All music by Paul Ellis except Rudy Adrian on additional keys cuts 1,2,3 & 7. Steve Roach weaved his post production artistry into the album. 2004. Press information On Sacred Ordinary Paul's artistry of creating a palette of rich emotional sounds sets a foundation from which he weaves a series of electronic web like pieces with a keen sense of melodic invention and dimensional symmetry. There is an hint of nostalgia in these tracks as well if one has been privy to the classic melodic sequencer style electronic music periods over the past few decades. This brings another kind of depth to the experience while at the same time this music is really about the here and now as it unfolds with a kind a graceful patience and awareness to detail that keeps pulling you in deeper with each play. 2003. Steve Roach Every now and then, an album comes out that really does something to me... there is an electronic music album that has caught my immediate attention, 'The Sacred Ordinary' by Paul Ellis. This American is of the most highly acclaimed musicians in electronic music. His work with the band Dweller At The Threshold as well as his solo albums are considered to be highlights in the retro-style. His music doesn't follow the 'standard' sequencer/Mellotron work that usually can be heard in this style but has also touches of ambient and is a little experimental. On 'The Sacred Ordinary', the ambient element is provided by Rudy Adrian who contributed on synths and with overtone chanting on 4 tracks. Next to this, Steve Roach helped with the post production. So, an all-star team. This can already be heard on the fabulous opening track Icon. Peter Gabriel 'San Jacinto'-like sequences create a wonderful atmosphere, to be heard over and over again. Next to the excellent sequences, brilliant soundscapes play an important part on 'The Sacred Ordinary'. The title track is a great example of this. Like being in heaven. On some moments, Paul follows the more melodically side of retro as he does in 'The Still Center Of A Turning World'. Adrians overtone chanting can be heard in 'Cascade' in which the sequences have his signature. In 'Turning Towards The Sun' Ellis proves that simplistic things can be really beautiful because this track is built op from a single sequence. The dreamy 'Slowly Beating Wings' concludes this great album. If there is an album that combines retro and ambient the best, then 'The Sacred Ordinary' must be that album. Paul Rijkens Paul Ellis' latest solo work is worth getting (for electronic music fans, at least) just for the opening track, 'Icon', alone as it unfolds during it's nine-plus minutes as a hauntingly beautiful slowly evolving composition, suffused with a combination of Berlin school sequencing and floating ambient textures, fine-tuned with an almost neo-classical elegance, thanks to the presence of a flute solo to die for! This is one of the best tracks released on any album this year and is probably the finest work Ellis has ever done (and he'll be hard-pressed to top it, as well). The juxtaposition of multiple layers of sequenced pulses and notes pulsating underneath the lilting flute and amidst sparkling sun showers of synth notes is gorgeous. However, the Portland area keyboard artist is no one trick pony, as other tracks reveal his unique infusion of influences from Larry Fast (Synergy), Jarre, and lesser known EM pioneers like Patrick Gleeson and even new age guru Ray Lynch into his own brand of retro-futurism. The Sacred Ordinary is a work of both intelligence and passion, mixing accessible and melodic elements, often suffused with emotion and drama, with more cerebral soundscape elements and cyber-futurism. The title song displays Ellis' adeptness at crafting fluid ambient electronic tone poems, undulating with the occasional brief light from a shimmering bell tone or Vangelis-like horn sound. 'Blue Heron' pulses with beats, semi-jazzy vibes, and a myriad of synthesized musical flourishes, some decidedly retro in characteristic and others more a hybrid of the new and the old, gradually building in intensity throughout it's five minute length. 'The Still Center of a Turning World' is one of my favorites, as it's celebratory synths, echoing both Synergy's zipping and zapping and Ray Lynch's strong sense of classical melodicism, whirl around some celestial dance floor, waltzing and rejoicing in their own post-modernism. There is a true sense of joy within this song (I especially smile at the sounds which remind me of some sound effects I heard in the film Logan's Run, and astute listeners will know just what I referencing when they hear them). Whether he is embracing the Germanic sequencer-fueled speed and energy of 'Presence', melding retro spacy keyboards, overtone chants (courtesy of Rudy Adrian, who also contributed some keyboards here and there on the album) and ambient beats on 'Cascade', (sounding a bit like Todd Fletcher on this track), or crafting the somber electronic neo-classical adagios of 'Slowly Beating Wings', Ellis balances the intellectual with the aesthetic in a way that showcases both brains and heart. The Sacred Ordinary earns high marks as a musical venture which pays homage to the past even while gliding into the future. Highly recommended. 2004. Bill Binkelman / Wind & Wire 'The Sacred Ordinary' continues Paul Ellis' quest of fusing rhythm and melody into one unique and personal voice. The end result is one of the most listenable and interesting electronic recordings of the past decade. Jeff Pearce / To the Shores of Heaven, Bleed Nothing Ordinary about this one...Sounds like a classic album that has somehow slipped through the net. It has a timeless quality to it that I hear very, very rarely these days. A kind of mellow sadness pervades some of the tracks but it nevertheless leaves you feeling good. Genuinely uplifting... It draws you in with it's simple surface appearance that belies the subtly complex undercurrent. A real human feeling soaks through this album. Paul Nagle / Musician / Sound on Sound.