This is a new item but there are some marks on the disc which makes it look somewhere between Excellent and Very Good Condition.
This album was not at all what I expected given their past offerings. Previous CDs had been of the highest musical quality but also had their challenging moments. What we have here is ‘pure’ ethereal beauty. ‘Presence’ starts things off pretty much as they intend to go on with plucked notes shimmering and echoing into the distance. It’s so blissed out. New runs of notes come, merging in with the existing ones as they gently decay. Sometimes the notes come in flurries whilst at other moments things subside so that we can hear more of the underlying pads. ‘History’ is quite a bit different from the rest of the album starting with chopped up / backward vocal samples over which an exquisite rhythm starts and stops. A sublime delicate melody floats like a will-o’-the-wisp in and out of the mix. Even though there are beats present they are used in such a delicate way that the mind is caressed by them whilst the lead line soothes all the senses. More gentle ethereal notes float across the ether on ‘This Life’. Cool grooves come and go but as on the rest of this album they cause a gentle nodding of the head rather than a whole body moving frenzy. Just let those gentle beats and stunning sonic touches float through you. ‘Glisten’ is well titled as shinning bell tones can be heard from a distance, gradually becoming louder. These are contrasted perfectly first with deep bass sounds then an effective melodic loop accompanied by gorgeous crystalline touches. ‘Immersion’ continues with the same bell like sounds weaving a complex melody, soft windy pads breathing extra life to proceedings. An amazing slow moody electric guitar lead then comes in- talk about caressing the soul. One of the most beautiful pieces of instrumental music I have heard in a long time. ‘Clearing’ utilises breathy pulses of sound to which are added other exquisite sonic touches and effects. The result is incredibly dreamy and serene. Gentle bell sounds return for ‘The Source’ but this time there is a slightly darker undercurrent. Again though, melodically, the beauty shines through. At times some of the sounds used reminded me a little of Sigur Ros and I know Ian has been listening to them so maybe something has rubbed off. Incidentally if you haven’t heard any Sigur Ros, do your self a favour and check them out (they are in most ‘normal’ record stores) as after I first heard them I couldn’t get them out of my head for about a week. Anyway back to this album. ‘The Level’ starts peacefully, a dreamy little guitar melody coming and going. After a couple of minutes a bass beat can be made out low in the mix and gradually more subtle percussion is added. In some ways I am reminded of Manuel Gottschning in a sort of cross between ‘New age of Earth’ and ‘E2 E4’. Basically, it amounts to yet another stunning track. ‘Breathe’ is rather moody with metallic pads drifting like a heat haze from the speakers. On ‘Fragments’ a melody starts to form through more tranquil pads but it isn’t long before a relaxed a head-nodding beat strikes up. The rhythm comes and goes, the soft dronal intermissions making the syncopated sections even more effective. We finish with the title track. Pulses of sound initially seem quite random but slowly combine together in a tuneful way. More stunningly beautiful soft slow melodies are then brought into play one after another finishing this exquisite album on a real high. (DL)