Sunday, January 26, 2020

Journeyscapes Presents: The Top 30 Albums of 2019

Here it is! Journeyscapes Radio’s special annual presentation where we reflect on some of the past year’s top releases spanning the ambient, electronic and atmospheric world music spheres. 2019 was arguably the most exciting year in music we’ve had so far, with a few veteran artists in the field releasing some of their best work in years alongside newer comers on the scene debuting equally phenomenal recordings. As always, our final list is by no means complete with regards to the sheer volume of amazing music that came our way last year. However, we’ve narrowed the selections down to 30 albums or EPs that were released prior to November 1st, 2019 (and charted on Journeyscapes before December 1st). Shaped by varying moods, tempos and mental imagery throughout, many ambient music substyles and hybrid styles have been presented here, resulting in an intuitive interconnectedness that compliments and harmonizes all musical selections with one another. One track from every featured release has been included in this episode, which consists of five continuously mixed sets. Clocking in at just over three hours, this entire uninterrupted program can be streamed just below the accompanying alphabetized list of recordings. Additionally, you can follow along with the full playlist displayed beneath the Mixcloud player. On a final note, this episode was created entirely during time spent in the Sahara Desert region of Morocco, hence the inspiration for the program’s artwork selection. ~Candice Michelle

Artist Title Listen & Buy
ll nøthing ll Artificial Nature Bandcamp
Alio Die & Lorenzo Montanà The Threshold of Beauty Amazon
Byron Metcalf & Mark Seelig Persistent Visions Amazon 
Chronotope Project Lotus Rising Amazon 
Cryounit Paradox Amazon 
Desert Dwellers Breath Amazon 
Eguana Invisible Civilization, Vol. 3 Amazon 
Eguana Synchronicity Bandcamp
Forrest Fang The Fata Morgana Dream Amazon 
Fourth Dimension Ubique Amazon
Germind Absorbient Amazon 
GermindThoughtform Amazon 
HibernationAmbient Re:Works 01 Amazon 
Jeff Pearce Skies and Stars Amazon 
Jonathan E. Blake The Fellowship of Jupiter Amazon 
Kaisaku Aishū Amazon 
Le Voyage Senses of a Magic Fairytale Amazon
Louigi Verona Nocturnal Creatures Bandcamp
Mark Dorricott & Stan Dart Seaside Amazon 
Mark Dwane Astrology Amazon 
Mark Dwane Martian Apparitions Amazon 
Massergy Fire Opal Amazon 
Nicholas Gunn Riding the Thermals Amazon
Off Land Field Tangents Bandcamp
Rudy Adrian Woodlands Amazon 
Shinpal Seven Lives Bandcamp
Steve Roach Atmosphere for Dreaming Amazon
Sverre Knut Johansen (with Robert Rich) Precambrian Amazon
Thaneco The Cretan Tapes Bandcamp
Tom Moore & Sherry Finzer Sound Currents Amazon

First Set:
0:00:20 / Germind / Variants of Dreams / Thoughtform
0:06:12 / Hibernation / Wabi Sabi (Ambient Version) / Ambient Re:Works 01
0:11:20 / Kaisaku / The Facade of a Smiling Face / Aishū
0:15:52 / Mark Dorricott & Stan Dart / Remembering Paris / Seaside
0:22:20 / Nicholas Gunn / I’ll Be Gone (ft. Alina Renae) / Riding the Thermals
0:25:39 / Mark Dwane / Red Planet / Martian Apparitions
Second Set:
0:30:55 / Cryounit / Paradox / Paradox
0:34:48 / ll nøthing ll / Plastic / Artificial Nature
0:40:00 / Fourth Dimension / Binary Star / Ubique
0:46:12 / Rudy Adrian / Hidden Pond / Woodlands
0:49:40 / Shinpal / Boundary from Nature / Seven Lives
0:56:52 / Off Land / Cloud Loop / Field Tangents
Third Set:
1:03:50 / Le Voyage / Welcome 2 Equador (Deluxe Mix) / Senses of a Magic Fairytale
1:11:39 / Eguana / Sad Story / Synchronicity
1:15:28 / Sverre Knut Johansen (with Robert Rich) / Archean Eon (Life Beginning and Photosynthesis) / Precambrian
1:21:32 / Chronotope Project / Lotus Rising / Lotus Rising
1:28:50 / Desert Dwellers / Closed Eyes in a Dust Storm / Breath
1:37:04 / Forrest Fang / Dream of the Last Fisherman / The Fata Morgana Dream
Fourth Set:
1:48:36 / Thaneco / Knossos / The Cretan Tapes
1:55:36 / Mark Dwane / Planetary Rulers / Astrology
2:01:40 / Tom Moore & Sherry Finzer / The Sound Healer’s Dream / Sound Currents
2:06:39 / Jonathan E. Blake / Metis / The Fellowship of Jupiter
2:12:55 / Eguana / Deep Sleep / Invisible Civilization, Vol. 3
2:19:54 / Massergy / The Shepherdess / Fire Opal
Fifth Set:
2:30:04 / Louigi Verona / Moonlit Passage / Nocturnal Creatures
2:24:58 / Alio Die & Lorenzo Montanà / On the Waves of Fate (Part 1) / The Threshold of Beauty
2:41:56 / Steve Roach / Atmosphere for Dreaming (excerpt) / Atmosphere for Dreaming
2:56:24 / Byron Metcalf & Mark Seelig / Vision 4 / Persistent Visions
3:06:12 / Jeff Pearce / The Last Bright Lights / Skies and Stars
3:09:58 / Germind / Absolute Aura / Absorbient

Review: temporal.Divergence by Peter Edwards Ambient

Peter Edwards, an ambient/dark ambient experimental soundsculptor based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, recording as Peter Edwards Ambient, landed on my radar screens only during the summer of 2018, shortly before releasing his third full-length CD album temporal.Divergence as the next chapter of dark ambient pentalogy. Available in digital formats since August 18th, 2018, the stunningly designed 6-panel digipak was released a few weeks later through Peter's own Caffeinated Monk Production label, the home of his previous two impressive CDs, suspended.Lucidity (May 2015) and binary.Abstractions (July 2017). To me, this was a huge discovery indeed!!!

Perfectly described as "ambient music for time travellers", this thrillingly immersing odyssey is ignited by the shorter "Prelude", which immediately sets the spatially tenebrous atmosphere. The 6-plus minutes long title track "temporal.Divergence" is fueled by bouncing cyber-tech pulses juxtaposed by industrial outbursts, razor-sharp beats, and heavenly hissing solitariness. A truly jaw-dropping introduction to distinguishably transporting realms by Peter Edwards!!! "quantum.Flux" at 7:33, the longest ride on the album, amalgamates massive drone reverberations with transcendentally helixing meridians and ear-tickling glimmers. Another aural spectacle! "revolution.Induction" masterfully merges hypogeally enigmatic stratums with perpetually ascending galvanic beacons and eerily rumbling fractals. Sonorously mindblowing! "gravField.Theory" dives into gargantuan depths, which are persistently illuminated by eternally galloping oscillations and piercing sci-fi narrations by Randy Savage, who also contributed his voice on the opening "Prelude". "dark.Matter" sails through unfathomably breathtaking realms, where intangibly thundering, yet tenaciously ambiguous magnitudes, commingle with inconspicuously emanating desolations and transmogrifying resonant vertexes. Beyond the gates listening splendor continues also through "causal.Continuum", when mesmerizingly barren heavy-duty beats collide with remotely roaring perplexes. "tempo.Kinetix", as indicated by its title, shifts into a vigorously driven scenario, perforated here and there by outbursting strikes, while immensely panoptic layers are guarding above. "time.Machine" merges abysmally engulfing murmurs with translucently flickering fragments and clandestinely arising oracular ephemerons. On "The Quantum Mechanics Of Time Travel Through Post-Selected Teleportation", mysteriously nuanced drones are reinforced by the narrations of a "quantum mechanic" Seth Lloyd of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Short epilogue "Gate.22180818" closes the album, but hidden also is a 4-minute untitled bonus track, which remains in fascinatingly enveloping monochromatic cosmic zones, percolated by gossamery evanescent traceries and ear-bending numeration.

Peter Edwards Ambient is a truly staggering exploration, which shifts each listener into magnificently adventurous portals, uniquely sophisticated, meticulously crafted and intriguingly rewarding. His 64-minute temporal.Divergence album is an all-inclusive magnum opus, both sonic and visual (design by Savage Internet Media), with deeply focused content and superb presentation. A vast display of artistic brilliance, which is, unfortunately, still hidden to a larger audience within the ambient drone soundscaping. On the science note, this must be some kind of a call I received only several months after experiencing the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, a Radio Astronomy Observatory located on the Plains of San Agustin in central New Mexico. I really wish I knew this gifted sound designer when passing by Albuquerque. Grab your headphones and immerse yourself into this exquisitely monumental futuristic journeying!!!

Reviewed by Richard Gürtler (Oct 20, 2019, Bratislava, Slovakia)