Holding the Space: Fever Dreams II
Rhythmic ambient atmospheres with strong tribal influences continue the theme opened in FEVER DREAMS. The beats are full of space and depth -- strikingly fresh and modern but at the same time heavy with ancient pattern and percussion. The music is again without obvious melody -- synths and effected guitars swelling and gliding among the beguiling repetition of the rhythms. The style is most striking altered from FEVER DREAMS by the introduction of a timeless wailing female voice provided by Jennifer Grais. The interplay between agave didgeridoo and human voice on track 3 "Opening the Space" invites a whole new set of mental imagery -- a new depth and colour summoning unconscious personal and archetypal interconnections and emotions.
Holotropic "moving in the direction of wholeness" -- which in sound terms means a bringing together of ambiguous sounds from different cultures, times, awarenesses and inspirations that encourages the listener (performer alike) to "breathe deep, listen deep and deeper yet again". Less oppressive in tone than FEVER DREAMS, the mood runs from pulsing, gasping breath-like tempos in "Energy Well" where the room seems to spin around you to the deeply tranquil, rolling rhythms of "Holding the Space". Good use is made of hypnotic repetition throughout the album, but the human element and sense of performance is strong.
A similar approach to FEVER DREAMS -- collaged imagery of microcosms, ancient motifs, textures and galaxies consciously vague, photo-impressionistic. As with the music there is a greater depth here, more pages, more information and the burning feeling has subsided somewhat. Sleeve notes include Steve's explanation of the effect that "consciousness pioneer" Stanislav Grof's work has had on the project and a full double-page excerpt from the book Psychology of the Future that leads us deeper into understanding the nature of the Fever Dreams we are experiencing. The imagery now seems perfect -- visions that could well be something experienced in a state of "Holotropic Consciousness".
Here we have seven tracks featuring again Byron Metcalf on frame drum, shakers and clay pots with the addition of Mark Seelig on flute and Jennifer Grais' soaring vocals. Steve's own credits include six foot agave didgeridoo, hybrid grooves, spirit air, guitar atmospheres and synth soundworlds. Deeply introspective music -- with a clear vision, yet with enough open space to invite your own panoramas. If Part III of the trilogy continues this buildup, we are in for a real treat.
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM
If you enjoyed FEVER DREAMS, I personally think this CD is even better. If you enjoy ambient music with a clear beat, tribal undertones and a deeply intellectual underpinning -- this is for you. Not a CD for creating a serene atmosphere -- but for exploring your own philosophies, mythologies, experiences and emotions. More gentle than Part I -- but with greater space. Go for this CD if you want to begin delving into ambient music but aren't yet ready for something too unstructured.