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The Circular Ruins "Falling Into the Sky"
A beautiful study in ambient spaces from The Circular Ruins.
If you're not already aware of Anthony Paul Kerby and his work as The Circular Ruins (among other projects) then I would like to draw your attention to his latest release, "Falling Into the Sky". Kerby has been making music for some time, and I would consider it to be some of the best in the ambient genre. His music has an intelligence and substance to it that I find very appealing, traits that are both readily apparent on "Falling Into the Sky".
Opening with the title track "Falling Into the Sky", a slightly "fuzzy" drone anchors the tune while long pads rise and fall amidst the occasional electronic noise. It's a slightly more abstract sound than I would normally associate with the Circular Ruins, but by no means a sound that seems out of place or inappropriate. As the track progresses, the drone fades into the background, still present but not as apparent. Soon the pads take on a greater role which allows melodies to become more distinct and clear. New sounds are introduced to thicken the track, almost metallic tones that bend and fold in distinct ways. It's a very alien piece, almost as if the tones come from other worlds and other places, beautiful in new ways that don't seem of this earth.
"Immer Du" is up next, the static described earlier remains, playing behind an vaguely Asian melody that reminds me of late-era Japan or Ryuichi Sakamoto. The sound of water falling blends in nicely, and a voice can be heard in the distance reciting poetry. I enjoy the dreamlike quality of this track, something just beyond the senses that appeals to a very primal part of my soul. I find myself wondering about what the voice is saying, where they're saying it, other things. A track that is as enigmatic as it is beautiful...
"Minus 40" is a cold piece of music that matches it's title, a piece of wind-driven ambience that chills through to the bone. One can almost hear the drift of ice floes across subarctic oceans, a frigid wind that blows through the piece. I particularly like the organic nature of this track, there's a very natural beauty to all of the sounds, pieces of an aural ecosystem that all blend together nicely.
"A Day Without Secrets" pairs an accordion sound with thick pads to create a short and mournful piece that I find quite powerful. There's something about the title that has stayed with me long after the track is done, something that would suggest greater mysteries yet to be discovered...
"Paracelsus 1" follows, a song in three parts that opens with a deep drone and slowly builds a vague melody. It's a subtle piece where a hint of something beautiful lies just beneath the surface. A high tone is introduced into the track creating a focus for the listener. Melody becomes clearer and more defined as the song eases into "Paracelsus 2" evolving into a smooth and drifting pad-driven piece where sounds blend and disintegrate into each other. The sound is always flowing and moving, creating a space where tones evolve throughout it's course. "Paracelsus 3" blends in almost seamlessly, adding an air of mystery to the mix. A certain tension and perhaps a feeling of menace prevails, but I imagine that it's more likely a feeling of loss. It's the sound of endings and goodbyes and roads not taken, and it's emotive and wonderful and beautiful in a very sad way. Truly a heartbreaking piece to close out such a wonderful sonic triptych.
"A Dreamer of Pictures" is next, a short piece where sounds ebb and flow like tides, a small melody playing just on the periphery of the senses. Melancholy piano accompanies more pad-like sounds, reaching a peak and then quickly fading away.
"It is Always Too Late" provides the emotional heart of the disc, a beautiful track that builds up from humble beginnings until it eventually becomes a more substantial work of pad driven beauty. Oblique movement runs through the track, joining themes from one point to the next, moving the listener through a twilight dreamscape of sound.
"Slightly More Than Can Be Said" closes the disc, a mournful and melancholy piece where we return to the "fuzzy" drift found at the beginning of the disc. It provides a circular tone to the disc, a cyclical feel that brings the song cycle to a close. Very nice work.
Listening to "Falling Into the Sky", I'm reminded of my belief that Kerby's greatest gift has always been his ability to create a sustained musical environment over the course of a disc. Throughout his musical career, he has made beautiful music that forms a space around the listener, a space rich in depth and nuance that inspires further exploration and investigation as each song flows into the next. "Falling Into the Sky" is a fine example of Kerby's gifts, a collection of music that takes the listener on a journey to a new location to be experienced. As with all of his releases, "Falling Into the Sky" comes highly recommended.
rik - ping things
last updated 05/22/11