Reviews 11-06-2005 


Music Reviews 



One Soul's Journey

by Chris Natoli

Visit Chris Natoli's  website

CD Baby website

At times it is easy to forget that ambient music can consist of more than droning, ambling, drifting electronic textures; that conventional instruments and musical concepts can be used to an effective degree to create ambient atmospheres. Such is the case with the very highly personal offering by guitarist Chris Natoli from down under.

One Soul's Journey is a collection of mostly acoustic guitar pieces. Some of the tunes on this CD are Natoli playing unaccompanied guitar, others feature a small backup band consisting of bass, piano, strings and percussion. When I put this CD on the player, the impression that comes to me is that of a small, dark coffee house, where people cluster around small tables and converse in hushed murmurs while the band, on a stage just barely lighted, cranks out tune after tune to mold the atmosphere. One can mentally move the music into the background, but if one chooses to listen closely, will find well-crafted and articulate tunes, played with feeling and grace.

Take, for example, the song Lenny. Written by the late guitar legend, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Natoli and his bandmates transform this piece into a sublime mixture of oozing jazz and melancholy. While sitting at the table, hunched over one's thick expresso, this song might be enough to make one raise one's head as if questioning one's own ears.

Other titles endow this album with its personal character: Song For Arvi, When Darkness Falls, with its plaintive refrain, "Can you feel the pain," and my favorite, Jaron's Lullaby. My wife's son--and thus my stepson--is named Jaron, so this piece resonates with me especially.

I confess, my first listen to the CD left me less than impressed. But subsequent playings have allowed the music to grow on me. I don't habituate coffee houses, but if I did, I would feel right at home if the music of Chris Natoli was being played.

Reviewed by Fred Puhan for Ambient Visions





by Arc

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Arc are a duo made up of British synth music veterans Ian Boddy and Mark Shreeve.  They both have had great success during their respective careers, both achieving an almost almost iconic following in the UK and Europe.  The years passed and fans were always hoping for a collaboration which seemed always destined but for whatever reason, it never took place.  

That was until the late ninteies when the duo released their first collaboration, Octane, which vividly recalled the heyday of the classic "Berlin School" sound of mid-seventies Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze; a sound which has proven to be popular amongst electronic music lovers, encompassing modular analogue sounds with huge sequence runs, and spatial effects.

To achieve these sounds, both Shreeve and Boddy have dusted off some old but powerful equipment; inlcuding Shreeve's use of the huge beast which is a Moog modular system and Boddy's use of a Roland 100 M system amongst other equipment.  The results as expected, sound very raw and powerful.  

They easily recall the glory days of Rubycon and Ricochet but with this duo's own personality stamped all over the music.

Arctutus is a live album which was recorded at an all day festial in Liphook, Hampshire in the UK.  The music on this album is in three parts and there is much for listeners to get their imaginations flowing. The strange mellow effects at the beginning of the compostions heighten the awareness of the expected sequencer runs that mutate and gain more power as they progress to astonishing heights of sequencer heaven, that judging by the audiences response is warmly received.

If you have a penchant for the electronic music of the mid-seventies this is one GREAT album that will demand to be played often. Highly recommended.

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Reviewed by Gary Andrews for Ambient Visions.


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