/
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

about

Recommended!!! As much as I love full-length solo albums, there is always a different, special feeling when I encounter the collaborative work of a favorite artist. It gives an artist previously familiar to the listener a chance to stretch out and try new ideas and sounds--often freshening that artist's sound considerably in the process. Ambient music collaborations are common, thankfully, and often represent the best albums the genre has to offer.

While I certainly don't believe Anthony Wright's musical project Ashera needs any sound freshening, I was particularly interested to see what regions he'd end up in throughout his first collaboration with the prolific Brannan Lane, Sextant. Ashera's sound occupies a narrow (though impressively expressive and beautiful) niche in ambient. Lane himself is something of a stylistic chameleon, creating varied works in each of the ambient sub-genres, though never with a voice that one can consider Lane's own. Just where would a collaboration between these two go, and would it be a complimentary journey?

Sextant drops Ashera's tendency to create shorter tracks in favor of five sprawling ambient pieces, the shortest of which is over ten and a half minutes long. There is an appropriately nautical flavor to each of the track titles and we begin with the quiet "A Very Large Sail." This is a striking, synth-drone track that transmits a feeling of vast spaces--they may be endless, open seas (as hinted at by the title), or the arguable infinity of deep space. The drone is punctuated by lovely tones of different pitches, like interstellar bells, and eventually a feeling of gradual motion is introduced by sweeping synth chords. Ashera touches are evident, like a swelling universe infused with the spirit of Harold Budd. This is a lovely mixture of traditional ambient touches and deep space harmonics; an excellent start to the disc. "Old Ghost Ship" is ethereal and slightly darker. Strange, subtly phased sounds give the impression of wind rushing by one's ears. There's a slight tension to the track, but the overwhelming feeling here is still one of vastness and peace--all via the tradewinds of sea and space. Next, "Budd's Boat," references perhaps both Budds, Harold and Billy. While the sonic focus here is certainly not similar to the trademark minimal tendencies of Harold, we do have a compositional ambiguity more suited to Melville's protagonist. This track meanders a bit less purposefully than the previous two, but is no less strong for it. One gets the impression there's no destination to this journey, and that we may be lost in the infinity with only the frighteningly far horizons to view. If the fear of being lost is great now on our journey, we can always turn to "Sextant." A deep synth drone, and the gonging of bells, forms a tight beam illuminating our way. This is a zone of trippy synth sweeps with some heart-stopping low end vibrations that massage the ears and resonate within the chest. The deep sonics of this track are particularly memorable, and occasionally muted nature samples remind us this journey is most likely earthbound. If the previous track meandered less purposefully, "Sextant" brings us right back on course. After the previous elucidation, "The Navigator" brings the album to a satisfying close with a suitably earthy flavor. Guitar feedback and strange, echoed noises phase across the speakers as we drift gently atop Ashera's synth chords. Celestial synthwork glistens here, as if we are looping around an undersea reef; more Captain Nemo than Captain Ahab. Psychedelic atmospheric effects abound, and while this is the most "melodic" track on the disc, it closes abruptly with no real resolution. This particular journey into infinity is clearly cut from larger sailcloth.

With its lush photographs of sailing ships and ocean craft, Sextant is an album that manages to reference ocean journeys without dwelling too much on limiting nautical sonics. The sounds and moods presented are soft, though vast, enveloping the listener in waves of warm, though not completely unthreatening, sound. This is atmospheric drift par excellence, and while not particularly diverse throughout its length, manages to hold the listener’s attention throughout. Fans of Ashera may be hard pressed to hear much of Wright's tuneful style on this album, as the disc tends to dwell more on deep ambience rather than Eno/Budd vignettes. It's more than worth the effort of listening deeply, as Lane and Wright present some of the prettiest (though still challengingly ambient) deep space/high seas work I've heard from both of them.

SOLO RECORDINGS: (Artist) - (Album)
Brannan Lane - CARIBBEAN DREAM
Brannan Lane - CARIBBEAN DREAM II, DREAMING AGAIN
Brannan Lane - PIANO DREAMS & NIGHTSCAPES
Brannan Lane - LOST CAVERNS OF THERA (Thera is the Greek word for Fear)
Brannan Lane - ANSWER THE SKY
Brannan Lane - TO EARTH AND BACK (Soundtrack for your Head)
Brannan Lane - TROPOSPHERE
Brannan Lane - SLEEP CYCLE
Brannan Lane - RELAXING EFFECTS OF WATER
Brannan Lane - HYPNOTIC DRIFT
Brannan Lane - SUBMERGE
Brannan Lane - SLEEPWALK (Somnambula)
Brannan Lane - ESCAPE VELOCITY
Brannan Lane - BLUEPRINT (In memory of Stan Lane)

COLLABORATION RECORDINGS: (Artists) - (Album)
Vidna Obmana, Brannan Lane - DEEP UNKNOWN
Amir Baghiri, Brannan Lane - LUCID CIRCLES
Ashera, Brannan Lane - SEXTANT
Robert Carty, Brannan Lane - CLIMATIC INFUSION
Robert Carty, Brannan Lane - DREAM SWIRL
Zero Ohms, Brannan Lane - SOUNDFALL TO THE INIFINITE
Zero Ohms, Brannan Lane - IMMENSE DISTANCE
Tom Larson, Brannan Lane - TRIBAL SPIRIT
Jason Sloan, Matt Borghi, Brannan Lane - MOVING THROUGH

COMPILATION RECORDINGS: (Artists) - (Album)
Various Artists - EMIT 0003
Various Artists - DISTANT FRIENDS
Various Artist –PROJECT ONE

credits

released April 30, 2012

tags

license

all rights reserved

about

Brannan Lane Texas

Brannan Lane is an award-winning composer and producer who has released 26 albums in the Ambient, World, and New Age music genres. His work can be heard on Dateline NBC, Spike TV, Univision, Outdoor Channel, and Sony Play Station. Brannan's warm sonic textures emit a relaxing energy that pushes its way into your senses, bringing you into a celestial dream-filled coma. ... more

contact / help

Contact Brannan Lane

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code