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Ambient Music: Apollonius, Eyes Cast Down, James Johnson/Aperus

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APOLLONIUS Birth of the Real Self (CD on Resonating Earth)

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

Apollonius (aka Human Metronome) is Eelke van Hoof.

Delicate electronics and environmental recordings conspire to produce a languid dose of ambience.

Ethereal textures establish a milieu of soothing resonance, while additional drones of an oscillating nature temper the flow with their fragile influence. The atmospherics are generally pacific and faint, creating a tapestry of tender sonics that gently churn at the periphery of the listenerÕs consciousness.

Flutes of a rarified quality slither through the mix. Their haunting whispers generate a grounding basis, injecting an organic disposition to the otherwise astral ambience.

Further definition is achieved by the sparse percussives whose tempos ring out from a great distance. This illusion of vast space helps to lend an expansive feeling to the music.

These compositions exemplify a tenuous sonic presence, tuneage possessed of a relaxing definition. The sounds manifest on the verge of minimalism, tickling the audienceÕs deep psyche with their ethereal susurration. The combination of soft drones and feathery flutes evokes a juncture between reality and a dream state, linking both realms and offering a fusion of inner self and the outer world.

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EYES CAST DOWN The Separate Ones (CD on Moorcroft Music)

This CD from 2013 offers 73 minutes of gentle ambient music.

Eyes Cast Down is Greg Moorcroft, who plays electric and fretless electric guitars, Ebow, synths, samples and loops, singing bowls, shakers, Tibetan chimes and tiny bells. He is joined on certain pieces by: Alannah and Dasi on voice, and Ezra Azmon on violin.

Delicate ambience is achieved with vaporous electronics seasoned by other soft instruments.

Textural waves establish an atmospheric milieu, which is then tempered by additional electronics of a tender nature. These ringing tones remain remote and elegant, seasoning the music with an ephemeral quality that is cloudlike in its definition.

The guitars are generally processed so as to blend with the ethereal flow, flavoring that calm with their fragile vibrations. When they appear in more conventional roles, their sound is silky and alluring.

These compositions waft with pleasant definition, generating resonance of an ambient character that caresses the listenerÕs psyche with loving tenderness. The melodies are tenuous: slightly more than harmonic, but rarely overt enough to stray beyond minimal determination. The result is a dosage of tunes of pacific disposition, gentle flows of delicate beauty that reside at the edge of consciousness. Deep contemplation is easily promoted by this music.

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JAMES JOHNSON & APERUS Ecotone (CD on Geophonic Records)

This CD from 2013 features 54 minutes of holistic ambience.

Johnson plays: keyboards, piano, percussion, drum loops, guitar, samples, and field recordings. Aperus (aka Brian McWilliams) plays keyboards, percussion, Ebow guitar, ocarina, samples, and field recordings.

Melodic ambience generated by a bevy of gentle electronics and temperate rhythms.

Textures abound here, each tonal backdrop augmented by additional electronics crafted to enhance the soft milieu with their dreamy resonance. Keyboards (especially piano) provide pensive passages of endearing splendor, the notes twinkling like gems afloat on crystalline water.

The guitars mirror this peaceful disposition with their fragile expressions, whether strummed, plucked or processed into textural flows.

While percussion plays a minor role in this tuneage, some rhythms are present, smoothly pittering away with laid-back tempos, many of which are expertly immersed in the mix so as to be almost subliminal in their contributions.

These compositions exhibit uncharacteristic melodic tendencies, flavoring the harmonic flow with enticingly vivid tuneage. Pursuing the albumÕs title, this music flourishes at the edge of nature, spilling its beatific influence over into the civilized world and flavoring reality with a touch of fantasy. Far from escapist, these songs capture the whimsy of natureÕs effects on mankind, peppering harsh existence with a softer side that seethes with holistic life.

Included in the packaging is a set of photographs that capture the ecotone of nature.

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