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Ambient: Con_Sense, Forrest Fang, 33 Tetragammon & Human Metronome

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CON_SENSE: Code Sent (CD on Databloem, distributed by El Culto)

This release from 2009 offers 66 minutes of mesmerizing ambience.

Gentle electronics coexist with evolving rhythmics, generating a mood of sedation tinged with cybernetic awareness.

Drifting tonalities create a rarefied foundation that is then embellished by more strident (yet still subtle) electronics. Pulsations resound in this haze, lending the illusion of peaceful machinery hiding in the mist.

Ilbient sounds wander through the mix, providing a shimmering substrata of definition to the vaporous basis of the tunes. Here, though, the glitchy nature of most ilbience is subdued, manifesting more as a moderate cybernetic impression whose presence actually contributes to the flow rather than providing any jarring aspects.

While percussive elements are employed, the beats are initially muffled and intermittent. As the tracks progress, however, the slushy tempos become more prominent, less languid. They gradually assert themselves as the dominant element, and soon the music has blossomed into light melodies enlivened by entrancing rhythmics.

In the albumís last phase, the rhythmics recede, allowing the electronics to shift from an ephemeral stance into dreamier melodics of quite satisfying substance.

The music on this release evolves through stages, becoming increasingly engaging with each mutation. At first, the tracks are sparse and feature soft hints of ilbience and e-perc. Then the percussion slowly swamps things, transforming the tunes into congenially rhythmic gems. Finally, the electronics escalate from their textural definition into a more substantial role, and the auralscapes slide into pleasant contemporary electronic tuneage.

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FORREST FANG: Phantoms (CD on Projekt)

This release from 2009 offers 70 minutes of tenuous ambience.

Forrest Fang plays: synthesizer, electronics, acoustic and electric violins, non-Western strings and percussion (cumbus, khustar, saron, kora, sueng, kulintang, baglama, kendang), mandolin, ukelin, marxolin, and Japanese palm harp. The recording was mastered by ambient pioneer Robert Rich.

Ethereal textures are seasoned by exotic strings, producing auralscapes of delicate substance.

Tenuous electronics formulate chilled expanses of airborne vapor. These harmonic structures blur into a gray environment composed of celestial sighs.

The strings lend a reverent demeanor to the ambience, generating a subtle sense of agitation that instills a soothing reaction in the listener. The strings manifest in two modes: strummed and sawed. The strummed instruments inject a Far Eastern flair to the harmonic flows, as if any moment the mists will part to reveal majestic snow-capped mountains surrounded by cherry blossom trees. The sawed instruments, i.e. violins, establish a haunting materiality lurking in the sonic fog, an elusive presence that merges with the mist while their resonance is conveyed on gentle zephyrs.

The percussion is faint, existing on the edge of perception, so that the beats elicit subliminal effects on the audienceís cerebellum. Their muted impacts serve more as inconspicuous punctuation than as any driving propulsion for the music.

These compositions manifest introspection with ease, each fragile passage designed to isolate the listener from the physical world and immerse them in a realm of pure psychological potential.

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33 TETRAGAMMON & HUMAN METRONOME: Resonating Earth (CD on Resonating Earth Music)

This release from 2009 offers 74 minutes of sparse ambience.

33 Tetragammon (aka Wasili Papadopoulos) and Human Metronome (aka Eelke van Hoof) manipulate sounds sources taken from synthesizers, Tibetan bowls, guitars, and environmental recordings.

Sparse texturals are mixed with environmental sounds to generate a spectral realm existing in tandem with the known world.

The atmospherics are extremely minimal in substance, creating a rarefied foundation that is then embellished by auxiliary sounds, most of which are equally slight in definition. This results in an auralscape of delicate mettle, one highly conducive to meditation.

More substantial elements are used to enhance this dreamlike territory. Softly growling electronics sift through the drifting ambience, lending fragile augmentation to the overall calm.

Ethnic percussives are employed to inject a sense of ancient cultures into the ambience. These rhythms are relegated to a remote vantage, muffling their beats into a tenuous presence.

Breathy woodwinds contribute spiritual airs that blend nicely with the gentle striking of Tibetan bowls.

These compositions are deliberately sparse. The meticulously arranged layers of vaporous sound generate a series of harmonic flows designed to sedate the listener and sequester them from cultural distractions, thereby attenuating consciousness to its place in the celestial order.

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