Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bil Vermette - Archives I (Field Studies 07)

meditative synth journeys.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

One of the best facets of listening to experimental music is to meet people that expand your scope, enrich your comprehension, and create opportunities to learn.   As much as it is a soul satisfying endeavor, it, too, is educational.  And, that is one of the reasons Field Studies has special place reserved in my heart.  Not only does it produce great ambient synth tapes, but on this occasion introduces us to an adroit artist, Bil Vermette, who started making music in the 1970's. Prior to proceeding with the review, I would like to mention the wonderful interview that my Foxy D colleague, Steve Dewhurst, conducted with Eric Hanss, proprietor of Field Studies, and Bil Vermette.  Not only did it augment my understanding of the music, but it was highly educational.  The music on Archives I is notable not only for it's unparalleled beauty, but also for its ingenuity.  Where contemporary artists are able to select and order ideas from a myriad of times/settings, Bil did not have that luxury.  In listening to the material that was culled to produce Archives I, one is immensely impressed at Bil's ability to create evocative music.  Throughout this tape, there is a strong correlation between the title of a track and the subsequent sound - in that sense it is very powerful.  From the perspective of somebody that was previously unaware of Bil's music, Archives I is a pleasant surprise that will please those who enjoy tracing the waves of sound that emanate from the speakers - a peaceful excursion.  Most of all, it serves as an introduction to a wider body of music, one that includes the beautiful Katha Visions private press lp.  While one can locate the mp3's online, Katha Visions deserves to be re-issued on high quality vinyl.

The opening track, 'Beach Scene', is notable for its elongated, nascent tones and other layers that produce euphoria - the mist from the water is palpable.  'Phase Through Infinite Mediums' is a journey through the third eye.  Here, the listener is entranced by the shifting cosmic tones and effects.  The pace of the last section, more subdued, is alluring.  One of my favorite tracks, 'View From Above', is meticulously composed.  The mysterious tones of  'Cold Waters' flow gently, while metallic beams of sound illuminate the depths.  The last two tracks of side B, 'Church Scene' and 'Rainforest I' respectively, are stellar tracks.  The former seems to have a faster tempo than the other tracks.  At the beginning, frayed organ tones breath life into the track and then move to the background, as sublime cascading tones of various tempo descend on the listener.  The latter is notable for its gentle hovering drone.

Not too many labels can match the last batch of Field Studies: Panabrite, Bil Vermette and Brett Naucke.  Also, the Foxy D interview mentioned the possibility of a second Archives release.  Regardless, the three aforementioned gems should fill any lover of music with alacrity.  With only 100 tapes produced - pro-dubbed on chrome - this one is likely to disappear soon.  One should certainly visit Field Studies to purchase this stunning cassette.  

peace and love, friends :)