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Voice of Eye - Vespers  CD (album) cover


Voice of Eye


Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 2 ratings

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4 stars An incredible experience

Voice of Eye are the collaboration of Jim Wilson and Bonnie McNairn, who formed in Houston in the late 1980s and are now based in Taos, New Mexico. They produce unbelievably high quality "tribal ambient" sound recordings which use no synthesizer, rather, a vast array of acoustic instruments and even several home made instruments. They are played, sampled, and layered together, sometimes to ritual style percussion. With great instinct for presentation they somehow making the formless, unconventional, and the avant garde into music that is as pleasing as it is spiritually fulfilling.

The 60-plus minutes "Vespers" (meaning evening song) is a musically journey in the most literal sense of the phrase. I don't know how to describe it other than to say this is one of those albums where you need to be alone, with nothing on your schedule so you can pull all the shades and assume a horizontal position. To do this right you will need no distractions for an hour. Headphones could potentially elevate this experience to an even higher plane. The album is essentially one long track despite the "song names" presented on the CD, such as Walking, Breathing, Drifting, etc. Ominous soundscapes are the back drop with welling and softening bursts of usually indefinable sound, rarely do you know what instrument you are actually hearing. It comes and goes in random fashion, sometimes totally open space, other times a ritual feel with percussion, always some kind of unspoken meditation. Sometimes the sounds are just weirdness, random, vague, other times they can be quiet and introspective.

There are no vocals but there are occasional sections of wordless human voice, often somewhat effected and haunting. If I can point to anything to provide some frame of reference, I might say that it reminds me a bit of Phillip Glass' "Koyannisqatsi" or Oldfield's "Amarok", but only in spirit, not at all in actual sound. It may remind others of the trippiest late 60s hallucinogenic music but be comforted that the sound clarity is very good. You will hear everything that is happening. I don't want to be overly dramatic but this is music that feels as if it binds humanity together in some way, far below the surface. Listening to this kind of pure sound in an undisturbed state feels like perhaps you are getting a brief glimpse beyond the veil. Stunning, mysterious, and beautiful it is.

While I don't always enjoy albums that are this far "off the grid" I do enjoy "Vespers", quite a lot. Unlike some unstructured, non-melodic music, "Vespers" is organic human expression that is pleasing and palatable for nearly anyone, even those who don't usually venture into such realms. Some music fans will surely find such an album "boring" because there is nothing resembling rock and roll here. But others will be VoE fans after one listening. It feels like a shamanistic ritual deep in some outdoor environment, something the photos and artwork would support.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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