Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Darshan Ambient — A Day Like Any Other
(Spotted Peccary SPM-2406, 2020, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-01-17
This is Darshan Ambient’s eleventh full length release on Spotted Peccary and sub-label Lotuspike, that’s in addition to a number of self-released and mp3.com releases that it I haven’t heard, and with each new album there is further development and refinement in his craft, which embraces an elegant and wonderful beauty that is at once colorful, gentle, accessible and energetic. Darshan Ambient is Michael Allison, a multi-instrumentalist and composer with a keen ability to create widescreen atmospherics that draw the listener into his soundworld, where pieces are built layer by layer from rhythms and forward moving patterns with spirited and effervescent melodies guiding each piece as it goes, though every piece has its own unique character that distinguishes it from all others. Allison creates his visionary pieces using synths, electric guitar, piano, bass, and percussion, all built with a particular concept in mind. A Day Like Any Other begins with “City of the Seven Hymns” with a powerful drum pattern leading the way as synth patterns slowly build the piece up, orchestrating it with gentle textural elements until the main melody hits about two minutes in, and a bit further in, elaborated with steel guitar. “The River Has Flown” takes a gentle repeating guitar pattern and sends it into a new world where textures build and again, and layers of steel guitar offer subtle melodic nuances while the piece continues to build with light and shadow. On these two cuts I am sometimes reminded of the more ambient work of guitarist Carl Weingarten. The title track builds a brilliant and colorful melody over percolating rhythms, while “Ah! Sunflower” is powered by a rhythm of synth strings, while additional synths and guitars build melodies over that base, changing and turning as they go forward. Another standout is “LightFighter,” where a backward guitar pattern creates a base for a powerful yet subtle melody on piano, until some powerful ambient guitar work and patterns of short voice samples along with strong bass percussion pull the listener pull the listener forward to the tracks conclusion. There are eleven cuts total in this set, and each one is a unique experience. The end is bittersweet, however; as masterful as the music here is, I learned the day after I received the disc that Allison lost his battle with cancer, so what we have here will be the last new music we hear from this gifted composer.
Related artist(s): Darshan Ambient (Michael Allison)
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