Various Artists: Ambient Landscapes 2

va-al2.jpg (21k) Various Artists: Ambient Landscapes 2
(Dark Duck - 2000)

If we consider beatless freeform explorations to be a sonic language, then we may hear Ambient Landscapes 2 as the sound of Various Artists communicating in their own musical dialects. Nine (well, eight since Dark Duck flock leader Stephen Philips puts in double duty...) contributors of varying renown speak in abstract musical tongues for more than 72 minutes... Listen up!

Two pieces have been previously heard on the artists' own releases (namely, Twine's whispery, echoey, beatless slur of "Illumination", and Subspace's hushed drift-and-guitar journey of "Nebulunar") but the rest are previously unreleased recordings.

Excelsior (an alias of Stephen Philips) emits the brief dark electric pulsations and waves of "Concious Freq" (3:39), which effectively introduce this amorphous collection. An appreciated newcomer (AFAIK), e. voice p.'s moodily medieval "Entered Apprentice" takes an oblique turn on a drone-and-(modified) chant theme with assorted interjections of archaic industry. Nice!

In a series of transportive electronic washes, dreamSTATE describes ethereal serenity with "Alpha Waves". Alan Imberg presents his "Overview of Water" as hypnotically rippling tones tied together with echoey strands.

Beginning on flatly churning electron rays, Deep Chill Network's "Explorations" (14:20) ventures slowly into zones of glassy shimmers and radiant sheens. "On the Edge", the next Stephen Philips contribution, steadily hovers in a suspenseful mood, concluding on spooky e-piano notes. I can't imagine a more appropriate title for "Drift"; whereas some of these tracks probe the darker regions, James Johnson's gorgeous 12.5 minute finale simply wafts on heavenly currents of starshine and light.

The communications from Ambient Landscapes 2 are not only to be listened to, but to be immersed in. If these are ambient conversations, then let these speakers "talk" for hours. An entranced 9.0...

Of course, the Dark Duck website has more info and sounds.

This review posted May 29, 2000

AmbiEntrance © 2000-1997 by David J Opdyke (except CD cover art, rights retained by original owners).