135

Robert Carty: Serotonin Ashram

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Serotonin Ashram , Carty's 1999 release, is quite different from 1998's The Living. This album has much more variety, ranging from "chill" or "drone" ambient, to medium-fast rhythms, to beat-driven pieces along the lines of European synth-rock. It begins with the eleven-minute "Follow Your Bliss" which in its modal melodies, optimistic harmonies and swaying rhythm has become one of my favorite electronic tracks of the past few years. In fact, if I had heard this album earlier, I would have named it as one of my top ambient albums of 1999, and in retrospective, I will include it in the list.

Carty continues to add nature sounds as a background, though unlike the previous album these are overshadowed by louder music. I especially like the sound of distant thunder (real? synthesized?) in track 2, "The Periphery," and track 4, "Medicine Quest." In track 5, "Extended Stillness," Carty travels a bit into Roach territory, with rattles and shakers, low chanting sounds, and "floating" electronic chords. But the sound is still Carty's, thanks to his harmonic choices which are quite different from those of the Tucson veteran. Carty ends the album with a sparkling Euro-rock piece that moves right along until it fades into a silicon dawn.

Robert Carty is more than just an ambient soundsmith, he is a composer, who knows how to vary pace, texture, and structure, and who is not afraid to unify an entire album by bringing back motifs from earlier tracks in the later pieces. So much ambient seems aimless, with little or no design behind it, which is why I enjoy the thinking behind Carty's music as much as I do his natural sound samples and clear harmonies. The cleverly titled "Serotonin Ashram" is an ambient achievement that deserves lots of listening.

Rating out of 5: 5


Title: Serotonin Ashram | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Deep Sky Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Aerial" CD/LP/Track Review Aerial
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "Akua's Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Blooming Tall Phlox" CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Ephimeral" CD/LP/Track Review Ephimeral
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Just Funkin' Around" CD/LP/Track Review Just Funkin' Around
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 5, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.