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Review: Souls Adrift, in Disrepair

Big gratitude to Richard Gürtler for his review of Souls Adrift, in Disrepair! It’s deep listeners like Richard, who thoroughly understand and love the music, whom I’m always hoping to reach.

Here is Richard’s full review, which can also be seen here:

Four years ago Chicago based Greg Moorcroft, the sole protagonist behind Eyes Cast Down, debuted with his album “The Separate Ones”, which I was fortunate to review several months later, in May 2013. In the meantime, during 2014, second solo album “Divinations” saw the light as well as collaborative recording “Memory Palace” with kindred soul Chris Russell. “Souls Adrift, In Disrepair”, the latest album by Eyes Cast Down, which is out since July 12th, 2016, was released by artist’s own Kalindi Music label and it’s packaged in a 4-panel digipak featuring stunningly immersing paintings by Royce Deans and Tali Farchi. This strongly enrapturing interaction was firstly born during a spontaneous, improvisational setting before premiering on a live art show in Chicago at April 1st, 2012. And four of five pieces presented on this album are connected to this multimedia jam.

Nearly 10-minute “Fading Angel” reveals layers of longing guitar drones, which drift, meander, reverberate, mesmerize… Introspective, smoothly sinuating passages distinguishably commingle with intricately high-pitched ear-tickling dissonant vistas. Although the mood might be rather minimal, hidden inside are lyrically enveloping nostalgic canvas, which masterfully amalgamate with the album’s visuals.

17-plus minutes long “Astral Drift” straightly dives into jaw-droppingly gargantuan depths, humming ultra deep drones briskly invade the scene and steal this magnificently transporting spectacle. A splendiferously dronescaping powerhouse is fully activated here!!! Ephemeral overtone-like groans sneak in here and there, but the magmatic flow is devastatingly adventurous and undeniably unlocks the gates of eargasmic transcendental Eden. Around 10th minute slightly relieving glimpse arise, but that’s just an “optical” illusion as the scenario quickly finds its tracks and resurrects all drone ghosts. Eerie ocarina calls arise as well and I am still swamped with ominously unfathomable drone walls. Even my weirdest expectations were surpassed with this composition, this is certainly Eyes Cast Down at its most exquisite, monolithic and desolate, a Drone Hall of Fame awaits!!! Enter now the Void!!!

The next piece, “Sirens Of Maya”, takes me back to earthier terrains sculpted with kaleidoscaping electric strings wizardry and painting thrillingly reflective and isochronally spiraling spellbinding images. As much rawly dazzling as harmoniously engrossing!

“Transcending Memory”, another longer track clocking to nearly 16-minute mark, maintains the deeply evocative route, where subtle monochromatic drone guards above, while relentlessly helixing desolations peculiarly bridge with poignantly magnifying, yet sinisterly traversing meridians. Aberrantly engulfing listening experience awaits here each devoted ears, this is obviously another epic composition superiorly exhibiting Greg Moorcroft’s extraordinary soundsculpting techniques. Bravo!!!

Transient pounding bass drum quite unexpectedly announces 18 minutes long “At This Body’s Final Hour”, which closes this highly astonishing journey. Mysteriously labyrinthine drifts are knottily counterpointed by poignant, yet evanescent piano patterns. Hallucinatory groans and voices are hanging above, interrupted occasionally by drum outbursts. Auxiliary female chorus (credited are Dasi, Greg’s wife, & Leyla) surreptitiously sneak in and numinously augment this ambiguously shapeshifting aural phenomenon. A grand finale indeed!!!

Greg Moorcroft, who mostly utilizes 6- and 12-string and fretless electric guitars, EBow as well as synths on this tour de force recording, has shown an enormous creativity and potential. This is a sensationally prodigious album, a truly triumphant 74-minute showcase of a challenging ingeniousness by its visionary force. I somehow can’t remember what my predictions were before exploring this album, but this doesn’t really matter, because as mentioned earlier, Greg Moorcroft has blew them all away with such glorious performance. A true gem, and still enormously hidden, among the most gifted pinnacles of 2016!!! Darker than the darkest, deeper than the deepest, hats off to Greg Moorcroft/Eyes Cast Down for this milestone, which must be encountered and applauded!!! A non-glass mastered format is the only limit here…

Regarding the latest updates, the next album by Eyes Cast Down is already recorded, it’s entitled “The White Island” and it should be out during the spring. The final mixing and artwork still has to be done. And last but not least, if you live near Philadelphia, mark in your calendar the date October 7th, 2017, because Eyes Cast Down will open for the iconic ambient guitar virtuoso Jeff Pearce at The Gatherings, which celebrates its 25th year. Then, after the concert, an hour live to air on Star’s End at WXPN Radio at the University of Pennsylvania will follow. Greg, you truly deserve such exposure!!! I really wish I could join…

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Album Review: A Life Incandescent by Mahoney & Peck

Tennessee space musicians Mark Mahoney and Michael Peck team up for their fourth duo album, A Life Incandescent (Waiting World Records 009), a feast of classic analog sounds with a strong science-fiction, exploratory vibe.

The music was recorded live (at the Gathering and on Star’s End) in 2008, with both musicians working synths & laptops, and released in June 2010.

Mark Mahoney (Star's End 2008)

Mark Mahoney (Star's End 2008)

Two of the album’s standout features are clear very early on: energy and concision. Each piece crackles with energy (both organic & electronic). Buzzing leads, filter sweeps, roaring basses, spiraling spacelines, ghostly atmospheres, insect-like nicks and ticks, and more, drive us through a galaxy rich in wonders. There’s no floaty “new age” indulgence here; this is serious space music, meticulously crafted with clear intent.

The album begins with the prelude-anthem Admonition, a call to arise – in whatever way is needed. A power drone, sunrise chords melting and morphing, and a churning bass sequence drive the piece forward, with the eager, restless vigor that powers the entire album.

In Cycle of Invectives, startling elements stutter, swirl and buzz around us as we remain motionless, unable to move.

The artists’ obvious enthusiasm is tempered by an equally clear sense of proportion. The pieces are concise, their elements neatly arranged, appearing and vanishing briskly, never overstaying their welcome. I would have enjoyed more of the clanky marimba-like intro to Centrifugal Conversations; the delightfully lively, glassy-vibes melodic passage over filter-sweeping tones in Fallen Are the Pillars, the album’s longest piece; or the mysterious, echoing bell-tones which close Outlined and Unnoticed.

Michael Peck (Star's End 2008)

Michael Peck (Star's End 2008)

The bracing, industrial intro of A Division of Souls evokes a factory (or some other kind of hell), a riveting and unsettling atmosphere, as sounds resembling processed gongs whoosh by ominously.

The closing (and shortest) piece, The Alchemy of Infinites, is suitably enigmatic, with fragments of space and scraps of melody appearing and vanishing into silence.

A Life Incandescent definitely left these ears wanting more. What better recommendation can one give than this? If you like electronic space music – or simply, music that’s full of positive energy – this album is for you.

The CD artwork, dazzling infrared photography, was provided by Chuck van Zyl.

CD cover: A Life Incandescent by Mahoney & Peck

A Life Incandescent figured in several “Best of 2010” lists, including Secret Music, and was included in the Star’s End list of significant releases for 2010.

Mahoney & Peck’s Star’s End profile can be found here.

The CD is available for $8.99 at Kunaki.

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