You can read the full review of Steve Brand’s Avatara by Rik of Ping Things HERE. An excerpt:
“Steve Brand’s “Avatara” seriously impresses me. It’s a beautiful release that envelops me as I listen, a circular cycle of music where an organic atmosphere is formed by a delicate blend of echoing drones and quiet percussion elements.”
Follow the link above to read the complete review. Our thanks to Rik for the coverage!
You can also purchase Avatara from Ping Things via that link above (may be advantageous for those of you in Canada) or from Hypnos at this link: Avatara for $12.99
Here’s a nice review from soniccuriosity.com of Steve Brand’s Avatara:
“This CD from 2010 offers 61 minutes of cosmic ambient music. Synthesist Brand is accompanied on one track by Matt Hiller (from Ishq) and Charity Masters (from Holon).
Pensive percussives match introspective electronics to produce gentle auralscapes of a cosmic milieu.
The electronics are mainly textural in nature, harmonic vapors that generate a seamless realm of celestial clarity. These atmospheric vistas are augmented by additional tonalities that flesh things out without achieving an intrusive density. Changes deceptively occur in the flow, hidden by their gradually evolution.
These tenuous drones approximate an extended breathing pattern for reality, allowing the listener to slip through gaps between molecules and find themselves adrift outside of space and time. The listener’s perceptions of the textural flow becomes intensified by this removal from conventional tangibility.
While rhythms are present in one track, they generally manifest in processed form in other pieces, often transformed into beatless sounds (like gongs expanded into infinite stability) that suitable fit with the textural sonic foundation.
These compositions exhibit a stately character, a soft authority that derives its puissance from subliminal influence rather than any boisterous bias. Presented in songs confined to lengths of five to fourteen minutes, this music doesn’t indulge in protracted growth but instead swiftly establishes its gist and elaborates on that ethereal structure without undue delay.”
–Reviewed by soniccuriosity.com
Avatara can be purchased for $12.99 direct from Hypnos.
Here’s a recent review from the always excellent textura.org site:
“Brand follows two previous Hypnos recordings (on Hypnos Secret Sounds), Bridge to Nowhere and Children of Alcyone, with Avatara, a Sanskrit word that stands for “descent” in the sense of a deity’s descent from heaven to earth; the title also takes its inspiration from avatars such as Buddha and Krishna and from cultural myths about humans who’ve become “ascended masters,” non-human beings who choose to return to Earth to assist others. In keeping with such concepts, the album’s six tracks are deep ambient in style, often long-form in design and conducive to meditative drift and elevated states. “Morning Glory” unfolds in a series of irradiated exhalations with pauses generously spaced between them, while the aptly titled “Still Here (Breathing Space)” arrests the pace to near-stillness, with percussive rustling seeming even more active when heard alongside the track’s streaming washes and tones. At fourteen minutes the album’s longest piece, “Act of Creation” perpetuates the meditative mood with the quiet chatter of newly born life-forms audible in between church-like synth tones. Largely downplaying percussion, Brand’s becalmed material emphasizes long trails of synthetic chords, their ethereal character heightened by their pristine synthetic design, throughout its epic, hour-long journey.”
–Reviewed by textura.orgAvatara can be purchased for $12.99 direct from Hypnos.
Here are a couple of new reviews by Bert Strolenberg of recent Hypnos releases.
“If youíre looking for a contemplative ambient release with a minimal framework, Steve Brand’s “Avatara” (inspired by the various avatars of various ages and cultures) could be an appropriate choice. I for one would classify it as high-quality contemplative music, due to its ongoing gentle flow of textural pads with occasional mystic undercurrents and nature sounds. The six meandering tracks feature spacious music for slow, silent times and meditation, smoothly opening the gate to a world of splendour and wonder.
“Avatara’s” longform soundcape music, devoid of any rhythm, is great to escape from the rat race of modern life, as it makes the busy mind settle down bit by bit along the way.”
“Intangible is the outcome of a collaboration between Barry Craig (aka A Produce) and Loren Nerell, both known as skilled ambient composers for many years. Composed between 2007 and 2010, the seven moody tracks on their debut album are a journey into warm textural drone paintings and smooth sequencer patterns with both an adventurous as high-tech touch. Imaginary spheres with timeless vistas are very nicely displayed on the title track and the fascinating “Planet Atmo.” “String Area” though is a short percussive outing where Mr Nerell displays his expertise on mysterious Balinese sounds, followed by the cosmic scenery and slow rhythm of “Area 51.1.” Deep morphing and alienating atmospheres immerse the listener on the hypnotizing waves of “Lost in Transformation” while exotic and tribal elements are never far away. Tasty percussion and more accessible and lush textures make up the spacious “Meadow Dusk.” A veil of sonic magic returns on the immersive drift making the final piece “Pot Covers at Dawn,”
Those having an eye for explorations in ambient sound shouldn’t miss out on the beautifully crafted ambiences of “Intangible,” a vibrant sonic vista where the exotic meets the tribal and the cosmic.”
Our thanks to Bert Strolenberg for the support. Those CDs are available from the Hypnos store for $12.99 each:
Steve Brand – Avatara
A Produce & Loren Nerell – Intangible
Steve Brand’s Hypnos release AVATARA has been getting some nice radio airplay, and we also have some reviews to share. Congratulations to Steve on the great response to his first Hypnos release, following two albums on our Hypnos Secret Sounds imprint. We’d also like to thank Chuck VanZyl of Star’s End Radio, and Frans DeWaard of Vital Weekly, for helping us spread the word.
“To state that AVATARA (61’16”) is “Experimental” is only half the story. While it is an album of sonic experiments, it is not just a random organization of sound. Ambient artist Steve Brand tells a story – although AVATARA does bring more questions than answers. As it wanders the terrain of the possible this work asks you to adjust your sensitivity to music and its possible variations. Some of the pieces are controlled collisions of carefully rendered tones, while others breathe and expand beautifully across a brain-churning expanse of space. Opening with a curious metallic clamor Brand sets an unusual atmosphere. By continually introducing new timbres and captivating designs, across six tracks he sustains a striking sense of wonder. Moods range from dark and questioning to luminous and hopeful. Born of digital, this experience gets better with each pass. The mind seeks patterns, in the world and in music and art. Works like AVATARA at first seem formless. But one must tolerate being lost to appreciate this music. Through active listening we find this work’s structure and then its meaning – grasping the whole from the sum of its parts.”
–Reviewed by Chuck VanZyl, Star’s End Radio
“Following the abundance of the name Augur, Steve Brand now works under his own name. I must admit I didn’t hear a lot of his solo music, which was released solo as well as in collaboration with Ishq and Disturbed Earth, and hearing Augur is a long time ago, but there have been some changes in his music too. Augur was more on the experimental edge of ambient music, whereas his current direction is more along the lines of what Hypnos is in general about: long sustaining patterns of sounds, based on synthesizers or perhaps any type of sound processing which goes on for quite some time (maybe field recordings?) and on top there is the rattle of percussive sounds. ‘Avatara’ means ‘descent’ in Sanskrit, ‘in the sense of a deity’s descent from heaven to earth’ and this the main idea behind the album, the descent of avatars in various cultures. Now that sounds all a bit too new agey for my liking, but its easy, I guess, to see the music by itself. On a somewhat grey and cloudy day, like today happens to be, this ambient music in which the element of percussion is kept to a minimum, compared to his previous ‘Children Of Alcyone’ (see Vital Weekly 712), in favor of more drone like music, makes perfect sense. Majestically it unfolds itself. Great one.”
–Reviewed by Frans DeWaard, Vital Weekly
Purchase for $12.99