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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

JOHN GREGORIUS: Full of Life (2020)

Updated: May 25, 2022

Looking for ambient music on a summer evening in front of a campfire and with a few friends? Full of Life becomes inevitable

1 The Expansive Sky 5:45

2 Unfolding Beauty 5:08

3 Full of Life 5:49

4 Path of Renewal 5:22

5 Blanket of Stars 4:51

6 Winds of Change 5:21

7 Wellspring 4:28

8 Early Reflection 5:01

9 Monsoon Clearing 4:49

10 Painting Vistas 3:19

11 Catalina 4:15

12 Rincon Fading Light 4:00

(CD/DDL 58:08) (V.F.)

(Guitar-based album, New Age)

Sometimes I make exceptions! Spotted Peccary is an excellent American label which puts into perspective a form of progressive New Age. A label which led us to discover some really good albums over the years. This little parenthesis to introduce an album which is extremely far from what you are used to finding in your favorite webzine on EM Berlin style and its derivatives. If you take the time to read my post about John Gregorius' latest album, Still Voice in 2016, you will understand the need for this little parenthesis. So, like Still Voice, this FULL OF LIFE is an album designed and powered by guitars, both acoustic and electric. It's 12 tracks spread over nearly 50 minutes that the musician now residing in Tucson, Arizona, offers ballad lovers with a slight flutter of the American SouthWest. Besides, I found that this album was more animated, more rock if I can say, than Still Voice. Thus, breaking all ties that could bound it to EM.

Small amber shade and guitar riffs à la The Edge, the opening of The Expansive Sky may dance with life that the music becomes ambient again with two or three layers of guitars whose symbiosis weaves a good ethereal music. Don't seek for sequencer, or this bass hidden in the interstices of instruments such as synth and Mellotron. Here, everything is purely acoustic / electric with guitar tears tumbling on lively structures of music. And it's that style all over the album! Melody over melodies, some with a zest of Erik Wollo, the music of this album flows very well. The sound of the dominant guitar remains woven in melancholy with harmonies that unearthed this forgotten bouquet of Stephen Caudel, when I listened to his Wine Dark Sea and Bow of Burning Gold in the late 80's, especially with the title track and Winds of Change. Path of Renewal and the very ambient Early Reflection and Rincon Fading Light are more electronic titles that always highlight the fingering of John Gregorius. And when I write electronic, I'm talking about this assembly of floating synth layers with a little bit of guitar scent inside.

Looking for ambient music on a summer evening in front of a campfire and with a few friends? FULL OF LIFE becomes inevitable. With a lot of guitars, almost just guitar, beautiful ballads and some clan titles of the American SouthWest style, John Gregorius delivers here an album whose only defect is to be reviewed by an EM and progressive rock lover. I liked it, but my Lise, very surprised to find that I was listening to FULL OF LIFE, loved it. It gives you a good idea of ​​the genre!

Sylvain Lupari (June 3rd, 2016) *****

Available at Spotted Peccary Bandcamp

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