Various Artists — Possibilities of Circumstance
(Projekt 295, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-09-14Always good for a mood change when things get too stressful, ambient and electronic music generally has the capacity to just alter your consciousness instantly like turning a switch. With this budget-priced multi-artist compilation, Projekt draws on artists from their own label, and other fellow travelers to provide a world class set of mostly extended length pieces in a range of instrumental genres that span the gamut from floating ambient to sequenced electronics to drifting melodic instrumentals that make powerful use of studio technique and ambience. Seven of the eight tracks here have never appeared on any release before; two are taken from forthcoming releases, and the remaining five appear to be unique to this set. “There’s Always Tomorrow” by Ulrich Schnauss and Mark Peters is an immediate standout, bursting forth from a cloud of melody and quickly settling into a sequenced theme, its Berlin School pedigree is fairly evident. The set kicks off with “Consumed by Sunlight,” a gentle floating piece by the master Steve Roach, with just enough textures and sonic eventfulness to keep it interesting through its entire duration. “Tower Indigo” is a powerful piece by Larry Fast / Synergy that changes shape and mood several times over its comparatively short duration. Tim Story & HJ Roedelius present “Lazy Arc,” a piece based on a simple, haunting piano figure that collects textures and atmosphere as it proceeds; this is one that will be playing in your head three days later, and you’ll wonder where that tune came from. Robert Rich’s “Callyx” grafts floating synths and soaring guitar loops to some vaguely gamelan type rhythmic structures with pulsating bass, not far from his Geometry album. “Mapping the Autumn Sky” by Jeff Pearce is appropriately titled, a consummate floating ambient piece for guitar loops and processing that ends after about six minutes, but could easily go on forever. No compilation of this type would be complete without some overtone vocals, and Nathan Youngblood and Soriah deliver on “Recuerdos de Luna,” perhaps the darkest sounding track in this set. The closer is “Misty Blue” by Erik Wøllo, a strong rhythmic piece for floating and sequenced synths, a simple defining guitar figure, and tons of atmospherics – easily one of the best tracks on this collection and a superb closer. This is an excellent compilation that covers what it aims to do superbly.
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