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John Gregorius — In Awe
(Spotted Peccary no#, 2022, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-07-03

In Awe Cover art

Seldom has the artwork on an album cover been so perfectly matched to the music within. The music on In Awe, Gregorius’ fourth album on Spotted Peccary, embraces the wonder and beauty of nature as it delivers a warm and inspiring set of nine tracks, perfectly matched for the listener struck with reverence and curiosity of the natural world. Interestingly enough, as I write this, there are no plans by the label to release it on any physical medium — it seems like the download is the future of music, and heaven help the listener whose hard drive has a very bad day. Each of the nine compositions at hand seems to be built from the ground up with ideas using ambient electric (and sometimes acoustic) guitar and loops, filtered through gobs of reverb and other studio effects to create a perfectly beautiful and shimmering, moving panoramic experience, a dreamy and kinetic meditative experience, from micro-worlds to one that encompasses everything. Each of the pieces are essentially song-length, and similarly constructed with verses and refrains, bridges and choruses, though near purely instrumental endeavors. The only three tracks featuring vocals, from Kim Daniels, are completely wordless, the voice serving as a background instrument. The fourth track, “New,” is an outstanding example of the vocals; Gregorius handles nearly all of the instrumentation, starting with guitars, loops and effects, adding keyboards, percussion and drum programming, although several pieces feature live drums from Mitch Ross, and almost all of the cuts feature bassist Sean O’Bryan Smith. Benjamin Fleury-Steiner is credited with a synth bed on “Everyday Miracle,” the album’s longest cut at six minutes. Other standouts include the opening title track, the slow-evolving closer, “Wonder,” which seems to reprise some themes from “Everyday Miracle,” the gently and magically flowing “Open,” and the beautifully introspective “Gratefulness.” All taken, In Awe represents the journey less taken, a heavenly respite from the noise of the everyday.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): John Gregorius

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