Excerpts from "PASSAGE" CD Reviews:
This work is a moving and profound listening experience the listener will not forget. It is highly recommended to all lovers of adventurous ambient music and deserves to be a classic!
~ Dodds Wiley / ambient.us
"PASSAGE" at core is inspired by a series of poems telling the story of an 1840s pioneer woman who endures numerous physical and mental travails on her trek from Ireland to Ontario’s District of Huron. dreamSTATE’s music, highly impressionistic, doesn’t attempt to make real the literary metaphors upon which they base this recording, but instead opt for “tone poems” reflecting/refracting distance, longing, tribulation. ... Often in direct contradiction to the accepted wisdom of what “ambient” represents, "PASSAGE" doesn’t proffer the elegaic light at the end of the tunnel, but instead conjures primal fears, the closing in of night and what may well teem in the blackness. Patently well-done, particularly in the origination of sound structures that are intentionally minimal when necessary, the drones indeed becoming imagistic phenomena, Passage’s sound fairly congeals the oxygen around you into shadows and fog.
~ Darren Bergstein / e/i magazine
As brilliant as it is emotional, "PASSAGE" is a beautiful work by one of Toronto's premier electronic acts. Many lesser talents would find themselves lost in such a dark subject matter, but dreamSTATE are able to convey the scene, the situation and the emotions felt in a succinct and powerful way. A testimony to their sophistication and artistry, "PASSAGE" is sure to become a classic of the genre.
~ rik maclean / Ambient Visions
As I've said before of pieces that are attached to other works of art, be they performances, installations, or otherwise, the highest compliment I can give is to say that the music makes me want to see the art that goes with it. "PASSAGE" easily gets that compliment. In fact, after several listens, it has become a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.
~ John Shanahan / Hypnagogue
I was just discussing with someone the other day the difference between average ambient music and great ambient music. It is difficult to describe the difference, but very easy to hear it. I reviewed a couple of so-so CDs before putting "PASSAGE" in the player, and the superior quality was evident from the opening notes. Serene, smooth, and cool, this is first-class ambient through and through. Right now the birds are chirping on "Clearing" as a gentle rhythm chugs slowly by. The balance between simplicity and complexity is perfect. The music evolves seemingly with ease, yet you can hear the thought behind it and the craft that went into it. Detailed liner notes explain the story behind the music, which was created for a multimedia event in Ontario. The dark subject matter is apparent in tracks like "Fall" and "Captive," both of which beautifully capture the mood they seek to emulate, the latter particularly haunting as dark choirs wail in the background. By far the brightest and prettiest track is "Watershed," which is reenacted at the disc's closing in "Watershed Reprise," signifying hope at the end of the dark journey. Highly recommended.
~ Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
Evaluating "PASSAGE" as an ambient recording is easy. This is an excellent CD, provided you enjoy this genre as a textural experience, comprised of ethereal and glowing spacemusic-like washes as well as darker drone-style ambient soundscapes (with the exception of "Clearing"). The technical quality is flawless and the choice (by Moore and Todd) to separate the tracks with a few seconds of silence does not detract from the overall cohesive impact of the entire album. However, that said, the true power of this CD comes from integrating the "story" with the music, where you, the listener, immerse yourself in Aina's tale (she is the lead character) and allow the recording to walk you through her tragedy as well as (hopefully) her triumphant crawl from the abyss. It is within this context that "PASSAGE" elevates itself from being merely a good recording to being an important artistic statement. I highly recommend this album in either regard.
~ Bill Binkelman / Wind and Wire