by Doug Hammer & Amethyste
This album presents listeners with an appealing contrast of
sounds on this collaborative effort between Doug Hammer and Amethyste.
Doug’s piano and Amethyste’s theremin create a sound palette quite unlike
anything that I have heard recently. Amethyste’s playing fashions a poignant
atmosphere to each of the compositions while Doug’s keyboard work is very light
and delicate never seeking to be anything but a balance and a counterpoint to
Amethyste’s playing of the theremin.
Overall the album is a serene collection of songs that
beckons listeners to surrender to the waves of tranquility that their music
seems to exude from the first song to the last. The idea of pairing Doug Hammer
and Amethyste might not be your first thought of what would constitute a great
instrumental duet but in this case it was an excellent idea that yielded some
wonderful compositions. The name of the album is Secret World which might mean
something different to just about everyone who listens to the 12 songs that
comprise this release but to me the meaning of Secret World gravitates to the
idea that the compositions on this album are born from a place that lies deep
within all of us that oftentimes we do not share with anyone else which
sometimes even includes those closest to us in this life. It is a secret world
of joys that we have experienced, hurts that have never quite seemed to heal
and deep emotions that tend to make it difficult to share them with anyone
else. The songs on this collection speak to that place deep inside and they
offer us comfort, peace and understanding for those hidden things that are
rarely revealed to others.
One of my favorite songs on this album is entitled
Moonflower and I like it because it is a delicate song that connects so
completely with these secret worlds within that it could be set to play over
and over and each time through it would caress your spirit with healing waves
of sound that never seems to wear thin no matter how many times you hear it. Secret
World is a quality recording that really emphasizes the talent that these two
musicians bring to the project. As with any collaborative venture it is
essential that the two musicians approach the project with a unified view of
where the music will eventually end up and it is clearly evident that Doug Hammer
and Amethyste knew where Secret World was going from the first note to the very
It is apparent that they not only recorded the music
together but that the music became a unique reflection of the both of them
playing together which made the final product greater than the sum of both of
their contributions. Even though all the songs on this project were improvised
it is obvious that Doug and Amethyste “knew” in their hearts what they wanted
to communicate via the compositions that were born out of this moment of pure
creation and judging by what you will hear when you play these songs they have
surely succeeded in their goal.
It is this melding of talents that makes Secret World a
special album that is well worth owning and listening to again and again.
Secret World is an emotional journey that allows the listener to spend some
time being a little introspective while these soothing compositions speaks
serenity to the spirit. All the song were created, improvised, produced and
mixed by Doug Hammer and Amethyste.
Reviewed by Ambient Visions