One of my primary pleasures here is taking the opportunity to reward through words the hardworking and prolific ambient musicians who have produced extensive and consistently high-quality discographies, but because of the vagaries of the collapsing music industry (and the fact that ambient was never really a high-profile genre) have not received appropriate respect for their artistic contributions to the collective unconscious.
American Gregory Kyryluk has been pumping out some sweet electronic music since the mid-nineties, and Alpha Wave Movement is a name I’d come across before, but somehow I did not sample the music till recently. I’m only one man, after all. Anyway, Kyryluk‘s music expertly combines Berlin School, early ambient and current IDM into a stew of surprisingly groovy cosmic space music. While many of his recordings are based around earthly rather than space themes, there’s always a reassuringly vast (well, reassuring to me), wide-screen ambiance to each recording. I’m quite floored by the consistent quality of his music, so let’s all hie to the Alpha Wave Movement Bandcamp page and sample some of the myriad delights to be found there! (There are a lot of albums to be enjoyed.) I’m always floored by the sheer amount of talented musicians in the ambient/electronic field (which is probably why none of us can get any reviews, but I digress), but Alpha Wave Movement’s music is definitely in the top tier, with a track record to prove it.
Here’s a selection:
A very well-named album, it’s mainly comprised of soft textures over drones, with some light sequencing, as on the first track, though the mood does vary from more cheerful to slightly melancholy (“Movement IV“). A really lovely, delicate album that rides the line between the space music of a Jonn Serrie and the Berlin School electronica of early eighties Tangerine Dream, there’s a genuine sense of tranquillity here, beyond even what we expect from the garden variety serene space music album. Really beautiful and sure to please every fan of classic ambient.
This recently released (2014) album is a classic example of what might (or probably is) called “desert ambient”. This is a type of atmosphere created by Steve Roach in myriad albums based on the Arizona desert, and Alpha Wave Movement’s contribution fits right in. In fact, I’d say this is easily as good as any of Roach’s albums in the same vein. This style of ambient is based around stately sequencer rhythms and majestic pads that bring to mind the noble red rock of mesas and buttes set against a deep blue sky. “Cloud Sculptures and Desert Dust” does just that, while “Storyteller at the Mesa’s Edge” has hints of aboriginal flute sounds and a mysterious shadowy air. “Natural Light” is a veritable bath of pillowy synth pads and “Red Earth Reverie” has a hypnotic, percussive stomp akin to watching the sun slowly traverse the heavens over the desert’s parched earth. Each track on this album is quite wonderful, so if you like Roach albums like Landmass and Dreamtime Return, you should welcome this wonderfully arid contribution.
A big slab of pure space music, another 2014 release, Celestial Chronicles sounds as mysterious and vast as the cosmos, containing all the classic elements of space music but also Alpha Wave Movement’s typical use of sequencing. Things cross over a bit into new age piano territory on tracks like “When We Roamed the Stars“, but I decided a while back that I didn’t mind a lot of new age stuff, so there. It reminds me a bit of eighties synth duo Wavestar as well. There’s also the IDM groove of “Radiosonic Temple of Harmonic Sound” to liven things up mid-album, and some tabla/sitar/Indian vocal sampling on “Stellar Mantra“. A truly far-out album for you space music heads.
Continuing in that vein, Myriad Stars is a bit more experimental and veers into dark ambient territory on the opening track, “Beacon 1“. The rest of the album is very much classic ambient Berlin School stylings worthy of the masters (ie Klaus Schulze). There are some very pretty moments (“Star Birth“), but this album is more notable for demonstrating an aptitude for throwing some darker and more experimental sounds into the Alpha Wave Movement mix.
Though this album contains some pure ambient pieces, I’d classify it as an IDM album, despite my loathing for the term, because there are some danceable beats, and overall the feel is similar to a Solar Fields or Carbon Based Lifeforms album. This is a good thing, because I like me some cosmic grooving, and inspirational numbers like “Terra Nocturna” and “Transcendences” fit the bill quite nicely. Interspersed are beautiful space music pieces like “Gateway“. Definitely the album for you if you like some beats mixed in. Is what they call “chillout” or “psybient” or whatever the hell dance people call things these days? Since it’s the first Alpha Wave Movement album from 1995, I guess that makes it a trailblazing album and those other acts should pay homage!
This just reflects my personal tastes, but of all these albums, this one is my favourite. I love ambient that really locks in a mood and takes me to a happier place (or a totally miserable one in the case of dark ambient…), for it’s safe to say that calm and tranquillity are in pretty short supply these days. This four-track release has a spiritual aim, which it achieves magnificently. “Pentatonic Peace” mixes some reverby Rhodes-like tones redolent of some of Eno’s eighties stuff with elegant, sweeping pads over eleven magnificent minutes. The sparse “Awaken” has some very subtle, buried percussive beats lurking under the pillowy pads and bell-like tones very much like my fave, Thom Brennan. “Tranquillity Temple” is a deep pool of light, airy pads, while “Hindutronic Waves” ushers out the album with some nice tabla sounds as employed by David Parsons at his most magisterial. This is a really, really beautiful album of contemplative music.