| Anthony Wright:Ambient Ashera Selections|
(www.ashera.com - 1997)
Here's something good... a rich and diverse assemblage of sounds from Anthony Asher Wright of Sydney, Australia. The multi-faceted Ambient Ashera Selections was recorded from 1990-1997 at several locations in Australia and Venezuela...
This range of time and place has surely been key to the differences between the 22 individual tracks, spanning 2 CDs and many types of sound. To illustrate, I'm opting to very briefly touch upon each track. All are beatless, mostly minimal and quiet in nature, and overall, very nicely executed. Wright receives assistance in spots from Caroline Wilson and Adriana Korkosova (who also created the attractive sleeve design).
CD 1 (70:15) opens to the untuned clatter of windchimes over a distant electronic hum; it's Time Starts Again, an appropriate title, now that you've entered Wright's world... Lullaby for Mother Earth, the lengthiest cut at 10:41, features wordless female "lah"s and "dah"s over a somewhat darkly textured backdrop. See You Soon mixes echoing electric keyboard notes with distant bird cries to a pleasantly melancholy effect.
More floating, drawn-out synthesizer tones and ghostly vocals are found in the atmospheric History. Deliberate and slow, keyboard tones quietly resonate in the tranquil, yet somehow sad, Understanding. A similar style and mood also make up the next piece, To Luis Kahn, this one being even more minimal perhaps.
A gossamer film of guitar adorns Indigo Glide; Caroline Wilson's hesitant strumming hangs in the air like a mist with the help of Wright's processing. Opal Dream While in Cairns is a sleepily rolling blur, whereas The Hill is more resonant and features additional punctuations of sound, though still very hushed.
Beautiful in its subtlety, Midday in Tropical Shade rides on long, stretched tones, with barely audible embellishments woven into its fabric. Noosa Rain indeed incorporates some thunder and rain effects in a tasteful, low-key way. Mostly though, it consists of humming, shifting airborne waves. Unfortunately, its wonder is short-lived at 2:32. R-Ki differentiates itself by virtue of its more powerful core, it just seems stronger, though similarly shapeless, than its more fragile counterparts.
Flowers of Colours is another lightly billowing whorl of mild electronics, lovely and soft. The Gate is our exit from CD 1... distant, layered female vocals extend into inhumanly long wails, which merge with background vapours. About 2/3 way through, everything builds to a relatively frightening crescendo, then lulls off into a becalmed wash. If it weren't for that comparatively sharp peak so near the end, I'd recommend this disc as excellent, relaxing/sleep music... as it is, that blast (and R-Ki perhaps) could possibly jolt you out of bed.
CD 2 (54:13) begins with the slightly treated, a cappella layering of wordless vocals that is Contemplation. Slow, seemingly random piano notes and chords over a very quiet background haze make up Turner Mist.
The 5 subsequent tracks are even more abstract, classic spacey pieces... like the beautiful, delicate blur that is Violet Night Perfume or the swelling cloud of long sinuous tones that make up Cyclic Balance.
The short cut at 3:27, Dolphin's Past Life subtly mixes in some quiet dolpin sounds with a subdued background for an exceptionally whispy, ethereal track. Sotavento intially comes on a bit stronger, and spacier at that, but also fades to a very quiet level; another well-done exercise in hovering strata of sound.
The ultimate "space" cut though surely must be the amorphous journey that is Astral Travel... soft drones, deeper rumbles and faint tinkles send ripples through this shimmering sheet.
Disc two closes with the 10:30 long-runner Spinning Dance of Joy, a marked departure from the previous selections... constantly echoing keyboard tones whirl like a merry-go-round gone mad. Off-kilter enough to seem spooky, the tempo shifts up and down again; xylophone and flute sounds join the party. Definitely the most hyperactive track, it's lovely in its own frenetic way.
I'll throw in extra points for the gorgeous packaging which complement the sounds nicely. (I've never seen a "clip case" like this before; no plastic whatsoever, the discs are mounted to the decorative cardboard by little black nuggets of spongy rubber...)
|It took a few listenings to fully sink in, but once it did, the appreciation runs deep. One Enthusiastic Thumb up. |
You can hardly go wrong... Ambient Ashera Selections is 2 discs of nicely varied, beatless ambience. I certainly hope to hear more from Anthony Wright's world!
|You can go straight to the source at the Ashera website, and even hear some samples there.|