ROBERT SCOTT THOMPSON: Arcana (2014)
“In Arcana the black and the silence breathe of colors and tones which are at the diapason of our imagination”
1 Liminal Worlds5:25
2 Imagination is Memory3:10
3 Night Has a Thousand Eyes9:40
7 Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight8:13
8 In Situ7:40
9 Waning in the Glow of Unknowns5:54
10 Zero Point Field29:32
11 Our Shadow Sense2:42
12 Porcelain Sky12:16
(2 CD/DDL 113:47) (V.F.)
(Ambient electroacoustic music)
Robert Scott Thompson is a Californian musician who likes the progressive ambient style with a zest of electroacoustic elements. Like several of his colleagues who fertilized the American west coast of an esoteric music, Robert Scott Thompson is a very prolific artist with nearly 40 CD, albums and cassettes since the first stammerings of this movement at the turning of the 90's. And since his very first album in 1991, Deeper in the Dreamtime, Robert Scott Thompson has gathered ceaselessly an increasing legion of fans. And his last album, ARCANA, has all that is necessary to maintain these fans in its trail with an intensely meditative music where the twilights are silently seduced by celestial harmonies. Here is a chronicle of a fascinating album filled of unsuspected feelings.
And that begins with Liminal Worlds and its long black breath which lifts up some very meditative somber acoustic chords. Chords which in fact sound more like subtle percussions. This breath multiplies a lineage of which the sibylline tones float in a sonic sky where the twilights are under the charms of a soft ethereal voice which makes undulate its meditative harmonies in a concert of carillons and spiritual drones. The moods are tinted of black, even if holes of radiance are drawing translucent lines where the serenity crosses the enigmatic. We go from black to white with the short Imagination is Memory which keeps in background the very celestial approach of Liminal Worlds. Night Has a Thousand Eyes is clearly darker. The black winds shove some acoustic carillons whose ringings of dead wood tones resound as lost harmonies. This electroacoustic approach irradiates a meditative music with rather tenebrous visions, whatever some experts of the genre say. In fact, all the skeleton of the ambiences is on the same diapason and are especially fed of the same breezes which lift in their winds some variable harmonies. The title-track is the most melodious of the genre with its scattered notes which tinkle over a heavy mist from which the melancholic drizzle oozes the dews of the lands which lived dramas. Unwoven offers very dark breezes with notes of piano scattered into an abyss with lost horizons. Epoché remains the most serene of the tracks here while Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight makes float its shadows with slow hypnotic oscillations. If the first attempt leaves you sceptical, the following ones reveal treasures of harmonies suspended from ambiences fed of black silk. There is a touch of madness which hides in there. Darker and more meditative, In Situ adopts the passive vibes of Epoché while that Waning in the Glow of Unknowns is at the rather romantic and melodious sonic image, if we can say, of Arcana, the title-track.
ARCANA comes with 3 bonus tracks which are available in digital size. Dark and very penetrating Zero Point Field invades us with around 30 minutes of ambient music where the peace of mind is painted of black. The moods resuscitate those very morphic of Liminal Worlds without its electroacoustic elements and plunge us literally into the very immersive universe of Steve Roach. Very short, Our Shadow Sense inhales the senses of its title with a short intrusion into the world of organic tones of which the strange ambiences continue on the very fascinating Porcelain Sky which reminds me a little, except for its delicate harmonious and ethereal envelope, Shane Morris' reptilian dreams universe alienated by the black pensive atmospheres of Memory Geist.
To be completely honest, I had heard the name of Robert Scott Thompson in the circles of ambient music for a while. But as in each of the names proposed in this genre, my ears made faces. Thus, this is on the tip of my eardrums that I approached this album. And without saying that I was totally seduced, I quite enjoyed this first contact. The highest quality of Robert Scott Thompson is this ease that he has to give life and to color his abstracted ambiences with the nuances of its paradoxes. This is at least what I felt when listening to ARCANA. The black and the silence breathe of colors and tones which are at the diapason of our imagination. And it is so beautiful to see the emptiness getting furniture between our ears.
Sylvain Lupari (June 28th, 2014) ***½**
Available at Robert Scott Thompson Bandcamp