Dreaming Earth Water Memories by Robert Carty Deep Sky Music, 2002 http://www.geocities.com/deepskymusic Far from the ocean, but near the Great Salt Lake in Utah, Robert Carty has produced an album of liquid synthesizer ambient. It is characteristic of his work, featuring natural environmental sounds, sustained synthesizer chords and shimmers, rambling modal melodic lines reminiscent of 60s psychedelia, and “native” percussion. He also adds in some American Indian- sounding chant samples. There are lots of “world” elements on the album, such as Australian didgeridoo, Indian sitar, tabla, and tamboura, and Native American wood flute. This is globalized ambient, all wrapped up in a smooth package which bypasses issues of ethnic authenticity or the political correctness of using Native chants in pop music. Carty is aware of his fellow ambient composers; track 3, “Beautiful Sky,” has passages that sound like Patrick O’Hearn, while track 4, “Water Memories,” builds up to a wall, or rather, big wave of multilayered sound reminiscent of some of the more trancey work of Michael Stearns. Carty tends toward very steady rhythms and unchanging harmonies; once he’s established something, he keeps with it until it fades out. This adds to the album’s tendency toward psychedelia and trance. I could easily envision the swirling colors and textures of an old-fashioned light-show as I listened to its watery, rippling patterns. Hannah M.G. Shapero 11/22/02
Robert Carty: Deep Sky 2001 Robert Carty is the electronician's electronician. Very few artists have been able to match his consistence. While his output was quite prolific for most of the 1990's, he has scaled down in the new millennium. He released two CD's in 2000 and two in 2001. And they are all in his top ten. Deep Sky is named for Robert's label and production company. It is also distinctly Robert Carty and totally unique. Robert has gone in many different directions to many different zones for his compositional inspirations. On this CD he draws on all of those references and creates one of the most unique hybrids imaginable. This hybrid has no overt references to any of the influences. It is, quite simply, one of the most unique electronic CD's ever! And it does not end there! Robert has always created great artwork to adorn his CD's. he has always matched the artwork and fonts expertly to the themes. This artwork is his most beautiful yet. And the font is dynamic and dignified. So, this is the best Robert Carty CD yet. And because it is a 2001 release, it is numero uno on at least one Best Of 2001 list. This CD, like all CD's reviewed at ambient visions, is available at Backroads Music. ~ Jim Brenholts, EER-MUSIC.com Robert Carty, Midnight Rainbows Deepsky, 2001 http://geocities.com/deepsky_84107/index.html firstname.lastname@example.org Robert Carty was the most prolific electronician of the '90's. While he had been creating and releasing CD's since 1990, it wasn't until 1999 that he began to receive some recognition for his efforts. One of the developments over those 10 years has been Robert's developing style and unique sound. He has also slowed down his output. Midnight Rainbows is classic Robert Carty. It features everything that is good about his style. He gives his listeners vast atmospheres, deep minimalism, textured and layered synth washes, symphonic synthesizer riffs and pastoral melodies. And those qualities merge to create rolling walls of sound that build and collapse continuously. It gives the disc a sequenced feel but this is pure minimalism. The music defines, sets and maintains its own pace. This is an absolute positive stride in Robert's career. Stop by his web site and check out the titles and amazing artwork. The artwork is cool. The sounds are amazing! Reviewed by Jim Brenholts
The Inexplicable by Robert Carty Deep Sky Music c/o Deep Sky Music, 5478 S. 235 E. #E Murray, Utah 84107 http://www.geocities.com/deepsky_84107/index.html The prolific Robert Carty’s entry for 2000 is a desert-inspired electronic ambient album, owing much to Steve Roach in its landscape themes, percussion rhythms and rattles, embedded nature sounds, floating chords, and vast reverberation. But where Roach is increasingly sophisticated both in structure and in chord choices, Carty stays with mostly conventional harmony, whether it is major or modal, and he doesn’t change much within any single piece. Yet despite the Roach influence, Carty does have his own recognizable style. He often uses a kind of organ-like polytonal tone cluster, such as at the beginning of track 2, “Dark and Drifting Part Two,” which is a kind of signature sound for him. This is “classic” ambient, sound that flows along without much structure, with different notes entering and fading in multiple layers. It’s almost all electronic, with a synthesizer sound that wouldn’t have been out of place in the more esoteric efforts of Tangerine Dream or Kitaro in the late ‘70s to mid- ‘80s. Once you get to the three parts of “That Desert Feel,” Carty locks into one modal key and stays there throughout the half-hour or so duration. Part two (track 4) features some steady, Native-inspired rhythms with artificial flute sounds and rattles. The Inexplicable is moderately restful, and not unpleasant. But it gets to be somewhat monotonous after a while, despite (or perhaps because of) its reverent expression of the desert landscape and its wide open spaces. HMGS rating: 6 out of 10 5/15/01
Robert Carty: Deep Spirit (CD, 60:09); 1997 Deep Sky Music 5478 S. 235 E. #E Murray, UT 84107 USA E-Mail: email@example.com Cyberhome: http://www.geocities.com/deepsky_84107/index.html or http://www.california.com/~eameece/carty.htm A brief synopsis: Carty is a gifted ambient electronics composer, touching on space music yet more mysterious, echoing Vangelis, Serrie, Demby, Tyndall, and others. Most importantly he has carved his own niche, a unique style of ambience that is high-quality, moving, pristine, and professional. His ambient synth work is, as I call it, filled with true "soulfire", in touch with unseen realities. Carty is highly recommended in this particular sub-genre of his wider spectrum of synth releases. "Twilight", 10:21, features a "spaced-out" cricket vocalization, with chirpings that seem to pierce the heavens. "Echoplex"-ed into infinity, its call meets droning synths, swirling about. Layerings of synth upon synth build in crescendo then fade. Chime-like, bell-synth voicings bring in a melodic theme. All is aswirl, echoed, the listener immersed in a sonic whirlpool. Chordal synth pattern begins – a strings voicing evident. Space-cricket theme returns to forefront as if the cosmos, stars and galaxies collapse back to earth. Lone cricket noises, fade out . . . "Into Deepness", 11:13, brings falling water sounds, huge shimmering, metallic, crystalline synthforms descend, massing in density and volume – listener is engulfed. Deep drone becomes evident. Water sounds become louder. Volume levels then fall off, relaxation, release – a vague song pattern tries to emerge but another repeating synth mode rises above it. Synth walls-of-sound begin crashing in, building, drowning out all sound-spaces then fade to near silence as flowing water sounds return. Tension-release- tension-release, Carty favors this structuring. Water sounds fade . . . "Growing Light", 9:13, Similar synth signatures as prior piece but no water. However synths are cascading in, building as waves, floating and hovering. Brassy, sharp, cold string-synths are Carty's choice again. Ebb, flow, rise, fall as ocean surf – Carty's sound-walls are relentless. Whirlwinds, vortexes of brilliant light, flashes – are near then far, ever-reproducing a new barrage. No listener release here. Merely a fade to silence. What tiring torrents! "Spectrums", 10:53, ahh, finally relaxation, low-key, mammoth swirling, low- end, muted but heavy drones with some brief peakings of mid to high-range "trumpetings" or "outbursts". Synth colorings reflect those of first track, spacey, galactic, cosmic but without insectoid chants. Buzzing synth embellishing then regal "horn" synths to soon gain a certain pipe-organ hugeness and splendor yet too brassy and sharp to be fully organ-voiced. Relaxation has ended and the building of intensity of sounds returns. Then comes a quick release in a fade to silence. "Deep Spirit", 11:01, title track begins with that same swirling, deep down, "swamped" synth-waters feel but a minute tinkling synth effect is added. Buzzing, fast vibrato-echo-distorto synths invade briefly calling to mind Eno's stints with Cluster. This effect of course builds, in typical Carty modality, mutates, expands, oscillating the listener's left and right cerebral hemispheres into some "out-of-phase" state. Big lower octave drones drift in slowly to soothe and overwhelm the moment. Finally, again without release, all sounds simply fade away . . . "Gentle Revealings", 7:28, (my wife has just drifted off into sleep, holding our very old Yorkie in her lap, recliner and Carty to blame), a final track, a final release, extremely calming piece with harpsichord-ish, glistening synths and keys. Full- splendored feel here with a 1/3 speed frog? cricket? call in background synths awhirling. Is this some distorted sampling of an old fan belt at slow speed? Weird. Chimed synths seemed very Larry Fast-ian or Vangelis, circa Antarctica and that slow-speed screeching "unknown" fades away as final sound, a synth reprise, then final fade. In-depth track by track tour by your ambient guide . . . ~ John W. Patterson Robert Carty: Darklight (CD, 59:10); 1998 Deep Sky Music 5478 S. 235 E. #E Murray, UT 84107 USA E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cyberhome: http://www.geocities.com/deepsky_84107/index.html or http://www.california.com/~eameece/carty.htm A brief synopsis: This release exhibits yet again a very strong contender in the ambient/ space music genre. Carty has achieved another step up into "space/cosmic" effects overall as compared to his earlier Deep Spirit work. "Gravitation", 6:03, is excellent space music with a multitude of effects and an immensely powerful low-end underlying the whole piece. That sense of a huge interstellar craft cruising infinite vistas of star-field is felt. Whisper effects are eerie and effective. The Serrie sensitivities and stylings come through but again Carty is intriguingly more exotic. Alien voices seem to surround listener, hypnotic chants of sensuousness wisdom. "Submerged", 5:50, has voices trail off into string synths that add a full sound weight over drone matrix. Some bass effects were powerful enough in their shiftings to bring visions of another world's continental shelf sloughing away beneath you. Great stuff here. A liltingly haunting melodic and harmonic sense too! Uplifting one's feeling of awe – the unseen majesties unfolding, revealed at last. "Dark Glow", 8:27, opens an alien aquatic world scheme with behemoth bubblings, like upwelling magma. Mournful solo synth rises. Feel a wandering, floating mood, observing great dark forms beneath you as the stars rotate above. Eventually synth diminishes to near silence, a buzzing sound heralds next track . . . superb! "Organic Elemental", 9:50, I heard a distinct Wendy Carlos, Sonic Seasonings, "Summer" all over this piece with snippets of Roach et al's Desert Solitaire. Very minimalistic, subdued dronings, subtle groanings, insecta and rattlesnake are here with a gestalt of heated voids. More synths augment the track with a moodiness of stilled air, heavy weights of fatigue, devastation and isolation, ruin and stark emptiness – infernal distances, unending, relentless nothingness. Strong work Robert! "Window", 5:34, offers that signature Loren Nerell maximum, metallic gong synth and that David Parsons Himalaya ritualistic essence. Mood is carefree and relaxed however, with an alpha-wave state-of-mind. Vangelis-restful lead synth colorings used nicely. Fade into next track . . . "Sensory Link", 6:24, has synth embellishings drift over from previous track. Open feeling mood, slow-moving, bell-toned, sparse synths stroll by. Carty uses a subtle stringsy-synth voice and synth-flute, breathy "blow-over" textures with mid-range echoes added to the mix. Very restful overall. Transition to space music with an echo-laden, synth cascade, like some odd chittering airborne things flit nearby. Fade into . . . "Darkness To Light", 17:00, ahh yes, an extended space-music excursion. This is very Serrie or think of T. Dream in a non-sequenced, ultra-expansive "break" for that classic "zoning out" and "blank stares" fugue. Bring me my Mandala mama. Seriously folks, this is highly meditative and mood-melting piece. Flowing, formless, floating, and a fitting finale! This is an "isolation tank trip" goodie. Highly recommended release here by Carty. Another in-depth track by track tour by your spaced-out Captain Infinity . . . ~ John W. Patterson
Music of Robert Carty The Living (1998) and Serotonin Ashram(1999) Deep Sky Music http://www.geocities.com/deepsky_84107/index.html Robert Carty is a real independent; he works out of Salt Lake City, Utah, far from the trendy centers of experimental music, and does all his own recording, as well as cover artwork and design. He’s got more than a dozen albums to his credit, but his music has been hard to find, though it is now in the Backroads catalog and also featured on a California radio program devoted to “new age” music. Internet and the Web have given him more exposure, and it is through the samples on his Website that I first heard his music. It is worth the search: this American independent has produced some fine material in a long catalogue of electronic albums. In The Living Carty adds nature sounds as a background. I must confess that I am really fond of nature sounds as a background to ambient music, and the jaded will say it’s a cliché – but Carty does it tastefully. The Living is a tribute to nature and the natural environment, with five fairly long sections of smooth-flowing ambient tones, just short of melody. He stays with a basic one-to-five-to diminished seventh harmony throughout the entire album, with some modal excursions. This simple harmonic structure derives not from classical music but more from the softer, more contemplative rock experiments of the 60s and 70s. This gives a structural unity to the album though it moves slowly due to being mostly in the same key throughout. Pieces are differentiated from each other more by use of different sound textures than by harmony, key, or rhythm. There isn’t much rhythm or percussion to speak of in the album, anyway; this is along the lines of “cool” trance music rather than the “techno” genre. Yet there is a progression in the pieces, which builds up towards the end as he adds more melodic lines, more accompaniments playing together, and more volume. The last piece, “The Living Universe,” is quite intense. In general his choice of electronic sounds in this album are mellifluous and enjoyable, except for one sound which appears in the first and last track, a loud creaking sound which I assume is supposed to be perhaps trees talking or woods swaying. I disliked it; it sounds like a door hinge that needs oiling. The rest of the album, once you have gotten through the creaking door, is a pleasant and even enchanting journey through musical forests. HMGS rating out of 10: 7
Serotonin Ashram, Carty’s 1999 release, is quite different from 1998’s The Living. This album has much more variety, ranging from “chill” or “drone” ambient, to medium-fast rhythms, to beat-driven pieces along the lines of European synth-rock. It begins with the eleven-minute “Follow Your Bliss” which in its modal melodies, optimistic harmonies and swaying rhythm has become one of my favorite electronic tracks of the past few years. In fact, if I had heard this album earlier, I would have named it as one of my top ambient albums of 1999, and in retrospective, I will include it in the list. Carty continues to add nature sounds as a background, though unlike the previous album these are overshadowed by louder music. I especially like the sound of distant thunder (real? synthesized?) in track 2, “The Periphery,” and track 4, “Medicine Quest.” In track 5, “Extended Stillness,” Carty travels a bit into Roach territory, with rattles and shakers, low chanting sounds, and “floating” electronic chords. But the sound is still Carty’s, thanks to his harmonic choices which are quite different from those of the Tucson veteran. Carty ends the album with a sparkling Euro-rock piece that moves right along until it fades into a silicon dawn. Robert Carty is more than just an ambient soundsmith, he is a composer, who knows how to vary pace, texture, and structure, and who is not afraid to unify an entire album by bringing back motifs from earlier tracks in the later pieces. So much ambient seems aimless, with little or no design behind it, which is why I enjoy the thinking behind Carty’s music as much as I do his natural sound samples and clear harmonies. The cleverly titled “Serotonin Ashram” is an ambient achievement that deserves lots of listening. HMGS rating out of 10: 9
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