top of page
  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Jim Ottaway Infinite Universes (2023)

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

It's not only very beautiful, it is also enveloping and touching!

1 Beyond Heaven and Earth 7:17

2 Ancient Starlight 7:49

3 Hidden Universes 7:26

4 Until Eternity Passes Away 7:47

5 Divided Skies 6:20

6 An Infinity of Universes 6:41

7 Many Different Suns 6:39

8 Voices of Universal Infinity 7:33

9 Light from Perfect Darkness 7:45

(CD/DDL 70:03) (V.F.)

(Ambient Cosmic Melodic)

To listen to a Jim Ottaway album is to make an appointment with ourselves. His music has a tenderness that could make a rock sigh! And this INFINITE UNIVERSE is really no different from his other albums, in that the music always remains on the threshold of those lunar melodies that have this gift of warming the soul. Mine, at least! This new album by the Australian musician-synthesist is a collection of tracks he has composed over the last few years, some of them in 2008. Jim has re-recorded and arranged them in such a way that it flows like a cosmic tale for souls on the verge of tears. The music is beautiful, with gentle rhythms and its usual array of genre-related sound effects. The setting is perfectly balanced, with neither too many effects nor too few, allowing beautiful, luminous melodies to blossom on a bed of lunar orchestrations that titillate our emotional hairs. There are some very emotional moments on INFINITE UNIVERSES, which has joined the list of albums I now listen to in order to fall asleep with my ears screwed to the immensity of the Cosmos.

And it gets off to a great start with Beyond Heaven and Earth! The keyboard makes wail a nice melody that can't help but make us melancholy, with its harmonious tinkling that awakens old memories. Aside from the cosmic effects, the background is topped with slightly droning layers and with docile pulses which raise its level of intensity. Sounds like a posthumous Vangelis title! The sequencer weaves a delicate harmonic rhythm in Ancient Starlight. The sequences shimmer just as well as in Beyond Heaven and Earth, unravelling into a circular line that ripples lazily through a lyrical Cosmos that's filled with soft, dreamy orchestrations, with grooves that let hear the shooting stars sing and with other tones peculiar to lunar ambiences. A pulsing bass line supports this ritornello with a processional presence, giving even more weight to the melodic texture of a rhythm that sticks to the ambient Berlin School style, like Klaus Schulze or Robert Schroeder, from the time of Brain Voyager, in a more contemporary musical envelope. The music of Hidden Universes sticks to the meaning of its title, offering a structure of ambient rhythm that hops faintly with a finely organic texture. These sequences float secretly in a setting darkened by strings that stigmatize themselves in a mood more tenebrous here than elsewhere in the album. The synth disguises itself in a violin and extends beautiful harmonies that cluster and moan in a slightly orchestral lunar waltz effect. Another beautiful and melodious track, Until Eternity Passes Away is a cross between Beyond Heaven and Earth, for the melody that tinkles here with more strength, and Ancient Starlight, for the processional ambient rhythm. It's also a track in the register of Vangelis and his gentle passages on the Opera Sauvage album. The synth is also very maudlin in Divided Skies. Jim Ottaway multiplies solos that weep like lonesome violins over another delicate stationary rhythm structure that is conceived on these bass sequences that pulsate in an ascending axis. They support and frame a shimmering line of arpeggios that comes and goes tirelessly, all the while nuancing its timbre and astral voluptuousness.

An Infinity of Universes offers a delicate structure of undulating rhythm, with the sequencer's cadence akin to the great strides of a slowly galloping giant. The keyboard scatters arpeggios that shimmer like stars. Later, a nice oriental-style melody, which also weaves a delicious earworm, ends up adorning a good meditative Berlin School. It's very beautiful and very David Wright also. I'd say the same of Many Different Suns, which belatedly develops an Oriental-style melody. A buzzing sound and its rays are at the origin of the title. The rays draw twistings that multiply, creating a sonic canvas for a bass pulse to carve out its ascending rhythm. Stardust, cosmic effects, synth weeps and musings and a melody thrown in by a distracted keyboard are grafted onto the ambient rhythm. The melody shines with ever-clear arpeggios, the stardust blends in quite well with its tunes, and at times embraces the ascent of the rhythm, which remains ambient. Voices of Universal Infinity is the pearl among pearls on this album. A meditative track that gradually settles its slow rhythm. It floats on layers of voices and orchestral mist, gradually spreading a poignant emotional veil. Light from Perfect Darkness concludes another fine collection of music from the Australian musician with an atmospheric-cosmic structure that flows in the same inner-sense as the title. Hollow interstellar winds, the bubbling of the interstellar layers and the stirrings of cosmic eddies make-up its backdrop. While more luminous sound effects, clashing aurora-colored hoops, dust and sparkling stars accompany the scattered chants of the Milky Way. This is the perfect title to complete a work of this dimension!

Everything about INFINITE UNIVERSES is beautiful! Jim Ottaway's electronic music (EM) is pleasing to the ear, with textures of cosmic ambience carried along by ambient rhythm structures, some of which flirt with the meditative Berlin School genre. But it's the hyper-melodiousness of the album that makes it so comfortable to listen to. The melodies sparkle like jewels of tenderness, stigmatizing those tears that flow only within our emotions. It's as if they become our stars, and the body is our Cosmos. It's not just beautiful, it's enveloping and touching!

Sylvain Lupari (August 2nd, 2023) ****½*

Available at Jim Ottaway Bandcamp

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

640 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page