Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Album Review: Tranquility II: Mind & Soul by Ambiscend

Darren Rogers is a Texas-based electronic music composer who released his first solo album in 1997. He later formed a duo called Orion’s Belt with the late ambient/electronic musician and acclaimed music reviewer Jim Brenholts, as well as lent production and keyboard talents to a couple of albums by guitarist Vance Sheaks. Further releasing several solo albums and singles since, Rogers’ latest full-length recording, Tranquility II: Mind and Soul, was released under the project name Ambiscend and is the sequel to 2018's Tranquility. Comprised of seven compositions spanning just over an hour, Tranquility II is a mesmerizing display of oceanic-infused soundscapes that are accentuated with celestial and cinematic touches.

Previously released as a single, “First Christmas Snow” opens the album with minimalist classical sensibilities of subtle poignancy, making it perfectly suited to a wintry film score. Soothing ocean waves introduce the next piece, “The Calling of the Sea”, which follows with gentle whale-song amid shimmering tonal mists. Like much of the album, its evocative of marine life and underwater kingdoms, often bearing reminiscence to some of the environmental-themed albums that Medwyn Goodall releases on his label by artists like Midori, Paul Sills and Wychazel.

Additionally, twinkling star effects descend upon mysterious passages like “And the Stars Reflection Upon the Ocean” and “Gaze to the Stars”, while the watery “Moonlight Serenity” atmospherically captures our glowing lunar companion’s glistening reflection.

On both “Beyond the Horizon” and the final piece, “The Soul’s Calling”, ethereal vocal intonations seemingly transmit that of a siren calling from beneath the waves. Featuring also the solemn touch of Armenian duduk, the hauntingly beautiful closer paints a solitary scene of sailing through a sea fog.

A remarkably resplendent album from Darren Rogers – and possibly his best to date, Tranquility II: Mind and Soul conveys an enchantingly serene sonic journey throughout that will appeal to stargazers and seafarers alike! ~Candice Michelle

Available at Amazon and Bandcamp.