In My Ears: Empiric – Origami
Release Date: 2013-10-12
Genre: Ambient Downtempo Experimental
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Release Label / Page: Otium
So, I wrote a bit ago about a release from Nebyla that was over a year old, and on the Sonux label, which appears to be somewhat out of commission. This release from Empiric is on the sibling Otium label, which appears to still be going strong.
What strikes me about this release from Empiric is the way the artist intersperses soundscapes with more abstract electronic pieces. It’s a type of meeting ground between several styles that fuse well together. Most of this release I hear in the form of one of the original “space music” masters: Klaus Schulze. The early works in Klaus’s oeuvre included Timewind and X, which were largely seen as pieces that tried to eschew the concept of rhythm. They were soundscapes that sprawled out before you, inviting you to float along on a journey that felt as if time had been suspended.
Mix that with some of the later ambient “classical” works by Schulze, like ‘The Dome Event’ or ‘Royal Festival Hall’, and you have a sense of a fairly large portion of the work that Empiric is drawing on as a framework for this overall recording.
But, those aren’t the only elements. There are some parts of this that have a definite feeling that is similar to some of The Orb’s works, especially the spacey / ambient sections of ‘Live 93′ or ‘The Orbs Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld’. And, to cap it off, there is a feeling of some of the early works of Tangerine Dream. And, I am sure there are others that I have missed along the way.
The overall effect of this mixing of influences is quite hypnotic. This is music that lends itself well to writing or other activities where concentration is needed. But it is also music that you can focus on, say for meditating. It’s really a grand experiment in finding a balance in many dimensions: its musical wall paper that bears close auditory scrutiny. It’s music that feels timeless, but uses definite sequencing and rhythm to present a coherent progression. These are big sonic landscapes, waiting for you to plumb their depths to discover their stories.
This release has been in my review queue for a couple of weeks now. I knew from my first listen that I really liked this release, but I found that I was having difficulty finding the words to express what my thoughts were. That’s because these pieces fall into the old adage: a picture is worth a thousand words. And here we have a collection of twelve pictures, and I have the feeling that I could write several thousand words about each of them. So, this simple review is insufficient to expressing what the experience of listening to this work is like. It’s best to experience it for yourself.