Chris Spheeris And Paul Voudouris / Passage / Emotional Rescue & Mountains In The Sea

Back in 1982, guitarist Chris Spheeris and keyboard player Paul Voudouris, were commissioned to record a “meditation” album. Hired by a Biofeedback Therapy company to provide a soothing soundtrack for “the stressful, the weary, and those who have trouble sleeping at night”. The Milwaukee-based duo having previously released a couple of “straight” LPs of Folk / Pop / Rock. While the therapeutic remit initially seemed constrained, specifying texture, pitch and time, the pair were surprised to find a freedom in the creation of the extended pieces that make up Passages. It must have been an “awakening” of sorts, since Spheeris and Voudouris went on to self-release – via their own Epiphany Records – a few more New Age / “Healing Trance” leaning albums. One of which, 1991`s Enchantment, features the Jose Padilla / Cafe Del Mar favourite, Pura Vida.

On Passage`s opener, Prism, Voudouris` Kosmische arpeggios make like racing atoms and molecules. Energetically, conducting currents that sing the body electric. Spheeris` playing is similarly full of nature`s patterns. Within its Minimalist repetitions there is constant change. No one bar quite the same. Like light flashing, dappled, on approaching waves. Rainfall hitting foliage in close up. Busy insects, closer still. Like fireflies. Shooting stars and comet tails. Mosaic is darker in tone. With slightly ominous synthetic midnight arcs, accompanied by subtle twists of cavernous echo. Like an audio Aurora Borealis. Slowly painting the night sky fantastic. The twenty minute title track, is more Modern Classical than New Age. Where symphonic drones travel unhurriedly in and out of phase. Moving between the sound of strings and muted brass. The violin of Arvo Pärt`s Spiegel Im Spiegel. The colliery band requiem of Jóhann Jóhannsson`s Miners Hymns. Producing a serene, steady, calm. Neither euphoric nor melancholic. But warmer than it is cold. The effect like standing on the shore, watching the water`s still silver mirror the heavens. Perfect for reflecting on yesterdays and tomorrows. For bidding today farewell. 

I`m not sure when this gets a full release, but a brace of vinyl copies, plus digital, are available now over at the Emotional Rescue Bandcamp page and via Mountains In The Sea.  

Reference Links

Pura Vida

Jóhann Jóhannsson

Arvo Pärt 

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