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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

KELLY DAVID: Meditation In Green (2019)

“It's a captivating electro-acoustic journey for ambient tribal music lovers where our dreams roam at drone flights”

1 Meditation in Green 9:51

2 Imperial City of Drone 9:12

3 A Bend in the River 8:20

4 Plain of Reeds 9:42

5 Laukoo 8:18

6 Moonlight Mekong 6:09

7 Bells of Can Tho 6:27

(CD/DDL 57:59) (V.F.)

(Tribal Ambient, drones)

The name of Kelly David is more familiar to us since his collaboration with Steve Roach in the album The Long Night in 2014. Previously, I had heard Broken Voyage. A fascinating album, directed by Steve Roach, of ambient tribal music in a universe of samplings and long murmurs of drones or mournful and buzzing breaths. And it's a bit much the world of MEDITATION IN GREEN, a very nice album that just asks us to listen carefully to all details. Because they are numerous! Impregnated by the atmospheres of Mekong Delta's forests in South Vietnam, this first album of Kelly David on Spotted Peccary is inhabited by a lush sound fauna recreated by a multitude of field recordings bordering rivers of clandestine inhabitants and of Vietnamese's instruments of folklore gathered by Vu Nhat Tan. And it's the musician based in Colorado who made this album from A to Z by combining analogue and digital synths with more acoustic instruments and his own bank of samplings which includes a variety of percussion of all kinds.

The title-track settles down with a sharp breath and its echo effects that are diluted in ringings and industrial wounds. This mixture of coldness and warmth, which arrives through analog synth breezes, introduces a harmonic unbalance with strange samplings of voices concealed in an ambient din. Filaments detach to form echo lines in an environment that is filled with wandering synth lines and murmurings of Asian instruments, including tribal percussion breaths. Choirs and concertos of sparrows are heard there, stretching their intrusions on the reverberations of the gongs. Records of nature (birds, songs of streams and frogs) are grafted to a finale that pushes the limits of meditative music with this ambient and persistent din that calms down precisely in the dialogues of the inhabitants of the marshes. Meditation in Green adjusts our hearing for the next 50 minutes. Stripped of sustained rhythms and of melodious passages, these minutes reflect a fascinating vision of its author. Take Imperial City of Drone, that says what it wants to say! Far from a music to head towards the night, the moods are torpedoed by buzzing explosions that drown the presence of a Sitar and a movement of evasive rhythm. This intense opening sets the table for a second half more spiritual, with relaxing breezes whose blue metal color reflects the presence of a sibylline choir. Each title of this album uses its time cleverly with fine permutations between tribal rhythms and atmospheres, if not between meditative atmospheres and more intense cinematographic ambiances. Enough intense to get us out of our meditative cocoon.

Thus, rain and thunder burst in a Vietnamese forest. A tribal rhythm emerges from the atmospheres of A Bend in the River, but for a brief moment, with good ancestral percussions while a sequencer opts for a more dynamic rhythmic rise. The songs of drones and of more oneiric synth lines congeal an uncertainty while the multiple samplings literally plunge us into a finely detailed sound excursion. Plain of Reeds brings us under the ark of a cave and its cavernous breaths where the flames of a shy fire sparkle. The winds and their buzzing whistle between the reeds, while another form of lascivious rhythm stigmatizes our attention until its final. Laukoo startles and disturbs our state of quietness with the crash of a big resonant gong. A vegetative state settles with echoes of oriental tribal gongs and of other percussions. The winds rise and the ambiances get darkened with bursts of percussions that intensify and fill the minutes before another style of tribal rhythm draws us into a hypnotizing trapdoor. Moonlight Mekong is perhaps the title that attracts us most easily in the nets of MEDITATION IN GREEN. Its atmospheres are warm with these crumbling tones of percussions that form a metallic sheet made blue by astral breaths. Drew Redfield's guitar adds a melodic backdrop, like a languorous cosmic blues played by a nostalgic guitarist. Bells of Can Thot ends our trip in the heart of the Vietnamese forests with a storm that extinguishes its fury in the winged breaths of a mesh of percussions and of breezes by a synth that prioritizes a much more meditative finale with a fine harmonic breakthrough that wanders without vision until the last breath of MEDITATION IN GREEN; a captivating electro-acoustic journey for ambient tribal music lovers where our dreams roam at drone flights.

Sylvain Lupari (September 23rd, 2019) *****

Available at Spotted Peccary Bandcamp

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