Info Crossing Of Shadows 
"Crossing Of Shadows"
by orchestra-maxfieldparrish
Faith Strange (fs12)
"On Nine Mile Marsh"
"A Walk Amongst the Raindrops"

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fn issue October 2011
'N-Plants' - Biosphere
'Sky Snails' - The Electric Golem
'Echo Park' - Willamette
'Gramophone Transmissions' - Broken Harbour
'Negative Space' - Blue Sausage Infant
'Home Patterning' - compilation
'Polychromatic Integers' - Richard Lainhart
'Generate Records' - compilation
'Sung In Broken Symmetry' - Aquarelle

Previously orchestramaxfieldparrish has navigated interstices between experimental ambient and a neo-classical distillate, dealing in ritual tone-whorls over dark drone and post-Gothic colourings to wispy atmospherics laced with orchestral infusions. Mike Fazio’s questing sensibility manifests here in a turning away from repetition of gestures. Where the previous was restless in its experiment, Crossing of Shadows is more restrained, self-contained - immediately more timbrally open than To The Last Man/Index Of Dreaming, and before that The Silent Breath of Emptiness, whose narrow focus on abstracted guitar-tones is expanded, integrated into a wider architecture. The album was released privately in 2007, but only now gets a full public issue. Comprising 'six dark lamentations,' perhaps of a general existential nature, though likely with a specific personal ceremonial note – this at the passing of a friend, to whom the album is dedicated.

Its 'lamentations' are formed of aether and earth, oneiromantic and spatial. The ancients had it that ‘through suffering comes wisdom’ and this may be at work here, especially in Part One, as Fazio transmutes mourning to enlightened musical movement. It sets out contemplative but unsettled with “Thirst (Revisitation)”; originally part of the soundtrack to the Caligari: An Exquisite Corpse DVD project, it hosts an initial lamenting cadence rising and extending through the soundfield, before a caustic drone sounds a signal to an irruption of spectral sound, a seepage of low-end crackle and hum, fluctuating between remote decay and more visceral attack. “On Nine Mile Marsh” comes with ominous sonorities before Part One’s brooding conclusion, “Mystery by Moonlight.” This is pervaded with a sense of eerie-serene reverie, communing with Coil. Fazio has an inveterate predilection for other iconic ambient/space/drone artists, and the lately resanitized ’70s Kosmische of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream, and these are no less present here - a hint of Cluster maybe, even a passing glimpse of Sky.

A paradigm shift in tenor comes with Part Two - less grim, more elegiac, with flickers of light more insistent, and darkness diminished. The light-seeking tendency is notable on “Lost Star,” (see above), with its spatial guitar leitmotifs and discreet treatments. “A Walk Amongst the Raindrops” is propelled by a sublimated echo-laden hypno-pulse before taking a meditative turn to spoken word (Japanese) and piano interludes. “Lament (“The end is where we start from, a new beginning always begins with an end.” “…Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is…”)” (gulp!) grounds celestial guitar-streams with a ballast of piano chords in closing. Throughout the album the use of spatial emplacement techniques transcends simple foreground-background determinations, allowing a vast expansiveness of soundfield to be suggested.

Review by Alan Lockett


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