'Color of Time' Reviews
Color of Time sees Kévin Séry of From Overseas and Nick Turner of Tyresta join forces to create a mournful yet beautiful album of ambient music and drone. The self-titled album centres on man’s devastating impact on the environment, the transient nature of things and loss. The closing track ‘We Did This To Ourselves’ combines the dramatic tension of ambient and drone perfectly with affecting title and sounds swelling and overlapping.
Past Inside the Present has offered up several beguiling collaborative albums this year and Color of Time stands right there with the best of them. This duo of Nick Turner (aka Tyresta) and Kévin Séry (aka From Overseas) ride an underwater current deep into hidden worlds on the ocean floor. Life moves in circles on Color of Time and the astral clock begins to turn backward, swaying beneath the aural gravity that Turner and Séry spread like magic. This is music to carry us forward.
Tidal pools glow with floating shapes on the entrancing slipstream of “Cold Air.” Synths blur any movement, obscuring the underlying mechanisms of propulsion to the naked eye, but guitar strings vibrate at lightspeed causing our bodies to swim ahead. Vocal echoes bounce through aqueous caverns, an angel choir willing the dawn to come again. It’s as though we’re stuck in clear glass, watching streaks of light surf the night sky like strings pulling the universe back into view.
Blue-green waves turn into a wash of autumn leaves on “Radiance” as sonic laments float past the horizon in the light of sunset. Fading like ghosts in daylight, a sweetly intricate ballet unfolds between clouds as the world below ignites. There’s a somber thread woven within “Radiance;” an acceptance of fate’s cruel turn and an acknowledgment that the brightest hope lies above. Hypnotic loops curve around a shimmering beacon of guitar drone lulling us back to our dreams.
Color of Time has a focused sonic palette, but the subtlety is a strength that heightens the emotional pull of the album. In the somber reaches of closer “We Did This To Ourselves,” our lives become disentangled from our actions and the result is inescapable. Guitar passages burn out the last vestiges of green and the gentle warmth becomes an inferno. The duo reminds us that our time here has always been limited, but between these gilded aural valleys we push down on the accelerator and let these prismatic tones dissipate our spirits into the next life.
Although the year is almost over, From Overseas has good news for us once again. The fantastic album Kévin recorded with awakened souls is just a few days old, and here we go again: The next great collaboration popped out of the vinyl press on November 19th: "Color of Time" emerged in cooperation with Tyresta.
For Kévin, "Color of Time" is another important milestone. It is a long-distance ambient drone project that he recorded together with Nick Turner, also known as Tyresta, using guitars (including violin bow), synthesizers, mellotron and various effects.
The total of six songs (plus an exclusive 30-minute autumn session on the cassette version) deals with transience, loss and the influence that humans have on each other and the planet. So the album is all about time and comes at just the right moment.
The opener "Color of Time" builds up an all-encompassing tension, which the two artists have staged with the help of the mellotron and an initially delicate drone effect. After 3:03, the surface dissolves and reveals a multifaceted image: "Brand New Sky" glows in all the colours of the autumn sky and tells a story of uncertainty and hope.
"Radiance" goes one step further and rises majestically before my inner eye. Darkness spreads. Distorted sounds initially give a hint of melancholy, but this quickly dissipates. "Cold Air" is my favourite piece on the record. The winter landscape that the two composers must have imagined when creating this song surrounds me after the first notes. Sounds that couldn't be any chillier pour out of my speakers and make me dream of winter - of eternal ice that never thaws and of a deserted earth that slowly recovers from our existence.An avalanche breaks loose, and the next song begins: "Avalanche" stretches the violin bow and continues the journey through this fabulous and sad story that works entirely without the need for any words.
"We Did This To Ourselves" laments and holds up the mirror we have hidden from for so long to us all. Then, finally, a glassy drone settles over the whole picture and slowly but surely drives the shards of our existence out into the winter sky. Our dance on the volcano is over.
If you listen to the cassette version like I did, you can enjoy a 30-minute set in addition to the official songs. Kévin and Nick recorded it for the second anniversary of 9128.live. So here is my advice for you: You'd better not miss it!
Fall 2021 favorites
'Keep The Orange Sun' Reviews
What is serenity? What does it sound like? On the opening missive from the collaborative album between awakened souls and From Overseas, serenity is an endless sky; it’s the feeling of being suspended in midair, weightless and unencumbered by gravity. Aeriform drones spread like golden wings, fueled by the anticipation of an earthly embrace. Lilting vocals are the sun kissing unseen wounds, sanguine piano chords repeat, wrapping them in jeweled accouterments that refract and reframe negative space like a prism.
In Sachin Samudre’s video, the aerial perspective is an invitation to find certainty within the changing coastline. Waves obscure the margins, covering jagged rocks in a blanket of white, a delineated edge between standing on solid ground and drifting away, lost in quiet lamentations and hopeful for a moment of solace. “Certainty of Tides” is stunning. This gateway to the rest of Keep the Orange Sun holds a space for us all to find our own tranquility, to find our own unwritten narrative where being lost within the ephemeral nature of being doesn’t have to be a formidable mountain. Sometimes it’s simply enough to just breathe.
Earlier this year, marine eyes released a gorgeous ambient album that had soothing vibes on par with Enya (which is high praise, I love Enya and until now absolutely no one could quiet my brain like her pure moods.) My obsession with idyll is likely a direct cause of my newfound and growing interest in the use of synthesizers, in meditation music, and vocals-as-an-instrument.
marine eyes, aka Cynthia Bernard, is also part of a duo called awakened souls with her husband James Bernard and today they’re releasing a collaboration with their friend From Overseas called Keep the Orange Sun, with the same healing magic, plus more electronic beats, percussive synth, and soft vibes.
Cynthia’s breathy vocals are in play again but take center stage on the title track, effects becoming more stripped down throughout the duration of the record so the lyrics can be heard unobscured. Other songs, like “Rise” and “Release/Adapt” are instrumental, oceanic in vibe, with cresting and falling long-held notes, rumbling bass, and all the texture and death of the Pacific. “Migration” and “Passing Dreams” are quiet meditations, drifting languidly and gorgeously.
A full-on long player, side B features reworks of each of the 9 tracks by Patricia Wolf, zakè & City of Dawn, the artists themselves individually, and other friends. This is a must-have soothing soundtrack for anyone who needs a balm for these times.
"Keep The Orange Sun" is solid gold – it definitely needs to be part of my vinyl collection.
If you don't know awakened souls by now: They are a musical couple from Los Angeles who already recorded three records together. Some days ago, they got to know Kévin through the ambient community. All three of them have been fans of each other's music for a long time, so when they met, they decided to make an album on Past Inside The Present Records.
The outcome is quite magical. The music reflects the intense conversations the three artists had when they first met about their shared musical influences and inspirations.
"Keep The Orange Sun" takes you on a mindful journey. The nine songs in total are telling of the certainty that life changes ("Certainty Of Tides"), of emerging self-doubt ("Release/Adapt") and of the benefit of immersing yourself in the present moment as a gateway to a deeper connection with nature and your own life ("Keep The Orange Sun"). Stylistically, the newborn trio relies on elements from the electronic, shoegaze, and ambient world. So each band member contributes their or own individual fingerprint.This combination and the perfect-seeming harmony between the musicians provide an unbelievably rounded and versatile body of work that sends pleasant shivers down the spine of fans of all three genres.
For me, "Keep The Orange Sun" is more than a pleasure. It is a beautiful successor for From Overseas' last masterpiece, "Home", which I also featured here on the blog. I'm already very excited to see what we can expect next from Kévin. From the atmospheric sunrise in "Certainty Of Tides" to the emotionally charged sequences in "Any Of This Lies", and the soulful moments in "Rise", the LP spirals up until the sonic peak "Release/Adapt". So far, the track is my favourite on "Keep The Orange Sun". The song is incredibly vibrant. Especially the tender lyrics have it in them, making me dream while listening – of a world without doubts and insecurities. With "Open Heart", From Overseas and awakened souls, open our hearts by giving our ears a wellness treatment. "Deepest Ocean" continues in a relaxed manner. A sound bath of feelings lets me dive into a chilly world full of darkness and light. Light swimming strokes lead me further in the direction of "Keep The Orange Sun". The album's eponym brings beautiful post-rock elements. The space seems endless and wide.The dreamlike finale. "Migration" surprises me with its playful nature. The piece enchants me and forms the perfect transition to the dreamlike finale "Passing Dreams". I am letting the thoughts pass by as they come, not holding on to them anymore.
A mindful journey. 'Keep The Orange Sun' is a new masterpiece for From Overseas.
DJ Alex (TOP 10 'PACIFIC NOTIONS' ALBUMS EDITION)
Best Vinyl Albums of 2021
Best albums of 2021
Fall 2021 Favorite
'Keep The Orange Sun’ is an escapist delight and revolves around the perennial symbols of light, hope, tranquility, reflection and recreation, the standard metaphors for eternal flow, change, new discoveries and new beginnings; the sea and sun. Both perilous though if you underestimate and defy the power and wrath of nature, like Odysseus and Icarus in Greek mythology. Cynthia’s siren-esque vocals, intimate and fragile as a whisper, ebb and flow over James’ soothing piano and Kevin’s guitar themes mirroring the constant fluctuation, the rise and fall of everything in life.
Kévin Séry bounces between his original home on French overseas dept., Reunion Island, a small port town on the east coast of the US, and Europe, picking up inspiration along the way. His first From Overseas album, Home, is a series of oneiric tracts wherein ambient drone cedes to post-rock pluck, melody to noise and back, prompting reflection on the nature of home. Masterful mastering by Stephan Mathieu.
The solo ambient instrumentalist from a volcanic island releases a stirring album perfect for pause and reflection, which might be what some of us need now more than ever.
With the geographic background of Réunion in mind, it’s not hard to put oneself in these photos while listening to Home. Struck by the reality of not being able to travel anywhere in the near future, this is either the cure or cause for some serious wanderlust. I am hypnotized by the slow and steady build ups that From Overseas lays before me, inviting footsteps down an undiscovered path. “Utopia” takes its time in leading me to its precipice, the crescendo lasting just long enough to briefly forget how I got there. Consistently clocking in around the five-minute mark, each song is its own meditation, with song titles like “Daybreak” and “Astronomer” providing contemplative prompts. Most of the sonic landscape is cultivated by layered guitars drenched in reverb and delay with patches of synthesizers tastefully sprouting throughout. Melodies teeter on the razor’s edge of melancholy and euphoria and sometimes you’re not sure whether you’re moving upwards, downwards, or through something. Mastered by Stephen Mathieu, the album is a stereophonically gratifying flex, recommended by this listener to be enjoyed on the best speakers or headphones you have.
My favorite tracks on the album is the last one, “Erasing Dark”. The song starts slowly and sparsely with a single repeating guitar line, so soft you can hear Sery’s fingers glide up and down his guitar strings. New layers are introduced, a picked riff provides a rhythmic pulse, and in the distance a higher frequency begins its ascent. This could be the soundtrack to your greatest triumph or your deepest fear, but there’s an undeniable feeling of emotion when you let the music rush over you. My mind leaves the island and wanders to far away places and as I’m transported I think about the concept of home. What is home but a comfortable space from which to dream?
Now I find myself in this present moment. The combination of slow-motion panic over the pandemic and the shared responsibility of forced isolation to quell it has brought the world to a point of shifting standards. If you need someone else influencing your thoughts, there’s no shortage of opinions to be found through the screen you’re reading this on. To resist the feeling of drowning in online content, I use Home and other instrumental music as a life preserver. My hope is that whoever’s ears From Overseas music floats into, they give it enough time to find a place in the vast cosmos of the mind to settle for a moment of introspection. My recommendation is do not read the news to it, do not scroll down your feed to it, do not swipe over blips of social advertising to it. Allow yourself the comfortable space to dream.
Cutting through occasionally distorted back alleys to make you appreciate the sunnier post rock & ambient main streets even more, From Overseas takes us on a welcoming tour of his guitar powered world for Past Inside the Present.
Best albums of 2020
Best albums of 2020
Pacific Notion Top Albums of 2020. One of my favorite ambient post-rock album of the year.
'Live at the Hermitage Museum' Reviews
With so much time spent traveling to far away places through music, it is nice to occasionally find something close to home. This is a reverie inducing long-form ambient composition created with guitar and field recordings by fellow Virginian Kévin Séry, aka From Overseas which he recorded at the Heritage Museum in Norfolk. The piece, which was inspired by Félicia Atkinson’s book titled, ‘A Forest Petrifies: Diamond Feedback‘, is also available from Healing Sound Propagandist in a longer studio version mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri and featuring cover photography by Isaac Helsen. This special live version is available both digitally and as a limited edition CD direct from the artist.