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Forrest Fang — The Fata Morgana Dream
(Projekt 356, 2019, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-03-02
Appropriately titled, most of Forrest Fang’s catalog could seem like the soundtrack of dreams, and this latest release underscores that sense, from the sprawling eleven-minute opener “The Mouth of the Sea” to the closing moments of “To the End and Back,” Fang masterfully uses synthesizer textures and electronics blended with a variety of (often heavily processed) exotic acoustic instruments to achieve the widescreen panoramic vistas that a listener can immerse themselves in on any of the eight tracks herein. While the textural aspects are certainly in the floating ambient realm, with elements sometimes sounding akin to distant voices, the acoustic and micropercussive bits offer a very detailed beauty if one chooses to listen closely – and I do recommend that – headphones and low light are best for the experience. There are muted melodies spun throughout the fabric that coalesce and build a strong identity in each of the pieces, though what melodies are heard may at times seem somewhat random and happenstance, as on “Her Fading Image,” where the backdrop seems to be built of processed strings and the melodies emerge from it, seemingly from some sort of harp or zither, all immersed in deep echoey reverb. Drifting backward in time a bit is a piece titled “Matted Leaves” which follows the long opener, and builds off of some subtle bamboo percussive sound, growing deeper and stronger over time with the addition of synths and strings and other mysterious cavernous sounds. “Remembrance Point” builds with keyboards over a drifting and colorful melodic wash, vaguely reminiscent of something way back on his third album, Migration, but altered enough to give the result a whole new feel. “Dream of the Last Fisherman” evokes a sense of loneliness and mystery with wooden mallets and gongs and perhaps some subtle (synthesized?) wind instruments weaving their way through the everpresent synth backdrop, eventually joined by what sounds a bit like a Japanese harp; all of these elements at work together create dense layers of mystical imagery that follow the listener through the journey. Overall, The Fata Morgana Dream works on a number of different levels, creating a wondrous world that a listener can get lost within.
Related artist(s): Forrest Fang
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