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at play in the acoustic forest

Both Nelson Foltz and Tom Lynn are studio musicians who have worked on more song-oriented projects. But on the Still Life series, Nelson & Tom wanted to say something different in the increasingly cliched world of ambient music, and say it without any electronic instruments (or as Brian May used to write on the bottom of Queen records, "No synthesizers of any kind were used on this recording.") The main voice as the music starts is Nelson's trombone, which sounds like a cross between Jon Hasell's trumpet and Tom Heasley's tuba (Jon Hassell actually offered some informal assistance on this project, not bad karma to have when making an ambient recording.) Nelson solos thoughout the first half of the CD, but hovers over the whole shebang. It's a great, Enossified performance-sure you can relegate it to the background, but you would be missing some of the most unique trombone playing around. I know Nelson can play standards if he wants to, but that is not what the Still Life series is about. As Nelson fades off, we get to hear ambient forest that had been background but now assumes prominence.

The pair used everything form zithers to a half-filled bathtub to create their panoply of sounds. This is truly tribal ambience, not the Fourth World marching bands that permeate so many tribal ambient records, some by big names. This is also not your sanitized, elevator ambience that is sometimes played by musical novices for chiropractors' offices or yoga instructors: this is beautifully created, ambient music that works on many levels. I'm sure that like me, you'll be coming back for new discoveries with every listen. Very highly recommeded, as is the entire, reasonably priced, Still Life series. This is a great way to start an ambient collection of your own.

Gordon Danis for CDBaby