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Firehand — The Three Worlds
(Bandcamp no#, 2021, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-06-22

The Three Worlds Cover art

Some may know British composer and synthesist Robert Logan for his two excellent collaborations with Steve Roach in 2016, Second Nature and Biosonic, or from his more recent 2017 release Sculptor Galaxy, but what some may not know is he also releases music as Firehand. Described in his own words, it’s a different kind of ambient music, and The Three Worlds represents the third Firehand release in the past five years. While Logan composed all of the album's ten discrete tracks, he also plays digital and analog synthesizers, sequencers, flutes, bells and other percussives, some of the stringed instruments, environmental recordings, programming, and sound design. In addition, guest players contribute cello (Joanne Clara), violins (Griga Cuciuc and Francis Logan), and mostly wordless vocals (Jennifer Sturrock and Lee Ch, track depending), though the driving force here is primarily electronics. As stated previously, the ten tracks included here are discrete vignettes, and although the sounds tend to draw from the same soundwell, there is little or no crossfading from one track to the next as the program unfolds. The cover artwork pretty much describes the music to a precise concept, the sound is soft, flowing and overtly gentle, the aforementioned percussives move softly without any stiff cadences, and the sequences here move forward often like subtle sheets of floating textures, it’s not your hard edged Berlin school style, but something far more nuanced. The nine-minute opener, “Sculptor Universe,” seems to pick up where Sculptor Galaxy left off, and throughout, on tracks like “The Eyes,” “Sacred Name,” and “Ravish,” the vocals add just enough to enhance the electronics, enriching the dreamlike textures, but not so much as to overwhelm. Only on the final track, “Seed,” do the sequences crystallize, though even there they appear with a diffused and gentle touch, flooded by ambient washes of color. In every sense, The Three Worlds delivers a bounty of beautiful sounds that will beg for repeat listens.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Logan / Firehand

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