Deborah Martin: Deep Roots, Hidden Water

mar-drhw.jpg (10k) Deborah Martin: Deep Roots, Hidden Water
(Spotted Peccary - 1999)

Stately, classical ambience is infused with a naturalistic sense of wonder, courtesy of Deborah Martin and friends. Martin searches for an ancestral source of self, plumbing Deep Roots, Hidden Water in this musical quest.

More insight can be gleaned when you read Martin's exclusive AmbiEntrance Interview, of course.

Flute sounds and a rolling bassline add an almost-medieval lilt to the symphonic aura of haunted by water, which is not as spooky as the title may imply. Though it may be a dark and silent place (2:47), lush and layered, swelling strings fill this area with comfy warmth. The string and brass flow of deep roots, hidden water recieves additional bottom line empowerment from King Crimson bassist, Tony Levin. Light tribal rhythms plod beneath one sun, which rises from a hazy synthcloud, becoming stronger and glistening with distant bells and rays of brass.

A slow, cyclic shimmer is accented by bass, bells and the "garden weasel" in crossing plateau, which makes a slow-motion trek through a wonderously ephemeral atmosphere. Spotted Peccary's Howard Givens and Jon Jenkins toss their effects and loops into the aqueous depths of Martin's blue lake which ripples with electronic waves and Mark Hunton's and Greg Klamt's flutey breezes. I think this might be a first... Seven (!) bass parts (including Levin's electric upright bass) provide the heaviness necessary for the strength of stones. Deep and surging with resonant feedback, the piece is surprisingly light given its elemental weight.

Airy synth passages lead toward voices on the rim (9:31), which are the ethnic flutes, whistles and pipes of Michael Graham Allen and Barry Stramp (who are perhaps better known as Coyote Oldman). The majestically moody piece evokes an ancient natural wisdom through its electro/tribal radiance. Spacious and drifty synths reflect the brilliance of stars, magically expanding across the listening space with twinkles, sweeps and ambient guitar waves. Like a particularly lovely sunset to close a tranquil day, across sky rides upon stratospheric synthesizer streams, skywardly pouring in a symphonic wash.

Jaded or impatient listeners may feel Deep Roots, Hidden Water is too new-agey, but Deborah Martin's lovely arrangements transcend any narrow classification, and will especially appeal to those wanting a breath of sweet serenity. An 8.3 for consumate artistry. 8-3.gif
This review posted June 25, 1999

AmbiEntrance © 1999-97 by David J Opdyke (except CD cover art, rights retained by original owners).