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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JIM OTTAWAY: Deep Space Blue (2017)

“This is a nice trip into a cosmic music and a way to build roads to paths that we already know and which take a different dimension here”

1 Astral Voices 5:54 2 In Search of the Lost Star 7:42 3 39.5 Light-Years (TRAPPIST-1) 10:42 4 Stars of Ice 7:44 5 Deep Space Blue 11:08 6 Interplanetary Panspermia 16:21

(CD/DDL59:33) (V.F.)

(Cosmic Ambient Music)

Ambient music carved in soundscapes of Eden's oases or in the fabulous intergalactic beauties, DEEP SPACE BLUE received rave reviews when it was released in August 2017. A worthy successor to Southern Cross, which got him the Award for best cosmic music album in Australia, Jim Ottaway's 2nd opus in 2017 is a tasty mix of Steve Roach, Kevin Braheny and Edgar Froese, of which the title-track, in a very dominant celestial vision. The album is once again available on real CD and carefully wrapped in a 4-panel digipack artwork, designed by him, becoming the tenth album from the Queensland's musician in Australia to be offered on the international market.

Soft, Astral Voices settles between our ears with multi layers of synth, some with a slight effect of buzzing, where thin lines of a seraphic goddess voices get mix to the murmurs of an astral choir. The sounds from a fauna of a cosmic oasis sparkle discreetly behind this veil of voice that is tied to orchestrations as slow as the wings of an eagle drifting against the winds. There is also a nice effect of acuity and intensity in these astral murmurs. In Search of the Lost Star derives as much as our thoughts in a slow structure, driven by different levels of lunar orchestrations' intensities. The envelope of the scenery is very cosmic with sound effects that are quite Jean-Michel Jarre, Oxygene and Equinoxe, in this title that also adds layers of voices to the orchestrations that twist like a giant snake carrying a morphic virus. The synth cries at 2 or 3 places with rather sensitive laments coming from a wind or a brass instrument that glides easily under the epidermis. A Steve Roach rhythm structure, including organic sequences, feed the cosmic vision of 39.5 Light-Years (TRAPPIST-1). A monastic choir, one even hears bells ringing in an astral desert, lives through spectral winds or songs which sweep its sonic horizons and conferring a tiny sensation of despair. It's a very monastic like approach. Stars of Ice embraces a New Age approach, like Ray Lynch, with a series of ringing chimes that dance and tinkle among nice flute songs. There are good currents of intensity in this music of ambiences, more esoteric than cosmic, though the two go well together in this burst of synth lines and of their adjacent effects that over-size a sound canvas as much layered as in Astral Voices.

The title track is simply sublime! A rhythmic structure oscillates peacefully in a storm of astral winds where the dust of stars whistles us between the ears. The flow is cosmic, and the effects come from another planet. Here as everywhere in DEEP SPACE BLUE, the pile of fog and misty orchestrations adds an emotional degree that meets its zenith with splendid and musical synth pads in the colors of Edgar Froese in 2nd part. I hear the moods and the vapors of synth with the perfumes of celestial trumpets from the Age album through the 11 minutes of this delicious Deep Space Blue. Interplanetary Panspermia drags us beyond the cosmic horizons with an approach that requires a greater openness since the sonic core is composed of buzzing and resonant material. In fact, it's a very contemplative, meditative title with these lines that stretch their charisma as if they radiated the illusions of giant gongs sanitized by a very ethereal vision. Let's say that I better enjoy this peaceful journey without transcendental light after 3 to 4 plays. But in the end, I ended up appreciating this illusion of aridity where yet hides a very subtle sonic moisture.

A new face in our soundscape, even though he has been active in Australia for almost 25 years, Jim Ottaway definitely deserves a stop and we take the time to discover his music. At least with his 2 albums in 2017; Timeless e-Motion and this DEEP SPACE BLUE which is a nice trip into another kind of ambient music. A more cosmic music with good cosmic orchestrations and a way to build roads to paths that we already know and that take a different dimension here.

Sylvain Lupari (September 10th, 2018) *****

Available at Jim Ottaway's Bandcamp

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