Dark Measures – Spotted Peccary Music SPM-9100
Some moments of Dark Measures are together clear and quiet, gritty and dark. They are bombastic, prim, anything in between, and all of the above at the same time, inspiring interactivity and deep expression. Also, they are displaying compelling self-portraits, landscapes in representational, modernist, and abstract expressionist styles, and compositions of strong soundscape design.
Together, these tracks follow successive stages of two artistic careers and exploratory spirits. When it comes to soundscape design, there are a myriad of possibilities. With this, there is no limit in scale or in complexity. Every piece is a journey.
1. About the album Dark Measures
Gently floating and drifting abstract dark ambient music, contemplative and relaxing, well suited for neural calming atmospheres. I find this whole album Dark Measures to be full of perfect starting points for infinite nighttime adventures contemplating life and other things under the stars, from subtle to severe.
Without visual stimulation, the eye tends to assume an individually-determined intermediate state of accommodation (the “dark focus”) and in this state, journey along, coupled with generative sound machines and classic subtractive synths — experimental devices only possible on a modular system, creating sensations ranging from close in-your-face to deep inside a cave, and then back again, strings and piano buried in granular synthesizer floating-points, chains of virtual instruments and effects that will amaze and delight.
2. The tracks
The first track of Dark Measures…
…”Unopened Doors” (10:34) brings shimmering darkness and strange glowing sounds, eventually revealing odd forms bumping about, creaking and shutting. Romantic notions attached to it could be mysterious enough to leave you bewildered, what lies inside is a mystery and will remain so. These doors are mysterious and scary at the same time, some rooms are hidden from everyone. Their locked doors made us wonder what was in there. It is the most mysterious of all and somewhere inside is the door to a dark place that contains palaces and towers along with treasures.
Reflection is good for the soul, a good practice every evening is to reflect on the day’s events, perhaps including inspiration from the natural world, the contours of the land and hills, the atmosphere and cloud formations, the flow of the sea and rivers. These shapes and forms are abstracted to their energetic essence and combined with deeply glowing vibrant colors and that magical feeling of twilight, where the light softens and warms at the end of the day and illuminates the sky in rich glowing colors. “Evenings Embrace” (11:10) captures the lush possibilities of regeneration.
Sometimes along our path there are obstacles…
…in the way, some from our own creation and some from out of nowhere. Either way, I am often in the moment looking for a solution. The work is to exercise a cycle of design, change, then adapt. Mark Twain once said, “Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.” We should use all our creative resources to reach this goal. “Myriad Visions” (8:43) provides beautifully crafted rendered sonic images from ideas and visions, changing moods and views, dreaming of a life spent living, traveling, and studying, learning to create something previously always imagined where it can one day become a reality.
Being highly aware of our own mortality as we continue to age and experience loss, a sense of active innocence persists weaving us around death as a way of carrying on despite the inevitable possibilities that sustain the listener above ground: art and ardor, animals and gardens, the pleasure of seeing, the world tuned by the word, beautifully articulated meditations and penetrating observations about the way our lives are guided by unruly desires, part of the ecstasy of living.
“Deep Lane” (9:21) contains slower sustained atmospheres, descents into the earth beneath the garden, into the dark substrata of a life. Burrow into the personal and particular to discover revelations that feel universal, letting ideas float out too far into detached realms hampered by nostalgia for what is past, experience can never be fully recreated and so we want all the harder and strengthen an emotional connection with another. Nourishment in life is inextricably mixed with the toxic, a necessarily dangerous path to a more profound sense of knowing and developing, speaking about this life, relationships and thoughts about existence, a personal landscape which the listener can recline in to hear.
Now find a comprehensive mental view of a…
…series of remembered or anticipated events, star systems, spacecraft, alien species, weapons and history of a distant sector far from Earth, “Distant Vistas” (8:14). As we come out on the top of the mountain, a vista of hills and valleys lies before us as far as the eye can see. A vision, a view presented to the mind in prospect or in retrospect by the imagination.
Hear tiny details which create a panoramic immersion, behold a distant view or prospect, especially one seen through some opening, avenue or a passage. An endless vista stretched before me. An awareness of a range of time, events, or subjects; a broad mental view. A vista of pleasure to come. A world unbroken, actively engaging opportunities to dream and then act upon those very dreams. The pillars of cloud and fire, a broken and shattered world, reverberations uplifting and calming. Discover the world, not as it is, but how it could be – unbroken: “Unbroken Devotion” (7:28).
And on the last track, “Faring Forward” (4:50), I hear field recordings of a crowd situation blend into high altitude presences, the best is yet to come. Fare forward! Not fare well, but fare forward, voyageurs!
3. Let’s talk gear
The instruments used on Dark Measures: Presonus Studio One, Yamaha Montage, and Access Virus digital synthesizers; Omnisphere and Kontakt with final tracks assembled in Acid Pro. In their distant studios, Russell and Wilkerson have created together a seamless audio laboratory optimized for modular experimentation, employing additive, subtractive, frequency modulation, and amplitude modulation. Listen as they disappear down the rabbit hole for days so that you can experience sounds you’ve never heard, they have mastered the possibility for creating insane synths and sounds, exquisite strings, huge ranges of samples from a wide range of categories and many have a distinctly ‘classic’ flavor, a serious bridge between the digital world, electronic music and analog/acoustic sound.
4. Where to buy the album Dark Measures?
You can buy the album Dark Measures at the store of Spotted Peccary Music and Bandcamp.
Written by Robin James, November 20th, 2021
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