Jeff Talman, Nature of the Night Sky

On one hand, I think you had to be there. Imagine walking into a clearing at dusk in a Bavarian forest. Speakers in the trees begin to play as the light fades, and the space is enveloped in long drone tones. You’re told that it’s the resonance of 15 stars, sounds normally too low to be heard, magnified 1,000,000 times. It goes on for 50 minutes as the stars fill the quiet sky. That’s the origin of the music, as an installation piece, and that’s probably where it was best experienced. On the other hand, looking at it strictly as ambient music, Talman, an artist known for his work in exploring the resonant qualities of different spaces, takes his star-sounds and maps out a very deep voyage. He employs binaural stereo to replicate the surround-sound environment that naturally occurred in the installation, and the added depth makes the sound a little more soothing. The time passes calmly. Shifts in tone are small and easily made, leaving not so much as a ripple in the flow. This is a good disc for low-volume listening; it’s shadowy and hushed, filling your listening space and gently morphing itself across the 50 minutes, largely unnoticed aside from its mental balm effects. Listening to Nature of the Night Sky makes me wish I had been there in that forest space to take in the blend of sound and emerging starlight. I may just set up my outdoor speakers and create my own version at home. An interesting release from Jeff Talman.

Available from CD Baby.

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