Catching up on posting reviews received… going to combine several together! Here are three for The Martian Chronicles by Seren Ffordd and Oophoi, reviews by Hypnagogue, Joseph Pe, and Terrascope UK. Our thanks to all reviewers, both official and informal!
Drone masters Seren Fford and Oöphoi interface with the spirit of Ray Bradbury on the long-form ambient work The Martian Chronicles. This is an impressionistic work, the sounds and drones carving images of the Martian landscape in your mind. And that landscape evolves across time. At the outset, the scene is sparse, windswept red dust issuing over cold ground. A sense of loneliness gnaws through the sound. Late in the first track, “The Long Years,” the feeling is so stripped down it becomes almost unnerving. The duo carry the unease straight into “Dead Cities,” where low funereal drones moan under a quiet, freezing hush. As the piece goes along it slowly grows in vibrancy and light, moving us into a more inviting landscape. It’s the first sense of forward motion, of narrative discovery. We understand that we’re on the cusp of something, and it arrives in “Blue Fire” with some unexpected percussion. We’re taken through a brief passage with tribal overtones, like a look into some lost civilization’s past or the finding of some indigenous culture’s outpost. It’s a great touch, even as slight as it is, after such a long ambient stretch. This is where the tone of the disc begins to shift toward the optimistic and organic. Water is discovered in “Canals,” the sound quietly burbling over warm ambient cloud formations. Again, the tone here is warmer and more welcoming than in earlier tracks. We’ve arrived somehow at a different, hospitable Mars. More signs of life come with “Flamebirds Waiting for the Storm.” The chittering of a thousand electronic Martian avians bounce and dance over a virtually unchanging drone. Thunder begins to roll in the background. The simplicity of the undercurrent tone is amazingly effective, a straight-line constant against the chaos laid over it. The disc closes with the prayer-like chant of “Unremembered,” a quite straightforward ambient piece, meditative and reverent.
Throughout The Martian Chronicles, the layering of sounds is incredible. Even in the most still-wind moments there’s motion and depth and interplay. This is the kind of disc where you pop on the headphones, lay in the dark, and let your mind start building scenery. The sensations that Seren Fford and Oöphoi are able to convey through their sounds are quite visceral and moving. In addition, the movement of the disc, start to finish, is one of the best examples of creating a sonic narrative that I’ve heard in a while. There is an arc here, and it’s fully developed and completely realized. This is a truly masterful piece of work.
–Review by Hypnagogue
“…this new release really surprised me. A masterpiece, it has brought out the best of the two artists–a true synergy here. This work will be a classic (if it’s not one already). Another win for hypnos!”
–Review by Hypnos customer Joseph Pe
“The Martian Chronicles by Seren Ffordd and Oöphoi is an album of sparse, atmospheric electronic music inspired by the classic SF novel written by Ray Bradbury. The album takes its inspiration from the Martian aspects of the novel in particular, opening with a fifteen minute cut ‘The Long Years,’ which through a combination of perfectly judged drones, synths and deeply reverberated sounds evokes the coldness and distance of the environment. ‘Dead Cities’ brings in a different set of textures to the mix, based on a drone that sounds like a long, alien breath, breathing in, out, in… haunting and effective. Half way through, the textures change to bring a more technological feel to the sound. ‘Blue Fire,’ the third fifteen-minute cut, continues the theme of slow drift drones overlaid with mysterious effects, this time sounding like reverberated voices, though they’re probably synths. ‘End Of A Changeling’ plays with the structure of the book and the album, which is presented in reverse order; the cut is brief, composed of sections from all the other tracks mixed by Seren Ffordd into a pivot, around which the album turns. ‘Canals’ brings field recordings of water into the mix, while ‘Flamebirds Waiting For The Sun’ features weirdly mutated bird sounds to create a particularly effective and atmospheric track. Album closer ‘Unremembered’ features a synth drone like a heavenly choir, completing the experience in suitable style. For those who’ve read the book, this ambient delight will be an intriguing discovery.”
–TMC review by Stephen Palmer on Terrascope – http://www.terrascope.co.uk/Reviews/Reviews_October_11.htm#SynthRoundup