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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Paul Ellis From Out of the Vast Comes Nearness (2011)

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

A very beautiful opus fed by a surprising musicality for an album stuffed with so many heterogeneous tones

1 The Infinite, Minute by Minute 10:49 2 The Click and Chime of Passing Time 2:44 3 Firefly Rising Outshined by the Moon 13:47 4 From Out of the Vast Comes Nearness 15:32 5 Watch the Stars Come One by One 21:17 Spotted Peccary | LSM 21

(CD/DDL 74:23) (V.F.) (Mostly ambiospherical EM with subtle ambient beats)

Always so poetic, Paul Ellis has the gift of surrounding his music with beautiful artworks and superb titles. It's therefore inside a splendid artwork representing people looking at the sky and the past, that hides this other beautiful opus from the American musician. Dedicated to artists who have left their mark on electronic and minimalist music; Steve Roach, Klaus Schulze, Peter Baumann and Patrick O'Hearn, FROM OUT OF THE VAST COMES NEARNESS is a minimalist ode that bathes in atmospheres rich in an astonishing variety of sounds and of captivating spiral of rhythms. This last opus is revealed in 5 long musical acts where the rhythms are less predominant than on the very beautiful The Last Hiding Place of Beauty and where the atmospheres are enveloped by a captivating mixture of eclectic sounds that run through his last musical poetry.

As delectable as it's mysterious, The Infinite, Minute by Minute opens with hesitant strident pulsations that beat intermittently alongside darker and veiled pulsations. For this first title, Paul Ellis weaves a strange cosmic canvas where fine and muted oscillations wander in a sky subdued with sinuous streaks, abrupt impulses and solos which float in a sclerotic atmosphere. An atmosphere that gradually stirs its torpor with a Patrick O'Hearn-style bass line, increasing a minute by minute crescendo which is surrounded by delicate solos hovering above a cosmic mood with a thousand mysteries and crystal tones. Sounds sometimes dark and sometimes limpid which are sucked in by a beautiful sequenced spiral which swirls and waltzes with the clarity of its chords, creating a timeless musical whirlwind with glass chords which dance with all the romanticism of its ambient universe loaded of multiple pulsations and variegated sounds. The Click and Chime of Passing Time uses the same pattern through good fluty synth lines. The chords swirl with an astonishing musicality, crossing the romantic universes and the dreamy structures of Michael Stearns with fine modulations and impulses initiated by bass and synth lines which disturb the course of a spiral where the limpid arpeggios intersect in a movement with subtle variations. Arpeggios parading in different tones where finely hatched lines cross drumming percussions/pulsations and good fluty breaths on a minimalist structure which subtly permutes in a rich musical fauna wrapped in a synth whose multiple lines embrace a hypnotic movement that would turn again and again that we wouldn't notice the passing of time. Yes, The Click and Chime of Passing Time is a splendid musical moment as magical as it is exhilarating.

And the soft and astonishing musicality of FROM OUT OF THE VAST COMES NEARNESS continues with Firefly Rising Outshined by the Moon and its glass arpeggios dancing in an enveloping mist soon harpooned by a bass line with elastic chords more and more biting and decorated by good fluty lines in a boiling cosmos. The movement gradually awakens with a gentle sequenced escapade. Jerky sequences draw a delicate foray towards a progressive rhythm where piano notes and hybrid synth layers, with the sounds of flutes and trumpets, gently revolve around this fine spiral of glass which rotates around dramatic impulses lost here and there. Softly, the Firefly Rising Outshined by the Moon gets lost in the multiplicity of scattered impulses and implosions that turn around an amazing structure where harmonies and melodies transcend its interstellar tranquility. The title-track is a long ambient movement where muted reverberating pulsations beat a pace without rhythms in a heavy ambience filled of cosmic waves. A movement that is reminiscent of the first works of Klaus Schulze, From Out of the Vast Comes Nearness offers an amazing musical diversity with a strong poetic synth that spreads a panoply of sounds swarming among floating layers and a good cosmic mist where stars and eclectic tones sparkle on a slow ambient and bewitching movement. Watch the Stars Come One by One ends this latest album from Paul Ellis in continuity with the first 4 titles. A long track with hybrid ambiences starting with another good circular movement fed by fine sparkling arpeggios which flutter in an oblivion before a heavy synth wave hits this delicate glass spiral. A synth drops undulating solos among series of chords that flutter on the back of a heavy bass line with resonant chords. Despite its noisy bass notes, this last track evolves smoothly with solos that have become more fluty, tracing nice melodies that a piano absorbs with its notes hammered with vigor in a universe of multiple musical tones. Like this heavy pulsations which fall in a cave with walls oozing from water droplets and its starry tinkling which travel on brusque metallic synth layers. Chimes which resonate with the sounds of prisms and put back the order of things established by the intro of Watch the Stars Come One by One.

And so ends FROM OUT OF THE VAST COMES NEARNESS; a very good album nourished by a fascinating musicality for an album full of so many heterogeneous sounds. More tranquil and hovering than The Last Hiding Place of Beauty, Paul Ellis achieves a tour de force by weaving movements at antipodes which give way to fine harmonies and short melodies scattered throughout its 75 minutes. I liked the nods to the artists to whom he dedicates his album; Klaus Schulze, Michael Stearns and Steve Roach. A very good album fed by slow circular rhythms whose glass tones draw good musical poems.

Sylvain Lupari (September 24th, 2011) ***½**

Disponible chez Spotted Peccary

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