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Eclectic Earwig Reviews


Through the Timeless
by J. Arif Verner
Spotted Peccary Records, 2000

	J. Arif Verner's music is full of the "sense of wonder"
which is the hallmark of successful spacemusic. Although not
connected with any planetarium show or "program," this album
suggests starscapes, galaxies, and open skies, as well as more
earthly scenes evoked by the sound of ocean surf – which, for
some reason, doesn't sound like the cliché it usually does in this
kind of music.
	Verner's playing, both on synthesizers and on guitars with
some percussion, is firmly based in the "psychedelic" or "mind"
rock music of the Sixties and Seventies. This is the rather
"intellectual" kind of playing, especially on the guitar, that you
could hear back then from people like "Spirit," "Country Joe and
the Fish," Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane, and some years
later, Greg Lake of "Emerson, Lake and Palmer." The harmonies
are resolutely modal, borrowing from this type of rock as well as
from folk music, though there is no actual "folk" element in this
album. He has help from a team of other percussion players, and in
two cuts is also accompanied by the celestial zither-playing of
	One of Verner's virtues is his variety. He can approach a
sound with a driving, Euro-rock-style rhythm in some pieces, and
then in the next cut can melt back into delicate traceries of guitar
and reverb-soaked mystical synthesizer chords and twinkles; he's
not afraid to play softly. He also adds in some science-fiction style
electronic special effects. One of my favorites is where his
synthesizer zooms up through the harmonics sequence, an effect he
does in cut 5. Nothing in this album is dissonant or difficult – this
is music for comfort, not challenge, a light touch rather than a
ponderous weight. If you like dreams, drifting, timelessness, and
soft infinities, this is the album for you.
	By the way, though only 9 tracks are documented on the
album cover, there is a little extra tenth track, a short musical
afterthought, placed about 3 silent minutes after track 9.

HMGS rating out of 10: 7

Hannah M.G. Shapero

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