Interdwell The Dark Sky AllianceInterdwell

Tracklist:
  1. Search
  2. Fortunate One
  3. Warm Inlet
  4. The Desert Mind
  5. Latch
  6. Interdwell
  7. The Far Cry
  8. Marotta Swamp
  9. Tré Pur
  10. The Slow Train Home
  11. Linear
  12. Bring Myself To Say It

Release Details


Genre : Ambient, Cinematic, Electronic, Soundscapes
Label : Spotted Peccary Music
Country : USA
Format : CD, Digital album
Date : May 17, 2024

 

Interdwell – Spotted Peccary Music SPM-4801

 

The Dark Sky Alliance is a quartet who come from different parts of the musical universe, percussion and electronics, keyboards, and guitars. The groove is within the ambient side of smooth jazz and contemporary classical, with some funky rhythms that pull me in every time I listen. Four musicians with guests that create fantastic illusions of great distances and floating dreams of silver and darkness. The texture is rich and engaging, with a space teleportation vibe that gives a positive and restful interim experience. Interdwell could be the place you live when traveling for extended periods of time, between planets or solar systems. Here time is mellow, relax to the almost jazzy grooves in an ambient acoustic framework.

 

1. About the album Interdwell

Jerry Marotta is the key percussionist and has recorded and toured with such stellar talents as Peter Gabriel, The Indigo Girls, Hall and Oates, Tears For Fears, Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, 10,000 Maniacs, Suzanne Vega and Los Lonely Boys; Eric “the” Taylor is the Architect of Ambient Soundscapes and conjures symphonic worlds from vintage analog synthesizers; David Helpling plays guitars as well as Yamaha CP70 and approaches his projects with a sense of color and cinematic scope; while Rupert Greenall paints in textures by using his voice to play synthesizers. Rupert also continues to play with the new wave rock band, The Fixx.

On the album Interdwell, extending the reach of the Dark Sky Alliance is Robert Rich, multi-instrumentalist, and pioneer of ambient, dark-ambient, tribal and trance genres, who here plays flute (he made it himself), grand piano, as well as analog and digital synthesizers. Tony Levin, currently also collaborating with King Crimson, Peter Gabriel Band, Stick Men and Levin Brothers, here plays bowed double bass on “The Slow Train Home.” Joe Locke was inducted into the Music Hall of Fame in Rochester; he is also a consultant at the Royal Academy of Music and holds the title of Hon ARAM and plays vibraphone potentially everywhere he goes.
 

Forrest Fang is a multi-instrumentalist exploring…

…exotic and traditional instruments from all around the world, with a slowly growing solid catalog of over two dozen fantastic self-produced albums. Here, Fang provides some amazing, sampled percussion. Jamie West Oram, longtime bandmate with Rupert and guitarist in the band The Fixx, here plays electric guitars. On the second and third tracks, the late Sonam Targee is the vocalist and trumpet player. Sadly, we lost Sonam to Lou Gehrig’s Disease on April 15th, 2022.

 

2. The tracks

We are waking in a brightly lit place, with long sustained tones, “Search” (2:36). Where you can imagine floating in the air with no gravity sort of lingering, the atmosphere is light and gauze, with shadows of every combination of these elements. This is classic space music, floating upside down looking at a distant planet. The clue we search for brings us a long way and allows us to start getting to know the world at hand now. “Fortunate One” (7:19) brings the vocals that sound like prayers or holy chants, while the percussion glides on and the guitar takes off — everything is perfect, a very engaging percussion, an unusual time signature and a thrilling tempo with plenty of mystery.

This adventure too comes to its eventual conclusion. I have been waiting for the “Warm Inlet” (6:42). What I like best is how the beat has a way of grabbing you using little pauses where the bottom drops away, and we hang there for a moment then the beat steps in and starts again. There are alternating floating instrumentals, and the trumpet is out of this world. I love brass. Here the sound is like wind drones with an engaging beat contrasting with the sustained piano and electronic atmospherics, lights of every color giving a sensation of falling while upside down, only fun instead of dangerous. That beat sends me!

 

Where next?

Into “The Desert Mind” (5:43), a remote distance, all the way to another world, far far away where the sand is like water, stirring and mixing constantly. A place that melts sometimes, the beads glide past each other melting and blending. Now the flute tells the story, and we experience this strange place. I think that at one point I imagined I was riding a beast with long legs over the endless sand, each step creating a flowing rhythm with bumps and floating zones with some pauses. And yet, then the journey begins again, long steps from up on top, trying to hang on, then it drifts into a relaxing timeless place.

Then we come to the “Latch” (3:16), reaching a sustained suspense humming doom and brewing thunder nearby up there. They say that a latch keeps things secure, I wonder where this is going. I like it, the vibraphone emerges as do many tonalities, layers of drones and the sickening thrill of eternity, and all the time I know that a latch keeps me safe.

Here comes a new beat, a slow beat catching on, I hear an ethereal voice out in the changing strange range and beyond, “Interdwell” (8:30) features a strong combination of contrasting and corresponding rhythms and funky space music. The story with no words includes wide open drones as well as sections where the beat sort of reaches firmly inside you and warmly grabs you again, to dance of course. I think that it sounds like each musician has the lead in their layer, and it all just grooves and sounds unusual, acoustic percussion with some strange almost melodic enhancements that I cannot hope to describe. I can tell you that time has no meaning for me now.

 

Is that a distant explosion or was it…

…something else? “The Far Cry” (7:46) creates a sensation something like this, the piano reaches out from within a big empty space and the guitar floats closer back and forth between them weaving the melody, the two of them back and forth, now I can hear more than two things come together and get figured out. It could be that this is about survival, but it takes shape in a safe dreamy place where the danger is clearly imaginary. But, from the title, I think that a cry probably indicates danger either here close by or there so far away, and isn’t imaginary danger the worst kind? I do not know.

These are restful dynamics, floating about comfortably, letting go of tension and gaining everything else, now I have decided that this is a fantasy of flying great distances. So naturally it is time to slow down now. We are entering the “Marotta Swamp” (6:27), this is like finding another world, another tempo, a whole new atmosphere, even more slow and deep. Now I think we could be underwater; it is a big world, and it is dark here. Dark and full of life watching your every move. I think the swamp may be inside a huge cave, a chamber that goes on for miles in every direction and the sound floats like a nest of sunfish.

As the track progresses, we come to a spot where the flow has picked up in tempo, then coasts, then soars, again and again. I think that visiting the swamp in the fog at night with lots of little creatures making tiny sounds all around, near and far, is a great big hoot. I am going back in there again.

 

Now the sound is returning from…

…the darkness between the tracks. The vibrations are coming from a gently humming place. Behold “Tré Pur” (4:20), where the horizon and the flavor are steadily expanding, always cautious in a big dangerous adventure, breathless between jumpshocks it is time to stop and see what happens next. That is when the piano glides in and floats here and there, always keeping the moment quiet and relaxing with unexpected adventures materializing out of the glow and mist, until it is too late, calling out into the darkness just because it feels so good.

You can see that this is awesome, a ride impossible, a safe and comfortable place to dream, taking “The Slow Train Home” (10:29), where the bowed bass is like heaven, there is a wonderful story unfolding in that old dusty wooden box way, slow motion because life can seem like it takes a long time. I am floating amidst soft and supportive drone dreams. My thoughts are restful and filled with interesting details hidden in the drone veils suspended up above and then things get even more slow and dreamy, but there are phantoms moaning in the distance. I like that. I remember that riding a train at night when it is quiet all you can hear is the tracks clattering somewhere nearby but not here, steel on steel in the night.

 

Now for a new world, a new…

…place between worlds, at a time when the energy flickers and increases velocity, then the whole wall drops away, and we are flying at a great speed. The motion is “Linear” (5:06) with bending steel bows and a funky beat that drops out for a moment then comes swooping in and spreading rainbows where it was dark just a moment ago, now it is dark again. Now the percussive textures are spectacular, leading into the guitar jam, oh baby, everything is balanced and moving at a slow steady gate which might slow down and drift, then an extra pause and the beat comes in so strong and exciting.

Can there be an ambient pop genre, blending the heart with the head in short convenient consumer-friendly sizes? I just cannot “Bring Myself To Say It” (3:50). It makes me feel sort of sad, or in a deep soulful trance. Ambient moves at a different speed than pop music, but pop sensibilities here float in and create new forms and variations, sweet sad moments. I think that everything you need to describe these feelings is here for this short track, including an odd unrelated melody that sort of glides past again and again, and then changes yet again. It seems that pop songs are sometimes sad, this has a reflective tempo, with Martian choirs singing somewhere just over the horizon, but really, it is the piano that owns this moment. Gosh, there I said it.

 

3. Where to buy the album Interdwell?

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

Written by Robin James, May 17th, 2024
 
 


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