191

Stephen Philips: Dreams 4

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Stephen Philips, the tireless and prolific performer behind Maryland-based Dark Duck Records, returns with two more albums of sonic atmospheres, one under his "Deep Chill Network" alias and another under his own name plus a mysterious "Isomorph." Philips has, in the last few years, established a niche for himself in the esoteric world of minimalist ambient. This genre is characterized by non-rhythmic, floating electronic sounds that are not meant as structured "music" but as a sonic background establishing mood and feeling.

Though Brian Eno, the founder of "ambient" music, is the originator of this style, Steve Roach has experimented with it quite a lot, beginning with his early Quiet Music (1983-86) and his Structures from Silence (1984) and continuing with long-form pieces like The Dream Circle (1994) and Slow Heat (1998). These recordings are meant to be played at low levels, remaining unobtrusive while they do their mood- altering work. Tone and harmony exist, but not necessarily in the linear, sequential sense that they do in conventional music; minimalist ambient hovers around a cluster of notes, often for extended periods of time.

There's a lot of Roach influence in Philips' latest collection of minimalist ambient pieces, Dreams 4. Other Deep Chill efforts have been microtonal or even atonal (such as his 1999 Heart of the Tundra or 2001 Yukon , reviewed elsewhere on this site) but his "Dreams" series seems to be edging more and more towards the Roach/Eno version of minimalist ambient with actual musical harmonies. The last piece on Dreams 4 , simply called "Why?", is especially Roach-like, echoing Structures from Silence in its slowly turning sequences of notes. This harmonic choice gives Dreams 4 a more accessible, warmer quality, so that the mood it conveys is relaxing rather that chilling.

| Record Label: Dark Duck Records | Style: Ambient


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "El Barranco" CD/LP/Track Review El Barranco
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 11, 2016
Read "Buoyancy" CD/LP/Track Review Buoyancy
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 14, 2016
Read "Anatta" CD/LP/Track Review Anatta
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "Rough Enough" CD/LP/Track Review Rough Enough
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 7, 2016
Read "Kodama Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Kodama Trio
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 31, 2016
Read "Voyager" CD/LP/Track Review Voyager
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: February 29, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!