Monday, January 31, 2011

Somnarium - Frost

Text taken from Earth Mantra Netlabel

We at Earth Mantra have long been fans of the enigmatic ambient music of Michael Meara. So you can imagine our delight at the prospect of releasing something by this superb artist, a prospect now a reality with our latest release: an album by Michael's Somnarium project called "Frost".

And what a lovely album we have in store for our listeners, a collection of gorgeous ambient pieces falling somewhere in between the realms of light ambience and ambient drone, with an enchanting orchestral flavor and expertly arranged layers of synthesizers, lap steel guitar, processed piano, electric guitar, manipulated vocals, and radio signals. Spanning a full seventy minutes of audio, with two tracks nearly twenty minutes apiece, this is indeed a deep dive into the mesmerizing sound worlds of Somnarium.

Motivated by a fascination with arctic vastness and the impact such extreme environments can have on the human psyche, Michael's original inspiration for "Frost" drew from accounts of polar expeditions conducted in the early twentieth century. Thematically, the music certainly evokes the scope and distance of such vistas, but we have to confess that we hear little coldness when we listen to "Frost". In fact, we might describe this music as uplifting, or even heart warming, almost the antithesis of the stated interpretation. But perhaps this is where Meara's singular genius shines forth the most, his ability to blend two opposites into a whole that somehow exceeds the sum of its parts. No matter what the interpretation, however, the music speaks for itself.

The compositional strength and instrumentation in "Frost" simply blows us away. Michael aimed from the outset to utilize "a more orchestral based approach", and indeed he has created a distinctive fusion of electronic and symphonic instruments that coalesce perfectly, with voicings that delicately pull on the strings of the emotions without going over the top, and with a sound design that can only be described as beautiful. A truly masterful achievement.

So with great pleasure we unveil the twenty-fourth album by Michael Meara, the resplendent and inspiring Somnarium album "Frost". May it be just the first of many Earth Mantra releases by this gifted artist. Highly, highly recommended.

Released in January 2011.

320Kbps MP3


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