Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Phillip Wilkerson & Chris Russell — Dark Measures
(Spotted Peccary SPM-9100, 2021, CD / DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-01-12
It’s been a good five years since Wilkerson and Russell presented their first collaboration, Vague Traces, on Spotted Peccary. In the interim, both have continued to release their own work — Wilkerson as Time Being (with A Place to Belong (2015) and Ocean of Time (2020)) and Russell with Echo (2018) and Destiny (2020), and all of this work feeds into their latest collaboration. But Dark Measures occupies a very different kind of space than its predecessor, which was a bit more dreamy and atmospheric, here we go into dark cavernous spaces and more mysterious worlds, and thus it is appropriately titled; both sets certainly reflect the ambient worlds in which they reside, but Dark Measures is far more deep, intense, and introspective. Both collaborators are synthesists, each offering a different palette of hardware and software instruments to create their respective parts, but this time the two collaborators worked on their respective parts together at the same time. Opening cut “Unopened Doors” rushes in like a swirling shadowy wind that obscures all the light and fills every corner, but the feeling it provides is warm and shimmering, while some sonic artifacts offer minor distractions as it proceeds. It’s followed by the eleven-minute “Evening Embrace,” a dark and mysterious piece that is perfectly titled, like a breathing night sky with starlight wrapping around your soul. Both of these pieces change slowly as they go, setting the stage for the remaining five tracks that follow. Other standouts include “Unbroken Devotion,” where obscured overlapping melodies drift in and out of the darkness; “Distant Vistas” radiates with gentle star-like sequences pitted against a dark sky, and “Deep Lane” stretches tremulous colors through mystifying clouds of darkness. Dark Measures makes for a powerful and engaging listen that kindles the imagination and immerses the listener in wonderment.
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