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Ambient: Amongst Myselves, As Lonely as Dave Bowman, Mark Renner

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AMONGST MYSELVES: Auburn Silhouette (CD & DVD on Amongst Projects)

This release from 2006 contains a CD with 62 minutes of stimulating ambient music, while the DVD offers 34 minutes of videos.

Amongst Myselves is Steve Roberts, with Carry Roberts (on doumbek) on one track.

Heralded by sampled birds, regal tonalities approach. The texture rises in strength, swelling until the hints of a heavenly choir appear. The mix slides into an ascension as these elements conspire to achieve a soothing resonance tinged with psychic vitality. Electronic drones unfurl with sweetened edges while muffled impacts resound in the distance. Clarification creeps in as auxiliary sounds lend depth and scope to the expanding space. This is how the shadow is born.

The subsequent tracks embellish on this portentous mood, delivering excursions into a variety of pensive corners of the mind. Electronics trickle forth, sparkling softly and gathering force. Footsteps guide the way to more adventurous passages.

A variety of sounds augment the thickening textures, blooping diodes and mechanical hums join forces to achieve a captivating series of elevations. Shuddering chimes bestow a glistening presence of imminent expectation. Beneath the music's haunting disposition lies a promise of deliverance from mundanity.

These compositions are designed with more than sedation in mind. A certain zest lurks in these airy soundscapes, a seething energy that is excellently infused in the audience, revitalizing and invigorating. Whether the tunes are sprightly or somber, their effect is contagious, uplifting. The listening mind becomes cocooned in these temperate harmonics. Power is derived from their influence. What you do with that power is a matter for you to decide amongst yourselves.

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This release from 2007 offers 65 minutes of atmospheric ambient music.

As Lonely as Dave Bowman is Sam Rosenthal (from Black Tape for a Blue Girl).

Dense electronic textures evoke a dark void that seems to press in on all sides as it stretches out forever. The tones pulsate with languid regularity, slowly mutating just beyond perception so that changes occur with deceptive progression. A trace of mysterious substantiality ebbs and flows amidst this expansive sonic fog, achieving the hint of a presence that refuses to coalesce into clarity, thus generating a sense of momentous portent.

Although each track adheres to this motif of a sonorous vacuum, the music is crafted with unique dispositions which incite different responses to this sense of immersion in infinity. The vacuum is not really devoid of substance; each song throbs with lush ambience and tantalizing harmonics. An impression of humanity is cleverly infused in these soundscapes, capturing the onset of isolation and the mind's responses to that subjective solitude.

Tonalities ring with crystalline purity, seething from the distance to wash over the listener without making actual contact. This artful illusion results in an invigorating experience for the audience, allowing the mind to expand to fill the beguiling void. The ethereal electronic textures act as an inspirational medium in which intellect can generate its own interpretations.

This music was inspired by the musician's son's fascination with the films 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: the Year We Make Contact. "Dave Bowman" being the first film's human protagonist. This creative intention proves wholly rewarding, as the music creates a milieu of vast emptiness that is far from empty, stimulating the psyche to fill in the gaps produced by the type of visceral isolation which accompanies the subject's detachment from the rest of humanity.

Stripped of all these intellectual aspirations, the music is a finely adept dose of peaceful ambience. The calm is nicely seasoned with a touch of potential implication that dutifully remain just out of reach, prompting a sense of mild anticipation in the audience.

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MARK RENNER: Memoirs of a Distracted Church Organist (CD on The Gate International)

This release from 2006 offers 71 minutes of soothing electronic music.

Defying the usual "ambient" template, this music employs a full range of sounds to achieve its passive presence. Pinging keyboards and ephemeral electronics conspire with soft percussion to achieve a gentle-yet-lively soundscape. An inventive use of vibrancy is utilized in a muted sense, delivering peaceful tuneage that possesses a subtle bounciness amid its unconventional sedation.

Ambient textures establish cloudlike environments which host a variety of embellishments. These auxiliary sounds provide body to the music's tenuous presence. Delicate keyboards drift through the mix, adding melodic threads. Eerie sounds are employed with a loving sensibility, infusing the tuneage with a haunting mood.

The application of silky percussion drives several tracks from ambient territory into the realm of contemporary EM. A sense of dreaminess is maintained, though. The music prospers from these genteel rhythms.

The compositions chose a melodic path over directionless harmonics, exploring courtly moods with skill and empathy. The CD's title is very apt, conjuring the aspirations that might flow through the mind of a church organist who longs to apply their talents to more contemporary applications. The results in this instance are delightfully endearing tunes of delicate structure and universal charm.

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