Music Reviews 


Reviews 8-22-2004


by Remanence





The release "Lamkhyer" by Remanence is packaged with a set of quotations which, in my mind, serve as reference points for the material contained within.  

One defines the term Lamkhyer as a Tibetan train of thought which gives it's students "a sense of dignity and forbearance so you are not so easily disturbed by life's obstacles".

The second refers to K'an, defined by the I Ching as "a plunging in", explaining "it is a situation in which a man is in the same pass as the water in a ravine, and, like the water, he can escape if he behaves correctly."  The third and final quotation details the idea of The Leftward Path, the journey that is taken by the individual who is true to their own heart rather than to the needs of a community.

These three quotes provide the basis for the three songs contained on the disc, each piece reflecting the ideas and themes noted above.  Opening track "Lamkhyer"  features strong, confident tones washing over the listener offset by lush tidal pads overtop a growing percussive pattern.  "K'an (the abyss)" portrays a dark liquid flow underneath simple melodies made by minimal ringing tones that slowly create a sense of order within chaos.

The closing piece "The Leftward Path", builds from emptiness with a deep wash of pads, bright rhythms gaining strength throughout the track suggesting ritual and ceremony rather than the order of day to day life.

By including the aforementioned quotes, Remanence successfully guides the listener in terms of their understanding of the pieces, directing them towards a certain ideal and a particular train of thought associated with the music.  Truly enlightening work that appeals on both cerebral and appreciative levels, "Lamkhyer" by Remanence is a fascinating collection of music who's influence will long remain with it's listeners.

Reviewed by Rik Maclean of Ping Things reprinted here on Ambient Visions.

Visit Rik's Ping Things website by clicking here.


by Akumu



"Fluxes" by Akumu is a fascinating exercise in field recordings resulting in a series of very distinct environments.  The source material used to create this collection has been masterfully woven together to create pieces both rich in tone and deep in imagery.

Starting with "Quietly Disruptive" we find ourselves surrounded by an almost tidal drone that moves through a state of tranquility to a chaotic soundscape of shimmering metallic sounds and back again.  "Eyeless" features a slow build of serpentine tones that play around the soundfield.  A sense of tension develops as the piece grows, a feeling of unshakeable unease that continues into "Landscape VIII", a track evoking a scene of haunted wastelands populated only by the rusty shells of slowly dying machines.

"Tapeten" is filled with rising and falling tones, the ebb and flow of sound punctuated by clicks and whirring noises suggesting lost forms of binary language and mechanical communication.  "Mnmlsms" blends a series of more nuanced tones together, resulting in a track defined by it's subtle movements and gradual shift, deceivingly simple yet rich in complexity.

With the release of "Fluxes", Akumu has created a very engaging collection of tracks.

The manipulation of field recordings to make these pieces and the attention to spatial detail therein are the work of true talents who have tapped into a different state of environmental consciousness.  I strongly recommend "Fluxes" as an impressive work well worth investigating further.

Reviewed by Rik Maclean of Ping Things reprinted here on Ambient Visions.

Visit Rik's Ping Things website by clicking here.


Continental Divide
by Colin Rayment

Colin Rayment's release "Continental Divide" is a fantastic release exploring a wide selection of electronic environments. Lush pads sweep through the soundscape. Cold, dark drones pass by like tides. Delicate melodies sparkle like the twinkling of stars. Tones fade and blend, taking new shapes and forms with every passing moment.

Drawing on a classic Sunday morning chill sound, "Continental Divide" is an aural treasure, filled with wonders and delights well suited for both active and passive listening. Highly recommended for fans of melodic ambient.

Reviewed by Rik Maclean of Ping Things reprinted here on Ambient Visions.

Visit Rik's Ping Things website by clicking here.


Heavenly Whispers
by Janie Horton



"Heavenly Whispers" is a shimmeringly beautiful second release by pianist/composer Janie Horton (her first release was "A Gift From Janie" as Janie Campbell.). Some of the tracks are solo piano and others feature Daniel Kobialka on violin, Verlene Schermer on harp, and/or Valerie Hayes with wordless vocals. Janie also adds keyboard textures to some of the music, but this is minimal. The music is quiet and introspective but full of emotional power. Amazingly, Janie is willing to give her CD to anyone who would like a copy or who knows someone in need of the healing and soothing power of music. 

The CD opens and closes with two versions of "Lullaby for Daddy," which features harp and voice as well as piano. Gentle and soothing, the piece invites relaxation and surrender. As the title implies, "Mourning Light" carries a feeling of tragedy and loss, deepened by the soulful violin. As it evolves, the mood lightens to a more hopeful feeling and ends peacefully. "Para El Hotel Casa Real" is one of the solos, and is much more serene. I was lucky enough to see Janie play this live, and she described the place that inspired the music as a bit of heaven on earth. Warmth, peace, and tenderness run through the music, making this a favorite. "Ballerina Angel" is another favorite. A bit more upbeat and lively, it has the swirling movement and grace of a dancer with the sweetness of an angel - very lovely! "Where Did He Go" tugs at the heartstrings with piano and violin. Melancholy and questioning, this piece is so sad!

"The River Runs Deep" is again more optimistic and has a wonderful flowing quality. This is mostly a piano piece, but the violin parts add poignance and additional color. "Sweet Child of Mine" is a tender love song to a dear son. There are thirteen tracks on "Heavenly Whispers," and they are all gorgeous. Reflective and deeply felt, Janie Horton's music reaches out, offering comfort and peace. Sure to be one of my favorites of the year!

 To request a copy of "Heavenly Whispers," email Janie Horton at or write to her at PMB 142, 1325 Howard Avenue, Burlingame, CA  94010. Very highly recommended! 

This Kathy Parsons review originally reviewed for  Solo Piano Publications website. It is reprinted here on Ambient Visions with permission.

Visit Kathy Parsons' bio page for more information.


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