| David Cortopassi:Pharoah of Mars|
Maybe I've been listening to too many really wacked-out, crazy sounding CDs, but to me, Pharoah of Mars just doesn't take me to outer space... some of these straightforward, though very nicely rendered, keyboard tracks could have been titled "Sleigh Ride in Nantucket" and seemed more at home.
The whole concept which blends Egypt and Mars is interesting enough; the packaging and artwork is very cool; the sonic embellishments are headed in the right direction, but to my ears, straightforward piano (no matter how well-performed) isn't the vehicle to drive the ambient/experimental listener to another planet. Indeed, someone who listens wholly to ordinary, earthbound sounds may very well be transported.
At any rate, the pieces are truly lovely, very nice work indeed. So, I'm not knocking the music itself (though it doesn't actually venture into "ambient" territory; file it under electronic/new age). I'm just saying the sounds and the scope don't mesh, IMO.
Things open on a spacey enough note... shifting reverberations, a bit of wind, water and angel chorus begin Ice Clouds... then the piano notes begin to roll in. A pretty, meandering little melody that (maybe its the weather) makes me think of falling leaves and frost on the windows, sipping cocoa by the fire. The warbles that prelude Phobos and Deimos could evoke something extraterrestrial, but the following piano piece just cries "I'm from Earth!". It really sticks in my head, though...
Mariner 9 intertwines electric keyboards and and chorus. Delicate phrases do carry me, but I'm floating over flowery fields, not a red Martian desertscape. The main theme is re-organ-ized at its end. With low string sounds backing it up, a deeper mood is found in Earthrise, again a beautiful track. A nicely spooky intro and e-percussion steer closer toward my usual listening fare in Pharoah of Mars (4:25); its flute flavorings point toward Egypt.
More pensive, Elysium (Heaven on Mars) seems to be seeking for something. The piece relies more on synthsounds than piano notes. As is also the case in Sojourner, where xylo-like tones and synth lead on another musical quest. The intro to Lifeform (2:17) features some of those spacey accents, which are overridden by a flow of piano notes and bell tones.
|If you're looking for independently released, thoughtfully produced and expertly executed electronic piano music with some spacey touches, then I can say this disc is that. Despite my refusal to be shuttled to Mars, David Cortopassi gets my Thumb Up for his fine efforts. The Pharoah of Mars website includes more info about the artist and release as well as how to order, and if you're feeling exploratory, links to sites both Martian and Egyptian.|