Mantle
Morpheus Music
January 2008


Drifting beatless slow-evolving ambience. MANTLE starts out as an inviting album of warm morphing drones that at times just barely fall short of melody. Harmonious flows of tone and leisurely progressions heave like a gentle oceanic swell punctuated by unidentifiable percussive effects that often hang deep deep within the mix. That is not to say, however, that everything here is placid and light. As the music progresses, there are passages of shadow, mysterious atmospheres that suggest solitary wanderings in unfamiliar places, and there are uneasy pieces where layered low-frequency drones roll with portentous purpose. The midsection of the CD grows increasingly cold and isolationist, with reverberating, muted rattles and sonic turbulence stirring among beds of undulating darkness. Toward the end, the music lightens somewhat, something of a sense of wonder coming to the fore, replacing the discomfort of the previous material. The deepest journeyings now behind, the air freshens and the final sound space echoes with an expansive airiness, with low metallic clangs and chimings, water like streams, hints of didgeridoo, and then everything is fading, evaporating like a dream on waking.

The artwork throughout this package is all formed around Brian's own photography, with colorful folds and twists of rock from the Utah slot caverns. Orange light bathes the etched surfaces, throwing textures into sharp relief. The imagery has been overlaid in places so that the shots appear almost abstract, with combed paint and rivers of light. On the rear of the jewel case is a track list with times for each and an overall total. Inside, the darkness of a cave acts as backdrop to a page of credits, background details and web site information. Sam Rosenthal is mentioned here for his work on the design of the package.

Brian Parnham releases his fourth work via steveroach.com. Indeed, this album was commissioned by Steve and includes atmospheres, drones and harmonic waves from the master on a number of tracks, and benefits from production and mastering at The Timeroom. MANTLE is comprised of twelve tracks, each in the region of five to seven minutes long. That said, the tracks bleed one into another so that the changes from one piece to another are only recognized by a subtle shift of mood. A medley from the album can be heard both at Brian's own website brianparnham.com or at stevroach.com.



Mantle

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CD  $15.00 
ON SALE, $5.00 
Combo Pack $17.00
THE BROKEN SILENCE (CD)
MANTLE (CD)
Combo Pack $23.00
THE BROKEN SILENCE (CD)
BETWEEN HERE & THERE (CD)
MANTLE (CD)
Combo Pack $18.00
SEE NONE, HEAR NONE, SPEAK NONE (CD)
MANTLE (CD)
iTunes 
Mantle
Brian Parnham (with Steve Roach)
2007 steveroach.com SR01 (CD)
Produced by Steve Roach
Reviewed by Electroambient Space, Morpheus Music, Signal to Noise

This outstanding release plays like a surreal subterranean walkabout within the folds of Utah's alluring slot canyons. Steve Roach commissioned long-time friend and accomplished electronic artist Brian Parnham to drop into the deep end of his sound carving skills. The result presents an adroit sound artist coming into full form within this shadowed sonic wonderland drawn from the Earth's inner realms.
 
1. Skim the SurfaceMP36:51 
2. MeanderingMP35:29 
3. Rising TemperaturesMP37:06 
4. Strata PeelMP36:13 
5. Liquid AggregateMP36:05 
6. Scorpion DenMP35:32 
7. Minotaur's LairMP34:54 
8. MoltenMP37:38 
9. Altar of the UnderworldMP35:14 
10. Relentless FlowMP35:00 
11. BendsMP36:23 
12. Up For AirMP37:15 
 
-  Mantle (medley)MP3 

3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11. with Steve Roach; final assembly, production, spatial implants and mastering by Steve Roach



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