A Walk in the Shadow Garden – Spotted Peccary Music SPM-2605
A Walk in the Shadow Garden is Rudy Adrian’s 8th album on the Spotted Peccary Music label. Previous albums include As Dusk Becomes Night, Woodlands, Coastlines, Atmospheres, Distant Stars, Desert Realms, and MoonWater.
1. About the album A Walk in the Shadow Garden
I imagine a night sky with all of the stars appearing, seen from your favorite garden. The whole album A Walk in the Shadow Garden takes place in deep twilight. This is a light and elegant style of instrumental electronic music. Perhaps this is a dark, atmospheric examination of mysterious hidden places and nocturnal meditation, and clearly immensity is encouraged, with the use of polyphony and the increasing importance of keyboards with physical musical instruments such as the flute and guitar within relaxing and peaceful ambient electronic soundscapes, this brings about a more abstract and stylized view of nature.
A Walk in the Shadow Garden is a fantastical and magical journey into the realm of ordinary shadows in search of new sights and encounters with magic. The feeling is consistently slow in mood, formality and complexity. Its musical form and harmonic organization facilitate and transmit the most profound thoughts by its simple presence, fully explored organized slow rhythms and polyphony that will radiate calm and silence. To me the music represents a metaphorical journey through life; beginning with a dry waterfall in the mountains, passing through rapids and rocks, and ending in a tranquil sea of white gravel, with two gravel mountains.
2. The tracks
Now we are opening the gates to explore the…
…difference between being asleep and being awake, the difference between closing your eyes and pretending to be asleep and closing your eyes and sleeping. “A Walk in the Shadow Garden” (5:10) introduces our tour of some night sounds. And I stopped and looked at the shifting shadows, one two three strums on a guitar, sounds of insects or something else gathering in the shadows, simple cycles signaling a sense of anticipation and a feeling of the prologue.
“Clouds Over Fields” (6:07) takes place at a high altitude, I hear soaring sustained tones over an abundant perennial grassland, soaring atmospheric glowing drones, long sustained tones, gaining substance. “Dawn Redwood” (3:54) perpetuates the sense of mystery, slowly transforming the perfect darkness into what happens before daylight. I hear crisp sparse stirrings from the hidden forest atmosphere, I hear ringing metal and night creatures calling. “Hemlock Grove” (4:59) has a shimmering glowing feeling, I think I hear chimes, flutes, and other air sounds, lots of small pieces of metal ringing in the distance, wind and synth drones coiling in closer, bringing tones that move like a large serpent.
Mosses typically form dense green clumps or mats…h4>
…often in damp or shady locations and give me a sense of terrestrial grounding. Moss adds a sense of calm, age, and stillness. “Of Mosses and Liverworts” (6:05) I hear a simple slow expression, perhaps a flute in the cathedral, occasional echoing tings, percussive metallic taps, glowing slow tones. I see shadow and light stroking the mist, an isolated repeating arpeggio “tring!” and I hear voices take flight and send out our wish of peaceful dreams on a night moonlit. I hear serpent darkness here too, imagine being submerged in darkness with sounds of activity all around moving in slow motion.
“Maple Glen” (7:46) brings me a sense of cosmic quiet. It is shadowy at all hours of the day here. I think I hear the rare night insects purr, with building presences, dark awakening forest atmosphere with creatures softly growling somewhere nearby, and the quiet is consistently complete. “Rising Mist” (6:18) brings together the electronics with a piano, careful, deep limitless slow, maybe there is a distant choir of purring night insects. Natural light does not penetrate “Dark Waters” (6:31). I hear mountains rising in the mist, and a suggestion of inverted great depth and height. The deep sea is broadly defined as the ocean depth where light begins to fade, hence the expanding tone and bending depths. I feel an endless floating in darkness, opaque darkness hiding canyons of sound. All is lost.
“Perchance to Dream” (8:56) gives…
…me a sense of slowly building wonderment unfolding as details form, new textures blossom and sustained glowing layers provide only glimpses through into the swirling clouds, and quietly emerge the capering moon moths in slow motion, memory fragments tinkling as in dreams, almost recognized, always a few steps ahead. The music asks a question in sound, “what is that?” I hear tiny chirping creatures. Magicicada?
The track “Beechwood” (1:29) might be a very short sound poem, flutes glow and reverberate, the magical gazebo sits at the center of the Shadow Garden. Something is hiding in there. Is that a shy big animal, maybe a deer? I sense something just out of sight.
Then the Shadow Garden turns and retreats into the night sky and I follow along to discover, in the growing light of day, a stylized landscape through carefully composed arrangements of rocks, water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes, and uses gravel or sand that is raked to represent ripples in water. There to discover the keeper of these grounds, the agriculturist in residence. As we speak, I find myself distracted by the atmosphere, which is held by the brightly illuminated sky above. “Conversations with a Gardener” (7:26) brings philosophical reflections, each conversation is very subtle, there are some familiar textures that emerge returning from earlier in this, our journey. I think that the music is intended to imitate the essence of nature, not its actual appearance, and to serve as an aid for meditation.
We were talking about curious events in the past. Also, we were talking about simple plant life matters. We were talking about the dreams of plants, and we were talking about the smell of dawn. We were talking about the last light and we were talking about water. Then we were talking about plants again, and those dreaming plants.
Many different theories have been put forward about what the garden is supposed to represent, from islands in a stream to swimming baby tigers, to the peaks of mountains rising above the clouds, to theories about secrets of geometry or of the rules of equilibrium of odd numbers. The garden is a shadowy and colorful environment and the music is about calming things down. The natural world continues to be a common thread in Rudy Adrian’s music through the exploration of sonic landscapes, where melody and rhythm play a secondary role to the tones and textures created by synthesizers, wood flutes and the human voice. Music and nature have always gone hand in hand for Rudy Adrian. He first started making electronic music while studying Forestry Science at the University of Canterbury, and in the following years at the University of Otago while completing a degree in Botany.
4. Where to buy the album A Walk in the Shadow Garden?
You can buy the album A Walk in the Shadow Garden at the store of Spotted Peccary Music and Bandcamp.
Written by Robin James, March 24th, 2023
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