Released in January 2001 on the Groove Unlimited label.|
- Shadow chasers [21:35]
- Aural explorations [14:00]
- Shifting sands [19:33]
- The domain of Arnheim [19:58]
The music on this CD was previously only available as double cassette from 1991 under the artist name XISLE with the exception of the track "Beyond the known horizon" which appeared on Chuck's CD "The relic".
The 2nd track is recorded live in concert at the Tabernacle in Philadelphia, U.S.A. and is previously unreleased.
This is a wonderful album, quite the most accessible CD that Van Zyl has been associated with. At the same time however it should also be liked by those people who were in to Celestial Mechanics and Relic though it isn't as spacey.
The first number is Shadow Chasers and we get straight into an infectious sequence which takes a break from time to time for superb melodic interludes. The starting and stopping of the sequence even develops a sort of rhythm all of its own. Really nice lead lines are played over the top, the track working on every level. We then enter an atmospheric and gently laid back section. A new sequence develops, ticking along slowly just adding a little extra detail to the track. It then fades away and we float along peacefully on silken pads for a few minutes before another relaxed sequence is brought in then it is added to by another to create a subliminal hypnotic effect. A lovely melody plays in the middle of the mix. Its then that you realize that the sequences is slowly, oh so slowly, getting louder. Just when it is getting quite strident it changes completely and we enter the closing section, pads become more prominent and we are brought to a gentle conclusion.
Aural Explorations begins with a bright metallic drone over what sounds like insect noises. We then get some lovely spooky effects that could have come off early Tangerine Dream albums like Zeit or Atem. Cavernous scraping noises and big whooshes of sound can then be heard. More and more space effects are introduced and others taken away so the impression of travelling through one awesome area of space to the next is created. At four minutes a simple sequence comes in then unexpectedly a flutey synth. This completely transforms the mood to one of relaxed contemplation. Another sequence comes in and more symphonic pads develop underneath. Its now quite a complex track with many pulsating layers. In the sequence department it is rather Schulzian but the rest of the instrumentation is completely different though it all fits together beautifully.
Shifting Sands starts with a combination of wind and cosmic sounds. At six minutes the sequences start to develop over slow melodic pads. The pace starts to quicken and a piano lead line can be heard. A rhythm is also added and we have another complex but thoroughly enjoyable combination of sounds - sounding slightly Turkish to me. Its one of those things that's rather difficult to describe in a review but I loved it!
In The Domain of Arnheim we get multi layered pads creating a perfect atmosphere to just let yourself float but just when you feel your mind starting to drift the attention is brought back into focus by a "ticking" sequence then a piano melody. Its all very relaxing and is the most improvised sounding track on the CD. A new lead is brought in with seven minutes to go and all of a sudden the track just bursts into life, stop your floating and let yourself be lifted up by these gorgeous melodies. Fly above the world and marvel at it all.
This album was originally recorded 12 years ago, why on earth has it taken so long for a CD release? It's fantastic.
"The Sound Museum" is a set of recordings from the late 1980ís by Chuck van Zyl, Peter D. Gulch and Andrew Rath. It is mystifying that this music has been in the vaults for so long. Groove Unlimited has honored this synth trio by releasing the CD to the public.
The sound design features some heavy Berlin school sequencing and some seriously dark expansive atmospheres. Those atmospheres dominate the set. Chuck, Peter and Andrew created this when such atmospheres, while not unknown, had not been explored to their fullest. (That might help explain the delay in releasing it)
Taken in context of new millennium minimalism, this disc stands out as a winner and absolute classic. Chuck and Peter have been on the cutting edge of electronic music for years. Chuck, best known for his Starsend radio program and for hosting Gathering concerts, has some incredible music in his discography. Peter, through his work with The Nightcrawlers and a previous collaboration with Chuck, has demonstrated an ability to step up to new ideas and embrace them. The massive atmospheres use silence as an instrument to augment the electronics. Listeners will find this vehicle to the edges of outer and inner space a delight.
This CD further enhances Chuckís reputation as a leader in the genre. It also fuels the desire of his fans to witness a Gathering with him as the feature attraction!
2001. Jim Brenholts