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Collaborative Ambience: Apollonius/33 Tetragammon, Seren Ffordd/Oophoi, Shane Morris/Mystified

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APOLLONIUS & 33 TETRAGAMMON: Ascension (CD on Resonating Earth)

This CD from 2012 features 74 minutes of moody ambient music.

Apollonius (aka Human Metronome) is Eelke van Hoof; 33 Tetragammon is Wasili Papadopoulos.

Airy electronics intermingle with environmental source recordings to achieve suitably ethereal tuneage.

The electronics are mostly textural, crafted to establish atmospheric moods rich with a sense of drifting free. These tones waft and flow, creating a vaporous realm of tenuous sound, minimal but vibrant with evocative potential. The textures overlap and merge into more luscious drones, constantly evolving as the music progresses.

A host of environmental recordings are utilized in this music--dripping water, rustling leaves, wildlife going about their pastoral business--but a lot of the source sounds are also processed to become ephemeral noises one might initially attribute to electronic synthesis.

Bamboo flutes contribute to the music's otherworldliness with their breathy sighs. Singing bowls also enhance this spectral milieu with their eerie ringing tones.

These compositions are designed to separate the listener from the real world, isolating a person inside their own consciousness. Through this isolation the potential for liberation from the mortal realm is fostered. Should you not be considering transcendence at this time, you could simply enjoy the tuneage as a pleasant (albeit often haunting) background soundtrack for your daily endeavors.

Since this album is about ascension, during the recording process the musicians regularly visited sacred sites and ancient burial mounds to achieve a connection between their creativity and those who have already made the transition to the beyond.

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SEREN FFORDD & OOPHOI: The Martian Chronicles (CD on Hypnos Recordings)

This CD from 2011 features 74 minutes of ethereal ambient music.

Seren Ffordd plays synth, field recordings, and treated acoustic sources. Oophoi plays synths, sampling machines, and percussion.

Ethereal atmospherics dominate this music.

Fragile tones comprise the majority of the tuneage, harmonic texturals that shimmer and establish infinite passages of dreamy substance. The textures consist of elongated tones that pulse with indiscernible oscillations.

From song to song, the defining factors of these drones change, from airy to gritty to sparkling to astral.

In one piece, environmental sounds are processed to a point that renders their terrestrial origins unrecognizable, thus enhancing the otherworldly nature of the song.

Another track pursues a darker milieu in which the tonalities achieve a haunting presence.

These compositions strive to evoke an environment inspired by Ray Bradbury’s science fiction classic; and they succeed in this ambition with auralscapes that are rich with alien dust and foreign vistas drenched in inspired desolation. Melodic structures play no role here; the music is confined entirely to harmonic flows.

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SHANE MORRIS & MYSTIFIED: Epoch (CD on Lotuspike)

This release from 2012 features 56 minutes of moody ambience.

Morris plays bass drum, bowed gong, didjeridoo and vibraphone). Mystified (aka Thomas Park) plays trombone drones.

This concept album seeks to approximate a soundtrack for the Mesozoic era of Earth's past, when dinosaurs walked the landscape. In keeping with this two-hundred-million year old period, the musicians employed primarily acoustic instruments to create the music. Granted, a certain amount of electronic processing was necessary to transform these acoustic sounds into auralscapes that suitable captured that far-flung epoch.

Trombone drones generate lavish and expanse textures that hang like sooty clouds overhead. This darkness manifests as moodiness more so than any threatening inclination. One definitely gets the impression of standing amid ancient forests of impossibly tall trees whose arcane foliage masks any daylight from reaching the rich loam of the ground.

Didjeridoo and vibraphone augment this antediluvian murkiness with their bass tonalities.

Do not expect literal rhythms from the percussion. Instead the beats are solitary or mutated into near-infinite sounds of haunting definition. In some instances the beats are gathered into jumbled rattlings to mimic creatures lurking in the gloom.

These compositions do an excellent job of capturing the mood of prehistoric times. Their harmonic structure is rife with grinding grittiness and eerie chitterings. The music focuses on the environment, so do not expect to hear the monstrous stompings of thunder lizards (although there is one passage in the last track which can be compared to the buzzing of insects the size of dogs). The musicians' expertise in interpreting a primordial environs is impressive. These tunes superbly evoke a primeval realm wherein evolution is in its infancy and churns as an ongoing process.

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