Peter DiPhillips: Mystic River Reflections

dpd_mysticAs the title suggests, Peter DiPhillips’ Mystic River Reflections is an introspective set of synth-based pieces, ranging from lightly pulsing songs to extremely deep drifts. It’s a short ride, just over 45 minutes, and there’s barely a bump in it. DiPhillips offers up a set of sonic vistas painted in hushed tones and crafted with real depth and dimension. On the driftier side of things are “Whiteface Mountain” and “Plum Island Moonrise.” The first is washed through with a long, cold sigh of wind, the sound of it rushing up-slope, whispering its way against a quietly stated, slow-moving chant. The feel is genuinely reverent and spiritual, its minimal nature giving it a simple potency. “Plum Island Moonrise” is one of my favorite tracks here, a very calm wash of sound with a slight romantic tinge to it. It’s only because I enjoy it so much that I find myself slightly disappointed with the way it ends–it just feels like it gets cut off before it finishes saying what it has to say. Up to that point, it’s superb. Then there’s the title track which glistens appropriately, wavering watery tones flecked with high, twinkling notes like sunlight on waves, and a breath-easing sense. DiPhillips’ pads here rise up boldly and pass like cloud shadows. He touches on the darker side, too. “Ogunquit Beach” opens feeling a bit tempest-tossed, wind-swept and a little aggressive. The sounds clatter and clash like the dull thud of storm-tossed rocks. DiPhillips pares this one back mid-track to a lonely sigh of pads, the stormier parts having passed over but still in view. He then takes you into the murky and haunted surroundings of “The Sunken Forest.” The chitter of electronic bugs fills the space immediately and intermittently. Drones rise and fall, and a punchy melody with a kalimba-type tone catches hold of you. A very atmospheric track. In among all that, “Montauk Point” and “Blue Mountain Lake” offer somewhat more uptempo rides with their own cool personality. “Montauk Point” comes at you with a bouncing, rising three-note pattern that drops off to make room for shadowy drone structures, only to come back still humming its simple ditty. “Blue Mountain Lake” feels like a mildly deconstructed lounge piece, its glitchy rhythm and smooth chords finding themselves a bit displaced, again working in uncertain concert with hissing underlays. The more I listen to Mystic River Reflections, the more I find to listen to. A great looper that stands up to deep scrutiny. Nice work from Peter DiPhillips.

Available at Bandcamp.

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