Up until a couple weeks ago, I had only heard a few tracks by fellow NW-based experimental musician Pulse Emitter, but that was reason enough for us to send him our first gift (GT000). Daryl Groetsch of Pulse Emitter generously mailed us both of his Meditative Music releases. I haven’t reviewed anything on a digital format yet, but these leave me no choice. This is my attempt to explain how insanely great these discs are…
Meditative Music 1 is a minimalist piece where flowing breezes of analog modular synth are contrasted by slow moving waves of FM synthesis, rising and falling over glorious peaks of quiet mountainsides. The patches are meticulously programmed and detailed in complexity, yet the music sounds as though a new form of plant life has emerged from the earth. Natural and easing mellow vibrations paint an environment that serves as an escape from the chaos of our man made surroundings. Its gentle and contemplative tones are steeped in sleepiness, rich with a resting thickness; this is hypnotic levitation at its best.
Daryl sent me a copy of something he posted on a forum about the first disc:
“while helping my girlfriend select ambient music to use while giving massages, i became interested in all the factors that ruled out certain releases. too ominous, too rhythmic, too schmaltzy… so i decided to record one myself. it’s one track, 60 minutes long. two oscillators on the analog modular tuned in fifths, slowly sweeping back and forth with the filter and across the stereo field in a repetitive yet unpredictable way, continuous warm shifting drone. then a slow four note motive is played in four permutations on a custom patched yamaha TX81Z FM synth, crystal pools of sound. yeah, it’s peaceful ambient music but it’s not overly positive or negative, very balanced in emotion and structure. good for sleeping, thinking, bathing, whatever. it’s not noise music but i’m posting it here anyway… it would probably be good to listen to after a noise show actually.”
Meditative Music 2 opens in windstorm, the listener tucked away in a shallow cave at the base of a ravine. Heavy raindrops fall from the evergreens onto the crumbling stone above. The swift breeze rises and falls, giving way to brief glimpses of the sound of a passing stream. On occasion a carefully woven synthesized melody will remind the listener that they are in fact listening to music. These sounds have the affect of transforming humans into creatures of the woods, like an elk’s lone stray from the rest of the herd.
The sounds of the second disc are so natural sounding that I had to ask him if there were field recordings involved… this was his answer:
“there are no field recordings, all synth. the second disc was inspired by a hike in the woods, listening to a stream.”
It makes me happy that Pulse Emitter is Portland-based. You can find out more on his website: synthnoise.com. Another thing I should mention that might interest any DIY Synthers… Daryl Groetsch has a degree in Electrical Engineering and he’s got a few schematics of things he’s designed on his website. I also recommend taking a look at the picture of his crazy synth. And, if you’re in NYC in mid-May, be sure to check out his set at NO FUN.