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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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By Bryan Carrigan
Label: Peonies Music
Released 10/1/2012
Windows tracks
1. Into Light  
2. Seventh Stone  
3. Morning's Gift  
4. Passages  
5. Masquerade  
6. Fields of Poppy  
7. Horizon  
8. First Steps  
9. Pendulum  
10. Solace  
Return of the Zing
For the past several years I have been complaining about the lack of great electronic music coming to the genre. Well, my voice was heard and it is especially true with the advent of Bryan Carrigan's new album Windows. Carrigan has brought back that high degree of ambient Electronica that cannot be manufactured in a cheap basement setup or on a laptop computer. This is electronic wizardry of the highest caliber that is layered, blended, sampled, deconstructed, and reconstructed. His compositions have recognizable story lines and not just a lot of somnambulate droning (apologies to you minimalists out there). Windows is ten tracks of electronic music that have simple nouns for titles, but they have the most intricate melodies, riffs, and narratives. What does Bryan see outside his "windows"? Family, fun and the future perhaps? Let us look and see...or hear.

The principal view Bryan has in all his music is the vision of light. Yes, it appears that you can transmute light into sound. Into the Light, the opening tune suggests an eerie beginning to the day. The soft, golden glow of the morning gives a fresh start to each day. We follow the light and find ourselves drawn into a circuitous path. The tune has no heat however, for it is a cool light we are following. The music has a great deal of spirit and that is our guide.

Somewhere, some when, there is a powerful shaman and he promises to reveal all to you if the challenge is met. You must, under all circumstances, discover the Seventh Stone and all its secrets. The background soundscape to this mystical journey is courtesy of Mr. Carrigan. Bryan's music promises deep, dark caverns, labyrinthine passages and just perhaps, a pair of beautiful, smoldering eyes to impress. There be treasure out there and it may not be all that glitters.

The tune Masquerade opens with a quivering reverberation as if the sound blinks on and off. The tune becomes very mysterious and eventually, an electronic waltz of intrigue. The music gyrates, twists, and turns to deceive and cajole. I think there is something hidden here, subliminal. That is what draws me to the tune as a favorite.

Whenever I think of Fields of Poppies I cannot help but visualize a certain scene in the Wizard of Oz. As far as the eye can see there is beauty in the landscape. We tend to forget there is magic there as well. Sometimes good, sometimes not so, but the experience will be exciting no matter what. Bryan's tune has that magic that delights the aural senses.

Solace is what I imagine the "music of the spheres" might sound like. It has a moderate vibrato that is very soothing. It is something that may be heard when we find the next dimension. The thirteen minute track has an odd rhythm, neither flowing, nor faltering, but more pendulous, like some otherworldly bell. It reminded me of a gentle gamelan. The melody is nomadic, wandering in your mind, sometimes leading and sometimes following. Listening closely you can hear voices in the background. Children? Or perhaps it was just in my own mind. In any case, the song lets me take full advantage of my imagination.

Bryan Carrigan seems to have the Midas touch in the music industry, garnering accolades on many of the albums he engineers or for music he programs, including one of my favorites, Will Ackerman's Hearing Voices. His presence is available on over one hundred albums, but his last three, Passing Lights, Focus and Windows, his own unique electronic works are what make him notable in the genre. Thanks for keeping the music alive, Bryan.
Rating: Very Good   Very Good
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 2/1/2013
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