Wolfgang Voigt & Deepchord present :: Peter Michael Hame’s Colours Of Time Re-Interpreted (Astral Industries)
Peter Michael Hamel’s Colors of Time Re-Interpreted features two artists on a split EP re-interpreting an obscure, multi-part kosmische synth epic from 1980.
Since reviewing Astral Industries’ debut release, Deepchord’s now highly sought-after Lanterns, the label has gone on to release some decidedly strange, esoteric and surprising things, and in recent months, at a greatly accelerated rate. Wolfgang Voigt was another coup for the label, following that release with an epic live rendition of Rückenzauberung. And now there’s this, the not-so-catchily titled Peter Michael Hamel’s Colors of Time Re-Interpreted that features these two artists on a split EP re-interpreting an obscure, multi-part kosmische synth epic from 1980.
Not that Astral Industries have chosen to reissue the original by way of explanation, even though the release would sort of fit in the with label’s ethos now that their roster features the in-residence Chi Factory. Maybe that’s forthcoming? Who knows. With Astral Industries, expect the unexpected. The single disc release features just two tracks, but both clock in at just shy of twenty-minutes apiece, making this a pretty substantial package.
Given his penchant for gaseous ambiance and slowly evolving organ tone drones, Wolfgang Voigt has gone for a far more literal reinterpretation of Colours of Time in his nineteen minute “Neokraut Trip.” This eerie and often sinister reinterpretation that not only mirrors the multi-part format of the original but also contains many recognizable elements, rephrasing and re-timing them in subtle and surprisingly propulsive ways.
There’s no hint of spacious ambient dub on this “Neokraut Trip,” Voigt instead mapping those epic, slowly evolving organ drones from his various Rückverzauberung releases onto Colours Of Time’s original synth and creating epic, cathedral-esque harmonics together with unmistakably Kompakt-esque forms. These fade to sprawling, ambient bass pads, sleepy harpsichord keys and twinkling background synth fx, followed by some of Hamel’s original, more freestyle keyboard noodling as it disintegrates into a soupy quagmire of smeared synth drawl. Unsettling.
Deepchord’s “Carolina Forest” mix, on the other hand, is so at-odds with what we’re used to hearing from the great Rod Modell that I originally had to check when listening to samples that Soundcloud hadn’t skipped to a completely different release. It opens with spacious, airy strings and chilly whispers, but is quickly enhanced by a looping, melodic keyboard refrain. The near-total absence of rhythm bar the metronomic bass pulse heard only in select passages of this twenty-minute epic is frayed at the edges by a fuzzy and warm melancholia that make it all sound like it came from the soul of Brock van Wey rather than Modell. Totally unexpected.
And it works, too. It’s easily one of the most nirvanic tracks Deepchord has yet produced, flowing water adding to that pastoral beauty. This slowly changes at around the halfway point, however, as the melodic keys swim out of focus to be replaced by a hazy, almost jazz-tinged ambiance reminiscent of Shenzhou/Dropsonde era Biosphere. Delicate bells can be heard ringing amidst the washes of muffled bass, muted pads and blurry reverb until the whole thing dissolves into the lapping ocean waves. Sure, it’s hard to discern its relationship to the original, but like so many Deepchord remodels, this matters little when the result is so sublime.
Astral Industries continues to be a label to watch, if only because their vinyl-only, no-digital release policy means their records are genuinely limited and competitive to obtain. That no-digital policy is apparently changing soon, but only for releases where the artists have given digital their blessing. This is not one of those. Be under no illusions, this is one of the best ambient releases of 2016 so far. Don’t miss it!
Peter Michael Hame’s Colours Of Time Re-Interpreted is available on Astral Industries.