prog rock, jazz fusion, jazz rock, jazz, pysch/trance, space, electronic, ambient, essentially eclectic excellence

Eclectic Earwig Reviews

Eclectic Earwig Reviews



Sextant: Lane & Ashera ====================== Brannan Lane just sent me a CD-R demo of this to review and I have to say, two thumbs up & bravo on this one! I have had this CD spinning 3 days straight on infinite loop at work and it is seamlessly perfect, relaxing, dream-inspiring, flowing, mysteriously "off in the distance" and a delight to immerse your brain in. Nothing is wasted, not a bit of cheesy synths, no distracting ethnic beats or psuedo- tribal attempts at trance-cool-schtick (thankfully). Sextant is pure bliss, an ocean of drones and distant echoes of very well-voiced timbres that tease interest but never overpower. I highly recommend this to all ambient voidscapes lovers. Set your psyche adrift as Lane and Ashera are seasoned navigators. I don't know how much of this is Lane versus Ashera but whatever the ratio -- it matters not -- it is perfect! Highest recommendations!! Now I wish this CD was more than just a naked CD-R with track list and no notes or art ;-P . . . . ~ John W. Patterson, Editor of ASMID moderator

Brannan Lane and Amir Baghiri Lucid Circles Lucid Circles> is a deep sonic treasure from Brannan Lane and Amir Baghiri, two of e-music’s most prolific and proficient performers. They are also dynamic collaborators so this disc is a natural. The collab is smooth so the sound design is Amir and Brannan, not Amir or Brannan. The atmospheres spring from deep drones and electro-tribal grooves. The elements are interwoven and surround each other. While it is probable that the exchange of ideas took place via the mails – both e and snail – Brannan and Amir were definitely on the same page and in the same space at the same time. It is scary to imagine what these geniuses would do in the same studio! - Jim Brenholts

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Brannan Lane
: To the Earth and Back To the Earth and Back is a heavy-handed - and sometimes very busy - sample from Brannan Lane. He classifies this as "ambient space" music. It is all that and much more! Brannan covers the gamut from tribal minimalism and desert ambience to symphonic synthesizers and spacey sequences. The heavy-handed and busy sequences work very well as Brannan displays his versatility and wide berth of influences. The world and tribal influences take this to the next level. The drifting space minimalism keeps the CD firmly grounded. The journey goes full circle as Brannan leaves the Earth and goes back to outer space! ~ Jim Brenholts,

(Two CDs reviewed at once by Jim . . .)

Brannan Lane: Caribbean Dream and Caribbean Dream II: Dreaming Again Brannan Lane is an extremely diverse and extraordinarily talented musician. His ambient and electronic work has been well-documented on these pages. He also plays drums for a Country and Western band in Nashville and he has recently been playing with a jazz combo from New Orleans too. He recorded a jazz album in tribute to his father, Stan Lane. And, as if that's not enough, he has also recorded two tropical island world music CD's - Caribbean Dream and Caribbean Dream II: Dreaming Again. These albums are really cool. The first CD has lots of bounce and infectious rhythms. Brannan adds a little bit of humor to the song titles. Stan co-wrote and performs on "Rasta Pasta" and "St. Tom Tom." The vibes are cool; the breeze is warm; the salt air is strong. The follow-up disc has strong traits also. It is bouncy but not as energetic as the first disc. It does have deeper atmospheres and vivid imagery. Brannan puts the onus of interpretation on the listener. The subtleties make this disc just as enjoyable but in a different way. Both discs are very reminiscent of the 1950's exotica stylings of Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman. This is new millennium exotica! What a gas! ~ Jim Brenholts, BUY THIS CD HERE.
Brannan Lane
: Soundfall to the Infinite 2002 Brannan Lane is having a year and a half in 2002. And it's still April! Soundfall to the Infinite is his fourth CD so far (one solo, three collaborations). And it's only April! Brannan's collaborator, Zero Ohms, nee Richard Roberts, is having quite a year also. Soundfall to the Infinite is his second CD of 2002. And it's only April! This CD is the total package. The cover artwork, by Robert Carty, is gorgeous. (Robert also did the cover artwork for Tracks Across the Universe.) The liner notes are sparse. (There is no need for them.) The music is awesome! The deep minimalism is inspirational and warm. The disc is set up like a symphony. There are three sets, each with two movements. Richard's breathy flutes supply a soft and gentle drone. Brannan's gentle processes create massive atmospheres. The serene soundscape is captivating. This very emotional and highly spiritual soundscape is some of the sweetest music from two of the kindest and gentlest souls in the e-music community. It defines the splendor of solitude. Deep listeners will appreciate the opportunity to explore the self. (I want to step out of character briefly to thank both of these fine gentlemen for their support and prayers during my recent trials and tribulations. I am always touched by the love in our little e-music community. It is with great pride and humility that I review this CD. Thank you, Richard! Thank you, Brannan!) - Jim Brenholts

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Brannan Lane
: Sleep Cycle (CD, 48:04); Music, BLM501CD 2001 E-mail: Website: By now, many ambient fans and drone-heads are discovering Lane. His first two ambient releases I reviewed held satisfying moments but an underlying tension and even dread was present, an undercurrent of uneasiness pervaded. That sort of effect is just fine for some moods or aural fixations. What I hoped to hear from Lane was an adventure in mystical relaxation and a stroll through subdued realms of "the other worlds of peace and bliss". Lane has done just that in splendid fashion with this release. As Robert Rich has explored, sleep cycles and sound's effects thereupon, so Lane has composed and created a 3-D soundtrip/ map of the voyage in into Hypnos, that abode of sleep. Lane has done some homework and after learning the phases of sleep as medical science denotes them, Lane has interpreted these as synth worlds interwoven with "edge-of-hearing" nature sounds. The result is superbly relaxing, interestingly hypnotic, and is exactly the ambience that Brian Eno envisioned. That is to say, you notice Lane's "music of slumber" then it envelops your consciousness with care, and then you stop listening to it -- for it becomes part of your environment. Lane's art immerses you slowly, with marked lack of obvious zones and you eventually realize your psyche is nearing hypnogogic vision states. What a wonderful work this is by Lane, a must-do for ambient space voyagers! If this music was played during a controlled and medically professional research session studying the psychedelic effects of intravenously administered DMT, I surmise the subject would soon feel cradled in absolute peace and warmth, as if literally returned to the womb of the universe . . . back to the Source. ~ John W. Patterson, TOP PICKS Personnel: Brannan Lane- all synths, God, the Creator - natural found sounds such as insecta, tidal echoes, etc Tracks: Cycle of Nod, Slow Wave Sleep, Sleep Spindles (Stage One), Suspension of Consciousness, K-Complexes, Sleep Spindles (Stage Two), Delta Waves, Sonic Pillow, Emergence (Pt. 1), Emergence (Pt. 2)

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Brannan Lane
and Vidna Obmana: Deep Unknown Brannan Lane Music, BLM504CD, 2002 There are some e-music collaborations that are just meant to be. The collaboration between Vidna Obmana, nee Dirk Serries, and Brannan Lane, nee Brannan Lane, is such a collaboration. Dirk has been one of the new millennium's busiest electronicians. Brannan's release schedule for 2002 has lots of neat stuff and lots of CD's. He has five or six releases right now that are "new." Deep Unknown is a set of foggy tribal expansive atmospheres. Brannan's space minimalism and Dirk's electro-tribal soundworlds blend smoothly and neatly into a somber, almost destitute soundscape. This CD is about isolation and the limited benefits of that emotional defense mechanism. The benefits are the perceptions of freedom, self-importance and egotistical introspection. The dangers of isolation are clear. The biggest danger is listening to one's own interpretation of the inner self. So the low-key soundscape plays to the angst of isolation too. These expert sound designers have built a massive soundworld for isolation. Those listeners seeking guidance from a support group or a higher power will cherish the ride. There is absolute strength in numbers and the most important word is we! Embrace the we! Embrace the higher power! - Jim Brenholts Brannan Lane and Lane Formschlag: Two Halves of the Same Side Eleven One Records, 2001 Brannan Lane is in the zone and reaching for the perpendicular universe. He has five bona fide CD's that qualify as 'new" releases. Two of those discs are collaborations. Two Halves of the Same Side is a collaboration with Lane Formschlag with assistance from Bertrom Cabot, Jr. and Danile Byerly. Back in August of 2001, Brannan sent a CD with base starting points to Lane. Rather than simply adding layers to Brannan's bases, Lane and Daniel sampled and tweaked the originals, mixed those samples back into the originals and continued the process. It could be the proverbial endless Frippertronics loop. It is a very fascinating and promising concept. It would be interesting to compare this technique to Bill Laswell's reconstruction methods and to the recycling process by Vidna Obmana and Asmus Tietchens. The resulting soundscape is a gentle and ambiguous atmosphere. There are hints of pastoral beauty and sinister dirges. The drone is consistent but neither low nor high. It just is. Brannan is offering this CD free with a purchase from his website. It is worth much more than that. - Jim Brenholts Brannan Lane: Relaxing Effects of Water Brannan Lane Music, BLM503CD, 2002 Several years ago, Lloyd Barde, owner of Backroads Music, home of the Heartbeats Catalog, described an artist as being in the "can do no wrong zone." Recently, he described Brannan Lane as being "hot" and "happening." And Brannan is in the zone too. And, with the release of Relaxing Effects of Water, he is in the perpendicular universe. Brannan's extremely diverse musical background has prepared him for all musical challenges. This CD, a single long-form (60'20") composition, is pure and joyous healing, meditation and relaxation music. the constant water and nature samples give the disc a new age feel but the deep atmospheres maintain the electronic minimalist stature. Brannan has outdone himself with this effort. It highlights his flexibility and diversity. His talents and visions inspire awe among his colleagues. This album is an essential and total stress buster. Deep listeners will feel complete relief as the healing powers take hold. Brannan HAS arrived! - Jim Brenholts

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Brannan Lane
: Troposphere (CD, 57:15); WORLD CIRCLE RECORDS, WCR804CD 2000 Email: Website: Lane subtitles this release as a “Soundtrack for Your Head” and indeed as a “sounds collection” – it is rich and varied. If you seek an experience, a journey of imagination, and aural props for some internal story line – do obtain yourself of a copy of Lane’s ambient work. Much of this sonic voyage is too interesting to completely relax to, too involving to ignore, and much too mysterious and foreboding to find perfect “peace”. And is this music? Much of Lane’s ambient art is not. There are places where space music elements come out but things rarely finally lilt into a musicality. This is a head-trip of synths and effects, panned left to right, whirling about, echoes, flanged, phase-shifted, droning, blipping, and ringing. It is very, very professionally handled and extremely effective for setting a mood. But what mood? That is a very difficult call. When relaxation might set in, there still is an edge-of-your-hearing “thing” happening “over there” or suddenly there’s a “scene change” and you’re off into another sonic scenario. If Lane were to vigorously market his skills as a soundtrack/ effects man to movie production companies, I can guarantee they’d be impressed and within a year or two he’d land a deal somewhere. His stuff is that good, really excellent techniques. As a relaxation device or background ambience – I cannot fairly recommend Lane. At least this release and his other ambient work to date – all evoke an active participation, as they are predominantly mentally involving and keep grabbing your attention. In some places, during a few tracks, you will find a relaxing fugue or two but there’s that shadow of “something’s about to happen, I better watch out for whatever it is . . .” These are of course, my subjective feelings upon immersing my head in Lane’s world. Yet, I feel confident in saying Lane leans towards a dark ambience of subdued tensions. An awestruck mood or fascinated mind-set pervades each piece. This is exactly the type stuff to listen to and find inspiration for writing sci-fi/fantasy/horror adventure stories. So give Lane a spin and experience his strange world of mystery. It's a very cool place to cruise through. ~ John W. Patterson Personnel: Brannan Lane – all synths and percussion Tracks: Tropospheric: Part I and II, Mesophere: Part I and II, Odyssea: Part I and II, Solar Wind, Thermosphere: Part I and II, Stratosphere: Part I and II offers this CD.
Brannan Lane
: Lost Caverns of Thera (CD, 66:21); WORLD CIRCLE RECORDS, WCR802CD 2000 Email: Website: “Yo! Hello down there! Do ya need any more rope? Hey! You okay? Hey!” They each run towards the edge of the freshly discovered Theran Abyss, echoing its horrid silence, staring silently as the rope is pulled back up. Their friend is not there – the rope is a shredded mass of frayed ends. What they hear in the depths of the blackness beneath them is an indescribable miasma of gurglings and moans. A blast of methane- heavy winds suddenly creates an intense vortex around them. Vertigo overwhelms them in the midst of their confusion and panic. They become a tangled mass of flailing limbs, scrabbling for a grip on the slippery cave floor. All light has vanished and in the coldest of any darkness they have ever known, their screams mingle as one nauseating cry – they are unheard in the vast pit. Well that was fun! Yeah, Lane’s soundtrack work, ambient feartrack, and noir places of dripping wet slime inspired me. Lane points out that “Thera” is the Greek word for fear – and such is the effect of his ambient art. This is that darkness of Robert Rich and old Lustmord. It is the crushing, smothering, paranoia and asphyxiating soundtunnels of the hopelessly claustrophobic. This is deep wetness, thick darkness, endless wanderings of places one needs to stay away from lest ye dieth amongst yon hellspawned ruins of things accursed and best forgotten. Drip, drip, drip, echoey essences, and horrific howlings of draconian behemoths aneath, greet your ears. Lane has crafted an extended meander beneath and within ancient caverns of nigh unto the Underworld’s entry. You can hear the headwaters of river Styx and sense that nagging guilt that ye are in trespass of abodes of the charnel legions. Only dead and blind things be permitted to wander these regions. “What is your pleasure? The price ye ask? Yer soul, yer mind, and that VISA card – thou fool!” This is a very dark passage to a place that only Lane can so deftly create. This may really bother some listeners as it gets right next to “the fear complex” in the psyche. This is not music, not “a walk in the park” ambience – this is fear, this is a prelude to doom. If it were not for Lane releasing us in the final track, “Into the Light”, one wanders if this might not be one of the most completely dank and dark releases I have experienced in year 2000. Lane – market this stuff to movie producers! It’s great – spooked even me. ~ John W. Patterson Personnel: Brannan Lane – all synths and percussion God, the Creator – natural found sounds Tracks: The Mouth, Cavern I – Black Air, Black Air – Part II, Cavern II – Ancient Art, Death from Above, Cavern III – Atlantis?, Sea in the Dark, Cavern IV – Lost Souls, Unknown Origins, Cavern V – Circle of Darkness, Circle of Darkness – Part II, Into the Light

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