Diatonis Trajectories In a recent discussion about current e-music trends and directions, Lloyd Barde, owner of Backroads Music, home of The Heartbeats Catalog, and one of the world’s foremost experts on electronic music, cited Diatonis (Stuart White) as one of the hottest artists in 2004’s e-music community. Such statements are, of course, subjective and subject to debate but if Lloyd makes such a bold statement, the idea has merit. Listening to Stuart’s music seals the deal. Trajectories is a set of “imperfect” pieces that achieve rare beauty and true originality because of the imperfections. Stuart’s approach – and his own perfectionism – allows him to create art from mistakes made by machines that are – by design and definition – perfect! Deep listeners, however, will hear no imperfections and no mistakes! Stuart has crafted a deep soundscape full of pastoral ambience and bright drones. The atmospheres are constantly gathering and releasing sound design elements. They are on a constant crescendo, building towards a denouement that isn’t there. The soundscapes evoke imagery of a sunrise over blue skies complete with rainbows, flowers and wispy clouds – total serenity. It is an allegory for the dawn of man. (Indeed, the entire CD is full of references to Richard Strauss’s Sunrise, the ultimate cinematic score for new birth or rebirth.) This is a special disc. Stuart created it in 2003 but released it in 2004. Thus, it is an important piece of the dawn of e-music’s Golden Age. ~ Jim Brenholts Diatonis Ambient Life Ambient Life is a three disc set of deep minimalism and atmospheric ambience from Stuart White, a.k.a. Diatonis. There are, in reality, six Ambient Life CDs. Stuart edited it to four discs. For its ultimate release, the distributor pared it to three discs, most likely as a cost consideration. In any case, it has been an awesome undertaking and the music is superb! Stuart is at home in either the dark or pastoral ambient realms and he blends those styles effectively across these discs. The deep tones evoke vivid and colorful imagery. This set works best on continuous play. It is a great set! ~ -Jim Brenholts Diatonis: Ambient Life, Vol. 1 Diatonis, 2002 www.diatonis.com firstname.lastname@example.org Diatonis, nee Stuart White, is one of the hot tickets in y2k2. He has developed a hybrid style of minimalism that is unique, familiar and comfortable. Ambient Life, Vol. 1 is one of his excellent release on his own label. This pastoral and organic soundscape is stark and austere. Stuart walks the fine line between dark minimalism and cheerful ambience better than most and this CD highlights that ability - again! The soundscape also features Stuart's multi-instrumental capabilities. He uses a complex array of synths and electronics, an acoustic piano, flutes, a trumpet, samples, field recordings and an electric guitar to create this wonderful sound. His Stratocaster is the perfect compliment to the somber electronic atmospheres. It balances the dark and allows for the light. This CD, recorded in 2001 for a 2002 release, is a very strong and solid effort. It is among the finest space minimalism available and deserves the highest compliment - it would be an excellent fit for the Hypnos catalog! - Jim Brenholts
Diatonis: Landscape of a Dream (CD, 52:09); Diatonis/ MP3.com (D.A.M CD) release, 1999/2001 Cyberhome: http://www.diatonis.com/diatonis/ E-mail: email@example.com Music reviewing, I confess, can be pure tedium – pop in the CD, open the liner notes, look at the press kit blurbage . . . yada, yada. You wait for the first track to cue up and you think to yourself, countless many times, "Here we go again," and you let the music speak as you have before – but fortunately, you sometimes encounter "wonder and beauty" afresh. Such is Diatonis' Landscape of a Dream. I found 110% pure meditative relaxation, calm inspiring bliss, and portals to mind-peace. Diatonis, aka Stuart White, offers flowing, warm electronic rivers, sometimes mysteriously distant, sometimes mother's-womb intimate but always well-crafted ambience. Don't look for melody or obvious loops or sequences – you will only experience an ever-changing current of deep-mind sonics. Whether cathedral-keyed or space-movie track enigma – Diatonis massages ALL the right ambient hot spots. This is one of my newest "repeat play" favs. Nearest "sounds like"? Diatonis is mostly himself but on "The River Flowing" a vague echo of Steve Roach is heard. I remembered the final track of Roach's Empetus, (LP version). Stand-out Diatonis piece for me was "Ocean of Mercy" and it's sweet and tender peacefulness – I was even moved to lift my soul- voice to the King of Heaven during one listen. Now that's music for the spirit! ~ John W. Patterson Personnel: Diatonis aka Stuart White –All synths, analog and digital Tracks: Magician's Cross (11:32), Ocean of Mercy (15:25), Persistence of Time (16:29), The River Flowing (8:39)
Diatonis: Lanscape of a Dream Diatonis, 2001 www.diatonis.com firstname.lastname@example.org Lanscape of a Dream is a catchy and versatile soundscape from up and coming e-music legend, Diatonis, nee Stuart White. That is a completely and totally unbelievable sentence - "up and coming e-music legend!" Brenholts has finally gone too far! He's lost it! NO WAY! Jim's perception is as sharp as ever! Stuart is just that good. And he is living up to the "P" word - as in potential. This CD is a classy collection of four pieces that he created from 1984 to 2001. So listeners get an interesting perspective on the development of a major talent in the e-music community. The learning curve shows that Stuart was well ahead of his time back in 1984 - at that time only a handful of electronicians were working in the minimalist zones - and that his progression has been exponential. Now his timing is right. This style is right on the verge of something - perhaps even breaking it big. Stuart is sure to be one of the leaders. - Jim Brenholts
Diatonis: The Convolving Universe (CD, 55:18); Diatonis/ MP3.com (D.A.M CD) release, 2001 Cyberhome: http://www.diatonis.com/diatonis/ E-mail: email@example.com If you enjoy spectrally ambient choirs and echoes of things unseen calling like Sirens, beckoning, breathing invocations of unknown delights and distant realities – then by all means sample this release! It is ten tracks of looped, processed, mixed, twisted, multiplied and layered experiences of sonic deepness. Sometimes dark and mysterious -- then light-filled infusions of grace and light, Diatonis never fails to deeply satisfy that curious void that serious ambient space fans can never seem to fill. I listen to hundreds of releases of all types of genres and this is firmly in the "best of the rest" category for a truly interesting, moving, and mind-altering sonic trip. High class material here folks – you have my sound word on that! ~ John W. Patterson Personnel: Diatonis aka Stuart White –All synths, analog and digital Tracks: Ten angelic and gothic synth-choruses lift your soul into virtual heaven and through dim-litten portals . . .
Diatonis, Invisible Order Diatonis, 2001 www.diatonis.com firstname.lastname@example.org Invisible Order is a set of unique soundscapes and atmospheres from Diatonis, ne Stuart White. Taking a perspective outside the paradigm, Stuart has composed and constructed a mystery from a positive point of view. It could almost be called a surprise instead of a mystery. The dense atmospheres are full of experimental and foreboding passages as Stuart begins the journey of discovery. The journey's goal is to find the other side. Listeners find hope and joy as the foreboding riffs turn to bright and airy minimalism. Stuart's outlook is infectious. He uses bouncing and lilting sequences to convey his hopes and dreams. The sequences pull listeners closer to the lights and to their individual goals. This is triumphant symphonic minimalism on a par with the great CD's from Jeff Pearce and James Johnson. It does not sound like them. It conveys similar good feelings. - Jim Brenholts
Invisible Order AI.CX. Diatonis/ MP3.com (D.A.M CD) release, 2001 Cyberhome: http://www.diatonis.com/diatonis/ E-mail: email@example.com This generically named album and artist contains some slightly better-than-generic electronic spacemusic. It follows the now-familiar ambient "tradition" of long sustained synthesizer notes in modal harmonies (what would ambient composers do without modal harmonies?). Most of the pieces tend towards the plaintive and contemplative. Track 2, "At Sea," is romantic and pretty, with soft well-chosen synthesizer waves accompanying a scratchy vintage recording of Dylan Thomas** reading one of his poems relating erotic love to the sea. The poem, what I can hear of it, is beautiful and I wish the voice were clearer. Track 4, "Night full of Stars," is longer than the others, and is a sequencer piece which chugs along briskly but repetitively for about 10 minutes. The last track, modestly titled "Perfection," returns to the space-ambient mode, punctuated by rather inane voice samples ("Clouds are not made with straight edges…") in various accents. This is a short, lightweight, and not unpleasant set of electronic pieces, fairly typical of '90s and '00's ambient, but it shows us nothing new. HMGS rating: 6 out of 10 Hannah M.G. Shapero 8/9/01 **EER Editor's Note:
"Oops!" . . .
per e-mail from Diatonis concerning the vintage recording . . .
It is NOT Dylan Thomas but, I quote, "It's Aleister Crowley from ... original Wax Cylinder recordings."
further EER Editor comments, I found this recording very much in the vein of Bill Nelson's finer ambient synths/ voice sample/ heady, Gnostic-driven, style of releases.
Between the Earth and the Sky by “Diatonis” (Stuart White) MP3.com private recording, recent The first album that I reviewed from this artist was in the “slow ambient” genre; this one is in the well-worn “tribal ambient” genre. “Diatonis” (whose real name is Stuart White) describes himself as primarily a percussionist but he’s got a studio full of electronic sound equipment as well. He also includes “field recordings” of voices and environmental sounds in his tracks.
The first track, “Aziar,” builds up to a suitably intense rhythmic racket before ending rather suddenly. The second, “Ancestral Memories” (along with “Cycles,” one of the most overused ambient track titles) is highly reminiscent of Robert Rich’s flute and “found sound” slow ambient. It’s with the third track, “Prophecy,” that “Diatonis” really begins to annoy me.
I have listened to “tribal” style ambient now for years and years. It seems like just about anyone who puts exotic percussion and regular rhythms into a piece can call it “tribal.” I have also heard sounds of various Aboriginal and Native peoples incorporated into this music. While there is a way to do this respectfully (Michael Stearns and Steve Roach come to mind), I believe there is a limit to it. This limit is hard to define. “Diatonis” in track 3 features recorded voices, presumably Native American though there’s no identification of speaker or tribe, talking about “songs of our ancestors,” the “Great Spirit,” “the bringer of Vision” and “Mother Earth.” Like the egregious and often-quoted “Chief Seattle’s Speech,” which was fabricated by an advertising executive in 1977, this portrays Indians as “noble savages” spouting poetic but spurious “ancient prophecies.” I am fed up with non-Indian ambient composers using Native peoples and their sounds to create a “tribal” or “spiritual” atmosphere.
After this track, White seems to forget about Native Americans and switch over to the Middle East. The last four tracks are done with metallic percussion, electronics, and sound samples; they are somewhat repetitive and tuneless, though the metallic percussion sounds can grab your attention. But in general, “Diatonis” has fallen into most of the “tribal-ambient” cliché’s without having enough invention to transcend them.
HMGS rating: 3 out of 10 Hannah M.G. Shapero 8/21/01
Diatonis, Dark Universe: Hidden Between Particles MP3.COM, 110349 www.diatonis.com firstname.lastname@example.org Dark Universe: Hidden Between Particlesis a set of - DUH! - dark minimalism from Diatonis, nee Stuart White. Stuart was a busy minimalist in 2001. This disc, an MP3.COM D.A.M. CD, showcases his versatility and his willingness to explore the eerier sides of his own psyche. Indeed the referenced particles are within the self. This is great space - as in inner space within the universe of the soul - music. Deep listeners will enter the mysterious zones of their own universes. Stuart provides the vehicle for the ride. And he goes along on the ride as the protector. He is not going to leave his listeners and travelers flapping in the wind. But deep listeners only need the music to get a handle on this set. Diatonis sequenced four previously released tracks with seven new pieces to create this dense and ominous soundscape. It is darker than dark. Deep listeners will feel the grip of fear and the tension of anxiety as the dirge progresses. There are no soft edges of any kind. This soundworld is firmly in the middle of the darkest of dark minimalism. This disc, a bargain at D.A.M. CD prices, is absolutely essential. Stuart has been considering re-issuing it on his own label. Whatever the venue, it is essential! - Jim Brenholts, EER-MUSIC.com
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