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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JIM OTTAWAY: Somewhere In-Between (2022)

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

Another musical rendezvous whose range of genres connects through its haunting melodies

1 Dawn of Time 6:39

2 A Dream Within Reach 5:59

3 One True Vision 6:08

4 Chosen Place 5:03

5 Fire of Truth 5:26

6 Sacred Ground 6:00

7 Carried in my Heart 6:11

8 Lost World 7:03

9 Winds of Promise 6:58

10 Somewhere In-Between 4:36

11 Shores of Eternity 7:19

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

(Ambient, Berlin School, New Age)

Melodious and less complex than When Eternity Touches Time but livelier than the very beautiful Threshold of the Universe, SOMEWHERE IN-BETWEEN is another musical rendezvous from Jim Ottaway that one cannot refuse. Composed between a gap of 14 years, from 2008 to 2022, this new album of the Australian electronic bard proposes a panoply of styles where the melodies of his synth dominate rhythms sometimes soft and sometimes more electronic. Ambivalent rhythms that are propelled by an efficient sequencer and propelled by percussions with random metallic slaps, while the synths provide sometimes dark and sometimes cosmic sceneries with good orchestrations and ambiences that flirt with a little paranormal side that often makes the charms of electronic music (EM). Like its title indicates, we are constantly somewhere in the middle of something...

Two lines of rhythmic melodies overlapping in a seductive minimalist movement momentarily chase away the iridescent haze that enveloped the opening of Dawn of Time. This mist takes on an orchestral texture with a swarm of violin strings, stretching a collective tearfulness that becomes more intense, more dramatic even, when sober percussions set a slower pace than the two melody lines. We let ourselves lulled by this lunar melody from which some usual sound effects begin to fuse, such as random percussive effects that are sculpted on the beats of the electronic drums and limpid arpeggios that add a little more weight to the melodic texture of the track. A short ambient moment drops a nostalgic flute. And the more the minutes go by, the more Dawn of Time inspires a downtempo that embraces the emotional amplitude of the orchestrations. SOMEWHERE IN-BETWEEN is a sanctuary for electronic melodies built on the model of narrative music worthy of the New Age charts. A Dream Within Reach lets off a very good one on a soft and light rhythm that accentuates its pace with good percussive effects. The kind of thing you can whistle without too much difficulty! If you like the genre, Fire of Truth is another one with a nice circular movement of an arpeggio line which turns into a very sharp melodic vision. Its carousel and the texture of the atmospheres take me back to Legend's Tangerine Dream era. Carried in my Heart is another beautiful New Age style of melody with a frankly haunting ritornello. One True Vision is one of the more electronic Berliner tracks of this new album of the Australian musician-synthesist. A series of moiré arpeggios dictates its melodic yet rhythmic approach over a spasmodic sequencer texture. This rhythm builds pressure after an atmospheric first bridge, while the second one returns it to its initial phase. The tracks follow each other in this album offering a diverse approach, as with Chosen Place which offers a darker opening with a pulsating rhythm created by a sequenced bass line that is overlapped by intriguingly toned arpeggios and supported by sober percussions. The jerky flow of the arpeggios contrasts with the creeping structure of the sequences, giving the music an air of mystery and horror. At the same time fluid and heavy, the structure hums softly with a nice resonance effect in its rhythm that gives off a tasty horror cinema aspect that is accentuated by the emanation of an ominous mist, sibylline chants and beautiful vampiric solos from a synth that also drops a delicate melodious flute. That does very Arcane!

Sacred Ground is another track to offer a structure flirting with the paranormal. The track evolves with slowness, forsaking little by little its atmospheric form to take the shape of a rhythm jostled by percussions which unstitch little by little its slow procession. The rhythm is more noisy, notably with the echo of the percussion, than animated and marries this ghostly melody which gives this very horror movie tint to Sacred Ground. Lost World proposes a good rhythmic ride before transforming into a synthpop with a tone of the 80's in the percussions. Winds of Promise offers a texture of electronic rhythm for neurons that trots and adopts the shape of an interstellar gallop with gauzy percussions in a sibylline mood. A beautiful melody flows through it, accentuating the curve of the rhythm slightly with each of its appearances in a musical narrative structure. The play of the percussions and the effects of synthesizer add to the charms of this title that we hook on it at the first listening. The title-track offers another one of those haunting melodies to run through the 70 minutes of this album offered both in manufactured CD and download format by Jim Ottaway. Its air and that delicate pan flute give it a New Age dimension. On the other hand, its DNA is more electronic with a complex rhythmic structure for the genre. With its ghostly melody on a more atmospheric structure, even with the jolts of the sequencer in the middle of the track, Shores of Eternity sings beautifully the swan song of SOMEWHERE IN-BETWEEN, another very nice album by Jim Ottaway whose range of genres connects through its haunting melodies.

Available on June 24th, 2022!

Sylvain Lupari (June 18th, 2022) ****¼*

Available at Jim Ottaway Bandcamp

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