Seren Ffordd - Stellar Nurseries
Artist: Seren Ffordd
Title: Stellar Nurseries
Label: Hypnos Secret Sounds hss28, limited cdr edition of 300
Stellar Nurseries is the first in a series of Seren Ffordd reissues planned to continue over the coming year or so. These recordings, by an artist whose work is always mysterious and sometimes ominous, were previously released on the Umbra and Penumbra labels operated (by Hypnos artist Oophoi) out of Italy, though the artist himself resides in Wales. He first connected with Hypnos on the compilation CD Sounds of a Universe Overheard, to which he contributed a track, and Hypnos Secret Sounds released his album Veils, Shadows.
This recording exhibits a pleasing serenity, a great example of the artist's characteristic combination of dark and light elements into a balanced, deep contrast.
Original sleeve notes, December 2004:
Floating in the depths of space are vast clouds of molecular gases. They drift until disturbed by the dance of gravity. Then, folding in on themselves they spiral in towards the centre, to the forming Starseed. As the disc gets denser and hotter the gases spiral faster and faster, an awesome storm of movement. Faster, denser, hotter until the star ignites, flaming into being. A wave of light and heat flares out into space, pushing the lighter elements before it. The heavier materials left are once more pulled by the bonding of movement and gravity. Held by the dream of the star the planets begin to form in their orbits. Once born the planets spiral round and round creating new notes chords and harmonies.
Stellar Nurseries is a continuous track 1:01:02 in duration, with the following figurative "sections" (with mp3 sample clips):
1. Out of the Void mp3
2. Storm Movement mp3
3. Spiral Dance mp3
4. Floating, Dreaming mp3
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Reviews"Let's start with the earliest of the four, Seren Ffordd's Stellar Nurseries, which is actually a reissue of a 2004 release (the first in a planned series of recordings previously issued on Umbra and Penumbra, Italy-based labels managed by Oophoi) he created using a Korg 016 and a Yamaha PSR 262 keyboard. It's an hour-long, single-movement work that the Wales-based Ffordd splits into four figurative sections: “Out of the Void,” “Storm Movement,” “Spiral Dance,” and “Floating, Dreaming.” By way of context, the artist's notes describe huge, drifting clouds of molecular gases that turn star-like, then gradually increase in heat and movement until ignition occurs, after which lighter and heavier elements are pushed and pulled by gravitational forces until planets form. There's a suspended and drifting quality to the material, with cloud-like washes and tones extending for minutes at a time like massive exhalations taking place thousands of kilometres above the earth or perhaps nebulae coming into focus in slow-motion. Shifts in emphasis alternate between the rumbling lower to ascendent higher tones, and wave-like surges in intensity occur too, lending the material an industrial character in the process. An undercurrent of controlled aggression and pressure dominates the first half, until an abrupt termination strips the material down to a sole, organ-like nucleus around which synthetic tones languorously congregate as the sound mass thickens. In contrast to the first, the mood of the second half is lambent, serene, and melancholy, rather requiem-like in spirit as if in mourning for the death of a star. Ultimately, the programmatic connections between the section titles and the work itself are easily drawn in Ffordd's beautifully sustained meditation."
--Reviewed by Textura.org