Artist: Peter Chilvers & Jon Durant
Album: Always Golden Sands & Vista

Released: 11 December 2020 & 15 January 2021
Label: Alchemy Records

Always Golden SandsVista
Peter ChilversJon Durant
There is the kind of Ambient Music that you notice as you would notice the wallpaper or the furniture in a room, and then there is the kind that you notice because it is whispering something to you - something intimate, something only you can hear. Venturing into this alluring territory keyboardist Peter Chilvers and guitarist Jon Durant have realized two releases; first on the EP Always Golden Sands (19'14"), followed promptly by the album length Vista (50'44"). Meticulously improvised across separate solo studios the resulting music is tranquil, but never intends to lead the listener into sleep. As it grows dreamier its meaning sets. The ever-changing levels of atmosphere, melody and texture are a gift to the imagination. Vista presents five well-ordered impressions in an opulent tone. Wherever used, Durant's guitar subtlety explores all of its registers and shadings, with Chilvers' piano engaging in lovely melodic substance. In a slow-motion churn of harmony the two elicit strikingly beautiful sonorities sensitive to the flux between consonance and something a bit more disconcerting. The soft cosmos of the lengthier concluding track grants a deep interiority. However, this duo does not give over completely to the serene and sedate. Somehow, amidst all the reverb and digital processing on Always Golden Sands, Chilvers & Durant find room for a beat. A simple steady drum pattern enters, leaving room for picks and plucks of clean steel strings, as well as the drones and groans of tremulous synthesizer notes, and even some open space. In a command of gesture and color this duo reveals slowly changing perspectives. Each possesses an exquisite ear for composition. Reacting to the other's piece of the story so gives their music warmth and a recognizable human character. While some may find these works staid, polished and composed - others will hear how uninhibited both Always Golden Sands and Vista truly are. Yes, Chilvers & Durant do play carefully, so that we may dream freely. Enchantment never tips over into stasis in their expressions of memory's blur. The past may be dark, but this music soundly wins the future - and flows with the solemn and blissful insistence of life itself.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   11 February 2021

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