Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Frank Beissel & Steve Roach — Nautical Twilight
(Soundquest SQ5, 2022, CD / DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-06-08
Frank Beissel is a composer and synthesist from Ramah, a small town in the mountains of northwestern New Mexico with a population of less that 400 people, founded nearly 150 years ago by Mormon missionairies. A great place to be a synth composer, isolated with your music and beautiful natural surroundings. Probably not so great a place to be a teenager, but I digress. Beissel has been developing his musical mojo for about ten years now, and this collaboration with Steve Roach, Nautical Twilight, is only his second release (his first solo release, Random Abstractions, preceded it by only one week) and a powerful and majestic flowing ambient experience it is. Each of the five discrete pieces was initially created by Beissel at his own studio using analog and digital hardware synths and Eurorack modular systems during the early morning hours when the blackness of night slowly turns to the first light of day, or during the time immediately following sunset when daylight fades to night, hence the album title. The five pieces, dreamy extended ambient soundworlds, capture the mood perfectly. Final production, arrangements and additional ideas were added later by Roach at his Timehouse studio in Baja Arizona, with mastering done by Howard Givens of Spotted Peccary Music. The opening cut, “First Arrival,” shimmers in with floating atmosperics and textures; at six-and-a-half minutes it’s the shortest of the five pieces, setting the stage for the four that follow, each essentially an album side long. The perfectly titled “Drift Departure” follows, with cycles of drifting textures slowly building, evocative of a star-filled night sky gradually giving way to light. Three more sidelong pieces, “Arc of Descent,” ”Below the Twilight,” and “Mariana’s Reach” each introduce novel sounds and mysterious sonic artifacts to the already-established musical wellspring, providing a dark, serene and totally immersive listening experience.
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