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Ambient: Among Myselves, Loren Nerell, Bruno Sanfiilippo

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AMONGST MYSELVES: Ambient, Landscape & Space (CD and DVD on Amongst Projects)

This release from 2012 features 69 minutes of ethereal music.

Among Myselves is Australian synthesist Steve Roberts (on acoustic and electric guitars, bass, and electronics), Bernard Haseloff (on guitars), and Garry Roberts (on percussion).

Fragile auralscapes generate zones of dreamy vapors.

Delicate electronics abound here. Tenuous textures that often function as more than a backdrop, frequently surging to swamp the tunes with their pacific tonalities. Consequently, much of the music’s presence is ethereal.

A selection of more pronounced electronics is periodically injected into the mix, lending depth and substance to the tuneage’s atmospheric flow. There are passages in which distinct keyboard notes establish sparse melodic threads, softly coaxing the audience to remain calm.

While guitars contribute to the songs, the majority of their presence manifests in processed form, treated so much as to be undetectable from the drifting electronic drones.

Percussion is infrequent, but when it appears the beats furnish the music with a gentle tribal demeanor. In one track, the rhythms adopt a mechanized posture, yet the tempos remain soothing.

A variety of environmental sounds are utilized to embellish the soundscapes. Birds, a softly crashing surf, sounds one associates with forest environs.

These compositions are crafted to lull the listener, sinking consciousness into a sonic pool of sedative properties. Some pieces muster a modicum of puissance, but their vigor is suppressed to a level that foments a waking dreamstate.

The DVD features cinematography by Roberts and Haseloff. These time-lapse visual pieces excellently fit with the dreamy auralscapes.

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LOREN NERELL: Slow Dream (CD on Projekt)

This CD from 2012 features 67 minutes of extremely ambient auralscapes.

While the majority of sounds on this album sound like delicate electronics, they are actually field recordings Nerell made in Bali and Java--insects, temple ceremonies, voices. These source sounds were then processed using various audio software plug-ins. The results are drastically ethereal and one would be hard-pressed to identify their environmental origins.

Atmospheric textures of a particularly crystalline nature serve as a backdrop for other tenuous tones. These "lead" drones waft and drift across the sonic canvas, languid in their interaction, yet establishing deeply influential responses on the listener's emotional condition.

While one track's temperament is light and breezy, another's delves into darker realms (dark, but not ominous; more haunting in their resonance), stirring deep ancestral instincts regarding nocturnal excursions.

Slightly chittering noises lurk in the mix, providing engaging diversions from the sparse flow's even progression.

Needless to say, no percussion is readily audible in this music. While gamelan gongs are among Nerell's source sounds, his processing has rendered them into elongated tones of a feathery character.

These compositions are airy auralscapes, harmonic in nature and designed to pacify the listener's psyche into an artificial dream state. Whether light or moody, their effects are universally calming.

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BRUNO SANFILIPPO: Urbs (CD on Hypnos Recordings)

This CD from 2012 features 67 minutes of urban ambient music.

Sanfilippo plays: Korg radias synthesizer, samplers, and field recordings. While most ambient synthesists utilize environmental recordings in their music, the general milieu for these samples are appropriated in the countryside. Here, though, Sanfilippo has confined his sampling to urban locales: inside churches. train stations, subway platforms, and on the streets and in the bars of cities. This lends this music a completely different temperament.

While the tonalities tend to be harsher than normal, they are softened by gentle electronics that serve to unify these sounds into a flowing vista of vaporized concrete and windblown steel.

Despite the grittiness of the samples, though, these tunes possess a certain tranquility, a comfortable familiarity for city dwellers. Not that the sounds are readily recognizable, for they've been treated and mutated to belong to an eerie palette.

Electronic chords lurk within the mix, embellishing the flowing soundscape with noble influences.

With only one exception, these tracks are excessively long, affording the soundscapes ample time to establish their ethereal stance and indulge in various variations as they progressed.

The compositions seethe with a gentle puissance despite their minimal definition. Regardless of whether you closely study the music or enjoy it as a background soundtrack, the tuneage seeps into the soul and instills a peaceful impression.

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