THOUGHT GUILD: Third Voyage (2012/2015)
“Third Voyage is a cocktail of harmonies, rhythms and ambiences that will lead you through the analog times”
1 The Ebbing Universe 7:21 2 Iridescent Resonance 8:25 3 Last Train to Lyon 4:00 4 Retropolis 8:47 5 Moon Blossom Meditation 3:59 6 VCO VS. DCO 7:31 7 Titanium Ashram 4:09 8 Celestial Glossolalia 8:28 9 Ki 7:54 (Bonus Live Improv 2004) HRRJC2015
(CD/DDL 60:37) (V.F.)
(Cosmic Pacific School EM)
For those who don't know the universe of Thought Guild, let's say that their music is situated in full heart of the analog years when the improvisation in studio was driven by fine sequenced rhythms. The strength of the American duet, consisted of Christopher Cameron, who died in August 2001, and of Gregory Kyryluk, the man behind Alpha Wave Movement, Open Canvas as well as Within Reason, is the sound. A warm sound where we really feel a cosmic and celestial influence over our senses. Just remember Kitaro, from Astral Trip to Silk Road IV. Initially released in 2012, THIRD VOYAGE is the 3rd and last collaboration between Cameron and Kyryluk. The album was initially planned for 2006 but diverse problems and a miss-alignment of the planets pushed away the project at the beginning of 2012 with a homemade CD-r edition of 50 hand numbered copies. It was the full stop of a trilogy begun in 2002 with the Context album. The Harmonic Resonance Recordings label decided to re-release this album in CD and in downloadable format with a bonus track, Ki, which was lost in the vaults for 10 years.
Clouds of prisms and an angelic choir extricate themselves of a deafening sound wave, a little as the reactors of a space shuttle, which open the first moments of The Ebbing Universe. Already the serenity of Thought Guild seizes our ears with very beautiful and ethereal synth pads which lull the movement of delicate sequences of which the keys climb slowly the tops of an astral mountain. These keys are fragile. Pinched like a harp, they put boldly the step in an aphrodisiac mix of seraphic voices, of celestial ringings and of synth pads in the colors of the Pacific School as well as Steve Roach's very own fragrances where muffled impulses and fine permutations in the play of sequences thwart the passivity of the listener and add emotional elements and elements of charms in a structure already very rich in seduction. Iridescent Resonance is a superb ambient piece of music with tears of synth and guitar which cry just like Steve Howe used to make cry his Lap Steel Guitar in Soon. Cosmic and futuristic influences of Vangelis also stuff this wonderful track high in emotions and will also perfume the introduction of VCO VS. DCO. Last Train to Lyon is a blink of the eye to Jean-Michel Jarre's cosmic rumbas. The rhythm is delicate and respects in all aspect the charms of these rhythms imprisoned into the old organs, while the sound effects of the analog years and the cosmic clouds sweep our ears with delicate dusts of stars which float in the perfumes of a cosmic guitar. It's this kind of music which hooks on the first listening. After a dark intro, oiled by hollow winds, caressed by distant drones and made iridescent by sibylline singings, Retropolis emerges with a bounding structure of rhythm which metamorphoses into a good cosmic rock. The winds of Orion, the singings of the stars and beautiful astral layers caress the calm strength of a rhythm which always bursts a little more with the addition of sequences, as rhythmic as organic, sometimes peaceful and sometimes tremulous, modifying constantly a course which accepts the support of some very good synth solos. This is good old cosmic rock at its best!
Dripping water, ringings and fine arpeggios which sparkle in tears of synth, Moon Blossom Meditation is a short astral lullaby filled of Buddhist perfumes. As far as I'm concern, VCO VS. DCO is the cornerstone of THIRD VOYAGE. A strike of genius dropped by Christopher Cameron and Gregory Kyryluk. It's with pleasure that we renew with the whimperings of Iridescent Resonance which bloom in an ambient intro, delicately cut through by serpentines and their mad races. Synth pads come to commune with themselves here, highlighting even more the futuristic imprints of Vangelis and his magnificent Blade Runner. It's too short? One want more? There is always Iridescent Resonance! Because here, there is a rhythm which emerges from this astral beauty. Except that here, the percussions are panting with muffled knocks. Lively sequences flutter around by flickering all around the percussions. And other sequences filled of gas release tones of Tangerine Dream in Poland. A whole rhythmic mishmash which answers of its three crisscrossed structures among which the wild races and the opposite directions are accompanied by some really synth solos with hybrid tones. Superb! Titanium Ashram brings us in the heart of an open-air cave where we can see stars tearing the blackness of the cosmic nights and hearing the walls to ooze some songs made of sonic drops. We always stay in the spheres of contemplativity with a thick cloud of astral lines which draw the sonic auroras borealis of Celestial Glossolalia. The ambient music can be so very beautiful. As much beautiful as it can be meditative. And Thought Guild shows it with seraphic voices, pads from a tearful synth and other pads soaked of an ethereal mist. The mixture becomes as sibylline as angelic, especially when a delicate ambient rhythm is drummed under a dense veil whose singings are also attractive as those of the sirens in Ulysses' odyssey. The tom-toms burst again in Ki. They sculpture a fascinating heathen dance and drum beneath of flutes. Improvised in studio, a little as most of the material of Thought Guild (a thing that I ignored), the rhythm, as the ambiences, become more steady and more precise. A line of sequences makes its keys pounding, playing thus in the shadow of the tom-toms and subdividing harmoniously the rhythmic approach, while the airs of the flutes become less tribal, more ethereal. Everything is evolving in the universe of Thought Guild and Ki doesn't escape this rule by taking the road with a more frenzied rhythm. A rhythm closer to rock and progressive music while the chants of the flute get melted in the harmonies of a very Rick Wright kind of keyboard, and while the synth takes on the clothes of Mellotron by scattering its fluty tunes in some enveloping astral mists and orchestrations. And say that it had slept 10 years in the vaults!
Definitively, the Gregory Kyryluk planet breathes of freshness. In solo or in duet. Whether it's with new music in the clothes of Alpha Wave Movement or old ones which have escaped to our attention; his music is a huge sonic cornucopia where the diversity and the warm sounds remain as much charming as the feelings which they transport. We have here some very beautiful pieces of music. Poetic and cosmic with influences which vary between Kitaro, there is enormously and especially of the Ki era, Steve Roach, Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre. A cocktail of harmonies, rhythms and ambiences which make of THIRD VOYAGE a magnificent journey in time. I simply adored it and there are some beautiful small pearls in there!
Sylvain Lupari (March 11th, 2015) ****½*
Available on HHR Bandcamp