Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Sam Rosenthal & Dirk Serries — Terrace of Memories
(Projekt PRO34, 1992/2023, DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-09-24
On its original release in 1992, the artist was Terrace of Memories and the album title was the same, although it was no secret who was behind this music: Projekt’s Sam Rosenthal and VidnaObmana, who today records under his real name, Dirk Serries. 31 years ago floating ambient music was just reaching its early zenith, with artists like Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Michael Stearns, and yes, VidnaObmana all producing an excellent new kind of music striving hard to differentiate itself from the so-called New Age music that had been around for at least a decade already. What New Age music is and isn’t would require a masters thesis to sort out the details, but (besides being a catch-all term used by retailers for music they didn’t understand) New Age music tends to be soft, melodic, delicate and pretty, whereas floating ambient sounds tended to be darker, shaded, textural, and often industrial. Both Dirk Serries and Sam Rosenthal were early pioneers of the latter sound and offered huge advancements over the years. Terrace of Memories consists of five long tracks that would fit nicely on two LP sides, and it will be released that way in January 2024; it initially came out on compact disc and then later as FLAC files along the way, and now this newest 2023 remastered version is available in all digital download formats. The seventeen minute epic “Of Silent Crossings” that closes the album is dark, menacing, wonderfully textural, and above all immersive, something that would work well in a loop that ran for hours. The four tracks before it offer explorative alternate perspectives on the floating textural sound, with the opener, ”These Ancient Halls,” being particularly effective. The title track follows flowing textural loops, while “From Within the Cold (a fragment)” has more of a shimmering industrial feel to it, with soft voices fading in and out during its final minutes. Terrace of Memories was groundbreaking on its original release 31 years ago and remains so today.
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