FORREST FANG: The Sleepwalker's Ocean (2016)
Updated: Sep 29
“What we have here is a deeply ambiospherical album with lovely ghost melodies hanging here and there”
1 Gone to Ground 8:35 2 Message in the Sand 8:49 3 The Sleepwalker's Ocean - i Cloudburst 5:14 4 The Sleepwalker's Ocean - ii Bog 5:08 5 The Sleepwalker's Ocean - iii Night Ferry 8:13 6 The Sleepwalker's Ocean - iv Geiger 6:52 7 The Sleepwalker's Ocean - v Lumin 4:31 8 The Sleepwalker’s Ocean - vi Waywards 3:30
9 Driftwood 6:57 10 Not Forgotten 11:05 11 An Alternate Ocean (The Salton Sea) 54:16 Projekt | Projekt322
(CD/DDL/Spotify 123:15) (V.F.) (Ambient with a lyrical touch)
Forrest Fang is an artist immensely poetic. His words? He transposes them into sounds! In ambient music which is structured around a meshing of synth lines that he creates in harmonies tinted of nostalgia and by acoustic instruments which are very near of the essences of spirituality. From where a texture of enchantment! Quieter than his silky Letters to the Farthest Star, THE SLEEPWALKER'S OCEAN is an incredible ode in the serenity which is draw in the deep of the ocean. Well anchored in the charms of a good pair of earphones, the music of this last opus from Forrest Fang is a delicious descent towards the oceanic inner waves where everything seems to us so far that we let ourselves being submerged by the delicate ambient nature of the album. Here, no rhythms! Except for this fascinating ethereal dance in Message in the Sand and also some scratching of an acoustic six-strings well scattered here and there. Only ambiences. Quiet movements of mass where we confuse easily the cosmos and the oceanic depths. But do both are not connected?
We feel sucked up towards the depth as soon as the first celestial waves of Gone to Ground reach our soul. Strange lamentations emanate from the synth lines of which the sibylline approach is like a song of mermaids. The movement intensifies its approach of deep surrounding atmospheres with gongs which resound around the notes of an acoustic strings instrument came from abroad. This is very representative of the sound depths of this album where its darkness is always pierced by somber lines and by translucent harmonies. It is enveloping and there are always secret harmonies, as much from the synths as from acoustic instruments, which decorate the walls of synth lines glued in mass by a synth of which the colors of the tones remain unique to the Sino-American musician. Message in the Sand is quite alone in this somber decoration by offering a beautiful tribal rhythm where the jingles of tom-toms beat in walls of murmurs which form the armature of this rhythm, a little like the effect of a crawling bass. Robert Rich enriches these atmospheres here with a delicate flute. A beautiful moment of ambient folk without borders before that the long sonic saga of THE SLEEPWALKER'S OCEAN puts to sleep our senses with a deep and surrounding approach. And that begins with the hollow winds of Sleepwalker's The Ocean - i Cloudburst. Carillons ring nervously, absent voices hum and stars sparkle in a soundscape misted by linear hummings. It is less dark in Sleepwalker's The Ocean - ii Bog, except that the movement remains always lineal. Sleepwalker's The Ocean - iii Night Ferry is one of the rare tracks livened up by an ambient rhythm in this immersive work. This is a peaceful rhythm strummed by a string instrument of which the crackling flutters in synths lines shiny of hybrid tones and where are tinkling chords as crystal clear as the singing of the carillons. This is a very nice piece of music and the play of the percussions, more creative than rhythmic, add a depth more colored to this track which dives into a heavy storm of dark drones with Sleepwalker's The Ocean - v Lumin. There where snore the rattlers, where hum forgotten songs and spark distant stars. Quiet, mesmerizing and enveloping! As the soft Sleepwalker's The Ocean - vi Waywards and its melody sculpted in the effects of musical cannon from a rather lively piano. The elements of harmonies and ambient rhythms which whipped the sighs of Neptune in Night Ferry are floating in suspension in Driftwood. A track detached from the album, just like the elegiac breezes of Not Forgotten which is the equal of a sunset and its warm beams over a peaceful sea. An Alternate Ocean (The Salton Sea) proposes a different look on the atmospheres of THE SLEEPWALKER'S OCEAN. Here the synth lines, divided between long whoosh and iridescent voices, are floating with a few movements, very ethereal, in an oceanic bed which let glimpse the soft reflections of the moon in suspension. It is comparable to the Immersion Series of Steve Roach, for the long river of placidity, and of Michael Stearns' intense submarine waves, for the voices of child mermaids, in M'Ocean. That wraps you. That switches your brain off!
Sylvain Lupari (January 29th, 2016) ***½**
Available on Projekt Bandcamp