Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Forrest Fang — The Lost Seasons of Amorphia
(Projekt 402, 2022, CD / DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-11-28
Amorphia is a state of having no defined shape or structure, which may be referring to what we’ve all been going through for the last few years. Forrest Fang seems to have his finger on whatever it is in a musical sense, as the seven tracks at hand float into the consciousness and exist there with no defined structural reality; yet they are warm and beautiful edifices that a listener can find themselves within, a shimmering dreamworld of sounds if you will, where ideas stretch out and blossom freely. With the exception of some massed flutes on “From Post to Palm” played by Dave Newhouse, all off the sounds herein were created by Fang on his veritable arsenal of instruments, not the least of which are synthesizers, violins, and various Asian string and percussion instruments (gamelan, gongs, zither, hand drums, bamboo bells), those possibly being of software origin, but no less wonderful than the real thing. Worth noting is that these instruments don’t appear in their traditional setting, but as members of a dreamy orchestra in a completely new world of Fang’s creation — even the synths and electronics bear little resemblance to the standards that one might expect, save for the closing track “Urchins,” which is the only sequenced piece in the batch. “The Isle of Welcome,” a sprawling twenty-two minute multi-part epic, opens the set, wandering through different portals that nearly blend together seamlessly into a large forest of ambient sound, pierced by melodic beauty and scintillations, occasionally interrupted with more robust defined elements to carry the listener forward to the next section. At times the sonic density is almost overwhelming — one could listen to a segment of this piece over and over and continually discover previously hidden details. With “A Shadow on the Shore” the tone is more elastic and introspective, but no less beautiful, borne of muted patterns and multiple layers of gongs as the piece proceeds. Bells, deep hand drums, gamelan, and mystical reverberations all combine to entice the listener into unfamiliar worlds on “Throwing Salt.” Bamboo bells create cloudy atmospheric shimmer at the opening of “Distant Figure,” an opening to a mysterious ambient world. Without getting caught up in comparisons to previous works, Fang seems to outdo himself with every new release, and The Lost Seasons of Amorphia is definitely an immersive adventure that a listener can easily get lost within.
Related artist(s): Forrest Fang
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