For one of the more angelic releases from these early days of 2020, just turn to Mitch Greer’s Wind Scatters Water, released digitally by Aural Canyon Records.
Greer, a visual artist, filmmaker and musician, created the kaleidoscopic soundscapes that you hear on this album through the use of an experimental instrument that he created, called The Octopus. According to the album’s liner notes, The Octopus is “a 64 piece orchestra synthesizer, using contemporary forms of sound generation across a sample-based system made using Max/MSP.” Greer then developed a smaller, more portable version for live performances, such as his gig with partner Rachel Smith, at the Day of Noise at KZSU, “a twenty-four-hour experimental music program curated by Abra Jeffers.”
The album opens with a seven minute drone-scape of synthesized choruses. “Forest Castle of Peace and Tranquility (Synthesis)” is a moving soundscape that feels as though it is releasing the listener into the heavens. Through the song’s epic nature and feelings of spiritual rebirth, there are some heavy shades of Popol Vuh’s “Aguirre 1” here.
Following this track is the meditative “Quite Hills Inside Rainbow (Harp).” This is a peaceful, endlessly flowing set of harp loops that feels like a minimalist Alice Coltrane performance. Yet despite it’s perhaps simplistic exterior, I swear that the longer you listen to it, the more complex the patterns within the track become. It’s like as if the sound of the strings being strummed is being reflected and refracted within some sort of sonic teleidoscope. If you’re not hypnotized by the end of the track’s 26 minutes, then you must have a will of steel.
The final song, “The Ruins of Alounkatari (Synthesis),” is a deep wade through a pool of mysterious synths that swirls and pulses around you with mechanical ease. This is the album’s coldest track, yet it still lulls the listener into a warm and relaxed state. The likes of Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Temple are conjured up in this piece, bearing an especially close resemblance to TD’s soundtrack work.
Entrancing, soothing and always colorful, Wind Scatters Water is a great album to reach for when you’re in need to recenter yourself and breathe.
Grab this album today right here.