Produced, engineered, recorded and composed by Craig Padilla and Richard Roberts
- Leaving This Shadow Of Heaven
- Final Farewells
- Ignition & Acceleration
- The Infinite Void
- The Everything That Is No Thing
- Hollow Dreams Of Worlds Passed
- Realizing The Infinite
- Frequencies (of Life)
- Dawning Realization
- Just Like Home
- The One
- Path of Least Resistance
Craig Padilla - synthesizers, sequencers, samplers
Richard Roberts - wind-synth, bass flute, bansuri, tinwhistle, native American flute, field recording
Craig Padilla and Zero Ohms have both had successful independent careers as ambient musicians, but this CD marks their first collaboration... and the result is amazing!
Path of Least Resistance combines melodic flute and synth melodies with soaring, pulsing, sweeping soundcapes for a mesmerizing sonic experience. This CD has been worked, reworked, polished and primed by the artists and the care in it's creation shines through! Path of Least Resistance will be one for every space music and ambient aficionado's CD collection.
2005. Press Information
Space music master Craig Padilla and ambient flautist Zero Ohms (Richard Roberts) come together for the first time to bring us "Path of Least Resistance".
Combining sweeping, synths soundscapes with luscious flute melodies and treatments.
This album is a collaboration between Craig Padilla and Zero Ohms in which both explore the world of imaginative electronic music. It is a fascinating symphony performed with synthesizers, whose seven pieces include widely different styles, though mostly portraying Ambient and Space Music. The most impressive piece in the album is, in my opinion, "The everything that is no thing", of a majestic air and a great beauty. This is no doubt a wonderful album, accompanied by a magnificent cover.
As more artists in the ambient and electronic music genres collaborate, one should not be surprised at the pairings that surface, although combining the ethereal electro-acoustic ambience of Zero Ohms (a.k.a. Richard Roberts) with the neo-Berlin EM and synthesizers of Craig Padilla did seem like a risky venture to me. However, after thoroughly digesting Path Of Least Resistance (on Lotuspike Records), I am once again delighted at how wrong my preconceptions can be. Featuring the wind-synth and assorted flutes of Roberts and Padilla’s arsenal of synths, samplers, and sequencers, this is a surprisingly complex and diverse recording, although much of the album is anchored in the "classic" spacemusic theater, consisting of fluid textures which gently soar with both subtlety and grandeur.
As such, one could draw parallels to previous releases from artists such as Michael Stearns, Kevin Braheny, or even Geodesium and Jonn Serrie. However, upon close analysis of the music itself, while there are traces of those other musicians here and there, Path Of Least Resistance is a relatively unique, if not near singular, take on composing and performing music that reflects "slipping the bonds of Earth" and cruising out amongst the stars and galaxies.
Variety from track to track, or even within individual cuts, doesn’t detract from the overall flow of the album, although some transitions present the listener with shifts in mood, to be sure.
"Leaving This Shadow Of Heaven" (great title, that!) opens with long droning washes and lush synth chords, but morphs into a dramatic retro EM/spacemusic piece with sparkling circular keyboards and crescendos that perfectly capture the essence of the track’s intent. Sampled electric guitar may take things slightly over the top near the end, but it’s appropriate enough since it underscores and boldfaces the song’s title.
"The Everything That Is No Thing" (yet another excellent choice of words) also begins in an ambient vein with haunting subtle swirling wind-synths that slowly pan from left to right and back again, holding an unmistakable bell-like resonance. Eventually, Padilla’s neo-Berlin synths and sequencers, carrying strong echoes of Tangerine Dream and similar artists, are folded into the mix and the resulting alchemy represents a spot-on symbiosis of the disparate elements. Electronic pulses, mournful retro synth-horns, and buzzing textures are buoyed by the soft under-cushion of Roberts’ bedrock ambient soundscape.
The most ambitious track is "Frequencies (of Life)" which opens with the sound of the original Star Trek transporter beam (the sound effect surfaces sporadically throughout the track). Over the course of the song’s nearly eleven minute duration, there are mysterious drifting synth washes, reverberating rumbling drone-like tones, laser-zapping flashes of SF-type synthesizers, rapid-fire sequences that sound like Robbie the Robot’s memory can terribly awry, and in the final stretch, graceful and serene wind-synth which floats over an undercurrent of billowing keyboards and amidst sampled bird calls. This track, by the way, while not having distinct time cues, is divided into three sections, subtitled "Dawning Realization", "Frequencies Received", and "Just Like Home".
Closing out the CD are the tracks "The One" which is another healthy dose of Padilla’s excellent take on retro-Teutonic EM (blended with some nice flute work by Roberts which pokes its head through now and then) and the title song which ends the recording with an assortment of Roberts’ flutes (perhaps the best playing he’s ever done on CD, in fact), deeply echoed and wafting gently in mid-air, later joined by subtle sampled guitar and various hand percussion. The cut reminded me of Stephen Bacchus’ over-looked gem of a CD, Pangaea, in how it evokes images that are peaceful yet primeval with the added spice of world music flavors.
Path Of Least Resistance is one of those cds which offer something for nearly everyone: Germanic/retro EM goodness, classic drifting spacemusic, haunting quasi-ambient tones and warm drones, serene flutes and wind-synths for those seeking calm and serene soundscapes, and that last touch of world beat for those whose view of ambient music is global in nature.
Expertly recorded and mixed (I have read that the final tweaking of the album took a lot of time and it shows in the attention to detail), the CD displays both of the artists’ strengths while also pointing out how well they fit together as a "whole."
It earns a highly recommended from me as an example of ambient music which exemplifies the concept of "cohesive diversity" in masterful fashion.
2005. Bill Binkelman / Wind and Wire
This CD from 2005 offers 62 minutes of sedate ambience.
While Craig Padilla plays synthesizers, sequencers and samplers, Zero Ohms (aka Richard Roberts) provides wind-synth, flutes (of the conventional and Native American variety), bansuri, tinwhistle and field recordings.
Soothing textures mix with woodwinds and waft on synthetically generated breezes. These atmospheric conditions are tempered with sighing tonalities that nicely embellish the easygoing resonance, lending slowly rising hills and sloping escarpments to the sonic terrain. Tenuous effects timidly emerge to season the flow, then return to their obscure hiding places, allowing the foundational ambience to continue.
Dimensions seem to lose their definition during music like this, as electronic tapestries muffle time and space, generating deceptive measurements intended to baffle close examination. The audience is forced to surrender to the sonority, becoming one with the timeless sensibilities.
Extant diversions are gradual and subtle in most of these ambient compositions, tastefully impressing themselves on the harmonics and often injecting soft drama to the music's ethereal presence.
A few tracks do exhibit some authority, though, as substance manifests in the form of tenderly demonstrative riffs amid fluttering crystalline tones. A heavenly mien is produced that cannot be considered overt, but certainly possesses adequate body to elevate it from the rest of the album's calm personality.
2006. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
Add to the short list of classic Spacemusic albums exploring the relationship between electronic and acoustic music Path of Least Resistance (61'51") by Craig Padilla and Zero Ohms.
For this project, Padilla has refined his dense and energetic style nearer to the level of the sleek and serene flute playing of Zero Ohms. Together, the duo explores areas they may not have ventured into on their own. Their music, comprised of dreamy interludes and tonal narratives, is spacious and uncluttered. Both minimal and expansive, the seven tracks on Path of Least Resistance float across and into each other in an infinite, gentle mix - to which Zero Ohms introduces the soft whisper of flutes while Padilla provides a foundation of sustained synthesized notes, chords, and progressions.
The album is beautiful, full of commanding synth-borne melodies, warming flute trills and the echo of otherworldly rituals throughout. At times tranquil, somnolent ambient meditation, while elsewhere a pulsing cybernetic entity, the Craig Padilla/Zero Ohms collaboration is locating new paths and branches of sonic exploration.
Chuck van Zyl / Star's End
I guess this collaboration shouldn’t surprise me too much. Though I know Craig Padilla mostly for his melodic and sequencer-based space music, he also has done excellent floating ambient albums like Temporal Suspension and the particularly stark and minimal Vostok. Of course, Zero Ohms is no stranger to ambience and drones.
"Leaving This Shadow of Heaven" starts with undulating reverberations that set the tone early – no sequencing, and delicate melodies drenched with atmosphere. This is deep space music, like Jonn Serrie but a tad more sparse and expansive. The pure space sounds also remind me of Michael Stearns’ classic Planetary Unfolding.
A little bit of sequencing figures here and there, for example on the slow and steady "The Everything That is No Thing".
The pulsing is a bit faster on "The One", while flutes add an airy touch to the Berlin School musical style. Nevertheless, this cd is primarily about floating through space and expanding the mind.
The title track blends ambient, Native American, and new age textures together in a relaxing closing number.
Subtleties throughout reward attentive and repeat listening.
Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
In the last few years, the experienced Craig Padilla has frequently searched for collaborations with other musicians. On "Path Of Least Resistance" (one I would like to find), he works with Richard Roberts, also known as Zero Ohms, a player of flute and wind synthesizer.
The cd opens impressively in "Leaving This Shadow Of Heaven", with a lot of atmospheric sounds and a calm solo. Michael Stearns greets here.
"The Everything That Is No Thing" and "The One" are more traditional through the use of sequences. The major part of the cd is filled with atmospheres and they don’t do this badly at all.
In "Hollow Dreams Of Worlds Passed", for instance, we hear long stretched tones that (primarily) define the early music of Steve Roach.
The factor space is also present quite amply, like in "Realising The Infinite".
"Frequencies (Of Life)" reveals a mix of retro and ambient.
The title track follows new age slightly because of a quiet sequence, spherical sounds and flute. This track has traces of the cd "Gaia" by Kitaro.
All in all, this is a very nice cd, the best I have heard up until now from Padilla.