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Ambient: Acheloo, Apollonius & 33 Tetragammon, Loren Nerell & Mark Seelig

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ACHELOO Dream (CD on AD Music)

This CD from 2013 features 57 minutes of tender ambience.

Acheloo is Italian synthesist Carlo Luzi.

Ethereal tonalities and gentle guitar sustains achieve an infectious dreamstate.

The electronics are placid, pleasant, persistent in their tranquility. Vaporous clouds are generated and induced to establish a foggy backdrop for everything else. Tenuous guitar sustains and chorales augment this ambience, fleshing things out while retaining a remote quality.

While the majority of guitarwork is restricted to lavishly tender sustains that tremble at the edge of conscious perception, there are instances when strummed chords emerge to flavor the flow with a subtle touch of organics.

The result of all these attenuated elements is more than a harmonic experience. A melodic definition exists that caresses the listener with soothing enticement.

This music is mostly percussionless, but a few tracks do feature gentle rhythms which remain relegated to the background, providing subliminal locomotion.

One piece features a trumpet whose notes provide a winsome longing to the delicate flow.

These compositions are designed to induce the listener to recede into an internal realm of contemplation, and in that they superbly succeed...but the music also possesses the quality of drawing the audience forth into a region of cognitive awareness, one in which the mind can review reality without the necessity of being part of it. The interplay of textural auralscapes and tender guitar achieves a wondrous mood of amiable satisfaction.

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APOLLONIUS & 33 TETRAGAMMON Compassionate Being (DDL on Resonating Earth)

This release from 2014 features 74 minutes of extremely minimal ambience.

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

Languid tones are punctuated by sweeping electronic swooshes and periodic chimes, building an enduring soundscape of gentle tranquility that stretches on forever (at least seemingly so). But eventually, the flow changes: the tones deepen, the auxiliary electronics change timbre and character, appearing at different times and leaving in diverse directions. Isolated percussive impacts of a metallic nature occur, buried within the sparse mix so as to sound far away. As these beats increase in frequency, the electronic bath deepens, lending a spectral echo to the sedate tempo.

This continues, on and on, with variations too subtle to consciously notice. The textural backdrop sighs with elongated breaths, gradually thickening in resonance. The impacts adopt a crisper manner with more defined reverberations, but they never coalesce into a discernable rhythm.

Erratic rattlings appear, lending an eerie presence to the ambient flow. The eventually introduction of plucked strings banishes this haunting effect, grounding the auralscape with a more conventional temperament. These strings introduce a mellow melodic quality to the ongoing harmonic stability.

Ghostly sounds and sporadic scrapings return the soundscape to a milieu of uncertainty, enhancing the music's otherness. A whisper of soft horns enters the mix, accompanied by chittery beats, lending an organic quality to the tuneage for its final stage, which becomes seasoned with celestial chorales.

These compositions (which are strung together in a seamless fashion) generate a harmonic presence that approximates a sense of unity with one's environment. They are designed to create extreme sedation, lulling the listener with their crafted minimalism.

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LOREN NERELL & MARK SEELIG Tree of Life (CD on Projekt)

This release from 2013 features 74 minutes of ethnic ambience.

Nerell plays sounds, samples, synths, and gamelan instruments. Seelig plays chants, flutes, and demung. Joining them on several tracks are: Max Link (on claypot and demung), Gabl Link (on saron), Pankaj Mishra (on sarangi), Steve Roach (on ocarina) and Kathrine Wright (on voice).

Ambient music with musical roots in Southeast Asia and North and South America, and spiritual roots in Bali and India.

Atmospheric texturals establish luscious foundations for the rest of the instruments. Additional electronics contribute more ambient tonalities. Generally, all of the electronics are restricted to mild wisps of ethereal definition.

The flute generates an equally translucent fog, winsome and often mournful in its resonance. These strains coexist with the background textures, creating a lushly tenuous auralscape.

Vocal stylings are of the non-lyrical variety. Deep and tonal, the voices evoke a severe reverence with their elongated drones.

Minimal percussives lend languid beats that generally cannot really be considered as rhythms, the tempos are so relaxed with the beats so widely spaced. There are occasions, however, when the percussives muster a rhythmic presence, albeit still a relaxed one.

Other ethnic instruments further enhance the music's eeriness.

These compositions unfurl into a long piece of dreamy harmonic tuneage with bare hints of melodic definition. The result is the instigation of a passive soundscape designed to sedate the listener, coaxing them into relaxed introspection. The mood of the music is extremely exotic (in an ethnic way), fostering a somnambulant milieu.

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