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Craig Padilla & Marvin Allen — Weathering the Storm
(Spotted Peccary SPM-9104, 2023, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-03-25

Weathering the Storm Cover art

One might be forgiven for confusing Weathering the Storm for either of its two predecessors, Strange Gravity (2021) or Toward the Horizon (2019); all three feature similarly-styled cover art featuring a faceless woman with a black umbrella walking away from the perspective of the observer. It’s clear when looking at all three together that this latest one is the third in a series, a trilogy or perhaps even the third in a quadrilogy or more, of like-themed collaborations between Padilla (synths) and Allen (guitars), all produced in classic Spotted Peccary fashion: a complex hybrid of electronic and symphonic stylings that is at once contemporary and also clearly reminiscent of mid-70s Tangerine Dream and other Berlin school proponents, with all that may entail. The album opens with the widescreen panoramic epic “The Prodigal Sun,” nineteen minutes of an ever-evolving electronic fantasia with a dreamlike vaporous undercurrent cloaked in Phaedra-like mysticism that shakes the walls and floor to the core, Allen’s guitars bending and twisting over Padilla’s rich atmospherics and bubbling sequences, with pulsating rhythms eventually leading the way forward with masterful hypnotic intensity. “A Matter of Time” is a dreamy mood piece that is split into two parts, with a few more pieces between them, the first part is over almost as soon as it starts. With “Aquatic” the listener gets immersed in powerful gushing and bubbling water before being released into a gentle calm, while midway through the track’s eight minutes the guitar takes a lead role guiding the piece forward. Somewhere between gorgeous and catchy. “Sunflower in the Wind” has all the makings of greatness, balancing melody, warmth and fascination as we approach the visceral ten-minute title track, all on our way back to the brief reprise of “A Matter of Time.” With the appropriately titled “Onwards and Upwards” the listener is treated to nine minutes of alternating synth and guitar currents amid powerful pulses, all leading up to the closer “Liquid Heaven Part 2,” an extension of Part 1 that closed the Toward the Horizon album. All taken, Weathering the Storm is surely to move any listeners steeped in the rich electronic classics of the 70s.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Craig Padilla

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