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Forrest Fang — The Oort Cloud Meditations
(Projekt 410, 2023, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-09-22

The Oort Cloud Meditations Cover art

Dutch astronomer Jan Oort proposed that at the outer edges of the solar system, beyond Neptune and the Transneptunian planets, well beyond the Kuiper Belt, that there existed two regions of frozen celestial objects, the nearer disc shaped region almost aligned with the solar ecliptic plane, and an outer spherical region that defines the cosmographic boundary of the solar system. Although neither of these have ever been seen or proven to exist, it is believed to be the source of comets — short-period comets from the nearer Oort disc, and long period comets falling in from the outer spherical Oort Cloud. This provided the inspiration for Forrest Fang’s latest release, The Oort Cloud Meditations; whether it exists as such or not is immaterial, the concept provides a strong basis for the music at hand. Most of Fang’s music to date has been a rich hybrid of electronic and acoustic instrumentation, synthesizers of all types mixing freely with exotic instruments from around the world in a heady stew of amazing sounds. The five tracks here stick mainly to an electronic recipe — synthesizers and samples feeding tone and textural changes at a glacial pace, much like the cold, dark worlds that are supposed to exist in the Oort Cloud, sometimes a mix of pure ambient free-floating sounds hovering at the edges of darkness, cycling across the rough fabric of space in its farthest reaches, along with shimmering harmonies that evolve as each piece unfolds. Titles like “Diaphenes,” “Planetary Hum,” and “Distant Signals” go far to convey the feeling of floating through cold empty space, like an ever-expanding dreamscape so far from the light of the sun that one might never find the way back. With each piece ranging from around ten to eighteen minutes, there is plenty of time for a listener to immerse themselves into the worlds of Fang’s meditations, perhaps falling even deeper into interstellar space. “The Lighthouse” is of particular interest as it seems to use some heavily processed (beyond recognition) overlapping violin sounds as its source, with some faint shadowy percussive elements out on its far fringes. And then again, it could just be my imagination playing tricks on me, like the faint voices I think I hear buried in the mysterious synth textures on the closing track “Solus.” The Oort Cloud Meditations is another masterful soundtrack from Forrest Fang.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Forrest Fang

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