Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Howard Givens & Madhavi Devi — The Celestial Expanse
(Spotted Peccary no#, 2022, DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-08-02
Howard Givens is the founder of Spotted Peccary Music and is involved in some respect on nearly every release on the label, whether it be performing, mixing, mastering and more, you can find his name somewhere in the credits. In many cases one will find him collaborating with other like-minded composers on the label, like Craig Padilla and Madhavi Devi (Cheryl Gallagher), the latter of whom he has collaborated with twice previously — Source of Compassion (2016) and Precipice of a Dream (2021), which also featured Padilla and was recorded at Soundquest Fest. For the recording at hand, The Celestial Expanse, an eleven-plus minute single, Givens contributes analog, digital and modular synths, which are layered with Madhavi Devi’s processed acoustic sound sources (primarily harp) and synths to create a beautiful, outward-looking (or inward, if you prefer) contemplative exploration of the universe we find ourselves in. The panoramic journey begins with a rich range of bass synth tones and powerful shimmering colors moving slowly past the lstener’s expanding horizon. The dense fog-like structures blossom and ebb with revolving interwoven layers making a warm blanket of pleasurable sonic qualities. In the latter part of the piece the listener can clearly hear some of the acoustic artifacts as the slow fade begins around the nine-minute mark. The cover artwork is one thing, a beautiful conceptual illustration of what may be at work in the listener’s imagination, but The Celestial Expanse has an accompanying video which can be accessed on the Bandcamp page below, an active swirl of floating fractal art that acts as a perfect companion to the piece.
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