1 Planetary Hum
3 The Lighthouse
4 Distant Signals
The Oort Cloud is a vast spherical hull of ice proposed to reside on the outer rim of our solar system. Nothing in this cloud has yet been seen, though it may contain icy objects including comets once close to the sun. This imagined place is the inspiration for ambient musician Forrest Fang’s The Oort Cloud Meditations.
While many of Fang’s releases are a hybrid of electronic and acoustic instruments, his latest remains predominantly a free-floating, transparent and gently unfolding electronic space. Using synthesizers to a greater extent than on previous albums, Fang organically transforms their tones into undulating harmonic gestures through ambient treatments and processing. The five far-reaching movements proceed at a relaxed pace; drifting atmospheres ebb and expand gradually, encouraging the mind to wander untethered.
“I created this album over an intense three months,” says Fang. “It started with a simple experiment that continued to evolve and spilled over into new pieces as the results grew more interesting and more sonically complex. I created electronic sounds that revolved around each other semi-randomly with room for harmonies to develop organically from these interactions. I used melodies sparingly, subtly introducing alternate tunings at times to reflect different moods.”
The album opens with “Planetary Hum,” a gently rolling series of tones intended to ground the listener for the auditory meditations to follow. The work’s open-ended textures are at times reminiscent of Brian Eno’s generative soundscapes but more dynamic in nature.
The extended “Diaphanes” follows, thematically drawing on the translucence of ice and revealing a surprisingly warm sonic environment. Like the opener, the overall mood is elongated and expansive. Across eighteen otherworldly minutes, the electronic textures glow and flicker suggesting arcs of the sun’s refracted light.
A darker, more mysterious blend of hues appears on “The Lighthouse.” Fragmentary themes quietly appear and recede in the veiled fog like random memories briefly emerging from the subconscious. Long, expanding echoes trail the melodic fragments leaving a large spatial void that ultimately swallows up these ephemeral reverberations. Even so, the fragments cover a considerable distance before finally fading away.
The faint trail from “The Lighthouse” leads us to the calming spaces of “Distant Signals.” Resonating frequencies resembling the sustain and decay of bronze temple bells and gongs drift across the acoustic field in tunings suggesting ancient origins. An unearthly choral sound bed gradually emerges, bringing the listener into an imaginary floating realm of undefined dimension.
Our visit to the Oort Cloud concludes with a return from distant celestial skies to internal spaces in the final piece, “Solus.” A cluster of thick harmonious tones form their own vibrating cloud; it momentarily hangs in the air before receding into silence.