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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

GIVENS & PADILLA: Life Flows Water (2015)

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

Even if strongly tinted with a huge dark veil, Life Flows Water remains a rather poetic album knotted in these subtle sequenced ambient rhythms

1 Opening to New Perspectives 19:08

2 Awakened Conciousness 5:35

3 A Step Achieved 6:30

4 Reflection and Metamorphosis 6:56

5 Tide of the Opposition Moon 7:56

6 Life Flows Water 12:06

7 Shavasana 10:26

(CD/DDL 68:38) (V.F.)

(Ambient Pacific School EM)

A hollow, a dark and very reverberating breath besieges our ears. Kind of Tibetan bells resound in these dark winds while that another synth line, a little more translucent, makes the counterweight to this rather dark introduction of LIFE FLOWS WATER. Other synth lines draw clouds of mists which steal very slowly around this dense opaque layer, while others are spreading strands of prism that one would guesses is escaping from a heavy and slow intergalactic vessel filled up with cosmic oracles. Immersive and very floating, Opening to New Perspectives multiplies its sibylline colors like we watched dumbfounded this water which waved while being a prisoner of its rectangle. I find hard to believe that this album was recorded live, so much the wealth and the colors of sounds form a symbiosis with the slight crescendo of the ambient rhythms which invade our loudspeakers, in particular with the superb Awakened Conciousness and A Step Achieved. Craig Padilla needs really no presentation. Those who know his works know also to which point he likes sculpturing ambient soundscapes decorated with delicate structures of ascending rhythms. For this album, he teams up with the founder of the American label of atmospherical music Spotted Peccary, Howard Givens that some define as being a creative guru. It results in a very dark ambient album with a multitude of reverberating lines which pile in order to draw up a kind of apocalyptic surrounding. With these 7 tracks which interlace in a long ambiospherical saga of 70 minutes, the duet Givens/Padilla aims at creating a Zen ambiance here, but those dark synth waves which get entangled indefatigably bring it at the edge of a Mephistophelian spiritual story. The ambiences are intense, reaching even some peaks at moments with splendid rhythmic crescendo which disconcert marvelously this very dark envelope of LIFE FLOWS WATER.

The long dark synth waves get entangle such as metaphysical lovers. They float and decorate the nebulous soundscapes of Opening to New Perspectives, whistling amorphous chants with slow lines inflated of reverberations. On the cusp of this blackness, fine hiccupping arpeggios forge a series of drummings which pound and sparkle in a sonic sky to the colors of Morpheus. The ambient crescendo is pouring now into Awakened Conciousness. These sequences cavort now. They flutter awkwardly within dark winds whereas other sequences are pounding an intrusive sonic framework which dresses itself of a dramatic fur. And the percussions fall. They thunder for a short while on this spiral of dislocated sequences which decorate its line of ambient rhythm with delicate kicks, just before that the heavy atmospheres shut it down and make silent its tumult. Long lassoes of reverberations float like a scent of threat over the singings of those birds which open A Step Achieved. A delicate movement of hypnotic rhythm makes clink its sequences, plunging the listener into his so delicious souvenirs of Michael Stearns in M'Ocean. This is a wonderful two tracks set that the tandem Givens/Padilla is giving to us. Here, the crystal clear arpeggios are ringing on a charming ascending movement always painted by these long twist filled by echoes. Superb! Reflection and Metamorphosis brings us in the heart of the gaps of LIFE FLOWS WATER with shrill singings of sirens. Still there it's heavy and dark. Except that a bright period turns up on the horizon with the arrival of Tide of the Opposition Moon where some fine arpeggios shine in another movement of sequences with keys which weave an occasional rhythmic turbulence. The title-track is the nirvana with an ambient rhythm which winds groundwaters suspended, like a lake between the cosmos and the earth. The slow impulses which push the ambient rhythm, drawn by a series of sequences which sound like the skeleton of a snake crawling on a bed of rock, create good moments of intensity which seduces the listening. The most serene moment of the album, Shavasana brings us towards this Zen zone aimed by Howard Givens and Craig Padilla. Certainly, the hoarse breaths are always intrusive. But the more radiant synth lines hide a bit the repulsive approach that these long boas with ample and slow serpentines, ochred of sulfur, draw almost everywhere around the 68 minutes of LIFE FLOWS WATER which loops the loop with this last track. And even if strongly tinted with this dark veil, this last album of Givens and Padilla remains a rather poetic work. A work mainly ambient which is knotted around beautiful gradations in its rhythms among which the ringings and the drumming are the secret of its charms.

Sylvain Lupari (March 26th, 2015) *****

Available at Spotted Peccary Bandcamp

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