JOHN GREGORIUS: In Awe (2022)
“Musical, melodious and very accessible, like Full of Life but in a more ethereal touch”
1 In Awe 5:28
2 Light 3:55
3 Everyday Miracle 6:03
4 New 5:18
5 Here Now 4:25
6 Open 2:59
7 Ascending 4:06
8 Gratefulness 5:39
9 Wonder 4:50
(CD/DDL 42:47) (V.F.)
(Guitar-based album, New Age)
I always have the same dilemma with some of Spotted Peccary's works. Often flirting with progressive ambient music, the label also offers CDs, always carefully made and manufactured, which have a strong New Age tendency. A more progressive New Age, as well as a more conventional one, as with this last and very beautiful offering of American guitarist John Gregorius. And as I already wrote about Full of Life and Still Voice, why stop? After all, listening to IN AWE on a good Sunday morning with your love, there's not much more beautiful than this. Whether the sun is shining brightly, or the clouds are dying overhead, the multiple takes of guitars entangled in good arrangements have those emotional, meditative and/or playful textures depending on the direction of the rhythms. The album is full of catchy ballads with a strong New Age bent that are nice to hear.
Dominated by a hesitant guitar, the title-track traps our ears with a suspended chord sequence that, after some dithering, hooks into some bass percussions and pulses to create a ballad-like context. Its liveliness is adorned by thin, absent voice effects whose humming counterbalances its intensity displayed by higher guitar chords. The shadows and waves of synth trailing in the background add a slight spectral aspect. That guitar in Light remains as hesitant, letting its chords shimmer in arabesque shapes to hang on a good languid bass. My ears perceive a keyboard texture that ties itself to the guitar's offerings, giving this silvery texture to a downtempo that likes to break on the reef of meditative soundscape. And that guitar is just poignant in the very good Everyday Miracle and its semi-spirited rhythm that reminds me so much of those beautiful moving ballads from Darshan Ambient. An excellent track on this IN AWE.
And if Everyday Miracle gave us chills, it's nothing compared to the superb acoustic guitar in New that gives us a thousand of them in a good slowtempo yet jostled by nice and soft percussive rolls. The tears of violin feed the moisture of these shivers in arrangements woven in drifting layers. Here Now, Open as well as Gratefulness, which offers another rhythmic ballad with good guitar effects, are uneventful tracks that listen well. Musical appetizers, the time to attack stronger tracks like Ascending which is a nice meditative title on two musical textures against the current. If a guitar dictates a more fluid rhythm, the other lays down a melancholic melody which rolls under the percussions' effects of daggers. You can't say it's not beautiful! Wonder ends this album with a more tenebrous aspect where the guitar always shines with its luminous chords under the seal of a melancholic joy.
Musical, melodious and very accessible, like his Full of Life cd and with a more ethereal touch, John Gregorius' IN AWE is the kind of music (not electronic) that makes my friends, my family and my wife say that Sylvain Lupari is not so weird after all!
Sylvain Lupari (May 25th, 2022) *****
Available at Spotted Peccary Bandcamp