Howard Givens & Craig Padilla — Life Flows Water
(Spotted Peccary SPM-9091, 2015, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-07-28
The dreamlike whirl of Tibetan bowls, occasionally punctuated by bells in the beginning of the first cut “Opening to a New Perspective” sets the stage for all that follows in this slow-evolving inward expansive meditation that drifts and swells gently, unfolding as it goes. At nearly 20 minutes it’s the longest piece on the disc, ample time to introduce the classic vintage analog synths and sequencers as well as some relatively modern digital keyboards, all the while soothing the spirit and illuminating the inward path as it guides the listener down the eternal spiral. Shimmering melodies emerge from the flowing textures on subsequent pieces like “A Step Achieved,” while heavily processed ephemeral sounds of night insects and birds seem to make an appearance on “Reflection and Metamorphosis.” Givens and Padilla are both masters of the floating ambient form, the latter with numerous releases to his credit (over 24 at last count, either solo or in collaboration with others), many of which have been reviewed in these pages, the former is the founder and guiding light behind the Spotted Peccary label and associated studios, and his own Brain Laughter project. One can’t listen to this without hearing the occasional reminders of early Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, and other pioneers who put this open ended form of electronic music on the map, but a lot of evolution and subsequent development has ensued in the years since, and Givens and Padilla are two of the groundbreakers at the forefront of it all. Life Flows Water is one of those recordings that one could play in an endless loop for a week and it would still be as magical as it was at the very first moment.
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more
Joel Vandroogenbroeck RIP – Word has reached us of the death of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, best known as one of the founders of Brainticket, He also recorded electronic music under a variety of names. He was born August 25th, 1938 in Brussels, Belgium and died December 23, 2019 in Arlesheim, Switzerland, aged 81. » Read more