Reviews 07-15-2001

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Cosmogenesis John Rose ambient album cover


by John Rose

John Rose is a founding member of Spacecraft and an e-music veteran with over 25 years in the genre.  "Cosmogenesis," his solo debut, is packed with atmospheres, sequences, bravado and triumph.  John's goal has long been to create music to get inside.  The double meaning is clear.  As listeners get deeper into the music, it gets deeper into the listeners.  John compliments his signature electronics with an acoustic piano and dulcimers.  Those acoustics take the music over the edge of the lightness of being.  John, as Spacecraft fans know, is not about to explore the dark side of the psyche.  He is more interested in celebrating the gentler and softer aspects of the being.  His pastoral textures create the perfect vehicle for such celebration.

This CD is great for lazy afternoons and for relaxing rest stops on the highway of life.  It allows deep listeners to create their own respites.

John dedicated this CD to the "loving memory of Josephine Moberly Rose," his mother.  She passed away in 2000.  She and all your family will be remembered in thought and prayer, John.  Thank you for sharing.

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


River of Stars 2002 album cover

River of Stars

by "2002" (Pamela and Randy Copus)

Visit the Real Music website

I must admit that this album is one of my "guilty pleasures." It is unabashedly sentimental "New Age" music, as sweet as cotton candy and as soft as a down pillow, and this "dark techno/ambient" fan loves it. River of Stars is like all the good moments of Enya, the "celestial choruses" and the synthesized orchestral and string playing, without Enya's bleating little voice and Celtic/religious pretensions. It is slickly and professionally produced, with occasional hints of Latin or Indian rhythms and harmonies. The liner notes give a mythical background for each track, but as far as I'm concerned, they could all come from the same myth or culture, since the style of the different pieces is so similar. Just imagine attenuated "world music" sung by pretty star-bedecked angels in long floating dresses, accompanied by silver flutes and golden harps, and you've got the image for this album. There's a hint of old Vangelis' "Cosmos" in places, such as on track 5, "Starwalkers." Track 3, "Stella Maris," and track 6, "Heaven and Earth," use delicately syncopated rhythms and celestial chants in a bright musical mist, while Track 9, "Tanabata Moon," defines the meaning of "ethereal."

Yes, I admit it. I don't always listen to Serious Classical Music and Somber Ambient. The sun is shining and the wind is rustling in the trees, and I can't stop listening to this balmy summer breeze of an album. My only question is: after next year, will this album's producers become out of date?

Reviewed by Hannah M.G. Shapero 7/15/200 


Journey Through Oz Radiowave album cover

Journey Thru Oz

by Radiowave

Greg Paugh, performing as Radiowave, created "Journey Thru Oz" on a guitar and a guitar synth.  His goal is "To expand the palette of textures and sonic colors now available to guitarists."  Working from the bases established and explored by his predecessors, Greg has combined the possibilities into one massive ambient adventure. 

Taking his cue from the great ambient guitarists, Greg used no sequencers to build his soundscapes.  The gentle textures contrast the dark drones and expansive atmospheres quite effectively, taking listeners on a journey through the sci-fi realms of Oz.  This is not the same land to which Dorothy and Toto ventured years ago.  The story line is similar but the adventure is in outer space, in the nether regions of reality - or non-reality, as it were.  Greg uses an acoustic guitar to set up the mystery and to deepen the curiosity.  The sci-fi overtones dominate as listeners set off and become enveloped by the soundscape.  A smoking rock and roll guitar, complete with feedback, forebodes the conclusion.  It is "The Other Side of Reality" and the travelers are lost.  The somber drone sets the tone and the adventure is over.

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


The Space Between Beginnings

by Jason Sloan

Visit Jason Sloan's Bandcamp website

Jason Sloan is one esoteric individual.  His forthcoming CD, "The Space Between Beginnings," features his soft - at times almost inaudible - minimalism.  The characteristic that makes this set unique is its ambiguity.  Jason does not choose the path for his listeners.  He merely provides a vehicle for their travels.  The gentle minimalism borders on the pastoral.  Indeed, with a nature sample or two it would go there.  It also threatens to go sci-fi mystery.  A dense sequencer riff would take listeners to outer space.

But this is not a judgmental CD!  It is a mental CD.  Jason appeals to the intellectual side of humanity.  His music, while certainly expansive, has the feel of mathematical progression and symmetry.  The gentle drone uses that quality to stimulate brainwave activity.  Thus stimulated, listeners are motivated to find more.  It is available in the heart and the soul.  This CD approaches the emotional and spiritual through the intellectual.  It is an enjoyable and relaxing journey.

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


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