Spacemusic Reviews

Tag: Looper

Miles Richmond & Peter Grenader w/Steve Roach: POV



Miles Richmand & Peter Grenader w/Steve Roach: POV
Released: 5 July 2019

In a sound voyage through dream lands, electric guitarist Miles Richmond and synth-smith Peter Grenader, along with Spacemusic icon Steve Roach have realized POV (61’01”) – an album of fluent and unified music. At times a casual ramble, while at others a vast soul-searching ascent, this deeply lived work leaves the light of our mind on, but with its engine slowed considerably. In six substantially structured tracks Richmond & Grenader with Roach trace graceful compositional arcs. Their creations initially progress in a prevailing sense of propulsion, but further in they go deep, down, dark – descending into a twilight territory. Synthesizers and processed guitar all figure into the arrangement. Lushly orchestrated, POV moves calm, warm whirlpools of tones through thickening electronic drones. As emotionally charged liquid lead lines snake over rolling ambient loops and washes, the listener will gain a feel for texture, gesture and atmosphere. With darkness resolving into light, this album softens. In trembling, shadowy chords, and guitar quotes drawn from “No Pussyfooting”, it shines with promise. POV seems meant for us to tour the cosmos, while sitting quietly in a small room… to wander past everything, into shadows forth, and heartless voids and immensities. By listening to this release, you have taken your first steps onto a larger, better realm. This work offers the feeling of being welcomed, in a way that the rest of the world simply cannot.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END1 August 2019

Robert Rich & Markus Reuter: Flood Expeditions: The Gatherings 19 May 2018

Flood Expeditions: The Gatherings 19 May 2018

Flood Expeditions: The Gatherings 19 May 2018

Robert Rich & Markus Reuter: Flood Expeditions: The Gatherings 19 May 2018
Released: 4 July 2018

People pray in a church. On 19 May 2018 Robert Rich & Markus Reuter played in a church, and did something that was truly new. Their program for The Gatherings Concert Series merged the aesthetics of Classical Music with the profanity of improvisation; as this duo did not just acknowledge the mystery of existence, they celebrated it. Their album Flood Expeditions: The Gatherings 19 May 2018 presents the full concert – where Rich performed at the grand piano and Reuter with his Touch Guitar and digital processing before a rapt Philadelphia audience. Some audiences sing along, or clap, while others may drink, dance, sway or bob. Symphony attendees read the conductor’s notes. At The Gatherings we listen, which provided Rich & Reuter with an opening to delve deeper into a new set of explorations – of a magic they had first encountered in the making of their 2017 studio album Lift a Feather to the Flood. These guys know all the notes, chords, scales, majors and minors. Yet the works found on Flood Expeditions are about the subtle power of sound – not for decorating the live space, but for a glimpse into something spiritual. With its ever-fading atmospheric tones and digital haze their realizations may seem a formless vacuum, yet everything is balanced by optimism. Rich’s piano notes resound through reverberation, surrounded by surreal fluttering environmental textures. Whether playing the keys seated, or reaching into the piano to pluck, scrape and strum its inner workings, he seems to produce emanations from a lifetime of receiving and expressing wonder. Reuter waits deep in the soundscape to find many electric moments. His guitar first breathes lowly, then asserts a color of succinct distortion in heated lead lines, expanding soon into ethereal consonance. Using a uniquely routed echo, he even manages to wedge in a conversation with himself. Rather than root the audience to where they sit, together Rich & Reuter transport us to an immaterial realm – where an internal guidance awakens. This music represents something outside of ourselves, upon which we project our thoughts and contemplations. There are no instructions for listening to Flood Expeditions, there is only the sensation of hearing. As we endeavored to hear their message in the darkened sanctuary this performance reminded us of the nature of possibility – of what we can become. But Robert Rich & Markus Reuter cannot play us into the answers, we must live into them ourselves.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END12 July 2018

Tim Motzer: Live From Star’s End

Live From Star's End

Live From Star’s End

Tim Motzer Live From Star’s End
Released: 12 April 2014

Tim Motzer is a musician so wide open that there is almost no look at tradition. While improvising and well into a space doing the thing he wants it is hard for him to think about the past or the future. He is too busy learning new things about himself, things he would have never known had he not done the searching. Motzer’s album Live From Star’s End is loaded with lush layered guitar orchestrations that may not have been thought out completely ahead of time, but were certainly thought about deeply. Like a benevolent spell that refuses to break this hour long set is a work the listener visits, not merely listens to. From wild color and barely controlled chaos, where its sheer strangeness sustains our curiosity, to an odd sonic emptiness Motzer plays lithe and liquid solos with breathtaking ease – and provides productive slumber for the listener and audio radiance for the radio audience. Part of the now legendary 3 November 2013 all live music broadcast of STAR’S END Ambient Radio Motzer’s set seems to be more about shaping form than about the playing of ordered notes. In this context, live on the air of a venerable spacemusic radio show, he incorporates other things but does not alter the philosophy of the music or format. In some places the music seems like a self-organizing system – and that once the work gets to a certain level of complexity it goes in its own direction, while elsewhere it is coaxed and guided by the artist in beautiful sonorities, textures and harmonies. While Tim Motzer’s live musical ideas presented on STAR’S END provokes thought and binds genres, his work here is really about the plasticity of time, and how it may be felt as both infinite and finite, elusive and recognizable – the six-string part of a six-hour odyssey Live From Star’s End.

(Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END11 April 2014)