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Reviews

Forrest Fang — Following the Ether Sun
(Projekt 337, 2017, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-03-15

Following the Ether Sun Cover art

The thing that differentiates Forrest Fang’s music from all the other ambient guys is his extensive use of acoustic instruments. This has always been the case, at least going all the way back to the early 80s, and his list of instruments – mostly unusual stuff from around the world – seems to grow with each new release. Assuming that CD labeling is a little like food labeling, the synthesizer is always at or near the top of the list, keyboards, violin, and mandolin are always there too, but then a easily dozen or more ethnic instruments from Africa, Asia, and South America make up the balance, all added to the magic stew as needed and heavily processed to give the desired, and unique results, that are his recognizable his own. The eight pieces presented here range from around five minutes to album side length, and give a litener a whole new world to get lost within. The shimmering textures that the listener is thoroughly immersed in seem to be created via walls of processed acoustic sounds with synthesizers supporting, with or without percussion, and then the melody instruments will emerge out of this fog, first subtly and then boldly, and carry each piece forward. At certain points the textures may subside and expose the melodic content to a greater degree, as a way of achieving a more powerful dynamic. Melodies within the mist tend to be repetitive, minimalist, and somewhat cyclical in nature, as each of the pieces proceed, garnering a strong and evident emotional content that is at once fresh, pervasive and dreamlike, much like a weightless walk through an limitless garden. All of these elements coalesce and commingle on all the pieces herein, but probably none more powerfully than “The Last Technicolor Dream,” where pristine and colorful melodies, almost sounding like the voices of angels, emerge out of a dark sonic miasma, with percussion soon to follow. Special note must be made of the adorning cover image by artist Kinga Britschgi, which fits the music perfectly, and packages this collection that was well over a year in the making.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Forrest Fang

 

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