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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

SAM ROSENTHAL: The Passage (2011)

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

This musical union of Vicky Richard and Sam Rosenthal is breathtaking

1 The Passage 44:29

2 Rae 10:12

(DDL 54:41) (V.F.)

(Dark Ambient)

This is the very first time that my ears crossed the music of Sam Rosenthal, founder of the American dark and ambient music label Projekt Records. And I must admit that I came out of it with my ears well filled with a lot of immersive and meditative layers of 2 instruments at the antipodes of their existences. THE PASSAGE is a dark and intimate work that accompanies us in the reading of our thoughts and our abstruse memories. It is the darkness in the immobility and a door of entry towards passages of our interior. Musically, it's a kind of cross between Steve Roach's Immersion and Bernard Xolotl's amazing Procession. It's as beautiful as it can be dark and as fascinating as the union of a violin and a synth can be.

It's into some of the most factual penumbras that the title-track takes us. A superb combination of synth waves and violins lines opens its intro. A union that will lead us during nearly 45 minutes through a strange lethal labyrinth. A lost bat lets its wings float violently in this darkness, adding an uncomfortable dimension to these slow morphic layers that float with an intriguing attraction. Gradually, it continues its uneven flight towards distant horizons before disappearing and leaving this slow immersive waltz enveloping our mind. The Passage is a long passage of sweetness and darkness. It is an intense dive into the silence and its sighs of tortured souls. A little as if we were lurking in a longitudinal corridor without windows, orifices or exits, listening to the winds complaining about the darkness. Winds whose songs are indistinguishable from moans and whose fine and subtle movements brush against our immobility. It's like being in the deepest abyss of the Immersion series with this cloud of layers darker than morphic that surround the contours of our imagination, sculpting the fine oscillations they form. The Passage is nearly 45 minutes of listening to these winds roll our thoughts to the doors of the faint glow that emerges a little after the 30 minutes. At this point we enter the sanctuary of angelic waves. Waves that are full of a soft luminosity and that form fine arches impregnated with melodies that refuse to emerge, preferring to preserve the beauty of their hatching.

And quietly we float to the gates of Rae, where everything is clearer and more serene.

The musical union of Vicky Richards and Sam Rosenthal is breathtaking, so intense, so magnanimous and poetic. It's more than sunshine after rain. It's like a rainbow in the middle of the night. A magical place where even the bats gorge themselves on the iridescent glow.

Sylvain Lupari (December 17th, 2011) *****

Available at Projekt Records Bandcamp

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