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Blue - Jack Hertz & Wolfgang Gsell

   1 review  -  369 views
    Earth, the blue planet, is covered by more than 70% water. Jack Hertz and Wolfgang Gsell return with a brand new release dedicated to the mesmerizing power and ethereal qualities of our great blue bodies of water where all life began.
    Blue
    Track Listings:
    1. Blue 19:19
    2. Ripples 11:33
    3. Tides 20:20
    Artist Name(s):
    Jack Hertz - Sounds and Production.
    Wolfgang Gsell - Sounds and Production.
    Producer(s):
    Wolfgang Gsell
    Release Year: 2017
    Style:
    Ritual, Soundtrack
    Album Type:
    Studio
    Formats:
    Compact Disc, Digital / Download
    Cover & Packge Design:
    Wolfgang Gsell
    Mastering: Jack Hertz
    Liscense:
    Creative Commons
    Label / Publishing
    Label Name:
    Aural Films
    Catalog Number(s):
    AF0199. AFCD068
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA, USA
    Album Locator
    [+] Amazon
    [+] Amoeba
    [+] Discogs
    [+] Ebay
    [+] Google
    [+] YouTube


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Michael Hodgson

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   1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member
Electronic sound experimentalist Jack Hertz could never be called predictable, and along with numerous solo releases to date throughout 2017, each completely different to the last, he has also found time for some fascinating collaborations. Equally inspired ambient/electronic artist Wolfgang Gsell has previously teamed with Jack on several occasions (the most recent being back in January with the superior and intelligent `Sleeping Trees on Earth' disc in conjunction with the Trees for the Future project), and here they deliver an ode to the great blue bodies of water that cover a large majority of our planet. Thankfully we're not talking some bland new-age release with pretty and comfy acoustic guitar strums around lapping water sounds, instead `Blue' is a hypnotic fusion of immersive prog-electronic and enveloping ambient that somehow remains accessible without becoming too lightweight or insubstantial.
 
On the opening nineteen-minute title track `Blue', the pair weave a shimmering crystalline soundscape of undulating electronic caresses, full of lulling ambient rise-and-falls, fuzzy pulses and twitching, unraveling washes with only the faintest of percussive teases flitting in and out, mostly relegated to the final minutes. There's almost a drowsy, more subdued (submerged?!) take on the soloing-heavy approach of Klaus Schulze on his early Seventies works throughout, and some darker twists near the climax, but overall the languid atmospheres take on a blanketing bliss that stretches on for eternity.
 
`Ripples' is a relatively punchy interlude in a comparison between the two near-twenty minute bookending pieces of the disc, where pristine electric piano ruminations ring with the mystery around hypnotic electronic fuzziness, and some sparse programmed beats help ground the piece into a more compact arrangement that stops it drifting into pure ambient breezes.  Hallucinogenic closer `Tides' invites complete immersion, a slow to unfold spacey sweep of unceasing approaching/retreating liquid caresses that lap around fizzing synth ripples and serene cascading swirls.
 
It might still be a little too freeform and directionless for some prog-electronic listeners, but the album refuses to grind to a halt by settling into static drones and is too full of colourful movement to be mistaken for solely airy ambient music. Both Jack Hertz and Wolfgang Gsell are too clever the artists to deliver something so predictable or obvious, and instead they present `Blue' as a lightly psychedelic, completely encompassing and a mellow dreamy soundtrack to float away to.
 
Four stars.
 
(This review first appeared on the Prog Archives website 20th July 2017)
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