orchestramaxfieldparrish | The Silent Breath Of Emptiness

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The Silent Breath Of Emptiness

by orchestramaxfieldparrish

Improvisational guitar soundscape
Genre: Avant Garde: Experimental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Part 1
8:54 $0.99
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2. Part 2
7:16 $0.99
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3. Part 3
16:28 $0.99
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4. Part 4
4:34 $0.99
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5. Reconstruction | Afterthought
12:46 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Faith Strange Recordings is pleased to present the first new full length orchestramaxfieldparrish work since 2002's highly revered 'Tears', titled The Silent Breath Of Emptiness. This new recording consists of an improvised solo electric guitar soundscape originally intended for an exhibition of local area visual artists that never came to be. This piece was totally improvised and freeform, recorded live and captured in one take and then divided into 4 parts. No overdubs were done so as to not augment the original intention of the piece. A hauntingly beautiful reconstruction of the entire work is included as the fifth track. Recorded and mastered in 96K 24 bit audiophile audio. Beautifully presented in a full color limited edition digipak with matte varnish.

This work is a refreshing return to the art of true improvisation in the age where music is now recorded mainly as computer edits. Fazio has gone back to his roots of abstract guitar playing on a very personal level with a symphonic approach first explored in past outfits Æ, Copernicus and Chill Faction throughout the 1980's and early 90's and further explored on 2002's 'Tears'.




REVIEWS:


from Aural Innovations 39 (May 2008):

Cultivating sonic terrain first explored by Fripp, Eno and other ambient anarchists, Mike Fazio (who, for all intents and purposes, is orchestramaxfieldparrish) ventures into the hinterlands of tonal expressionism, creating strange un-guitarisms that congeal and mass into virtual icebergs of sound. On each of the five distinct parts of “The Silent Breath Of Emptiness,” Fazio conceives and utilizes his guitar as an orchestral instrument, his sweeping chords achieving an almost symphonic grandeur while the drone of endless delays and the slow glacial drift of key changes imply a studied minimalism absorbed from Glass and Reich but filtered through Branca and other 80’s New York guitar terrorists. Among the infinitely-sustained, ringing tones of Fazio’s guitar, one is at times assaulted by abrasive dissonances and harsh metallic clusters of sound that evoke the clatter of machinery and the kling-klang of heavy industry. But there are also moments of stark beauty in several movements of this 50-minute composition. At times, Fazio’s uncanny guitar symphony approaches the soaring ecstasy of a Gregorian choir, creating a mood of temporary detachment from the terrestrial world. Ultimately, what Fazio demonstrates on The Silent Breath Of Emptiness is that he’s equally at home in both the secular and the ecclesiastical and in both the lyrical and the mechanical, as well. Like Fripp, he’s a man at work with his machine.

Charles Van de Kree



from cyclic defrost:

The Silent Breath Of Emptiness is like encountering a static photograph that, upon closer inspection, reveals itself to be a timelapse film. The slow building, reflective guitar drones absorb as though a dark starry field. These pieces stand without any foreground or background. Rather, they exist as a network of needling threads, crosshatched and manipulated, sketching a welter of variations on a single theme.

Pieces are played with a gentle spirit and an attention to the occult and elemental. At first, the work is a treacle of strums, which unfurl and circle in the shifting light of successive sound washes. With the momentum being slow, an intense concentration on the interlocking lines is made possible, better still, it is encouraged or even requested, though always in a hushed manner. Indeed, the piece lays itself open while at the same time making its emotions felt subliminally, as though transmitting or sharing a secret, rather than making it known explicitly.

The remaining segments continue to coil into themselves with stronger and more malicious thrusts. “Part 3″ sinks into a morose, melodic continuum and almost epiphanic chimes, before oozing into a distantly undulating crescent of atmospheric noise. “Part 4″ continues to seep into dark, tunneling visions, using what sounds like several guitars to produce a dense, almost symphonic feedback drone. Even here, though, shards of light filter through the darkness, giving the piece a movement and vibrancy that is knotty and wholly inflaming.

Max Schaefer


from textura:

orchestramaxfieldparrish: The Silent Breath Of Emptiness
Faith Strange

The Silent Breath Of Emptiness, a fifty-minute set of guitar-generated soundscapes issued by Mike Fazio under the name orchestramaxfieldparrish, is rather similar in sonic spirit and perhaps equal in quality to Robert Fripp’s superb At the End of Time: Churchscapes, Live in England & Estonia, 2006. Like his better-known kin, Fazio uses various effects to expand his solo guitar playing into an hypnotic polyphony of rolling waves, supplicant peals, and hazy drones; conventional guitar sounds are all but absent as Fazio generates industrial sheets and metallic washes throughout the five explorations, the first four of which are in fact a single live improvisation he recorded (sans overdubs) on December 25th, 2006 at the Luna County Observatory (indexed into four sections for the recording), while the final piece is a reconstruction of the preceding material that may be more deliberately conceived but sounds no less spontaneous. The sixteen-minute third section is the release’s most aggressive though Fazio never intensifies its industrial character to an unmusical or unpleasant degree. Part four exudes a devotional character reminiscent of the Fripp release, and Fazio’s guitar shimmers celestially too. Though devotees of experimental guitar playing will find much to admire about this follow-up to 2002’s Tears, The Silent Breath Of Emptiness is so captivating in terms of execution and its material so arresting that it deserves a listening audience far greater than that associated with a singular fanatical group. To Fazio’s credit, the recording manages to be avant-garde in spirit yet also thoroughly accessible, in large part due to the material’s “symphonic” character. Put simply, a beautiful recording.

March 2008


from cyclic defrost:

The Silent Breath of Emptiness is like encountering a static photograph that, upon closer inspection, reveals itself to be a timelapse film. The slow building, reflective guitar drones absorb as though a dark starry field. These pieces stand without any foreground or background. Rather, they exist as a network of needling threads, crosshatched and manipulated, sketching a welter of variations on a single theme.

Pieces are played with a gentle spirit and an attention to the occult and elemental. At first, the work is a treacle of strums, which unfurl and circle in the shifting light of successive sound washes. With the momentum being slow, an intense concentration on the interlocking lines is made possible, better still, it is encouraged or even requested, though always in a hushed manner. Indeed, the piece lays itself open while at the same time making its emotions felt subliminally, as though transmitting or sharing a secret, rather than making it known explicitly.

The remaining segments continue to coil into themselves with stronger and more malicious thrusts. “Part 3″ sinks into a morose, melodic continuum and almost epiphanic chimes, before oozing into a distantly undulating crescent of atmospheric noise. “Part 4″ continues to seep into dark, tunneling visions, using what sounds like several guitars to produce a dense, almost symphonic feedback drone. Even here, though, shards of light filter through the darkness, giving the piece a movement and vibrancy that is knotty and wholly inflaming.

Max Schaefer



from Musique Machine:

orchestramaxfieldparrish is Mike Fazio, a composer, as well as a (studio) member of New York City’s Black 47. The Silent Breath Of Emptiness seems miles away from the Celtic inspired rock of Black 47. It’s important to note then, that Fazio, and a couple other members of Black 47 originally backed up Avant-Garde musician and poet Copernicus (Joseph Smalkowski). Maxfield Parrish was a Philadelphian painter and illustrator, who lived from 1870-1966. Though he was a commercially successful illustrator, his paintings were quite often fantastical. I’m not sure how his work ties into Mike Fazio’s project, but Parrish’s art is well worth exploring.

The Silent Breath Of Emptiness consists chiefly of four segments of live improvisations recorded in one take at the Luna County Observatory, with no overdubs. The music was created solely on electric guitar, but the sounds presented here rarely conform to the traditional sound associated with the instrument. Instead, Fazio treads ground which runs the gamut from pleasant ambience ala Eno or Bill Nelson to sheets of drone, which could be more closely tied to Andrew Chalk and his work with Mirror.

Fazio’s technical ability certainly shows through, as these pieces rarely sound like music created by one individual. The improvisations are distinctly different from one another, yet they run together nicely. The music runs from quiet, neo-orchestral ambience to fairly noisy drones. Apart from the previous comparison to Andrew Chalk, the latter passages remind me quite a bit of John Duncan’s seemingly straight-lined drones (though Duncan doesn’t use guitars), which upon closer inspection are anything but.
The feeling of event is paramount to the success of any spontaneous performance, and The Silent Breath Of Emptiness is steeped in that spark of inspiration. Perhaps that inspiration was the result of the observatory setting, but judging from the mastery of the different approaches on display here, it’s more likely that Mike Fazio’s enthusiasm and technical ability are responsible. It’s rare for a performer to pull something together which is subtle and genuine, while displaying obvious skill. More often than not, those with technical ability are more interested in showing how well than can play, rather than investing their music with soul and depth. The Silent Breath Of Emptiness, thankfully, is honest, unpretentious and, in it’s own odd way, soulful. - Erwin Michelfelder



from All Music:

Besides his various group and collaborative efforts, Mike Fazio has pursued irregular solo ventures under the orchestramaxfieldparrish name, an interesting choice of nom de plume but one with an admittedly evocative edge given the reputation of that painter and graphic designer. The Silent Breath Of Emptiness surfaced after a six-year-gap from the previous effort, showing that Fazio’s ear for atmospheric textures via electric guitar remains strong; if there are now any number of releases exploring this form worldwide, Fazio’s approach remains one of the better ones. The core of the album consists of four untitled pieces recorded on a single day, ranging from artful reflectiveness to a sculpted, understatedly angry grind, the latter most prevalent on the third track. The fifth song recaps and reworks all the other pieces into a “Reconstruction” as titled, a sort of summary of the entire album that becomes its own distinct piece. Functioning both as meditative background and direct sonic captivation, The Silent Breath Of Emptiness is a gentle treat. - Ned Raggett



from Chain D.L.K.:


Despite the name of the band, this is the solo work of Mike Fazio. I had not heard of this project, but I am familiar with his work in Copernicus, which is a wonderful blend of poetry and music. The label describes the disc thus: “This new recording consists of an improvised solo electric guitar soundscape originally intended for an exhibition of local area visual artists that never came to be. This piece was totally improvised and freeform, recorded live and captured in one take and then divided into 4 parts.” Guitar drone is often polarized in terms of quality—when it’s good it’s really good and when it’s bad it’s really bad and there is little in between. Fortunately, this falls on the good side of the spectrum, probably because it doesn’t really sound like just guitar drone. I’m assuming that there are a lot of effects being used to create the variety of sounds in these tracks. The album opens with what sounds like an orchestra warming up for performance. As the disc progresses, the layers become more and more intertwined to the point where, in Part 3, it becomes almost like a wall of noise that continually crescendos and decrescendos. But this wall of noise is not to be confused with the Merzbow style of wall of noise. It never becomes oppressive, just intense. Overall, this is a nice disc to relax to but still engaging. I suppose it would work for your next gallery installation as well…. The main comparison that comes to mind is Vidna Obmana. This disc weighs in at 49 minutes and is nicely packaged in a digipak. You can check out some of it at his myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/orchestramaxfieldparrish.
Review by: eskaton



from Wonderful Wooden Reasons:

Contrary to the suggestion made in the name this is the work of one man, Mike Fazio. ‘The Silent Breath Of Emptiness’ consists of a single solo guitar improvisation, subsequently edited into four discrete and cohesive parts and accompanied by a fifth reconstruction. It’s a stunningly melancholic and hallucinogenic experience with Fazio’s guitar often sounding more like a bank of synthesizers than a guitar. The use of ‘Orchestra’ in the project name is readily apparent in Mike’s playing style which is described in the press notes as ’symphonic’ and I can find no more apt word to replace it with. In style OMP is reminiscent of people such as Andrew Chalk but in sound is very much related to the ambient recordings of Eno, or Phaedra-era Tangerine Dream with lush electronic chords layered to create a sumptuous bath of sound into which you can submerge. I think I would have liked to hear more variety in the effects with which the guitar has been treated but equally I am quibbling over small things as this is a fine and recommended release.



from Foxy Digitalis:

orchestramaxfieldparrish is nom de plume of the underground New York musician Mike Fazio. “The Silent Breath Of Emptiness” is a solo electric guitar piece that was originally created as a soundtrack for an art exhibition that never actually got off the ground. The piece itself was recorded in a single take and is presented here without overdubs, divided into four tracks. A fifth track, which is an abbreviated reworking of the entire piece is also included on the disc. The entire album contains a variety of ambient guitar loops and sounds that traverse many moods. In fact, the guitar effects often cause it to sound like other instruments, namely keyboards and various orchestral strings.

Really, much of the work could be labeled as ambient music. For example, the first track, called “Part 1? has an ethereal feeling as guitar echoes over a low background drone. “Part 2? has a similar feeling, but gives way to more powerful sounds, to the point that it almost sounds heavy. Layered distortion and effects come into the latter part of the song and produce a droning, almost mechanical, eerie feeling. In many ways, “Part 3? continues what was begun on the previous track, rising and falling into cacophony several times before slowly fading out. The fourth track, “Part 4? returns to the ethereal beauty of “Part 1? to bookend the original long piece. Finally, comes the album recap, which is entitled “Reconstruction | Afterthought.” Amazingly enough, this track does call on many of the sounds and themes present in the previous tracks. Still, it does not come off as a rehash of the other music. In fact, it combines well with the rest to nicely close out the disc.

“The Silent Breath Of Emptiness” is ultimately a great disc to settle back with and take in. It’s very easy to get lost in its complex tones and textures and I have a feeling that this will prove itself to be a favorite in those quieter times in life. Definitely, a recommended disc. - Matt Blackall



orchestramaxfieldparrish - The Silent Breath Of Emptiness

from soundofmusic.nu:

Med den mycket lämpliga titeln “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” återvänder amerikanska Orchestramaxfieldparrish med sin första platta på över fem år. Upprepade slingor av improviserade, maskerade gitarrdroner gör att musiken får en klart minimalistisk prägel trots en tät struktur. Man skyndar långsamt framåt och de ljudvågor som sköljer över lyssnaren är så pastorala att det är svårt att tänka sig något som fungerar bättre en grådassig morgon.

Tydligen var musiken ursprungligen tänkt att ackompanjera en konstutställning som aldrig blev av och att döma av den nerv som finns närvarande rakt igenom skivans fem utdragna spår kan man inte låta bli att låta fantasin måla egna bilder. Varma melodifragment tittar förbi ett kort tag för att sedan försvinna in i ett muller av mörk gitarrabstraktion. Fjäderlätta moln hotas ständigt av en annalkande storm över öppet hav. Skivan illustrerar på ett förnämligt sätt litenhet i något väldigt mycket större. Skrämmande? Ibland, men allt som oftast är känslan av att släppa taget, det fria fallet, att tidlöst stirra ut i det tomma intet, något befriande och själsligt rengörande. Knappast ett banbrytande album men så imponerande genomfört att det är omöjligt att inte förföras. - Av: Mats Gustafsson



from Earlabs (3-2-2008):

orchestramaxfieldparrish - The Silent Breath Of Emptiness

Although involved in the underground/experimental music scene since the 1980‘s, Mike Fazio is a another new name to me. Using the alias of orchestramaxfieldparrish since 1999, this diverse purveyor of experimental guitar music has been composing and improvising atmospheric drone and drift since before these terms were widely used or even recognized. The Silent Breath of Emptiness is the seventh release on Faith Strange Recordings of which Mike is a co-founder.

The press release says that followers of such established avant-garde music artists as Arvo Pärt, Robert Fripp, Brian Eno, Andrew Chalk, Thomas Köner, and trombonist Stewart Dempster among others “will find much to savor here.” The common denominator being beautiful experimental/ambient music that comes from the heart. I’ll add to this list of icons Canadian multi-instrumentalist Aidan Baker another like-minded improviser of spacious experimental guitar drones.

Initially a single improvised, free-form performance for an exhibition that was never realized, The Silent Breath of Emptiness was recorded in one take (with no additional sounds added) and for this album has been split into four segments of varying lengths. The fifth track is an almost thirteen-minute beautifully opulent reinterpretation of the original performance. All of the segments are guitar-based cinematic drones having a symphonic quality. The first and fourth segments are vibrant, harmonious and translucent. In contrast, the second segment begins a descent into darker, denser, more atonal drones. The third segment continues the dark, droning atmosphere initiated by its predecessor but takes the listener even deeper into thick, murky, distorted, inharmonious ambiances.

For the dedicated drone enthusiast, you might not hear a whole new here, however, the symphonic touch is a nice twist on an old theme, and it’s clear that Fazio’s sounds originate deep within his psyche. On the other hand, the novice or occasional drone listener will find much to enjoy and appreciate on The Silent Breath Of Emptiness. - Larry Johnson



from Bad Alchemy (BA 57):

ORCHESTRAMAXFIELDPARRISH The Silent Breath Of Emptiness (Faith Strange Recordings, Faith Strange 07): Wenn man in der Vergangenheit des Gitarristen Mike Fazio stöbert, stößt man auf Life With The Lions, auf Chill Faction mit ihrem FunkNoFunk und auf die irischen AgitPop-Stews von Black 47, zwei New Yorker Projekte mit dem Green-Suede-Shoes-Crooner Larry Kirwan. Zusammen mit Thomas Hamlin, einem alten Weggefährten bereits seit den 80ern, bildet er auch die Gods Of Electricity, die Dark-Ambient-Welten jenseits von Eno erschaffen. Hier jedoch lässt er allein seine Gitarrenwellen aufrauschen und durch den Raum branden. Ältere dürfen an aufgeraute Robert-Fripp-Soundscapes denken, Jüngere an Fear Falls Burning. Nennt es Dröhnminimalismus oder psychedelisches Tripping ins Parrish-Blaue, Fazio ist lange genug dabei, um dafür als einer der Blueprints zu gelten, nicht als Kopie. Er erzeugt seinen nahezu symphonischen ‚Orgel‘-Klang ohne Overdubs, im intuitiven Freispiel, Welle für Welle für Welle. Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) war übrigens ein stilbildender Märchenillustrator und Maler von androgynen Träumern und phantastischen, anfänglich goldschimmernden und später mondlichtblauen Landschaften. Seine präraffaelitischen Wesen sind zu ätherisch für Fazios Klang. Der gehört zu den Monument Valleys und erhabenen Plateaus ihrer Traum-Monde. [BA 57 rbd] - Rigobert Dittmann

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Reviews


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John Borak

breathtaking guitar mastery
Fazio has been around since the 1980's creating art with his guitar. Years before most of the present crop of experimental players now attempting to turn the guitar into something it was never meant to be, Fazio was playing with a highly eclectic community of downtown New York musicians and sounding much like he is sounding here. A testament to his technique and approach to avant music in general and how long he has actually been crafting it. This album is a glimpse into his art, a mirror to his past and a bridge to the future. The performance on this recording is mesmerizing.
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