Music Reviews

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Artist: Frore & Shane Morris (@)
Title: Eclipse
Format: CD + Download
Label: Spotted Peccary Music (@)
Rated: *****
'Eclipse' is the second collaboration between Frore (Paul Casper) and Shane Morris after their previous 'Blood Moon' (2015). Together these musician composers explore the boundaries of ambient and tribal, merging the organic with the electronic. Utilizing digital and analog synths, didgeridoo, ethnic flutes, gongs, djembe, singing bowls, frame drum, and udu pots, Frore and Shane take the listener on a journey to the depths of the psyche through primordial roots to transcendental peaks and lush valleys. Hypnotic hand-drumming plays a large part in this, with nearly every track exhibiting some sort of polyrhythm. The drums are rather upfront in the mix too when they need to be, nearly ceremonial in their manner. Synths of course carry the ambience in sustained drone-like pads as you might expect. Throughout the eight somewhat lengthy tracks on 'Eclipse' there is an aura of mystery and magic that emphasizes the ritualistic and shamanic. The music is neither complete dark nor light, but falls into that grey area that the title and CD cover perfectly illustrates. A good amount of this must have been improvised but these guys work so well together there is no stepping on toes, nothing out of context, nothing that doesn't work or feel contrived. While there is melodicism the melodic content is amorphous supportive of the ambiance rather than dominating it. That may seem (in description) that the music is simplistic, but in actuality, far from it. The layering is complex in that there is much going on within the ambiences. Believe me this is full, rich and heady stuff. I know from my experience with Malaysian Pale back in the '80s that making electronic world music of substance can be a real challenge. Here Frore and Morris live up to and often surpass the challenge in a path well-trodden by other artists in the ambient-tribal domain such as Vidna Obmana, Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Matthias Grassow and other similar artists. The flow from track to track is really great too lending itself to a seamless listening experience with nothing disjunct or jarring by juxtaposition. The only misgiving I had about 'Eclipse' was on the final track "A Lonely Path" where it seemed like it should have been building to some conclusion but just ended up petering out. The artists likely had a different take on this but to me it seemed inconclusive. Overall though this is a very worthy work if you're into ambient-tribal, and will probably spend a good while on my current and future playlists.



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