Nik Beeson | Howlings

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CANADA - Ontario

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Avant Garde: Electro-Acoustic New Age: Ambient Moods: Mood: Brooding
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by Nik Beeson

'Haunting', 'meditational', 'melancholy' ambient landscapes, closest to the ambient works of Brian Eno or Jeff Greinke: "hints at a new form of aural beauty." - MusicWorks
Genre: Avant Garde: Electro-Acoustic
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Lupus Angelus
9:06 $1.50
2. Soulscaping
9:40 $0.99
3. Sud I - IV
16:03 $2.50
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Howling at the Gates of Sound

(review of 'Howlings' by Richard Truhlar, MusicWorks magazine, September, 2002)

The history of electroacoustic composition began back in the late 1940s, not with musical composers, but with poets. It was the poets who first realized the compositional potential of the tape recorder, and proceeded to use this new tool in their primitive experiments, creating works in which their voices were manipulated through speed and pitch changes, tape looping and reverberation.

Since that time, the use of electronic instruments and machines to alter acoustic sound, and also to generate new synthetic sounds unheard of in our natural world, has spread far and wide throughout the Western arts. It is found among visual artists who use electroacoustic environments for their site installations, among professors of music in the academies, among 'sound poets' who continue to explore the interface between voice and technology, and among various practitioners of more popular forms of musical culture. Within this activity, the borders between the various modes of expression have blurred, melted, melded and given birth to new hybrids that defy classification based on past paradigms.

One such hybrid is the ambivalent area of musical/sonic culture which today carries a number of tags, such as ambient, techno, and trance; and one of the new practitioners in this area is the multi-talented Nik Beeson whose HYPERLINK "" Cirque-Samsara entreprises has just released his first CD Howlings, and whose music is distinctively different from most of the other artists in this field.

Overall, Beeson's music has a haunting, meditational quality with episodic dramatic gestures; sometimes reminiscent of Eno's work, it comes closest to the ambient landscapes of American composer Jeff Greinke, expressing at times subtle feelings of dread, at others a tinge of melancholy, and even hints at a new form of aural beauty.

The first work on the CD, lupus angelus, captures all of the distinctive qualities in Beeson's music. It unfolds as a series of troughs and peaks in a general ambient tonal landscape, subtle (and some not-so-subtle) figures of light emerging from dark drones with ambivalent harmonic shadings between light and dark, and creating a meditation space in which to view perhaps one's personal inner landscape or meet one's guardian spirit.

Where lupus angelus ends, the second work soulscaping continues in a relatively even contemplative mood. Using electric guitar, reminiscent of some of Bill Nelson's ambient instrumentals, it shifts between gentle and mid-range guitar figurations that are enhanced through echo processing, the overall effect of the work being a study in foreground / background textures and harmonies.

The final work sud I-IV begins minimalistically with ambient drones creeping over technological figurations reminding one of clocks ticking or machine movements. Very slowly a soundscape emerges that alternates between very lovely, subtle, ambivalent sounds and more dramatic, urgent pulses and outbreaks. The entire sonic meditation resolves itself in a true choral flourish, a dramatic surge in which a chorus of human voices emerges and gradually leads the listener into silence.
Beeson is a careful and thoughtful craftsman, and he has provided his listener with a fully integrated musical programme in which all the works flow as if they were the movements of a symphony. His sonic palette is far richer than most of the techno/trance crowd, and has an emotional aura that can subtly creep up on a listener. Unlike many electroacoustic practitioners, Beeson is not obsessed with the technology he uses; rather, it is obvious in this CD that he favours artistic expression and perceives technology simply as a tool through which he can communicate both his feelings and visions.
Beeson's Howlings is one of the most accomplished and pleasurable electroacoustic CDs I have encountered, and I would advise those who enjoy adventures in music to search out this recording and enter into a sonic space that will enchant and mesmerize.



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