Review of Ambiata on www.electroambientspace.com 'Velvety smooth floating ambience doesn't get much better than Glen Darcey's Ambiata, one of my favorite recent discoveries. It is light and calming, but not mere new age. Fans of Brian Eno, early Steve Roach like Structures From Silence, and similar albums and artists will want to be sure to check this out. The title track is as smooth as glass and just as delicate, and "Yeshua" is even softer. "Harmonics" is a little shrill at the start, but the harmonics level off somewhat and take the edge off just enough. This one in particular could pass for an Eno sonic experiment, exploring tonal qualities as much for the journey as for the resulting music. "Greenland" was inspired by Darcey's flight over it, and the stark, simple, cold beauty perfectly captures the essence of that. "The Garden" finds a perfect middle ground, not too light or dark, with soaring synths and a very gentle touch on the sequencing in the background. This sounds somewhat like the space music of Jonn Serrie. "Peace" is like lying on a soft pillow. "Lake of Fire," on the other hand, is a shade ominous as one might expect from the subject matter. Low metallic drones and crystalline electronics mesh well together to form this darker piece. "No Boundaries" includes a soft beat, one of the few tracks with any discernible rhythm. However, it remains thoroughly relaxing, which can be said for all of Ambiata. Highly recommended. © 2008 Phil Derby / Electroambient Space' Glen got involved in music in 3rd grade when he was forced to play violin. The next year though he was allowed to play saxophone so his musical future turned from a bleak life of playing in the firewood section to playing something with some heart and soul. 'My mother was a huge supporter of my music and surrounded me in jazz'. 'She'd take me to jazz clubs and talk them into allowing a minor in and since she worked at NBC tv, she would get me in to meet and hear the Johnny Carson band every day during their rehearsals'. Growing up listening to jazz and some pop, he rejected most of the music his friends were listening to at the time. 'I was a bit of a musical outcast because I didn't like Kiss, Led Zepplin or the Bay City Rollers. I was listening to the Brecker Brothers, Dave Brubeck, John Klemmer and others'. In high school a girl named Karen played some new music for him that changed his musical perspective forever. 'In about '79 this girl Karen played me Devo's 'Jocko Homo'. The 7/8 time, and mostly the crazy synth sounds totally got my attention, after that I was hook on the electronic sounds.' 'I then was introduced to Jean-Michel Jarre's music, then Tangerine Dream, Subotnick, Stockhausen, etc.' He started playing electronic keyboards with some friends in a high school new wave band and in 1981, upon arrival of his first synthesizer, a Moog Prodigy, he delved into sound design. Glen moved on to play keyboards (Prophet 5, Moog Opus 3, Crummar Stratus, Pro 1, Aries Modular) in a New Wave band called 'Newstreet', playing most of the LA club scene when New Wave and Punk were still fresh. By 1983 feeling a need to expand his musical abilities and knowledge he ventured to Berklee College of Music. He said, 'Berklee was nice but I learned more when I was studying privately in Los Angeles with synthesist Stan Levine, of Cal Arts and the San Francisco Tape Music Center, and with Chuck Wild, then keyboard player for Missing Person.' If Glen is known for anything specific it is for his synthesizer sound design, which he has programmed for Arturia, Applied Acoustics, Alesis, Akai, Ilio, Sampleheads, Prosonus and going way back, Key Clique. His music is influenced by many things. Inspired by Biblical themes, astrophysics, landscapes, audio and visual perspective shifts, and limitation pieces. Ambiata is pretty equally split between Biblical themes, astrophysics and limitation pieces. The Biblical and astrophysics themes are less tangible and are usually based on a feeling derived from a reading or an experience. The limitation pieces are songs based on limiting himself to concepts like using a single synthesizer, performing a piece only in real time, and limiting himself to a single patch and then manipulating it over time, etc. These types of pieces allow a focused strategy to recording and composition and keeps you from getting distracted by the vast amount of technology that is in the studio. By limiting his recordings to one or two synths and a record deck, or using a certain key or morphing a sound in real-time, the focus is on the music and shaping the sonic landscape.
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