MUSIC REVIEWS
By Jim Brenholts






Robert Scott Thompson
Mantra
Aucourant Records
www.aucourantrecords.com
Robert Scott Thompson is one of the most cerebral ambient music artists in this era. He is always on the cutting edge looking for new techniques and exploring new styles. He pushes the envelope beyond its limits. Thus far, all of his experiments have been successful. (At least the ones he has shared with his listeners have been!)

Mantra is a bit of a departure for Robert; it is a long-form piece (53’25”) with a consistent pace and a free-flowing structure. (While it does flow freely, it is certain that Robert worked diligently to get it to do so. He is the consummate pro.)
The piece is also full of delightful experimental sounds and vast atmospheres. Robert combines organic textures and metallic timbres better than anyone. He uses those contrasting techniques as complementary sound-design elements.
The pace and flow will remind listeners of the ocean along the Gulf Stream. The music rolls in and collapses into itself as it returns. It is continuous and steady — never too harsh, never too calm. It is always just right and right there. The experimental sounds cavort around and through the atmospheres and the flow. It is a peaceful and serene soundscape.

Robert is a total professional, a successful risk taker and a cerebral musician. He is consistent. He is wise and he is kind. This CD is one of his stronger efforts. It comes with the highest recommendation and the strongest endorsement.


ARS (Ashley, Roedelius, Story)
Eratta
Nepenthe Music
www.nepenthemusic.com
www.dwightashley.com
www.roedelius.com
www.timstory.com
Errata is the result of a conglomeration of three supreme talents — Dwight Ashley, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Tim Story. Long-time fans of electronic/ambient music will remember Hans from his days with Dieter Moebius as Cluster and their legendary collaborations with Brian Eno.

New age music aficionados
are most likely familiar with Tim’s solo piano contributions to several Windham Hill compilations in the 1980’s. Dwight, while not as well known as the others, has been making music for years and has two collaborations with Tim and four solo releases. Each artist is a maximum talent in his own right. Together, they have created some magic!
This disc has lots of positive energy and experimental sounds. While the experiments border on organized chaos and/or fractal dissonance, they serve to set up, complement and contrast the atmospheres and neoclassical airs. Those airs, in turn, introduce some funky rhythms and more experimentation. It is like a Max Escher drawing. There is no beginning and no end — just a process.

This music absolutely requires focused listening! The dissonance takes the whole set to new plateaus and unlikely horizons. Listeners will not sink into this music. The music will jump into listeners and manifest as a visitor from an unknown world. It is a different kind of space music but space music nonetheless.
The description makes it sound like it is not an album for the feint of heart or the conservative listener. It is intentionally so. This is music for the adventurous soul willing to take a risk and invest time into serious listening.


Liquid Mind
Liquid Mind IX: Lullaby
Real Music
www.realmusic.com
www.liquidmindmusic.com
Chuck Wild might well be the calmest and/or most relaxed man on this — or any other — planet. Under the pseudonym Liquid Mind, he certainly creates some of the calmest and most relaxing music in the world. Liquid Mind IX: Lullaby is his ninth CD of neoclassical electronic ambience. It is a wonderful album!

During the time between his last two releases, Chuck’s father “transitioned from his earthly life” to his eternal spirit. Thus, this CD celebrates the nurturing of new life and surviving losses and inevitable changes. Generations nurture future generations with lullabies and the cycle continues. The circle is unbroken

The music is, as expected, tranquil, calm and gentle. It sedates listeners into deep states of serenity and freedom from the constraints of everyday life. It is another rest stop on the highway of life. The atmospheres float like clouds as listeners drift gently into relaxation and redemption zones. The effect is hypnotic. The rewards are generous. The journey is divine.
There are not many artists on Chuck’s level. He just continues to promote gentle vibes and relaxing airs. This CD is another gem from a gem.


Jonathan Goldman & Crystal Tones
Crystal Bowls Chakra Chants
Spirit Music
www.healingsounds.com
www.crystaltones.com
Jonathan Goldman is a brilliant man. He is a musical genius and a prolific sound healer. His approach to creating music is scientific and structured while it is also spontaneous and formless.
William Jones and Paul Utz are Crystal Tones. Their unique innovations have transformed the field of quartz singing bowls. They are dedicated healers and masters of their craft. Crystal Bowls Chakra Chants is a vital CD in the holistic sound healing community.
William and Paul surround Jonathan’s chants with deep harmonic and organic textures. There is no sound quite like a singing bowl and it is the perfect complement for overtone vocals. By layering and looping their sounds, this trio has created a massive wall of gentle energy.

It surrounds listeners and lulls them into zones of ethereal stillness and contemplative peace.
(WOW! It is hard to write with this music taking me outside myself to my “happy place.” I find my mind wandering and my extremities responding to the chakra tones and not to my brain. I have experienced this before but not to this degree. I must stop and meditate. (30 minutes later) I must finish this review from memory. I cannot write while listening.)

The intensity of the overtones creates a narcotic effect as the mind responds. It is a gentle high and a fulfilling experience. The zones are deep and warm. They are soft and gentle. They are loving and soothing.
Jonathan, William and Paul have created one of the best meditation CD’s available. Its power is grand and its return is tenfold. It is completely essential.


Liquid Bells
Singing Bowls
Liquid bells
www.liquidbells.com
Damien Rose takes a holistic approach to his craft. He communes with his bowls and embraces their resonance in his soundworlds. As Liquid Bells, he has created Singing Bowls to share his visions and passions with listeners. It is a sublime and rich journey.
Damien uses several unique variations to create his diverse atmospheres. He uses different types of strikers and violin bows in several combinations of keys and notes. The natural properties of the bowls take the session to higher heights and deeper depths. The purity is high. The intensity is vibrant.

(WOW! It happened again! It is almost impossible to write while listening to singing bowls — quartz or Tibetan. The overtones are just too strong, especially in the hands of a master like Damien. I found myself floating away from pen and paper as I listened. I was outside myself watching me. It was quizzical and almost comical.

I had to stop and allow the overtones to take me. The psychoactive properties were amazing. They entered my cerebral cortex and caressed me with love and warmth. I was awash with a sense of peace and serenity. It was exhilarating!)
All too soon the music stops and the journey ends — for now. Listeners are left feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and revitalized. The world is more pleasant.
This is another essential from a vital performer. It is recommended highly.



Jim Brenholts resides in N. Versailles, PA and can be reached at jbrenholts@verizon.net
 



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