Interiors by Sara Ayers Dark Wood Recordings, 2001 http://www.saraayers.com This album contains some quite interesting experimental music, if you can get past the sobbing voice and angst-filled lyrics (“I’m unlovable…I cry for days…how can you leave me…suffering…there is no world outside…”). Vocals are the center of Sara Ayers’ sound textures, with some synthesizer accompaniment, and they’re much better when you don’t hear the words. Fortunately she can keep on pitch, and she uses some predictable but still pleasant and soothing chords. She can multi-track herself and sound like Enya on drugs. Sometimes those are good drugs (track 5, “Drowning in Light”) and sometimes those are bad drugs (track 6, “Blood Music”). She also does things with spoken words, playing against herself, looping and phasing back and forth, with a spooky background of unintelligible whispers. Perhaps the best track on the album is track 4, “Night Hounds,” which is both sugary and nightmarish at the same time, with an angelic “chorus” singing over the sounds of barking dogs. In another effective piece, “Klangmoan” (track 8), Ayers adds Oriental gongs and bells to a wordless, Tibetan-inspired chant/hum. Despite its sweet chords and soft vocal textures, this is actually a dark and sometimes even scary album. The conventions of “relaxing” ambient are used in a “dark ambient” way. That contradiction is what makes this album interesting, and what makes it worth listening to despite the sobs. Hannah M.G. Shapero 3/23/02
Sara Ayers: Sylvatica (CD, 53:14); Dark Wood Recordings, 011 2000 E-mail: email@example.com Cyberhome: www.saraayers.com Ayers manipulates her strong vocals – using layers, delays, effects, dubs and so builds voicescapes and synthmoods of dream and introspection. I find these pieces much more moving and effective than much of even that Enya technique/ phenomenon. Ayers carries a mood of darkness, seriousness, and even dread in her creations. Sometimes, as on "Flight" and "Are You Coming Home?" you have less ambience than you do an experimental work that at first may "put one off" but then the loopings, mutations, and layers become almost intoxicating. Fans of Bill Nelson's aural curiosa will love Ayers stylings. This is not your typical ambient minimalistic work – trust me. Ayers is very unique among a recording industry chock full of cookie-cutter, ginger bread girls and one-dimensional female artists. Ayers' songs make you listen and drift away into places melancholy. For those of us ever wounded or bruised by this rough-edged existence called being alive – our souls should fully understand feelings that Ayers weaves into this fine release. A certain healing and peaceful contemplation afforded by verdant cover of leafy isolation and secret sylvan solitude awaits you. Carry this CD with you far away into that place you enjoy walking and "hiding away" from the noisy world, adjust the volume, hit play on your portable player and watch the clouds become golden ships passing by . . . I will humbly suggest Ayers do another release full of pieces like "Of theWoods" and "Winter and the Sound of Nothing". These were pure bliss. Bravo! A recommended listening experience. ~ John W. Patterson Personnel: Sara Ayers – all instruments, synths and vocals Tracks: Winter and the Sound of Nothing, Sylvatica, Starless, Flight, 21 Years, Falling Silent (Crushing Mix), Are You Coming Home?, Lachrymatory, Soundtrack to Angel #3 (Excerpt), Dream of Noise, Of the Woods
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