KUUTANA: L'esprit des Eaux (2021)
Updated: May 17, 2021
“A good album of ambient music made to dream the ears fixed to nice repetitive patterns”
1 Rainsong 6:40
2 Starlight Cove 6:36
3 Sunset Reflections 9:48
4 Aurore sur le ruisseau 5:07
5 Majestic Seas 6:07
6 Deepwater Lullaby 7:12
7 Do Dolphins Dream? 12:00
8 Waipeo Bay 8:20
(DDL 61:51) (V.F.)
The comeback of the Canadian artist Ron Charron in the circles of EM was one of the good news in 2021. Since then, he has released an album for his project Sequential Dreams with the very good Chrysalis. His project Midnight Airship also released an album called Learning to Fly. And lately it was Kuutana's turn to make a comeback with an album of ambient music ideal to relax, think and if not fall asleep. Another artist who makes ambient music? Yes, but coming from an artist who also does Berlin School and progressive music, one can expect a different vision. That's a bit much what L'ESPRIT DES EAUX offers. Far from Vangelis, like in Rebirth and Undiscovered Shores, the Quebec musician takes us to the lyrical shores of a music whose fine rhythmic melodies shine in a heavy velum woven of shadows and lights. Between Juta Takahashi, Steve Roach and Stephen Parsick, L'ESPRIT DES EAUX flirts with the great names of the genre.
And it starts with the lively oscillations of Rainsong. Behind musical synth layers and Tangerine Dream-like pads, the rhythm quickly shakes on a static movement of sequences that shimmer and undulate like a thousand silver reflections on a lake troubled by the winds. From this shimmering cluster resists a line that rises and falls, screwing up that perception of a Berlin School style ambient movement, especially with the Silver Scale pads. Between these lively rhythmic lapping emerges some beautiful mellotron chants. Not really ambient and not really dancing, this Rainsong remains a very beautiful title which sets the table to an album made to quietly attract us towards the arms of Morpheus. Tinkling chimes introduce the ballet of morphic layers in Starlight Cove. The music reminds me of Juta's Seabounds album with its sibylline depth and shimmering glitter that is a charming element. Morpheus plays a soothing flute that lures us into anaesthetic mists, while a delicate hypnotic rhythmic movement takes care of fixing our attention on one of the good ambient tracks I've heard lately. If you like mellotron, its powerful vocals in Aurore sur le ruisseau (Dawn on the Creek) ran through my emotional column throughout its 5 minutes. As beautiful as its title which is immensely poetic! Sunset Reflections is an ode to drones. To these drones that draw sound panoramas more or less inviting. The idea is to plant a translucent line that turns on itself, creating a magnetizing melodious effect. This is what Kuutana does here in a dark music with disturbing guttural reverberations. But still, there is this melody that managed to detach a shadow more seductive than its prismatic air. We don't like it right away! But as soon as this melody and its reflection have captured our concentration, it gets easier to fall for it. Majestic Seas is a track that combines intensity and delicacy with the addition of a piano escaping its notes between harmonious and/or sibylline synth lines. It's very beautiful and to date, the discovery of L'ESPRIT DES EAUX is beyond my expectations.
If we're not asleep yet, Deepwater Lullaby takes us into Yes territories, rather Jon Anderson's, with some good steel-guitar tears and mellotron voices as intense as those of Aurore sur le ruisseau in a track that defends its music with accuracy. Quiet, spectral and dark! When Steve Roach meets Stephen Parsick, the result is Do Dolphins Dream?. This track also hides an ambient melody that goes up and down the scale in a sound mass with ghostly colors. It's a philosophical Dark Ambient music with its melody that captures our senses without effort of concentration in an ambience of breaths and breezes filled with eroded prism particles. What makes the charm of this title is this illusion that we are in underwater diving throughout its 12 minutes, answering undoubtedly to the meaning of the title Do Dolphins Dream?. We remain in the oceanic vision of Kuutana with Waipeo Bay. Waves of water come and go on the musical banks which are animated by samples of fauna living on the shorelines of a bay. The movement reminds me of Rudy Adrian's musical poems with a series of layers of diverse musical colors. Some guitar riffs add more charms to this track which is a wonderful prelude to a day starting after this night in music from Kuutana and its beautiful album of ambient music made to dream that is L'ESPRIT DES EAUX.
Sylvain Lupari (May 15th, 2021) ****¼*
Available at Borders Edge Music