Released: 2004 By Lotuspike llc
Available on backorder
In 2002, Jeff Kowal, a.k.a. Terra Ambient, made quite a name for himself with his debut CD – A Darker Space. That exquisite blend of dark ambient, tribal ambient and space minimalism was a mainstay on many Best of the Year” lists.His long-awaited and eagerly-anticipated follow-up is finally here! The Gate is every bit as awesome as his debut and then some! Jeff has found greater confidence and his tendencies to perfectionism have paid off handsomely on this CD!
The seven movements in this processed acoustic symphony (no synths) weave tales of unknown strength and deep emotionalism. The moods range from dark and sinister to contemplative and healing to rhythmic tribal. Jeff handles each style expertly. His virtuosity on a large array (over 20) of acoustic and ethnic instruments (including one garbage can lid) is amazing. He mixes processed sounds and acoustic sonorities adroitly. The segues are seamless so the disc plays as a single long soundscape.
This disc works best on continuous play with the old style headphones that cover the listeners ears completely. A dark room with burning incense and candles enhances the experience tremendously.Mood altering chemicals are never necessary.This disc is extremely psychoactive on every level! It is also jeffs ticket to the perpendicular universe!
2004. Jim Brenholts“
I purchased a copy of The Gate not knowing what to expect. I thought, perhaps, it would be a dark ambient soundscape in the mode of Terra Ambient‘s first CD, The Darker Side. I did not expect… THIS!!
When Bill Beck wrote that The Gate would appeal to fans of TUU, he hit the mark…in fact, the opening minutes of track 1, The Pilgrim’s Road”
Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
This CD from 2004 features 50 minutes of arcane ambience.Terra Ambient is Jeff Kowal. Electronic textures fuse with didgeridoo and other ethnic instruments to produce an ethereal dose of ambience tempered with lazy tempos and sighing woodwinds. Voices and guitars undergo extreme processing, entering the mix as tenuous sounds that enhance the overall haunting tuneage.Languid harmonics drift like thick fogs that refuse to merge. Relaxed beats and pensive wheezings flicker amid these clouds, connecting air and soil in a union that literally transcends conventional styles to resound with a global demeanor celebrating a human spirit devoid of nationality.While nationality plays no part in this music, geography does. The songs evoke arid climates shrouded in twilight and seething with mystic implications. Listeners are ushered through a cerebral gate to witness antediluvian ceremonies involving natural forces and mute stone.Sandstorms rise in the distance, creeping slowly forward to engulf the audience in their breathing resonance. The eerie didgeridoos and shuffling rhythms generate a mild urgency that escorts you safely through the dry tempest.Desert flutes waver and tremble, calling to the night.This CD will definitely appeal to fans of Steve Roach‘s tribal music.
2004. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
Chuck van Zyl / STAR’S END
On The Gate by Terra Ambient, electronic musician Jeff Kowal leaves the ranks of his synthesizer absorbed brethren to relate his personal musical story through performances on a range of exotic acoustic instruments. With this move, Kowal does achieve multi-instrumentalist status, but does not stray too far from the technology associated with more overtly electronic sounding mind-music. Kowal brings to this genre of Forth World” tribal-ambient soundscapes an enthusiasm and accessibility that is demonstrated in his album’s energetic melodic content and virtuoso musicianship.The mood emanating from The Gate is ceremonial
Bill Binkleman / Wind & Wire
If ever a sub genre was in need of a transfusion, it’s ethno-tribal ambient. With The Gate, a new recording from Terra Ambient (the alias of one Jeff Kowal), that transfusion has arrived and the patient is now not just healthy, but vibrantly alive! The Gate is among the finest recordings released in this genre since the turn of the century, and can placed alongside albums such as o yuki conjugate‘s undercurrents in dark water, Tuu‘s All Our Ancestors, Steve Roach and Robert Rich‘s Soma, as well as the recordings from Suspended Memories or Kenneth Newby. Yes, it is that good.What astounded me was how Kowal accomplished this feat without the use of synthesizers. Instrumentation on the album includes his voice (harmonic overtone singing and other vocals), electric guitar, bansuri flute, didgeridoo, and more ethnic percussion than I will\ bother to list here, except to say it’s a lot! Most of those are subject to some sort of processing (not the percussion, though) and that is how Kowal achieves such superb textures without using a keyboard of any type whatsoever. The Gate is an amazing achievement in sound design and recording wizardry.Many of the tracks feature ethno-tribal percussion, yet the music carries a wafting sense of primal sensuality, even when there are rhythms present. Other apt descriptors would be: haunting, surreal, mysterious, earthy, shadowy, entrancing, and rapturously beautiful. Make no mistake about it, despite the darker tint to most of the music here, it is still utterly beautiful.Kowal apparently excels at everything. His Bansuri flute work is wondrous, as it floats over the didgeridoo, carrying the main melody along as if it was a wisp of incense borne by a gentle wind. Speaking of his didgeridoo, he uses it in refreshingly subtle ways, so that it adds muted colors to a selection without overpowering everything else going on (a frequent complaint I have with that instrument on most albums). However, it’s his percussion work that impresses me the most, as well as how he integrates his various vocal abilities among the rest of the assembled parts.
Allow me to detail some of this fantastic album’s highpoints. majoun” is a Gamelan-type number and it’s simply stunning
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