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Terminus Void — Origins Unknown
(Bandcamp no#, 2022, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-08-26

Origins Unknown Cover art

Terminus Void is the project of Seattle based electronic ambient composer and sonic sculptor J. Ronald Smith. The seed for his endeavors was planted nearly 40 years ago after first hearing Stephen Hill’s Hearts of Space radio program, particularly hearing composers like Michael Stearns, Steve Roach, Brian Eno, Vangelis, and other similarly inclined artists. After years of studying the style and tooling up and building his craft, in 2021 Smith could no longer sit on the sidelines, and Terminus Void was born, releasing his first album of electronic music, titled Interstellar. While the sources of his sounds and the tools of his trade aren’t widely publicized, one quick review of the photos section of his website should provide the curious with answers to these questions. Origins Unknown is the follow-up released in June of 2022, a powerful and majestic collection of seven pieces of varying length that earn Smith a well-deserved place in the wake of those who have inspired his work, We aren’t talking Berlin copycat signatures, but a rich, modern minimalist sound that echoes deep into the listener’s soul. The set opens with “Discovery,” a powerful introductory wash of colorful and often menacing textures filling up the full flowing spectrum of sound, opening the portal wide for all that follows. After it fades away, we have “Inception,” a near ten minute exploration of dreamy mysticism and shimmering immersive warmth, something akin to a soundtrack to an out-of-body experience, with grand vistas of unimagined beauty coming at the listener from all directions, by the end of which a listener may realize that an undercurrent of transformation via the sounds at hand is beginning to take shape on the psyche, slowly erasing thoughts and replacing them with a purely explorative sense of beauty. Other standouts from the set include “Dark Outpost,” where the textural aspects of the sound are augmented by field recordings of radio voices that offer some kind of warning, and the sprawling nine-and-a-half minute “Star Field,” where slowly enveloping scintillations freely mix with powerful subharmonics over its duration. Smith has certainly found his own path in an already crowded field, and Terminus Void is an artist we should be hearing a lot more from.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Terminus Void

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