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.