drawn into the Oort cloud. So is Planetary Hum, so will be the other 4 structures of THE OORT CLOUD MEDITATIONS, with a few nuances near. Forrest Fang introduces shimmers that flirt with that icy effect when the sun bounces the arcs of ice floes into the cosmos. Diaphanes is a long track where this aspect scrapes the buzzing noise of its sound mass hurtling towards infinity. If you listen carefully, you can hear nuances of voice and orchestration that give a warmer texture to this track, whose first part is a veritable slide between the ramparts of the void. The second part is less violent, giving us the sensation of floating between two spheres where the celestial aspect rubs shoulders with the ebony black we might imagine depicting solitude in space. In addition to these horizons of cosmic and tenebrous atmospheric music, what is surprising as we discover the dimensions of Fang's new opus is the absence of acoustic instruments, it would seem that there is some Gong dust among the particles of sound, which made the charms of his ambient tribal style. Here, all the journeys to the Oort cloud are conceived on synthesizers, joining at times the timbres of Michael Stearns and Max Corbacho, a reference in cosmic ambient music without rhythmic impulses.

The ambiences are more nebulous in The Lighthouse, where the mix of translucence and opacity is dancing a fascinating slow waltz over tenebrous orchestrations. Although layers of crackling are humming in the background, these ambiences are surprisingly more musical here with slow arabesques that melt into smoky half-moons amid bursts that attempt to form a distant melodic link. A bit like a ballerina whose grace evaporates in artificial snow. The further you get into THE OORT CLOUD MEDITATIONS, the more the ambiences become sources of music, defined by the axes of seraphic melodies. This is the path taken by Distant Signals, of which the introduction's heavy drones glide along with more iridescent particles. The drones have this hollow texture where filaments of astral voices attempt a mutation for a more chthonian depth in this atone choreography propelled by its roaring implosions. Within this movement, gleams of inert matter shimmer with the same discretion as the aerial voices. This creates a vague, elusive melody that wails through an alloy of sonorous metal, no doubt meditative percussions, and those long, one-dimensional impulses of reverberating drone effects. Solus concludes this symphony of dark cosmic ambiences with a rhythmless texture akin to the previous 4, except for the metallic blue envelope that crumbles its particles all around the moving drones. We may be in the Cosmos, but the stringy orchestrations have a soluble metal texture that adds a sibylline presence to the music. This presence is more noticeable here than elsewhere in the dimensions of THE OORT CLOUD MEDITATIONS, an intense album from Forrest Fang that should certainly appeal to fans of Dark Ambient with a cosmic, celestial flavor.

Sylvain Lupari (September 26th, 2023) *****

Available at Projekt Records

(NB: Texts in blue are links you can click on)

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