Steve Brand – Bridge to Nowhere – CD – Hypnos

I first encountered the work of Steve Brand whilst reviewing a VERY small label (it shall remain nameless!) a few years back, and recognised then that he would do better work, given the strength of his vision, and technical ability. Imagine my surprise then, when Hypnos duly presented me with Bridge to Nowhere, a voluminous four tracker of epic proportions, rivalling the work of some of the finest exponents of dark ambience, or dark atmospherica.

Though these pieces are not “dark” in any significant way, they tend towards the “sombre” end of the spectrum. Opening with a deliciously rich and protracted tonal piece, Bridge to Nowhere 1, a heady piece that encapsulates the mood of the whole album, with a lush tonal backdrop, dripping with piano and eerie sepulchral choirs looming out of the ether. Breathing Light blossoms with a swell of muffled organ tones draped in birdsong, this is breathtakingly beautiful, not to say downright melancholic, but strangely reminds me of some of Tangerine Dream’s works, as Brand has a command of restrained melody, pitching complimentary elements against each other to form a glistening compound that sends shivers along the spine..truly wondrous material indeed. Bridge to Nowhere 2 resumes the almost funereal themes perpetuated in the first part, but here, Brand reduces the activity further with a stream of sinuous tones and reverberant chords, overlaid with angelic keyboard swathes, this is a glorious and invigorating bliss-out, that is highly filmic and evocative. Closing piece, Through The Lens of Love glistens and glides along with a stuttering refrain that could be sourced from a sampled xylophone or keyboard, a looped , yet non-linear central theme, with sparkling metallic elements shimmering in and out of focus.

In Steve Brand, Hypnos have truly struck auditory gold, and this memorable collection of pieces that at first impression, I thought would be a standard ambient chill out, have become permanent residents in my current listening collection, as well as being emblazoned upon my memory for a long time to come..first class..BGN

 

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About whiteline1

WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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