Artist: Ingram Marshall
Album: Dark Waters

Label: New Albion

Dark Waters Ingram Marshall
It would seem that somewhere in the 20th century, classical music lost touch with its audience. Rather than continue to write works to stir the emotions of the listener, many composers instead produced music based solely on modern compositional techniques. This departure caused the patrons of this art to further embrace the more conventional (now considered timeless) styles of the past - leading to the current lack of subsequent performances of recent commissions.

On Dark Waters, Ingram Marshall has composed music for an audience whose existence he may not entirely be aware of. The album is long on ambience, experimentation and mood and the title track could just be a new classic of spacemusic. The piece "Dark Waters" is startlingly reminiscent of pre-sequencer Berlin-School cosmic music, yet shares no obvious thread of influence. To the analytical observer the layers of English Horn overlaying samples from a 78rpm symphonic recording (dating back to the 1920s) might be considered a deconstruction, but the process seems mundane when compared to how compelling the actual music is. This piece is a churning, low contrast drift through interstellar space. The beautiful woodwind melodies offer comfort while what sounds like brittle mellotron pads swirl darkly beneath. To be performed live with tape and delay unit, "Dark Waters" is an open ended piece which allows for both improvisational virtuosity and inventive musicianship. The soloist reacts in the moment as layers of single notes and tones build and regenerate from a thin reed-like timbre into full bodied harmonies and interlaced melodies; eventually diminshing in the spiral of a lengthy feedback loop.

Dark Waters is music for the, "post-classical century" and probes, "new musical territories for the modern world". It is also an album confident and complex enough to mix the weight of academia with the coolness of Spacemusic and all its transportive qualities. The result is unique - yet hauntingly familiar.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   28 June 2002

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