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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Steve Roach & Frank Beissel Nautical Twilight (2022)

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

A more oriented Dark Ambient album with Roach's audible imprints

1 First Arrival 6:31

2 Drift Departure 21:20

3 Arc of Descent 11:21

4 Below the Twilight 16:05

5 Mariana's Reach 17:59

(CD/DDL 73:17) (V.F.)

(Dark Ambient Music)

It's with a sound shadow born from the void and rising from the West that NAUTICAL TWILIGHT deploys its multiple sound arcs which compose the large surface of its 74 minutes. First Arrival let's hear an avian fauna chirping in the rounded grooves of the sound curves which clump together while moving forward towards the horizons. They follow one wave after the other in a context of Dark Ambient music to leave this first collaboration between Frank Beissel who proposes his first textures of atmospheric music to a Steve Roach always master in the art to give a depth to this genre that he cherishes for ages. This depth is clearly more tangible in the muffled waves that sweep our ears in the epic title Drift Departure. Like musical wings, these waves float and radiate an ambient melody that gradually obsesses the senses. Exploiting this melodious vein, the two musicians add reverberating textures and brassy synth streaks that deepen the spectral dimension to this rhythmically lifeless odyssey that weakens its sonic ecosystem around the 11th minute when the music and its refractions reach an almost silent point. Lapping effects and tinkling synth riffs adorn this short passage that gives life to another texture of atmospheric music where percussive and organic effects are propelled by sound waves whose contours are as if walled in by distant throat singing. Let's just say that this second part of Drift Departure has enough to feed the imagination of an insomniac. In this album of deep ambient music, these two first tracks of NAUTICAL TWILIGHT are very representative of its 3 other parts.

From what I understand, Frank Beissel is an American artist residing in New Mexico, who emerges in the dark world of nighttime ambient music. In fact, the bulk of the album, available both on CD and as a download from the Timeroom Edition website, was created in the early hours of dawn or late at dusk. And a track like Arc of Descent is a perfect reflection of this with its musical arcs that cradle an ever-growing ocean of shadows. From melodious and musical, the track melts into the darkness of the night where its creatures can take forms as elusive as those carved in the gusts of the mysterious nights of the American south. One can't imagine a storm swallowing up the quietude more than in this track. The ghostly melodic airs of Arc of Descent also fuel the opening of Below the Twilight. They take on hooting forms in order to pierce this increasingly opaque wall of drones that come and go like endless waves. Then they turn into incandescent murmurs as these waves roll with more ardent winds, creating a spectral symphony that is matched only by the gaze of this insomniac who scans the horizons of a night in territory as hostile as it is unknown. Without adding anything new to this first Beissel and Roach collaboration, Mariana's Reach ends NAUTICAL TWILIGHT with a symphony of drones confronted with a sweetness that is amplified by the warmth of winds that are getting golden by the first rays of the sun.

Obviously, the name of Steve Roach attracts the curiosity of ears used to his style of music. It's therefore not surprising that the imprint of the American ambient music icon is heard through Frank Beissel's compositions, which are interpreted and recorded on the principle of fleeting inspiration. So, in direct! Steve Roach and Howard Givens, from Spotted Peccary, put the finishing touches to this album that deserves as much consideration as a unique work to the American musician in his quest for night music, a bit like Streams and Currents by the way, and his torments tuned to music.

Sylvain Lupari (05/25/22) ***½**

Available at Timeroom Direct Bandcamp

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