Various Artists: Convergent Evolution

va-ce.jpg (8k) Various Artists: Convergent Evolution
(GreenHouse Music - 1999)

When three ambient-minded musicians (Nathan Larson, Brooks Rongstad and James R. Coplin) got together to form their own label, GreenHouse Music was born with its vision already in focus. Convergent Evolution is living breathing proof. Various Artists, including the founders themselves as well as ambient masters Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana, make this initital release a strongly optimistic preview of very good things to come.

Tinkling like windchimes from heaven, Vidna Obmana's Euphoric Bliss stirs within a superdense cloudboil. Always shapeless, the textures melt between phases of churning tonality and ringing discord. Nathan Larson as Samsa contributes the dark and resounding soundtunnel of Long Since Gone, echoing with tiny electro-organic stirrings, sweeping radiance and brassy overtones. The naturalistic essences of water and animal lifeforms seem to imbue Vir Unis' excellent Beneath the Hive with a spacious, living identity. The gently percolating sonic prescences are backed by light rhythms. (Speaking of Vir Unis, do not miss The Drift Inside...)

Brooks Rongstad is Exuviae; if his Blankets of Quiet were tangible material, they'd be a dark gray blend of flannel and silk; warm, smooth drapes of sound swathe the airwaves with a mysterious comfort. A more aggressive darkness awaits in the Regions Behind the Eyes as rendered by Mono No Aware (a.k.a. James R. Coplin, producer); actively rippling with unknown energies and bubbling with electronic powers, this track genuinely takes a different route to those spacey ambient places. Steve Roach (12:12) heads toward the Resolution Point on spacious, shifting waves of sand. Lumbering beats plod amid quietly wailing synthlines and occasional windy gusts.

Becoming Light (5:35) signals time for sheer, unadulterated floatation; Jayme Washburn lays down softly intertwining sheets of sound which waft and wane in preternaturally serene cycles. Slightly grittier, though still strangely soothing, are the muffled hiss-and-drone pulsations of Me by Holus Bolus, capping off a great collection with a passage of vaporous noise.

Made possible by Various Artists, family and friends, these truly ambient sounds are previously unreleased and available only through this Convergent Evolution. A most impressive debut release from GreenHouse Music garners a seemingly effortless 9.1. With a new label so obviously attuned to well-crafted ambience, I look forward to future projects. 9-1.gif
This review posted February 23, 2000

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