Howard Givens & Craig Padilla — Being of Light
(Spotted Peccary SPM-9094, 2017, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-10-30
Craig Padilla has been composing long-form deep space epics for over twenty years, with over two dozen releases to his credit; his first release for the Spotted Peccary label was the ambient masterpiece Vostok way back in 2002, with at least six more releases for the label in the years since. Howard Givens has an even longer career going back thirty or more years, but without nearly as many releases, though he is the founder of the Spotted Peccary label (their very first release was his project Brain Laughter's In the Land of Power) and produces and engineers nearly all of the releases on the label, as well as for other artists in a similar vein like Steve Roach. This is the duo’s second collaboration, the first being 2015’s essential release Life Flows Water. The release at hand, Being of Light, is an expansive widescreen ambient panorama that moves forward at a measured pace, but remains full of electronic subtleties and beautiful washes of harmonic color, primarily electronic but punctuated with acoustic and electric instrumentation (piano, guitar) and mysterious and mesmerizing textures borne of modular synths and visionary studio techniques. The disc opens with “Clearing the Mind,” a mostly electronic piece that builds itself slowly over its thirteen minutes around two repeated chords played on a grand piano, which by the end becomes the backbone of the piece. Following that, we have the nearly fifteen minute “Threads of Thought” that stretches out to further horizons, now introducing the electric guitar into the mix with a dreamy wash of synths. The album’s centerpiece is the 30+ minute aptly titled “A Contemplative State,” a deep reflective wall of interacting elastic synth threads that is constantly in motion yet still capable of inducing a near-dreamlike state if that’s where the listener chooses to go, though this disc can be experiences on many different levels. The title track closes the set nicely, ten minutes of slow evolution and expansive states that are at once deep, captivating and stunningly beautiful.
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more