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Ecology of Souls

CD out of stock
Ecology of Souls
Kenneth Newby
1994 Hearts of Space HS11046 (CD)

Kenneth was one third of the HALCYON DAYS release with Steve Roach and Stephen Kent. This was a brilliant ethno-ambient release that made large waves when it was released in the early 90's. As part of the group Trance Mission, Newby brought his experience from living in Indonesia, where he studied the country's music and culture. This release along with the Suspended Memories releases, SOMA and STRATA with Robert Rich, and HALCYON DAYS were defining tribal ambient releases on the Fathom label. ECOLOGY OF SOULS is out-of-print -- we bought the distributor's last few copies -- and it's unknown if it will ever be re-released.

Both the primal sounds of Lights in a Fat City and worldly beat of Trance Mission have been fashioned by Kenneth Newby's inner vision. On his own he demonstrates virtuoso instrumental prowess, the musical intelligence of a master composer, and the ambient sensitivity of an Indonesian jungle cat. One of the top serious alternative instrumental releases of 1993, in a re-mastered edition on the Fathom label.

When Kenneth Newby and his partner, choreographer Lorraine Thomson, decided to collaborate on an opera on the subject of consciousness, they called it ECOLOGY OF SOULS, after a phrase from the book Food of the Gods by consciousness explorer Terence McKenna. The opera, involving music, dance, and video projections, was performed three times, and a CD version featuring Kenneth's music for ECOLOGY OF SOULS was later released on a new Vancouver label called Songlines. It went on to be hailed as one of the top serious alternative releases of 1993, garnering glowing press in Down Beat, CMJ, Option, and i/e magazines, and making several critics' Top 10 lists for the year.

The complex, absorbing soundscapes of ECOLOGY OF SOULS invite deep listening. Each is built from discrete, subtly textured layers of sound, often working at cross purposes. Shimmering percussion, the acoustic sounds of a Balinese gender wayang quartet, suling gambuh, and ecstatic, whispering voices are entwined upon a precisely tuned aural tapestry of electronic drones, sonic transformations of didgeridoo, chanting voices, and natural sound environments. As the music unfolds, time seems suspended. Heard passively, it can function as ambience; heard closely, the hidden contrasts create an atmosphere of intriguing tension that builds slowly as the music flows onward.

Into these dynamically shifting ambient spaces Newby introduces the eerie vocalizing of the suling gambuh, a meter-long bamboo flute with a remarkably flexible range of technique. Breathing into this simple but powerful instrument he develops an expressive voice that ranges from brilliant peals of harmonics to passages of deep melancholy.

The result of this layering is a music that seems at first strange, yet begins to capture the subtle dynamic of the flow of thought, the experience of time. This sense of meaningful mystery is the essence of ECOLOGY OF SOULS. Like a hyperdimensional procession, this is travelling music for repeated listening, revealing more of its secrets with each audition.

With its powerful mix of advanced music techniques, soulful sensitivity, and images of the teeming multi-cultural matrix around us, ECOLOGY OF SOULS becomes sonic alchemy, an expanding sprial of chaotic yet delicate proportions -- deeply atmospheric, meditative, expressive, almost mournful. It is a conscious celebration of the one world mind-space we all inhabit but so rarely glimpse.
1. EquinoxMP311:47 
2. PersephoneMP317:22 
3. EphemeraMP312:37 
4. OdalanMP312:00 
5. Glossolalia (Persephone Return)MP34:17 

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