Organic ambience, whole, natural, beautiful...
Volume 2 of the Still Life series by Nelson Foltz and Tom Lynn is a fascinating work where ambient spaces are made through the exclusive use of acoustic instruments and found objects. Rather than rely on electronic instruments, Foltz and Lynn fill out the soundfield with a variety of sounds and tones, all played live in a spontaneous and organic manner, mixed in such a way that the instruments are layered deep within a steady drift, combining together to make a living and breathing musical experience
The disc opens with the sound of drifting, an ebb and flow that stays with us throughout the first half of the disc, pulling the listener through the space that is being developed. As time passes the sounds of brass instruments begin to creep in, rising and falling throughout the piece, recognizable but muted, dreamy mirror reflections of their traditional selves. Around the nine minute mark a lone trumpet rises out of the soundscape, a focal point that draws us further into the work, deeper into the space. Shortly after that some sparse percussion begins, water drums, toms and more, creating a primal rhythm that further surrounds the listener.
Around the twenty minute mark, the sound becomes more lively, and the drift is replaced very slowly and subtly by a bell pattern that emerges, paired with steady percussion and trumpet work. I'm sure there are voices in here as well, but they exist so far on the edges of the soundfield that it's difficult to be sure. While the overall feeling at this point is a steady sound that repeats and loops on itself, careful examination reveals tiny but significant shifts in pattern and tone, maintaining interest and appeal for the listener, and building on the idea of the work as an evolving, organic creation.
Over the course of it's length Sill Life Volume 2 succeeds in creating a rich and beautiful environment for the listener to explore, a shimmering and beautiful work that flows and moves and exists through it's own natural development. An excellent addition to the Still Life series and a testimony to the talents of Foltz and Lynn. Certainly if this disc is any indication of the quality of the other discs in this series, then you can be sure I'll be looking to add them all to my collection.
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