Eddie Lascu 16-June-2007 overview

Marvin Ayres is a renowned cellist, pianist and violinist from UK. He is also a very enthusiast composer and producer of ambient music with a great interest in film (commercials, short movies, etc.). "Neptune" was recorded in 2000 and released by Burning Shed in 2004. Ayres plays electric violins, cellos, violas and organ (on one track only). The compositions were written primarily for electric strings as the musician considers that they have a distinctive sound that mandates them to be seen as more than just "mere electric replacements". Righteously so, Ayres provides us with a complete range of beat less tones and textures, continuously discovering rich combinations that morph and transform from one to another. There is no doubt in my mind that this album is made up of voyage music, each song providing for the succession of images a traveler would experience in serene and hypnotic landscapes. Ambient music is a completely different realm altogether and this album is certainly one of the milestones in that universe. "Scape" is the follow-up to "Neptune", released in 2005. This is an album that has two suites: "Scape" (tracks 1 to 9) and "Clusters" (tracks 10 to 20). Ayres adds percussion for the first suite as an extra layer to complete the lengthy drones made again by his beloved string instruments. The beats are far from flawless, something I believe the musician fully intended. Regular loops are often interrupted by an abnormal sound that shifts the percussion pattern into a new direction. "Clusters" , the second suite of the album is beat less and perhaps more intense than "Neptune" although it still retains the same ambiguity that invites the listener to guess the paths and landscapes of a dreamy journey. Overall, "Scape", with its cinematic flavor, will appeal to ambient and electronic music fans alike.

Mask is another project of Marvin Ayres, this time a collaboration with Sonja Kristina of Curved Air/Acid Folk fame. "Heavy Petal: The Tenebrous Odyssey of Jack and Virginia" was released in 2005, the album coming as a beautiful digi-pak containing a 2-Sided disc: a CD and a DVD. The music is a magical fusion of ambient, classical and folky, mystical sounds. The mesmerizing voice of Kristina is helping a great deal in that regard, creating this mellow, romantic yet mysterious atmosphere. Instrumentally, we get to hear more than just cohorts of drones created by electric string instruments, Kristina adding touches of electric and acoustic guitar on a few tracks. From lament to melodic rhythms, from seductive tones to sheer exuberance, from dreamy soundscapes to peaceful ambient, this is a bold album has a lot to offer for those who venture to discover it.

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