‘Passages’ is the sixth album from Chronotope Project, the recording alias of ambient music composer Jeffrey Ericson Allen. Released on the long-established Spotted Peccary Music label, ‘Passages’ easily sits among the finest in its impressive catalog of ambient/electronic music. Comprised of five compositions all spanning anywhere from eight to twelve minutes long, Jeffrey weaves synthesizers, tablas and frame drums into a deeply atmospheric soundscape infused with subtle shamanic/tribal nuances throughout.
“Churning the Ether” introduces the album with cavernous drones, swirling icy timbres and electro-organic percussion. Imparting a sense of having traveled back in time, this gradually metamorphosing composition brings images to mind of ancient relics and mysterious cave paintings. Moving along a hypnotically flowing current engulfed by enveloping electronic layers, its mode continues on the equally mesmerizing “The Waters of Life”. Here, the lulling sound of churning waters and encompassing bell tones create an immersive experience that feels like embarking on a night voyage by small boat across mist-filled waters. Directing our attention skyward is “Solaris”, a breathtakingly haunting composition filled with metallic timbres and spacious drones. This somewhat forbidding and esoteric number feels like being in the presence of an ancient astronomical observatory. “Moontide” progresses into murkier shadows amidst nocturnal vestiges and eerie metallic drones, culminating in what’s perhaps the darkest piece on the album. We finally reach the title track, “Passages,” where an illuminated stream of liquid ambience is gently guided along by subtle tribal percussion.
I’ve been thoroughly impressed by everything I’ve heard thus far from Chronotope Project, and ‘Passages’ is certainly no exception. Alluding more to ‘inner’ rather than ‘outer’ space, this album will appeal, especially, to many listeners who enjoy the music of Steve Roach, Jon Jenkins and other contemporaries who’ve explored similar atmospheric terrain. A top-notch recording that easily ranks among this year’s favorites, ‘Passages’ is absolutely not to be missed by fans of dreamily hypnotic ambient music! ~Candice Michelle
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