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ROBERT FOX: Cathedral (2017)

“The music of Cathedral is built on 2 mosaic of music which interlink peaceful moments and more turbulent ones in a very intense and theatrical way”

1 Cathedral Part I 33:10 2 Cathedral Part II 23:46 AD Music ‎– AD192 (CD/DDL 53:56) (Dark Ambient Music)

The last studio opus of Robert Fox, Still Waters, had fairly seduced and moved me. An album which had quite an effect on me…And still have! It was rather particular because usually his albums take time to operate their charms on the bed of my emotions. Why? Maybe because of this rich orchestral texture and of its abundance of sonic elements which surround a music sometimes very melancholic and on other times, too much pulled towards a strong theatrical aspect. Like this CATHEDRAL. But it doesn't matter! In the end I always end to be seduced and transported in the country of his imagination. Like here with CATHEDRAL and its immense, as much as intense, mosaic of atmospheres and melodies as dark as very difficult to get in. The basic idea behind this last album from the one who gave us Asafa is to create a theatrical atmosphere around a cathedral and of its uncountable secrets, as its secret vaults. There where are blowing winds that give us cold in the back and give us also some uncountable circles of sweat. And nevertheless, there where also shine artificial rainbows reflected by the multicolored stained-glass windows and are mumbling some murmurs from angels. In fact, the white and the black, the mysticism as the chthonian, are engaged a perpetual fight inside these august walls.

A Capuchin psalm loosens the first part of Cathedral Part I. Knockings of doors, layers of angelic voices and a delicate lullaby strummed on a keyboard are the reflections of what waits for the hearing visitor of CATHEDRAL. I write first part, because the two long sonic rivers are interrupted by various phases which go from purely meditative music to a very claustrophobic sort of atmospheres where knockings, monastery bell tinkling, hollow breezes and chthonian voices become the counterweight of more aerial elements of ambiences. So, the listener who jumps of surprise in several places, stays on the alert and concentrates on the sound effects and on these small ends of melodies always chewed on by a keyboard and which are the anchoring point of an opus extremely difficult to ingest if we are not before all a lover of dark ambient music and of some priories atmospheres. At this level Robert Fox offers very beautiful meditative passages of which a very nice one after another ascetic hymn near the 14th minute of Cathedral Part I. Doubtless the most beautiful meditative moment of this part. Cathedral Part II is more musical and a little more intense, I think it's the best way to get into the moods of this album, with some strong dramatic and theatrical moments. The contemplative phases are longer here, so we jump less often, and also more melodious. The bells of gathering for the religious psalms are even musical. What can I add more? There is also a better union between the harmonious part of CATHEDRAL and this angelic choir which is less present than the Franciscan one but which remains just as much, otherwise more, attractive. In brief, to begin with Cathedral Part II is a very good idea if we want to tame with more ease this last album from Robert Fox which is quite troubling by moments but all the same rather effective.

Sylvain Lupari (July 22nd, 2017) ***½**

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