| Artist: Marvin Ayres|
CD Title: Cellosphere
Label: Burning Shed
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Cellosphere, a reissue of Marvin Ayres' 1999 string-based ambient/experimental work, emphasizes the interplay between organic and electronic. Mainly rooted in cello and violin compositions, the instruments are often processed to the point that their timbres become almost unrecognizable, sometimes sounding synthetic. Add sonic swells, feedback, subtle electronica arpeggios, and noise, and the formula adds up to lush, spacious sonic environments.
At its core, Cellosphere is a 3-song release with pieces ranging from under 4 minutes to nearly 23 minutes in length. The disc's title track is tied firmly to underlying electronic arpeggios, adding a non-percussive rhythm and structure to the piece, accented by synth-like string swells and panning solo string accents. "Harmonic", while the shortest track here, is also the most unique; an interesting ambient noise piece. "Jeannie" presents an almost visual spatial environment; an expansive, reverb-drenched noise background wrapped around passages that range from watery to melodic. "Sensory", the soundtrack to a video art collaboration featured on the DVD compilation of the same name, is included as a bonus track. While originally composed specifically for surround sound, its stereo presentation here is satisfying, and, while somewhat more organic and less radically processed than the other material on the disc, it fits in rather nicely.
Floating on a sea of shimmering washed out strings, Cellosphere is a lovely ambient excursion. Probably more likely to satisfy ambient/electronica/experimental fans than classical/ethereal/darkwave listeners, it's an interesting exploration of space and the electronic manipulation of acoustics, resulting in a sonically poignant and ultimately rewarding album.
Marvin Ayres website: www.marvinayres.com
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