Path Of Least Resistance

Path Of Least Resistance

Craig Padilla / Zero Ohms

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Listen 1. Leaving This Shadow Of Heaven
Listen 2. The Everything That Is No Thing
Listen 3. Hollow Dreams Of Worlds Passed
Listen 4. Realizing The Infinite
Listen 5. Frequencies [Of Life]
Listen 6. The One
Listen 7. Path of Least Resistance

Craig Padilla and Zero Ohms have both had successful independent careers as ambient musicians, but this CD marks their first collaboration… and the result is very nice.

Path of Least Resistance combines melodic flute and synth melodies with soaring, pulsing, sweeping soundcapes for a mesmerizing sonic experience. This CD has been worked, reworked, polished and primed by the artists and the care in it’s creation shines through! Path of Least Resistance will be one for every space music and ambient aficionado’s CD collection.

Reviews

A review from Amazing Sounds | Read Full Review
a wonderful album

This album is a collaboration between Craig Padilla and Zero Ohms in which both explore the world of imaginative electronic music. It is a fascinating symphony performed with synthesizers, whose seven pieces include widely different styles, though mostly portraying Ambient and Space Music. The most impressive piece in the album is, in my opinion, ‘The everything that is no thing’, of a majestic air and a great beauty. This is no doubt a wonderful album, accompanied by a magnificient cover.

- Edgar Kolger, Amazing Sounds

A review from Electroambient Space | Read Full Review
delicate melodies drenched with atmosphere

I guess this collaboration shouldn’t surprise me too much. Though I know Craig Padilla mostly for his melodic and sequencer-based space music, he also has done excellent floating ambient albums like Temporal Suspension and the particularly stark and minimal Vostok. Of course, Zero Ohms is no stranger to ambience and drones.

‘Leaving This Shadow of Heaven’ starts with undulating reverberations that set the tone early – no sequencing, and delicate melodies drenched with atmosphere. This is deep space music, like Jonn Serrie but a tad more sparse and expansive. The pure space sounds also remind me of Michael Stearns’ classic Planetary Unfolding. A little bit of sequencing figures here and there, for example on the slow and steady ‘The Everything That is No Thing’. The pulsing is a bit faster on ‘The One’, while flutes add an airy touch to the Berlin School musical style. Nevertheless, this cd is primarily about floating through space and expanding the mind. The title track blends ambient, Native American, and new age textures together in a relaxing closing number.

Subtleties throughout reward attentive and repeat listening.

- Phil Derby, Electroambient Space

A review from Star's End | Read Full Review
The album is beautiful

Add to the short list of classic Spacemusic albums exploring the relationship between electronic and acoustic music Path of Least Resistance (61'51’) by Craig Padilla and Zero Ohms. For this project, Padilla has refined his dense and energetic style nearer to the level of the sleek and serene flute playing of Zero Ohms. Together, the duo explores areas they may not have ventured into on their own. Their music, comprised of dreamy interludes and tonal narratives, is spacious and uncluttered. Both minimal and expansive, the seven tracks on Path of Least Resistance float across and into each other in an infinite, gentle mix - to which Zero Ohms introduces the soft whisper of flutes while Padilla provides a foundation of sustained synthesized notes, chords, and progressions. The album is beautiful, full of commanding synth-borne melodies, warming flute trills and the echo of otherworldly rituals throughout. At times tranquil, somnolent ambient meditation, while elsewhere a pulsing cybernetic entity, the Craig Padilla/Zero Ohms collaboration is locating new paths and branches of sonic exploration.

- Chuck van Zyl, Star's End

A review from Hypnagogue | Read Full Review
a full, richly realized bit of spacemusic that warrants many, many repeat plays.

In the not-so-distant future, when interstellar travel is common, ‘Path of Least Resistance’ by Craig Padilla and Zero Ohms will undoubtedly be the in-flight music on every expedition. For those of us sadly stuck in the merely jet-powered present, this CD keenly describes in music what such a trip might be like, from exhilaration to anticipation. Moving easily between zero-g spacey drifts and sequencer-tinged ramjet drivers fueled by inspiration from Jarre and Tangerine Dream, ‘Path’ is a journey worth taking often.

It begins with the three-part suite ‘Leaving This Shadow of Heaven,’ easing the listener into the journey. For 10 minutes lush pads ripple and flow around Ohms’ breathy wind-synth work. Sequencer trills dot the background like the glimmer of distant stars. The whole piece builds toward a sense of anticipation, moves through the rush of a graceful takeoff, and then folds back into a hushed sense of floating in a warm, deep void.

Then it’s time to fire the retro rockets. ‘The Everything That Is No Thing’ pays superb tribute to early electronic pioneers. It owes more than a bit to Jarre’s ‘Oxygene’ and late-70s Tangerine Dream. (’Sorcerer,’ anyone?) The synth-twangy bassline and analog-style twiddles bring nostalgic glory to the trip. Truly a highlight of the CD.

As an aside, the titles on this CD are magnificent. Seems a silly thing to point out, but they’re simply poetic. And ‘Hollow Dreams of Worlds Passed’ is the best of them. The track itself has a certain poesy as well—a quietly drifting lyricism bolstered by bass drones that swell, rumble and fade. It’s the feel of cutting the engines and easing into orbit around some distant, vapor-clouded planet.

From there the drift goes on. ‘Realizing the Infinite’ is a swirl of synth that spreads out to sculpt a vision of unfathomable distances. ‘Frequencies of Life’ is another multi-part suite. It begins with deep bass drones that give way to a burbling, hypnotic electronic agenda as readings are taken and the probes descend. Dark spreads of synth pads convey a feeling of searching for something...anything. And then, out of the robotic twiddle and drone the tone softens and suddenly, the soft chirping of birds. We’ve found a habitable place. In fact, this segment of the suite is titled ‘Just Like Home.’ The journey is coming to a close. Calm warmth infuses the music, and a feeling of hope emerges. This melds into the energetic sequencer work of ‘The One’ with Ohms’ flute coming in to sing a vivid description of the new landscape.

The title track, which closes the CD, features Ohms’ gorgeous Native American flute over quiet drums and Padilla’s easy electronic washes. It’s the sense of sitting on a high hill on some far-off world, watching a pair of reddish suns lower into a multicolored sea. It is a deep breath of new air, and a sleep full of lush dreams beneath alien stars.

For the earthbound, ‘Path of Least Resistance’ is a ticket to the journey of a lifetime. This a full, richly realized bit of spacemusic that warrants many, many repeat plays. Kudos to Padilla and Ohms for creating such a magnificent voyage.

- Hypnagogue

A review from Wind and Wire | Read Full Review
fluid textures which gently soar with both subtlety and grandeur

As more artists in the ambient and electronic music genres collaborate, one should not be surprised at the pairings that surface, although combining the ethereal electro-acoustic ambience of Zero Ohms (a.k.a. Richard Roberts) with the neo-Berlin EM and synthesizers of Craig Padilla did seem like a risky venture to me. However, after thoroughly digesting Path Of Least Resistance (on Lotuspike Records), I am once again delighted at how wrong my preconceptions can be. Featuring the wind-synth and assorted flutes of Roberts and Padilla’s arsenal of synths, samplers, and sequencers, this is a surprisingly complex and diverse recording, although much of the album is anchored in the ‘classic’ spacemusic theater, consisting of fluid textures which gently soar with both subtlety and grandeur.

As such, one could draw parallels to previous releases from artists such as Michael Stearns, Kevin Braheny, or even Geodesium and Jonn Serrie. However, upon close analysis of the music itself, while there are traces of those other musicians here and there, Path Of Least Resistance is a relatively unique, if not near singular, take on composing and performing music that reflects ‘slipping the bonds of Earth’ and cruising out amongst the stars and galaxies. Variety from track to track, or even within individual cuts, doesn’t detract from the overall flow of the album, although some transitions present the listener with shifts in mood, to be sure.

‘Leaving This Shadow Of Heaven’ (great title, that!) opens with long droning washes and lush synth chords, but morphs into a dramatic retro EM/spacemusic piece with sparkling circular keyboards and crescendos that perfectly capture the essence of the track’s intent. Sampled electric guitar may take things slightly over the top near the end, but it’s appropriate enough since it underscores and boldfaces the song’s title. ‘The Everything That Is No Thing’ (yet another excellent choice of words) also begins in an ambient vein with haunting subtle swirling wind-synths that slowly pan from left to right and back again, holding an unmistakable bell-like resonance. Eventually, Padilla’s neo-Berlin synths and sequencers, carrying strong echoes of Tangerine Dream and similar artists, are folded into the mix and the resulting alchemy represents a spot-on symbiosis of the disparate elements. Electronic pulses, mournful retro synth-horns, and buzzing textures are buoyed by the soft under-cushion of Roberts’ bedrock ambient soundscape.

The most ambitious track is ‘Frequencies (of Life)’ which opens with the sound of the original Star Trek transporter beam (the sound effect surfaces sporadically throughout the track). Over the course of the song’s nearly eleven minute duration, there are mysterious drifting synth washes, reverberating rumbling drone-like tones, laser-zapping flashes of SF-type synthesizers, rapid-fire sequences that sound like Robbie the Robot’s memory can terribly awry, and in the final stretch, graceful and serene wind-synth which floats over an undercurrent of billowing keyboards and amidst sampled bird calls. This track, by the way, while not having distinct time cues, is divided into three sections, subtitled ‘Dawning Realization’, ‘Frequencies Received’, and ‘Just Like Home’.

Closing out the CD are the tracks ‘The One’ which is another healthy dose of Padilla’s excellent take on retro-Teutonic EM (blended with some nice flute work by Roberts which pokes its head through now and then) and the title song which ends the recording with an assortment of Roberts’ flutes (perhaps the best playing he’s ever done on CD, in fact), deeply echoed and wafting gently in mid-air, later joined by subtle sampled guitar and various hand percussion. The cut reminded me of Stephen Bacchus’ over-looked gem of a CD, Pangaea, in how it evokes images that are peaceful yet primeval with the added spice of world music flavors.

Path Of Least Resistance is one of those cds which offer something for nearly everyone: Germanic/retro EM goodness, classic drifting spacemusic, haunting quasi-ambient tones and warm drones, serene flutes and wind-synths for those seeking calm and serene soundscapes, and that last touch of world beat for those whose view of ambient music is global in nature. Expertly recorded and mixed (I have read that the final tweaking of the album took a lot of time and it shows in the attention to detail), the CD displays both of the artists’ strengths while also pointing out how well they fit together as a ‘whole.’ It earns a highly recommended from me as an example of ambient music which exemplifies the concept of ‘cohesive diversity’ in masterful fashion.

- Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire

More from Craig Padilla / Zero Ohms

When The Earth Is Far Away
When The Earth Is Far Away
The Heart Of The Soul
The Heart Of The Soul
Beyond The Portal
Beyond The Portal
Analog Destination
Analog Destination
Below The Mountain
Below The Mountain
Phantasma
Phantasma
The Light In The Shadow
The Light In The Shadow
Echo System
Echo System
Genesis
Genesis
Vostok
Vostok
Process Of Being
Process Of Being