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Forrest Fang — Forever Cascades
(Projekt PRO391, 2021, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-12-30

Forever Cascades Cover art

Forest Fang has been developing his unique style of music since the early 80s, a refined blend of minimalism, ambient and world music of Asia, South America, and elsewhere. The textural qualities of his compositions and arrangements are something that are distinctly his own and instantly identifiable as such. His is not a formula, but an approach to sound creation, rooted in atmosprerics and imagery. It should be no surprise that he is also a photographer, taking daily walks on the shores of San Francisco Bay and recording whatever he sees as he goes, and often one can detect a complementary relationship between the two. For those familiar with Fang’s earlier work, many compositional similarities will be found, though this time out his arrangements are generally more dense and detailed, and taking a more mysterious path through the textural haze. As he builds his lush arrangements up one layer at a time, he makes full use of a number of different acoustic instruments — violin is his first instrument, but over the past four decades he has brought a large number of varied world instruments into his arsenal, including gamelan, bamboo, metal and stringed instruments of east Asia, as well as dulcimer, clavinet, prepared piano, and synthesizers. He used to list them all in the album notes, but of late the list has grown ridiculously long, and probably now includes a number of purely software instruments. The ten tracks herein are universally explorative, with few predictable moments. There are rhytmic elements, though not in any conventional (rock, folk, blues, or jazz) sense, this is of a purely textural impressionist feel, not bound by any cadence per se, it just floats along gently with any rhythmic elements being incidental. I would be remiss not mentioning some of the most impressive pieces among the ten, which would certainly include the set opener “Four Parts West” and the closer “Out of Frame,” along with two lengthy pieces that a listener can easily get lost within, “The Land of Nine Rivers” and “Murmurances.” Many of the shorter pieces like the title track, “Moire,” and “The Clockmaker” offer alternate visions, but in fact there are so many shimmering and powerful moments in the sonic tapestry that is Forever Cascades, that one will be inclined to just play it over and over. Listen at the link below.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Forrest Fang

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