To the Last Man/ Index of Dreaming
Orchestramaxfieldparrish presents ÆRA - To The Last Man / Index Of Dreaming Faith Strange Recordings has just issued it's first double CD set as of January 2009. This is a new electronic excursion filling two full cds of recordings from orchestramaxfieldparrish and issued under the project name of orchestramaxfieldparrish presents ÆRA. A beautifully detailed and rich sonic palette exploring the fleeting aspects of memory and dreams. These companion recordings manage to strike an artistic balance between adventurousness and a neo-classical sensibilty, combined with a keen perception of aural sculpture. In a genre that brims with derivations, To The Last Man / Index Of Dreaming is something way ahead of the curve. Issued in a limited edition 2xCD package in a Japanese style double mini LP gatefold sleeve. Two hours of wide open vistas and introspective private rooms. REVIEWS: from WHITE_LINE: orchestramaxfieldparrish is, for want of a better description, an ambient project, encompassing everything that that much overused "A" word brings with it. However, this beautifully presented double CD comes with a Faith Strange quality guarantee, and over two hours, the listener is treated to OMP's now trademark deep soundscaping. OMP's founder and central composer, Mike Fazio finds strength in uniting bold themes with his grandiose, sombre arrangements, and the press release explains that the "Ae" diphthong of the title, translates to a dual tonality, a kind of linguistic trip of the tongue where one tone skips to another. The album's expansive, dreamy atmosphere is immediately captivating, and the tracks segue into each other in a seamless montage of prolonged tonal tracts, wispy atmospherics, and grand orchestrations, reminiscent to me of early Tangerine Dream pieces, particularly Phaedra, which coincidentally utilises the "ae" dipthong in it's title. The accompanying CD, Index of Dreaming dispenses with titles and nomenclature, and simply numbers each piece, presumably as some kind of personal cataloguing, or reference points that we as listeners are not yet privy to, or have to decipher as each tract unfolds. Indeed the slightly cryptic use of Viking Eggeling's pictorial series, "Diagonale Symphonie", in the internal sleeve adds to the air of enigma shrouding this release, and I am left pondering this audio-visual conundrum as I listen to the washy, tidal strains emitting from my sound system. Aera is an impressive foray, and is perhaps something of a defining moment for Fazio's project thus far..tempting us to investigate further. Aera is effortlessly immersive, and I can think of few other ways in which to absorb my senses for two hours..listened to consecutively, Fazio's hand is more than capable. An epic release. - BGN from textura: A bit of background first: called "ash" in English, the majuscule Æ (minuscule: æ) is, in aural terms, a diphthong (literally "two sounds" or "two tones"), a "contour" vowel whose separate components run together in rapid speech such that the sound changes as the tongue moves from one articulation to the next (Æ is also formally called a ligature due to the physical union of it's two letters). Perhaps Mike Fazio (aka orchestramaxfieldparrish and Gods Of Electricity member) chose the ÆRA ("ash-ra") name for his latest solo project as a gesture of tribute to Ash Ra Tempel, the German Krautrock band formed in 1971 by Manuel Göttsching, Klaus Schulze, and Hartmut Enke. Regardless, there's definitely a cosmic quality to the ÆRA material. In any case, the companion recordings constitute an audacious maiden voyage for Fazio's new project with To The Last Man and Index Of Dreaming best regarded as a single, two-volume work. The recordings are dominated by heavily synthetic landscapes that more naturally reside in the upper spheres than on earth. Infinitely long trails of electrical tones-wholly guitar-generated, presumably-stretch over silent expanses like shooting stars captured in slow-motion, and tones shift and notes bend as they arc across the sky. To The Last Man takes the listener on a journey of varying moods with dark portentous lines sweeping across the open plains in the scene-setter "Elegæa." The sixteen-minute "To Touch The Sky" follows, with prickly micro-noise, suggestive of the rapid chatter of insects or squirrels, sputtering across and bell-like tones occasionally punctuating flowing tendrils of simmering tones. "Ennoæ" introduces a pronounced physical dimension by layering percussive patterns atop the synthetic base, with hand drums and acoustic-sounding blocks giving the piece a natural character. In the ten-minute meditation "Out Of Many, One," a more readily identifiable synthesizer sonority emerges during the final minutes, deepening the connection to the space-rock tradition associated with outfits such as Tangerine Dream. Index Of Dreaming eschews conventional track titles for numbers (e.g., "1/1," "2/2") but sonically the ÆRA style carries over from one disc to the other; with "1/1" even seeming to pick up from where To The Last Man's closing "Ecquænam" leaves off. If anything Index Of Dreaming may be the "purer" release of the two, as Fazio reduces the latter's meditations and drones to their essence by largely banishing natural sounds altogether (the clear exception being "1/2" and "2/2" where choir exhalations accompany the tracks' sweeping tones). The recording's simmering prisms of light and sparkle reach an epic culmination in "1/3," a lulling meditation where speckled, semi-industrial sheets of vaporous sound slowly billow, ripple, rise, and fall for twenty-eight hypnotic minutes. Natural additions to Fazio's discography, both releases exemplify the astral traveler's long-standing commitment to perpetuating the progressive and experimental traditions, electronic or otherwise, and should strongly appeal to fans of his recent orchestramaxfieldparrish The Silent Breath Of Emptiness which is sonically kin to the new material, regardless of moniker difference. - January 2009.