Various Artists
Album: Sonic Frontiers I: Ambient Dreamscapes

Released: 1 March 2011
Label: Wayfarer

Ambient Dreamscapes
Sonic Frontiers I: Ambient Dreamscapes (60'05") is the inaugural anthology CD released by the Wayfarer Records label. Containing music by eight notable artists this compilation demonstrates the breadth of the Ambient/Spacemusic community. Each track possesses its own distinctive color and tone, due mainly to the many different approaches and mindsets represented here - so no two sound remotely alike. Yet as different as these artists are from each other they all work quite well next to one another. Sonic Frontiers I: Ambient Dreamscapes begins with "The Highest Cloud" by Ombient. Getting back to basics Michael Hunter plays endlessly looping guitar textures in what feels like an ambient ceremony. From this churning stasis rises "Passage" by The Tangent Project. Synthesist Jeff Coulter and guitarist Harrison McKay create a mysterious and minimal spacescape based in both classic Spacemusic ideals and New Age pleasure. Their track quietly and elegantly changes shape as it slowly drifts through the listening space. Boreal Taiga's "Bjørnøya" gives this CD some momentum with its slowly skipping synth patterns running amidst mellow metallic rhythms and warm electronic drone. Most lovely and ethereal is "Isois" by EchoHALO which layers delicate tones to build a briefly achieved beautiful sonic environment. With "To the Titanic" Dave Luxton provides enough grand chords and watery effects to cause the listener to feel many fathoms beneath the sea. Filling the need for some contrast "Marine Layer" by Ambient Research Collective wanders along a strange arc. With rough timbres rubbing against a languid bassline and lilting chords this track offers much to ponder. Next, a solo realization by Jeff Coulter reveals a dramatic narrative - as chirping and ticking e-percussion wind out within big organ harmonies and sweeping synth pads. The album concludes with "Spider God" by Sanity Generator, a somewhat precarious composition full of recurring synthesized shrieks and deep humming drones. With the ending of Sonic Frontiers I: Ambient Dreamscapes such an open-ended matter listeners will happily seek out the next installment in this well-done anthology series.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   28 April 2011

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