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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

PETER BALL: Bohemia (2018)

“Calm music on an alternative soundscape, Bohemia is another way to tame ambient music which renews its vows of serenity”

1 Bohemia/Desert Fruit 14:48 2 Drawn from Sleep (Slow Colours Mix) 6:53

3 Sunless 6:39

4 Epiphany 14:59

5 Fragile Settings 9:10

6 Into Nothingness 18:06

(DDL 70:38) (V.F.)

(Ambient with a zest of experimental)

An Australian musician-farmer who lives in the city of Lismore in northern New South Wales, Peter Ball is a well-respected name in Australia's arts and music scene. Recognized for his minimalist approach, he also likes to explore a universe of atmospheres with sound elements that take up the challenge of intriguing our imagination. Don't look for his discography, the man is discreet and rather offers his services at the technical level. He made an experimental ambient music album with Kerry Norman, South in 1993, and then nothing else is found. BOHEMIA appears some 25 later on the Ultima Thule Ambient label and also proposes an esoteric journey in a universe where the sounds are melted into some inert masses, a little like the crystals in the Jell-O. Can the comparison be lame? Not really! Since if we look at everything through a microscope, it is a multicolored and enchanting universe unfolds before our eyes. Here, it's through our both ears. And as if to give weight to these notes, Bohemia/Desert Fruit opens BOHEMIA with chords in suspension that hang in a sound mass stigmatized by the many echo effects of other chords and of various tinkles. This salad of tones offers all the colors imaginable in a strange ballet for broken bodies where an ambient melody emerges and whose harmonies meet some whispers around 8 minutes. Whispers and rustling concoct a sound canvas that clings to fragile orchestrations while the finale of Bohemia/Desert Fruit flirts nevertheless with a good dose of paranoia, especially when the percussions hammer a heavy and lifeless rhythm. Drawn from Sleep (Slow Colors Mix) aptly wears the colors of its title. Wavy synth lines weave a panorama as bright as the reflections of a river burned by the sun. Voice effects surf with these reflections that pour out their musicality with a sweet contemplative vision. Sunless is another title where the music breathes tranquility but with a more discreet and darker approach. Like a breeze in a lifeless cave, the breaths float with tones forged by the stigmas as our ears wonder if a guitar extends its spectrum or if it's a synth that melts its floating harmonies in a world forgotten in a cave. It's very serene while Epiphany is more in mode exploratory ambient. Let's take the hues of Bohemia/Desert Fruit and hang them on a Techno structure for pickled Zombies and we get this wonderful piece of music that alone is worth the price of uploading BOHEMIA . Set apart the humming from this horde of zombies, some simply enchanting sound effects decorate the 15 minutes of this splendid title. We can hear avian squeaks of an unlisted forest and delicious organic elements which give quite a panorama to a music that takes refuge in discretion, not without having reached the limits of a new form of ambient music. Superb! Fragile Settings is a quiet track based on guitar chords spread in the enchanting thin threads of a bluish mist. Into Nothingness completes this Peter Ball's album with another experimental ambient approach. Multiple bubbles of sounds sparkle in the void, while others clump and knock together such as magical impulses above a soundscape as quiet as a starry night on the shore of an ocean. This is the image I get from these 18 minutes of idle contemplation where the music of BOHEMIA and of Peter Ball brought me to such exquisite territories as totally unknown to my ears.

Sylvain Lupari (September 25th, 2018) ***½** Available on Ultima Thule Ambient Media

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