by Phil Derby, Wind and Wire
The sequel of sorts to the well-received 2-CD compilation The Other World, this is another fine Hypnos collection of ambient music. Most of the names will likely be familiar artists to fans of the genre, such as Steve Roach, Loren Nerell, and Ma Ja Le. The only disappointment is that WEIGHTLESS, EFFORTLESS is a single CD instead of two.
Like THE OTHER WORLD, the music is remarkably good and surprisingly cohesive for a compilation. Most of the tracks are of the meandering and floating variety, such as James Johnson's "Closure," a beautiful offering that ends too soon. Most of the music is quite beautiful as ambience goes, with only occasional trips into darkness, such as Rod Modell's "Ipperwash Twilight." This one starts with dark minor chords and loud pseudo-rainstick noises that sort of pounce on you. It softens somewhat midway through, but retains a quality that is a shade darker than most of the material here. This is followed by Dave (Dweller at the Threshold) Fulton's contribution, "Floating in 2/3." The music here is more laid-back than most of Dweller's music. I like the mix of deep bass sounds with a lot happening in the higher registers.
One of the more experimental sounding tracks is Loren Nerell's "Liquid Metal Stasis." Though mostly electronic, it just wouldn't be a Nerell track without some primitive sounds, in this case some sort of metallic bowl or gong. There are water-like sounds bubbling in the background, the liquid metal no doubt. This is a thickly textured piece that rewards attentive listening. The disc ends in style with Steve Roach. The aptly titled "Bottomless" is a fine example of his dark, textural ambience, a la THE MAGNIFICENT VOID, and is a fitting finish.
In short, another success for Hypnos. There isn't a weak track in the bunch, and there's enough variety that everyone can pick their own favorite. I haven't decided what mine is yet, but I'll enjoy spinning it a few more times until I decide.