Friday, September 25, 2020
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Artist: Rudy Adrian (@)
Title: Woodlands
Format: CD + Download
Label: Spotted Peccary Music (@)
Rated: *****
New Zealander Rudy Adrian has been making electronic and ambient music for quite some time now, with albums that go back to 1999, and 'Woodlands' is his 6th release on the Spotted Peccary label. What Mr. Adrian accomplishes here is 13 tracks of pure enchantment, using a variety of drones and atmospheric electronics to present an impressionistic view of a natural environment, the wild forests and planted parks of Dunedin. It is a slow moving album that evolves over time, allowing the listener to become entranced within the domain created on 'Woodlands'. Each of the 13 tracks is different, yet there is a thread of similarity running through them that ties them together. "Postcard from Karnak" employs deep, slow, measured percussion and some of the drones that weave in and out sound almost human, or even godly. The babbling of a brook opens "Deep Within Forbidden Mountains" and the Asian style flute provided by Nick Prosser speaks of a realm far older than one might imagine. Other worldly voices haunt "Fields in Evening Light," in a mysterious, but not spooky way. If fact, most of the album has an aura of mystery to it, in spite of simple track titles such as "Treetops," "Moonrise," "Autumn in a Forest Glade," Hidden Pond," etc. Of course, what you make out of it comes from your own mind, but Rudy gives the listeners a lot to work with, in spite of the album's seeming simplicity. The drone textures are often complex, and frequently changing over time. Subtle additional electronics also alter the environments as well. Through the careful use of applications of reverberation, the environments often sound spacious, sometimes even vast without coming across as artificial. Twinkling higher frequency synths suggest starry nights, or even elsewhere, a gentle rain. I was a little taken aback by the real human male voice on the final track, "Three Views of a Japanese Garden" but somehow it fit and it wasn't like it was dominating, just added ambience. 'Woodland' is a contemplative work, good for meditation and relaxing. I imagine one could get quite carried away by it in the right frame of mind. Kudos to Rudy Adrian for another fine ambient album.


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