Review by Sylvain Lupari – Synth & Sequences
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn by percussions. Drummers such as John Bonham, Carl Palmer and Bill Bruford were my delight when I was soaking up rock and progressive rock like a sponge thousands of moons ago. In EM, percussions and percussive elements take on forms that defy imagination, especially when annexed to a creatively manipulated sequencer. Think of Chris Franke or the genius of Mark Shreeve behind his big Moog. All this preamble to explain my affection for the music of Shane Morris, a percussionist as brilliant as Byron Metcalf, and whose tribal or Jurassic approach, with Mystified, evokes some of the finest moments in the genre of ambient tribal music. HORIZON is the 3rd collaboration between Frore & Shane Morris. And this new album transcends the boundaries of the excellent Eclipse, released already too long ago in 2017, with an updated acoustic percussions array for our listening pleasure. The magics of Byron Metcalf, Mark Seelig and Dirk Serries join this album, completing a sonic horizon as close to the ear as it is to our imagination.
It is from far away that the sounds and their forms create the slow swirl of The Eye of Everything. Becoming more and more compact, this mass of sounds gravitates with its sonic filaments expelled out from its shell, guttural drones and rustles whose origins seem to be born from the distant shamanic percussions that lurk beneath The Eye of Everything. A careful listening allows to authenticate the fact a little before the 3rd minute. That is to say a little before the percussions start to charm my ears with this title which borrows the way of a light pagan trance under a zone of buzzing reverberations well delimited by the borders of Paul Casper (Frore) and of his synth waves which breathe of Steve Roach‘s tribal visions. Mark Seelig lends his flute skills on Agape, which borrows a slow-dance texture in a relaxed tribal blues. Mark uses his lips like a guitarist uses his fingers on a track where Frore and Shane Morris give him all the room. Liking what Mark Seelig does, I had no trouble enjoying Agape. A resonant wave hasn’t finished that the first tam-tams of Woven are dancing folklore through Morris’ nimble fingers. The reverberating lines continue to unpack the ambiences that the rhythm of the percussions crackles of its drummed skins, always with more and more vigor. To such a point that we have this impression to visit the corridors of a Folk Rock softly beaten by quaking riffs and shamanic bells, testifying of this fury dissimulated not without difficulties of Woven! The percussions are simply divine throughout this tribal rock whose electronic side resides in these nervous synth lines which intertwine all around the beats of percussions which fill our ears to the rim.
The presence of Dirk Serries gives another texture to Lost in Wonder. True to form, the Belgian guitarist multiplies his layers of guitar moaning like drones or singing with its eternal prismatic air on a pensive structure. The gongs add to this dimension of meditation with tinkling sounds whose meditative colors are combined with these fluttery odes that fade into the moans of Serries’ six-string. And so, the cycle repeats itself, always adding a few more layers for greater sedative pleasure. A beautiful atmospheric track filled with tonal colors to make you musically dizzy! Despite the impressive rhythmic choreography of HORIZON, Frore & Shane Morris called upon the master of meditative and medicinal percussions, Byron Metcalf for the thunderous fire rhythm in Ocean of Fire. A call from a sonic horn stretches into a puny drone buzzing under the tepid winds of the Atlantic Ocean. The winds split the spreading water as aboriginal tom-toms flood the circular horizons with two percussionists managing to sculpt a magnetizing rhythm under the bewitching waves of husky vocals, as if the didgeridoo had found its bearings in this track where percussion thunders while others telegraph the outpouring of percussive overflow. A rich and powerful track of these exhilarating strikes quavering before the ecstasy that occurs when the speed of percussions reaches a form of dribbling as incredible as two sequencers trapped on a conveyor belt that keeps jumping. Ahhh… what two pairs of hands attached to the inspiration and passion of these two magnificent percussionists for whom Aboriginal art and its mysteries have no secrets can achieve?
From quiet rhythms to swirling spiritual trances, led by an arsenal of percussion instruments from the four corners of the world, HORIZON is a delight for the ears of musical anthropologists. And presented in a superb production by Spotted Peccary, the pleasure is only fivefold! Sylvain Lupari (September 27th, 2021) ****¼*
Review by Jos Verboven at BrainVoyager
The album Horizon (with guest performers Mark Seelig, Dirk Serries and Byron Metcalf) is an ambitious exploration of drone meditations and percussion, combining the languages of hand-created beats with soaring electronic atmospheres, a new energy and life comes from the music. It’s a real joy to listen to, feeling the joy of the musicians, the human idea of what the self is, industrial music, dub techno, ragas, history and mythology. The overall experience is calming and inspirational. The talents who originated this journey know the territory of transformative consciousness raising and international rhythm traditions. This music is perfect for creating a positive sonic environment for healing as well as for relaxation. The album horizon is vast, and the offing is forever distant, bringing a fantastic sensation of infinity.
About the album Horizon
Frosty dark electronica with organic tribal drone vibrations, for those who love mystery, exploring inner space, savoring world music flavors, and intellectual excitement. Five tracks exploring the art of sustained tonal patterns, some with beats from various hand instruments, all delivered with deep inspirational passion, always changing and constantly evolving. You can tell that these musicians are always working with an influence of cultures from around the world, history, and the music from so many different sources, including ambient, electronic, ethnic folk traditions, and sounds from field recordings. Everything comes into play. These collaborative events suggest a mixture of the past and present, ancient and future, influenced by the previous work of tribal ambient pioneers who came before, blending acoustic instruments that are heavily processed, sculpting and carving out sounds. These collaborations on the album Horizon provide a look forward into the future, fulfilling the title: Horizon.
The horizon is the distant line that separates the surface of a celestial body from its sky. In perspective drawing, the horizon is the theoretical line to which points on any horizontal plane converge. No matter how far you travel, the horizon remains expansive but remote, not a fixed location as much as a concept. The Horizon specified here functions as a cosmic foundation, a steady sustained tone pattern, this is vanishing-point music providing a sonorous platform for the instrumental progressions, often with percussion. The instruments heard include Frame Drums, Shakers, Bullhorn, Analog / Digital Synths, Drum Machines, Guitar, Sample Manipulations, Bansuri, Clay Udu Drums, Bells, Donkey Jaw, Talking Drum, Rattle, Bass Ocarina, Overtone Flute, Guitar, Vibraphone, Gong, Fujara, Chau Gong, Rain Stick, Navajo Flute, and Aztec Death Flute.
The eye is a sense organ that reacts to light and allows vision. The eye is also the focus of a hurricane, the point about which the rest of a storm rotates and where the wind becomes strangely calm. The eye of anything is the focus of awareness, the point about which the rest rotates. “The Eye of Everything” (12:09) is a duet by Frore and Morris, emerging from the void, enrolling the elements of electronic sounds and hand percussion.
To be truly inspired, a musician may become one with this inspiration, the inner being and the outer world—along with the very art itself. As a collective of creative types, musicians seek inspiration everywhere, and in everything. Unconditional love, the highest form of love, charity, the love of God for man and of man for God, are all classical definitions of the Greek word “Agape” (10:57), which is performed by the trio of Frore, Morris and Mark Seelig. Featured are the sounds of the Bansuri flute, an aerophone made from bamboo and used in Hindustani classical music. This combination creates a steady universal sound that transcends and persists, it goes beyond just the emotions, employing electronics, breath, and hand percussion; long sustained tones with many subtle variations.
Wide open musical colors and textures, steadily building into a tight energized groove, interlacing, braiding and intertwining threads or fibers of sound, blending elements of terrestrial ethnic or indigenous musical traditions and pulling from gentle chaos, coming together between the warp and weft of the duo Frore and Morris: “Woven” (12:47).
What does it mean to be lost in something?
A sense of being astray in the unknown, a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, and unfamiliar. Dirk Serries joins Frore and Morris, beaming combinations of harmonic relationships, which move slowly from one to the next sustained chord or cluster of notes that linger uninterrupted, the sound of the wind blowing is evoked by a flute. “Lost in Wonder” (8:56) yields a wide variety of musical possibilities, a collection of diversity in styles and collaborative dynamics, from the endless drone of pure bliss to the almost hidden flight of free melodic improvisation.
“Ocean of Fire” (16:34) was created by Frore, Morris and percussionist Byron Metcalf. This final track enters with organic surf, crashing on a pebble beach and builds in stages steadily into a most passionate pace, energy in waves, mixing percussion over sustained tones to produce an ambient, minimalist, and often avant-garde soundscape, while maintaining a tribal house characteristic in the sound. This is a very big ocean.
The music of Frore is frequently played on the Hearts of Space radio show, the Star’s End radio show, and can also be heard on Stillstream.com in the streaming universe. Frore is the ambient music project of Paul Casper, a musician from Virginia Beach, Virginia. “For me this album Horizon was about shedding some creative and technical insecurities and learning to look to the future. Hence the title: Horizon. Frore is music that evokes a dark, thoughtful and primitive atmosphere for reflection and/or dreaming. I think it’s music that connects with “something,” but I’ve yet to figure out what that is…”
Shane Morris has roots in the Ozark mountains and two Bachelor of Science degrees in Anthropology and in Music, from Missouri State University, with an emphasis in “Trance” and Electronic music, Ambient, African and Caribbean drumming, Pre-Hispanic music of the Americas, Jazz, Psychedelia, and Folk traditions from around the world. Shane is known for his awareness of detail and dynamics, sound and spatialization, textures and harmonies, creating sonic spaces that blend ethereal realms, polyrhythmic grooves, and tribal soundscapes.
Byron Metcalf has been intensely involved in consciousness research and spiritual development for over 30 years, specializing in the transformative potential of alternative states of consciousness, to support people in developing their capacity for soul-based and heart-centered living as they contribute to the spiritual healing and maturity of humanity. He has been a musician for over 50 years, becoming a professional drummer when he was fifteen years old, eventually playing on several gold and platinum albums.
Mark Seelig received classical training on the violin from age 8 through 14, and then taught himself guitar and vocals. From early on he felt a growing fascination with the world’s spiritual traditions. During a deep vision quest, in 1999 at age 42, his musical focus shifted again, he felt encouraged to take up the Bansuri, which is a North Indian bamboo flute. He is also a Certified Holotropic Breathwork Practitioner, specializing in Archetypal Astrology, and Shamanic Divination Ceremonies.
Dirk Serries began working in the early 1980s in the Belgian DIY industrial tape music scene as Vidna Obmana, which in Serbian translates as “optical illusion.” While his first recordings featured harsh industrial music, his work gradually shifted into ambient music and a primitive tribal sound. His next musical incarnation, Fear Falls Burning, began in 2005, followed in 2012 by his Microphonics projects, with a more improvisational avant-garde jazz feeling.