Star's End Review of Chrysalis

 

Artist: Chronotope Project
Album:
Chrysalis

Released: 5 November 2012
Label:RRelaxed Machinery
 

 

Chronotope Project, the musical persona of Jeffrey Ericson Allen, produces an electronic music realized without turning off the conscious mind. His CD Chrysalis (72'12") presents five intriguing and renewing thought experiments - mental adventures on a darkling plain. The sounds themselves have but a small force of their own. Yet through Ericson Allen's arrangement, pacing and appealing sonic dynamics he convincingly re-conjures the singularly gorgeous auditory realm first heard on albums such as Light From Orion, The Stargazer's Journey and The Way Home. A deconstruction and deceleration of classic sequencer Spacemusic albums, Chrysalis offers lush detailing, the stability of consonance and a pleasant musical arc. The composer is in possession of a diverse musical background, which is kept in reserve - placing the more delicate ideas of texture and atmosphere over technique and virtuosity. When Ericson Allen occasionally connects with a melody, it is in a profound way. Whether sliding from one rounded note to the nexxt, or beautifully converting a spare evenly paced melodic line into dramatically shifting chords, the listener is constantly being invited inside the piece. Other galaxy expanding works on Chrysalis pull our attention across a digital twilight realm defined by echoing chimes, slow slurring solos and a syncopated synthesizer pulse. Each chord change alters the direction, color and mood, and by album's end we feel a great resolution has been reached - leaving us with much to dream about.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   21 February 2013

 

Hypnagogue Review of "Solar Winds"

 

 

chrono_solarJeffrey Ericson Allen, recording as Chronotope Project, takes listeners on a classic spacemusic voyage on Solar Winds. From the very beginning, this disc resonates with familiarity as it charts its own course to the stars. In five tracks, Allen creates a comfortable trip built on space-between-stars drifts, occasionally using uptempo sequencers to bring us up to cruising speed. The opening title track welcomes you with big, rich pads crossing slowly past one another to establish the spacey theme. A fantastic transition late in the track ushers in a shift that hits in the form of a percussive sequencer groove–it’s brief, but effective. From there the tone shifts back to the quiet side with “Raga of the Earth.” Here, a woodwind tone wafts introspectively over a bass-loaded drone and the unobtrusive exhalations of sighing-wind pads. A pleasantly meditative piece with a slight Eastern touch. This one works its way into you, body and soul–you may not be aware how much you’re relaxing to it until it ends.  ”Sirens” livens things up, packed with star-twinkle glockenspiel chimes over rolling waves and vocal pads. A touch of harp finds its way into the mix. Allen captures a sort of feminine grace with this track, along with a very solid 80′s spacemusic vibe. It feels like a track you’ve heard before–and don’t at all mind hearing again. “Redshift” opens with more spacey pads before a beat works itself in by way of an insistent tone, something between the ring of a dulcimer and the sharp snap of a tabla. Allen uses it to ramp up the pace to the disc’s most energetic, building a rush of vibraphone-like notes with a Phillip Glass pacing. Even at that it’s still a pretty laid-back, toe-tapping kind of thing, a starfaring joyride that deposits us into the very hushed environs of “Clear Bells Ringing in Empty Sky.” The title tells you what you need to know. Gentle wind chimes sing their complex song over choral pads as Solar Winds winds to a calm close. 

Solar Winds doesn’t go out of its way to do anything novel with the spacemusic framework, but the easy familiarity and the superb execution of the style make it very listenable. There is a wonderful softness to it, offset in places with the rigid maths of the sequencer. The balance is excellent. It’s quite loop-worthy, either as a pleasant backdrop or, as I’ve been doing, as a close-up headphone listen. Solar Winds is a very enjoyable journey.


 

Review of Chrysalis in Sonic Immersion

 

 

CHRONOTOPE PROJECT
Chrysalis
CD-R/DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, Relaxed Machinery, 2102

The musician behind Chronotope Project is Jeffrey Ericson Allen, who has an eclectic background in classical, new acoustic and theatrical music. As a composer, Jeffrey is triggered by themes that contrast yin and yang, of mysteries that open themselves slowly, gradually unfolding and revealing hidden facets.

"Chrysalis" contains music centered on the theme of transformation and refers to the unity of space and time, the intimate connection of the relative and the absolute. Moreover, it’s a subtle and quite ambitious ambient/space release bridging smooth pulsations with dreamy, soft breathing textures, all spiced and deepened with extensive melodic curls and shapes.

The evocative and sensitive music on the five tracks glistens and evolves slowly, backed by some spatial percussive elements (executed in a minimal sense on three pieces) as it gently carries along. The ethereal and the atmospheric "shake hands" throughout the single tracks, evoking similar imaginary spheres and rich emotions as found on certain Robert Roach and Steve Roach releases, while executing its own true voice most of the time. The deepest, most tranquil spaces surface on the soft shimmering"Reflecting Pool"


All in all, the sonic vistas created on"Chrysalis" are a mesmerizing kind of storytelling with a strong sense of wonder and true spirit running underneath.
A good pair of headphones is highly recommended for immersing in the aural splendor of this quality ambient release. Well done, Jeffrey!


© Bert Strolenberg

reprinted with permission



 

Ambientblog Review

 

Chronotope Project -Chrysalis


Reading the accompanying promo text you might fear we're slowly driftin off into 
New Age territory:"'Chronotope' refers to the essential identity of space and time..The music invites the listener to commune with this unified field of being. It weaves a sonic tapestry that relaxes the body, soothes the mind and gladdens the spirit."


However, this album is released on
Relaxed Machinery, a label (or 'collective') that has released enough great albums to clear away any suspicious 'New Age' doubts.
Seventy minutes of well-produced, classic ambient, somewhat similar to music by
Robert Rich/Steve Roach.

 

Chrysalis featured on "Hearts of Space"

 

The title track from Chrysalis headlines the most recent broadcast of the nationally-syndicated radio program "Music from the Hearts of Space," heard by 200,000 listeners nationwide. The program (PGM 1004) is entitled "Electronic North," February 15, 2013. Check local listings for broadcast times.

 

Loving..."Chrysalis" by Chronotope Project

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2013

 

Loving... "Chrysalis" by Chronotope Project

 
If it wasn’t for the music given to me to consider reviewing, I could easily get caught up in all the music submitted to my netlabel. Don't get me wrong, I love to listen to all the music I receive for waag - it's just that you need to cleanse the palate everysooften so that you can approach what you love with renewed vigour. This is why I love to receive music from folks to consider listening about. Not everyone makes it but those that do ... do so because they've caught my attention.

"Chrysalis" by Chronotope Project aka Jeffrey Ericson Allen on Relaxed Machinery is one such album. It captivated me from the get-go ... it intrigued me and aroused my senses like a deeply intoxicating fragrance. In fact, I would go so far as to say his ambient soundscapes are like a fragrance - they pervade and enhance any physical space and bring with them a positive and uplifting presence. The sounds presented enhance the listener and his/her immediate space. The sounds build up everyone who hears them and I, for one, am really grateful for this.

There is an effervescence to tracks like the opener and title track -"chrysalis" - it moves and evolves ... dancing into the subconscious of the listener ... giving them something to focus and fixate on. It really is captivating ... a swirling movement of ambient sounds and tribal percussion. It is a pleasure to behold and to be held by this enrapturous music.

The soundscapes presented within the 72 minutes of this release are all similarly captivating ... "l’Avenue du ciel" (the second track) is more atmospheric ... opening with a drone before presenting a deeply hypnotic synth that counteracts the joy of the opening track with a sense of the melancholic. The juxtaposition is electric and oh so delicious ... especially when the track shifts gear around the 4 minute mark with the introduction of ethnic percussion and a slightly more trance-y aesthetic - it is still melancholic but with some drive and movement. Movement that is further encouraged with the introduction of a field recording of flowing water. Whilst this is a wonderful addition, it is not for the weak bladdered.

Track three - "Trance-Missions" - is also wonderfully expressive with a real sense of vitality and movement. At 25:36 it is in no hurry to expressive itself ... instead it takes it's own time to grow and become - an act that I found utterly captivating and thrilling to witness.
When a subtle beat is introduced around the 5 1/2 minute mark, the anticipation is palpable - "where will this track go?" is the question on my lips. The introduction of a sequencer around the 7 minute mark helps to answer this by building a heady rhythm to follow. It explodes around the 11 minute mark into something decidedly hypnotic and all-encompassing. Truly brilliant. It does calm down in the later stages of the track ... but by that time the intended effect has been experienced and enjoyed ... sheer, unadulterated joy. Brilliant, truly brilliant.

The penultimate track - "reflecting pool" - is a truly immersive experience with a field recording of a pool of water underpinning some seriously lovely harmonic atmospherics and windchime-like percussive sounds. I find this track deeply relaxing.

The final track is stunning - "Eternity's Sunrise" is an aural delight. The use of the guitar is such an other-worldly manner whilst underpinned with an utterly delightful synth drone is just breathtaking.
The way the track builds from these initial moments with deep percussion and the wailing of such longing on guitar is truly marvellous. This is the soundtrack to an unseen film and I want to see the film!

This is a great track on a great album. An album I am captivated with and will, without doubt, treasure for a long time.
 

Chrysalis Review - Amazon

 


5 Stars * * * * *
2012 turned out to be a surprisingly fertile year for ambient music, and this easily ranks as my favorite ambient release of this year. Very organic, fluid, and mesmerising, but with some surprises that just aren't found so often anymore in the genre, like unexpected tempo changes and actual melodic structuring. And with the inclusion of subtle tribal rhythms, it reminds me a lot of early Steve Roach and Robert Rich, with an emphasis on a relaxing and imaginative musical journey that I find more emotionally satisfying than a lot of the trance-inducing, shoegaze-ish drone music that represents a lot of ambient music these days. The beautiful opening track alone sounds like a lost track from "Dreamtime Return". Jeffrey Ericson Allen also adds in gorgeous, unique touches and instruments, like almost Middle-Eastern sounding cello on the second track and surprisingly effective use of what I hate to say can be a bit cloying in ambient music, recordings of nature sounds such as running water and the like. It all adds up to an hour of guaranteed bliss. So if you enjoy melodic, organic ambient music in the vein of Aglaia's "Three Organic Experiences", early Steve Roach, or Robert Rich, this will be a satisfying listen.
 
 

Chrysalis Review - Bandcamp

 

“One of the best new ambient artists out there, blew my mind. Highly cinematic movements. This is not a drone record, definitely an artist to watch out for, just buy it now, you won't be disappointed.”  

 

Chrysalis Review - Relaxed Machinery

 

 

Chronotope Project - Chrysalis
Wow. Incredible. That's it, that's my review... ok kidding aside, this is an amazing album, a nice counterpoint to the more vaporous, unstructured albums released on rM this year. It's highly cinematic, Jeffrey [Allen] has a very promising career in ambient ahead of him, I could easily see him up there with the big names in a few years.  I love his use of melody and the many unexpected instruments that popped up throughout the course of the album.  This is a guy to watch in the future.
--Blake GIbson (Broken Harbor), Relaxed Machinery January, 2013
“One of the best new ambient artists out there, blew my mind. Highly cinematic movements. This is not a drone record, definitely an artist to watch out for, just buy it now, you won't be disappointed.”  Blake Gibson, Bandcamp, January 2013

Chronotope Project - Chrysalis

"Wow. Incredible. That's it, that's my review... ok kidding aside, this is an amazing album, a nice counterpoint to the more vaporous, unstructured albums released on rM this year. It's highly cinematic, Jeffrey [Allen] has a very promising career in ambient ahead of him, I could easily see him up there with the big names in a few years.  I love his use of melody and the many unexpected instruments that popped up throughout the course of the album.  This is a guy to watch in the future."