Illusive Kelly DavidIllusive

  1. Sentinel
  2. Palione
  3. Distance
  4. Garden of the Forgotten
  5. Top of the Trees
  6. Into The Ether
  7. Northcoast

Release Details

Genre : Ambient, Cinematic, Dark ambient, Drone, Electronic, Meditative, Shamanic, Tribal
Label : Spotted Peccary Music
Country : USA
Format : CD, Digital album
Date : October 15, 2021


Illusive – Spotted Peccary Music SPM-9089


Gentle and mysterious electronic instrumental music, Illusive flows through various terrains and landscapes, responding to elemental changes and discoveries along the way, accomplishing thorough and ultimately dramatic transformations in the form, appearance, and character of the soundscape. What you will hear will sometimes be something that might not be what it seems to be, just when the view of a jungle plateau is coming into focus it might soon disappear and be replaced with something even more complex and inexplicable. This is the beauty and direction of the compositional work of Kelly David.


1. About the album Illusive

It is possible that I am dreaming right now and that all of my perceptions are false. The ability of the mind to be tricked into believing that a mentally generated world is the “real world” is actually a common, even nightly event. Listening to Illusive, you might be able to see in this soundtrack a resemblance to various different unexplored planets adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, flora, fauna, plains, wide valleys, and various groups of hills and caverns. The first encounter is with a person or thing that watches or stands as if watching.


2. The tracks


The curtain opens with a choral…

…invocation, majestic vistas loom in the darkness. Gradually forms are suggested and rise from the mist. There are pauses between each sustained swirling paradox of sonic umbric geography. “Sentinel” (9:20) brings an introduction that transforms from a meditation on stillness into a delicate dance of mystical convocation.

Giuseppe Palione was an Italian classical composer born in Rome in 1781 and died in Paris in 1819; there is a street named after him in Oahu with a vacation house located there. On the grounds of this vacation house there is a saltwater pool where some of the music heard on this track was created, “Palione” (9:54). The echoes suggest that this cavern is gigantic and there are various textures and natural features to explore, a bubbling pool of many colors, a vast shimmering expanse, zones of uncertain substance and sensation, clouds of gloom with glitter, gulls floating in dark waters and eventually emerging into forests inhabited by crepuscular avian life forms.

The length of a specific path traveled between two points is known as the distance, however, distance measures in cosmology are complicated by the expansion of the universe. “Distance” (7:33) includes illusive vistas and offings, with cyclic dreamy pauses which build into floating sky palaces and ancient cathedral gardens. The details are luxurious with variety and exotic tiny whirling clockwork-like mechanisms.


Energetic vibrations and melodic…

…fragments open into a yet larger chamber which turns out to be a conservatory with remote foghorns and forms of life that are allowed to flourish, beautifully written with satisfying cycles of tension and release. “Garden of the Forgotten” (5:19) is a more vibrant interlude, providing a tender sparkle. The pace of this track allows a bit of contrast to this unhurried journey of discovery. All of these elements are woven throughout.

Go and climb to the top of the trees; up there I thought I saw numerous gaily plumaged birds that were strange, sitting at the top of the tree talking to one another. “Top of the Trees” (8:03) allows our ears to wander through the green velarium high above, into a canopy where breezes and flocks of flying creatures weave in and out of the leaves and branches.

Slow and elegant, with wide expanses that reveal complex golden mountains and valleys where high above in the sky metallic chimeras leisurely ring and wind and weave, and then disappear without leaving any evidence of their substance. “Into The Ether” (12:25) shows that it is possible to disappear into the mysterious matter that our ancestors once thought to suffuse the universe. This is what the best dreams float and sway upon. The reverberations fade into darkness.


How can such a journey be concluded?

What can top the heights we have experienced so far? Start at the shore, where waves break and rattle the pebbles. “Northcoast” (15:52) is the universe collected into an electronic symphony, expressing new and timeless tributes to celestial intelligence, marching out of sight to suggest that what we think we see might not be the end of it. There is something hidden beyond, and we could get there if only we had new wings. Higher and higher, at sunrise over the dark seas sparkling with whitecaps, at the furthest extent of our vision there are cliffs with another opening, leading to a world that has never been observed.

The Northcoast has signs of long-ago storms and tides that sometimes reveal the tops of large objects submerged in the depths of the sea, are they lost buildings? Perhaps a pyramid, or some kind of a shrine or ruins of a temple, remaining from some strange priesthood that spent centuries calling in vain on their gods to preserve them as the sea gradually rose around them, tides pulled by a moon that steadily and microscopically accumulated and caused the shoreline to rise to cover and submerge the work of these unknown ancient architects. Now the lights fade.


3. The musician

After an extensive and colorful career as a DJ in various American cities (Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh, Dallas, San Diego, Honolulu, Washington DC and Baltimore), Kelly David settled down at the edge of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and amongst other activities started a series of collaborative projects with Steve Roach, who mixed and produced Kelly’s first album, Broken Voyage in 2002 and mastered and added spatial enhancements to Kelly’s 2006 release, Angkor. In 2014, Kelly collaborated with Steve on an album called The Long Night and in 2019 Kelly released his first solo album with Spotted Peccary Music, Meditations in Green. This is his second album with Spotted Peccary.


4. Where to buy the album Illusive?

You can buy the album Illusive at the store of Spotted Peccary Music and Bandcamp.

Written by Robin James, October 9th, 2021

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