St. Mary's Hamilton Village
3916 Locust Walk in Philadelphia, PA
Free Admission/Donations Accepted
Innovative synthesist Ombient (Mike Hunter) returns to the remarkable setting of St. Mary's Hamilton Village and The Gatherings Concert Series on Saturday 20 May 2017. Noted Electronc Musician Geoffrey Waterman is scheduled to provide an opening set.
Mike Hunter is possessed by a unique atmospheric sensitivity. Making music as Ombient he explores the sonic territory of Spacemusic's 1970s Berlin-School. Utilizing a number of classic electronic instruments, among them a substantial four cabinet "Synthesizers Dot Com" modular system, he further explores the textures and moods of immortal albums such as Departure From the Northern Wasteland and Ricochet.
As keyboard leads unwind over stumbling and tumbling ratcheting sequencer patterns, heavenly chords hold and confirm Hunter's interstellar message. While droning electronics provide foundational texture, glittering effects open up space above. One sonic image blends into the next, as expectations rise, and are met. For a work inspired by such a cerebral medium, Ombient's music feels full of passionate intensity. In the qualities of simplicity, directness and raw energy, he has discovered a machine-age outlet for the imagination - the most powerful force for human freedom.
Through an impressive collection of vintage and modern synthesizers and keyboards, electricity is transformed into sound, and we are lifted into infinite spaces. Beckoning toward the eternal, reverberant Mellotron flutes and strings light out in expressive fanciful flights. In a brace of free improvisation Ombient flaunts angelic harmonies, just as easily as he mines subterranean frequencies - out of which emerge motoric sequencer patterns. These echoing interlocking runs of notes expand, contract and breakdown in ever heightening circles. The mounting compositional tension, released in our minds as impressionistic cerebration, feels energizing. Minor key chords slowly sweep across the sound field. In an ascending rush, then a descending calm, we depart our more common thoughts... for mysterious regions. At journey's end the music resolves, and settles the listener into a drifting dream of gently humming circuits and charged solid states.
Ombient returns to The Gatherings Concert Series on Saturday 20 May 2017 and will be joined on-stage by fellow synthesist Chuck van Zyl.
Ombient w/Chuck van Zyl - live on STAR'S END 10 May 2015 (excerpt)
The CD Sectio Aurea (78'01") can hardly be contained by the room it is playing in. Mike Hunter(a.k.a. Ombient) finds inspiration in an almost mythical past of 1970s Berlin, while pursuing the present day's desire for modernity. Sectio Aurea is in part Hunter's own interpretation of the classic Departure From the Northern Wasteland - a further cultivation of Michael Hoenig's imaginings by a musician who recognizes the value of this work. Working in a genre often thought of as too dependent on hardware, Hunter explores the ways this music may convey the truth of complex subject matter. With a whirlwind intelligence in its glowing prime, he connects to strategies central to Spacemusicians across the globe. We are swept away by an enveloping sense of magic, forgetting for an instant our critical spirit. Electricity is transformed into sound through an impressive collection of vintage and modern modular synthesizers and keyboards. Large sonic forms dominate the soundfield. The engaging locomotive power of Hunter's sequencer manipulations and breakdowns bring a pumping pulse to Sectio Aurea. An ever-evolving rotating syncopation feels captivating to us - gained as the firing order of arpeggio notes spiral down into unpredictable slots. A highly specific set of possible chromatic symmetries support a range of confident synth lead lines. Declaring the musician's narrative these full-bodied analog expressions sing in electric ribbons of sound. Echoing notes repeat and resound in synchronized layers of mechanized rhythms, until the concluding track resolves this journey, settling the listener into the drifting reverie of gently humming circuits and charged solid states. A blood member of the clan of electricity, Hunter makes a spark, in the night, in The Universe. Sectio Aurea is a work perfectly in tune with itself and its maker. This album is also about doing the work of music - as, when in pursuit with one's heart and mind, all else fades away. It is a reflection, realized through action, intervened upon by spontaneity, which leads both listener and musician into contemplation - and that wonderful mental realm of unburdened temporal continuity.
Album Review: Space Patrol by Ombient w/Chuck van Zyl
Space Patrol (61'10") is the product of a synergistic magic generated between Mike Hunter(a.k.a. Ombient) and Chuck van Zyl. Their four momentous, far-reaching concerts, held over a 48 hour period in December 2013, were realized in one weekend spent in high gear - on the brink of self-destruction. It was a time during which the duo seemed to have spent more attention on executing their music across four different venues than on maintaining any semblance of personal congruity. Space Patrol is the resulting live album. Taking the listener with it, into a realm without words, the music sustains your attention from the very first note. Held together by texture, melodic narratives and atmosphere, Space Patrol propels the listener through a trackless void. Its sonic surfaces are rich, complex and saturated with meaning, as resonant melodies hide in huge vaporous spheres of sound. In a vocabulary of repeating patterns the duo navigates their own tributary of the Berlin-School. Dancing arpeggio notes, resonant analogue tones and interlocking percussion accents surge out of breathing synthesizer swells - while soft percussive chiffs and royal electronic bleeps echo out across vividly imagined distances. As deeply breathing chords stack up and sustain, machine-like synchronized sequencer runs gain momentum - cycling in lock step against a trail of echoes and dreamy tonal interplay. Hunter's analog style step sequencer, and its seemingly endless facility for composition, repetition and variation, drives this music's motoric tick-tock timing. Amidst this kinetic kaleidoscope of rhythm, van Zyl releases a ribbon of heroic synth leads, as well as soft Mellotron flutes, strings and choirs. The beauty of this work comes from its many strands, heard individually and comprehended collectively. At the center of Space Patrol's three tracks is an area without form. Although possessing a shape, no one will ever completely explain the mysteries of this hot spot. The expanding soundfield has apparently left a gap in this region - for reasons that are not yet understood. The zone invites multiple interpretations, and while its meaning may be slippery, its power is unmistakable. In a compulsively detailed swirl of moods and impressions, this duo is pulled toward a hard chill - and the revivifying power of creativity. Mike Hunter and Chuck van Zyl create a realm so complete, the most difficult part of their Space Patrol will be the return to Earth.
Geoffrey Waterman plays with an ear for color, motion and texture, forsaking conventional narrative clarity. It is an experience by way of the senses, rather than through pure mental interpretation. Our focus expands beyond sound, to the sources of that sound, to its imminent fragility, and a state of unbeing. It may be difficult to lose ourselves in Waterman's work, as its negative space is constantly asking us to make sense of it. One moment triggers the next so seamlessly that eventually chaos is re-engineered into the illusion of a natural order. Throughout these realizations, tones flicker lightly across the surface, or burrow deep into it - come into focus, or all but disappear. The gentle descent into incandescent timbres and rambling, fearsome energy has the ability to stir the imagination. Throbbing with texture, then snapping into focus, lessons on loudness, denseness and sonority, enmesh the listener in aural events that are impossible to live aloud.
Geoffrey Waterman returns to The Gatherings Concert Series on Saturday 20 May 2017.
The Gatherings Concert Series presents Ombient plus Geoffrey Waterman live in concert on Saturday 20 May 2017 at 8:00PM(doors open at 7:30pm) in the church sanctuary of St. Mary's Hamilton Village3916 Locust Walk (just east of 40th & Locust) on the Penn campus in West Philadelphia. Admission: Free! No reservation neccesary. Donations Gratefully Accepted!
CIMA of PA - The Corporation for Innovative Music and Arts of Pennsylvania
Ombient plus Geoffrey Waterman at The Gatherings Concert Series on 20 May 2017 is funded by CIMA of PA(The Corporation for Innovative Music and Arts of Pennsylvania), the all-volunteer, non-profit organization responsible for organizing and producing The Gatherings Concert Series. The basic mission of CIMA of PA is to bring innovative music concerts to the public and further the advancement of this form of art.
Continuing to further the cultivation of innovative music by exciting the efforts of musicians, and to gradually unfold, enlighten, and invigorate the talents of our community, in 2017 The Gatherings Concert Series marks the 25th anniversary of its first event.