"The North Shore" is utterly magnificent winter postcard from Ontario, Canada!!!
Awaited for longer time with quite big expectations, but when the mailing finally arrived and I exposed the album, my eyebrows were raised immediately. A glass mastered CD, packaged in attractive 4-panel digipak with additional art cards included and signed by the artists. Wow, I simply couldn't ask for more!!! Yes, even if dreamSTATE guys are known as skilled multimedia performers, who are involved in all kinds of audiovisual projects, I didn't have any idea about their landing at Paper+Sound label. Now the mystery is solved, dreamSTATE aka Scott M2 and Jamie Todd, have teamed with Heiki Sillaste, their fellow veteran of the Toronto electronic music scene, who started his career with Digital Poodle, an industrial-tekno project, in the late 80's. Some good old memories from my pre-ambient era are awakening... Among many other projects, Heiki also founded in late 2009 Paper+Sound label, so I am really happy about this collaboration. "The North Shore" CD was released at the end of September 2012 as limited edition of 250 hand-numbered copies. Bonus points for the artwork were awarded already and it took me only few seconds after pressing the play button on my CD player to raise my eyebrows once again. "Snow Drifter" unfolds with some of the most splendid winter drones I have ever encountered. 7 minutes of pure dronescaping ecstasy, colored with assorted eerie, but warmly nostalgic soaring fragments and processed, let's say something that evokes seagull calls. I can easily imagine wandering through the wintery suburban shores of Lake Ontario and "Snow Drifter" would be my ultimate soundtrack to journey with!!! I have explored these shores for many times during the period of years 1983-1993 while visiting Toronto with its suburbs, but unfortunately, never during the winter time. So my inner journey unfolds now, 20 years later...
I must add, these deep winter soundscapes were explored for the first time during the preparation sessions for the January 10th, the dreamSTATE's Drone Cycle 2012. Originally launched in 2000, when dreamSTATE performed monthly shows of improvised performances based on the notes of the chromatic scale, with special guests on each event. Now, 12 years later, beginning January 10th, 2012, dreamSTATE reintroduced this format again, with Heiki Sillaste as their first guest, for traversing the scale back downward, so January in C and "The North Shore" is one of the results of this amazing project.
Back to "Snow Drifter", besides the fact it's properly entitled, the drones, slightly high-pitched, are ebbing, gliding and cascading through the stunningly colorful and exceptionally beautiful icy sceneries in absolutely fascinating manner. Great piece, Scott, Jamie & Heiki, an Ambient Hall of Fame nominee!!! "Expedition" leaves the suburbs and moves towards vast open, freezing landscapes of Ontario, masterfully wrapped by hissy expansions, outbursts and blankets with deeply evocative, at times strongly ethereal impact. These panoramic winter vistas are magically beautiful and wondrously tranquil!!! "Ice Flow", the long form piece, nearly 41 minutes in length, moves through various transitions, ranging from more captivating, minimally droning, through more immense, intense and dramatic to more abysmally freezing and frightening. Yes, it's an all-inclusive journey adventurously traversing from cinematic panoramas of quiet "Ice Flow" with snowflakes gently floating down to harsher, more experimental dronescaping rumbles evoking morning after stormy, freezing night rain with spectacular ice formations, where the water is frozen on the branches of the trees or as it dropped from them. Fascinating and ultra-moody tour de force!!! The closing "Winter Light" reveals with some cyber-tech infusions, but it promptly transfers into serenely drifting and meandering expanses. Just close your eyes and the following could be one of your visualizing scenarios. You are walking on the shores of Lake Superior, the night is dark, sky is clear, it's time to experience the magic of shimmering green northern lights over the ice coated landscapes, the Aurora Borealis. A truly breathtaking conclusion!!! "The North Shore" is utterly magnificent winter postcard from Ontario, Canada, a huge treasure from start to end!!! Certainly one of my most fave dronescapades of 2012, a must have!!! Once again, The Ambient Ping gang rules!!!
Richard Gürtler (Feb 23, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)