Eye Of The Wizard

Deborah Martin

Eye Of The Wizard

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About Eye Of The Wizard

Tracks:

1   Dance Of The Faeries

2   Watchers

3   Lords Of The Vale

4   Waiting

5   Metamorphic

6   The Alchemist’s Robe

7   Eye Of The Wizard

8   Into Mist

Deborah Martin conjures captivating melodies, hypnotic percussive beats and nuanced ambient textures on the astonishing and beautifully crafted Eye Of The Wizard, an epic musical odyssey through a realm of wizardry and sacred alchemy.

Dancing between the worlds of shadow and light, Martin’s enchanting music is draped in mystery and magic.  Sublime structures and haunting lyrical textures evoke visions of the wizards, faeries, watchers and lords that are referenced in the track titles. Deborah explains, “For this project I was inspired by the magical worlds of alchemy and wizardry. Visualizing misty forests filled with magical creatures and realms of otherworldly visions, I wanted to create an album where each piece revealed a deeper mystery as if discovering lost and unknown secrets from long ago.”

The musical odyssey begins with Dance of the Faeries, where playful acoustic rhythms emerge from a shroud of ambience to tell the tale of magical beings invoking the appearance of a wizard. The pulsing rhythm and sweeping sonic panorama of Watchers looks to the night skies in reference to the ancient seekers foretelling events based on what the stars revealed to them. The majestic yet peaceful melody of Lords of the Vale calls to mind the power of the lords who ruled in the old ways, protecting and honoring all that was sacred. Waiting is filled with the quiet stillness of that mysterious floating place in time before secrets are revealed. The acoustic guitars and kinetic electronic rhythms of Metamorphic combine to foreshadow a time of change as revelations unfold into reality. Ancient and modern are fused as one on The Alchemist’s Robe, where the strong chemistry between modern electronic rhythms and the time-honored sound of the dulcimer summon the story of a sacred garment worn only by those chosen in the arts of alchemy and wizardry. Buzzing with the energy of sustained electric guitar, Eye of the Wizard reveals the delicate secrets of a hidden world before it disappears within the dreamy, whispery nuances of Into Mist.

Weaving melodic structures with ambient tonal layers and compelling rhythms, Eye Of The Wizard is an ambient acoustic musical quest that rings true with all of Deborah Martin’s spellbinding sonic hallmarks – the effortless guitars, heartfelt melodies, organic percussion, and instinctive ambient sensibility – all working together to revel in the wonders of wizards, etherial woodland visions, and the whispers of secrets long forgotten.

Reviews

I admit! I've been downright caught by the charms of this other one very appealing album from Deborah Martin. Evidently that we are very far from the Berlin School lands or from the cosmic ambient territories, except that “Eye of the Wizard” is skillfully divided between the acoustics and the electronics with a skillful crescendo between both forms before exploding with a superb, and totally unexpected, piece of Electronica with the wonderful "The Alchemist's Robe".
But before all "Dance of the Faeries" begins this new chapter of the sonic stories written in Amerindian ancestral essences by a breeze which makes ring bells and makes dream an acoustic six-strings. The notes are in the tone of an introduction where the singings of the synth feign those of an Ocarina. The approach of ballad starts up after 80 seconds of thematic musing with notes of guitar which dance with manual percussions. Little by little the subtleties of synths weave the atmospheres with a beautiful mixture of fluty singings and sibylline murmurs while the rhythm follows the lively blows from the riffs of the acoustic six-strings. "Watchers" is rather of the ambient ballad kind with a nice and subtle game of sequenced pulsations which form a sort of structure nesting near a tribal down-tempo. Less sibylline and more lively, "Lords of the Vale" is another ballad braided in riffs of acoustic guitar, which is rather lively, and decorated with ornamental ringings. The melody is rather elegiac with nice layers of evasive voices which hum and melt themselves in very film orchestral arrangements. "Waiting" leads us quietly towards the more electronic portion of “Eye of the Wizard”. It's a very meditative piece of music with synth lines in the very scarlet colors which interlace their brilliant shadows in an intense mass of abstruse waves. "Metamorphic" calms our ears scratched by this sound storm with some notes of an acoustic six-strings which drag its dreamer's swage in breezes warmer than these perfumes of violin which always release these elegiac sighs. That does very folk ambient, kind of the Peace'n'Love years, even if the percussions and the shamanic rattles eventually draw a more tribal rhythm. The sonic skin of "Metamorphic" undertakes its 3rd metamorphosis with a more lively structure of rhythm where the quavering of rattles and the percussions forge a passive duel beneath the caresses of the violins which float in a horizon where little by little the rhythm takes the shapes of a setting sun. I liked this a lot. That threw me in the acoustic psychedelic years from our country with the music of Harmonium or still Daniel Berthiaume in the Nouveau Souffle. "The Alchemist's Robe" is simply brilliant. It starts with a very tribal ambient folk mood which throws itself into a superb Electronica. We see nothing coming, we are enthralled and we want to re-hear. And so on, so on.... The title-track embalms of these perfumes, but also of a tribal approach closer to the Middle East. The rhythm stays in suspension with nervous rattles which eventually dissolve their anxiety in philharmonic layers filled by the perfumes of the desert's people. And "Into Mist" ends this fascinating sonic adventure of “Eye of the Wizard” with this delicacy, with this dreamy approach so dear to Deborah Martin's lyrical odes. Yes, I got caught and I adored that. It's the kind of album to which we listen to for the pleasure of the music and to read a book the eyes always riveted on the safe of our soul.

- Sylvain Lupari, Synth & Sequences

Inspired by the realms of wizardry and alchemy, Martin’s latest release on Spotted Peccary uncovers a mysterious meeting ground between acoustic music, floating ambient, symphonic sounds and powerful melodic phrasing that dances between dark shadows, and bold colorful brilliance. This is closed-eyes headphones-on soundtrack music at its finest, and though the composer’s intent is to evoke images of wizards, faeries, and such, the music presented here could fit any number of possible scenarios driven only by the fertile imagination of the listener, though there is an earthly connection that permeates these dreamlike vistas. The eight pieces herein were created on acoustic and electric guitars, dulcimer, synths, percussion, and loops by Martin (all composed by Martin) along with engineer Matthew Stewart, and guest Paul Frye playing e-bow on the album’s title track; Spotted Peccary regulars Jon Jenkins and Howard Givens both have a hand in the mixing and mastering as well. For those familiar with Martin’s earlier works like Ancient Power and Deep Roots Hidden Waters, this latest collection measures up to those without being a replication of the past, covering new ground using a compatible template, remaining adventurous and innovative. The cover illustration matches the music perfecly, although this is a case where the small CD sized packaging doesn’t really provide the expansive effect that a good old-fashioned gatefold LP would have, but let’s not lament progress, one can be thankful that the sounds herein are not competing with the clicks, pops and surface noise of the old format.

- Peter Thelen, Exposé

The recent reissue of Under The Moon showed that Deborah Martin's recording has not witnessed any loss of lustre in the twenty years since it first appeared. But Martin, who's been with Spotted Peccary Music since 1991, is still very much a vital creative force, as her latest release of new material, Eye of the Wizard, makes unqualifiedly clear. In place of synthesizer-heavy space odysseys, Martin's mystical settings evoke magical woodlands populated with faeries and wizards.

The sonic range of the material is bolstered by a small number of guest musicians who complement Martin's acoustic guitars, dulcimer, synthesizers, loops, and percussion with ambient electric guitar (Matthew Stewart) and E-bow guitar (Paul Frye). Her distinctive blend of acoustic and synthetic sonorities is on display from the first moment when the high-spirited reverie “Dance of the Faeries” merges acoustic guitars with hand percussion and atmospherically evocative ambient textures. The resonant pluck of the dulcimer amplifies the mystical character of “Watchers” and “The Alchemist's Robe” at the same time as pulsing rhythms and sweeping synth textures lend the material a sleek, 21st-century sheen.

Hushed female vocals breathe across the lilting strings and acoustic guitars of “Lords of the Vale,” a stately minuet of immense charm and beauty. While the rapt stillness that characterizes an awakening realm is convincingly conveyed by the drifting synthetics of “Waiting,” there's room for animation in Martin's world, too, as shown by the kinetic propulsion that drives “Metamorphic.” Elsewhere, Frye's shimmering E-bow adds considerable atmosphere to the title track, though it's but one element in a multi-hued tapestry of acoustic and electronic sounds.

Eye of the Wizard is a superbly crafted collection of eight compositions that one could treat as a summative portrait of Martin today. Extensive travel and life experience have enriched her musical vision, and consequently the material she creates possesses a depth and quality that helps it endure. In its own way, it's a modest recording that doesn't overwhelm the listener with grand gestures or overkill; instead, she confidently demonstrates her artistry by presenting eight pieces marked by concision and unerring taste.

- Ron Schepper, Textura

More than once I’ve felt US-composer Deborah Martin was the female sonic equivalent of Austrian multi-instrumentalist Gandalf in a certain way.

"The Eye of the Wizard", an epic musical odyssey through a realm of wizardry and sacred alchemy, weaves an enchanting tapestry of sounds of acoustic and electronic origin where the sphere of faeries is present.

The 8-track instrumental outcome is vibrant and cinematic, even reflecting some world music flavors like e.g. Loreena McKennitt occasionally, but Deborah makes them all root firmly in a contemporary sound design with a slice to the progressive. In addition, a dynamic pulse and powerful sound are present in the dreamy and lyrical-oriented compositions to prevent the narrative music to become cheesy or lame.
Nicely done, Deborah!

- Bert Strolenberg, Sonic Immersion

When I finally got my hands on Deborah Martin’s new album, Eye of the Wizard, I encountered a large eye staring at me from the cover: the outer shape being formed by trees, the pupil by a fractal pattern. It seems to be alive. Is it alive?

As I began to listen, I was immediately greeted by an acoustic guitar that accompanied me through most of Martin’s creations. A certain mood arose: intense yet far from dark, it felt rather friendly. The guitar paired up with synth layers and subtle beats to form a whole: minimalistic, but with a clear concept behind it. These sounds inspired clear visions of a forest scene giving way to a sunny clearing on a warm spring day surrounded by lush grass.

The whole album seems to be thematically inspired by witchcraft and wizardry, not unlike the youthful approach often found in Prikosnovenie releases, which is reflected not only in the cover artwork but also in the titles of Eye of the Wizard‘s tracks.

As the album progresses, I get the impression that it is best approached as one complete piece. The songs progress nicely into each other, forming one album-length movement. It is mildly cinematic, having the effect of a soundtrack both in spirit and in sound. The intensity of the songs comes and goes in slow waves with passages in which the synth layers form a patiently progressing ambiance. There are moments in which the subtle percussion takes over and provides well-fitting rhythmic structure. This element doesn’t destroy the calm, forest-like atmosphere, though; the beats merely make me nod my head along with the music ever so slightly.

The upside of having an album full of similar songs also comes with a downside, of course: there aren’t many individual highlights on Eye of the Wizard to speak of. None of the songs really evolve the mood that the first song set in motion, unfortunately leading to a mild stagnation. Luckily, the tension in the album does gradually work through a crescendo towards a final climax. The title track conjures up a stronger energy than all of the previous songs combined. An electric guitar comes into play here—an element that seems strangely out-of-place and yet relevant all the same after all the gentle sounds that have dominated the album to this point. The outro, a carpet of synth layers, gives the impression that the wizard, who has wandered the paths laid out by Martin, has finished his work and departed for a new quiet adventure, leaving the forest to return to its silent hidden ways.

The atmosphere conveyed by Eye of the Wizard is clearly one of serenity. Unlike other female solo artists inspired by metaphysical themes (Lamia Vox, for instance, had been my first association), Deborah Martin never quite ventures into dark realms where the music may radiate a certain morbid energy. No, Eye of the Wizard radiates a positive vibe. It is not an in-your-face joyous atmosphere; it is remarkably subtle with just a grain of intensity. That said, I find that Eye of the Wizard is most suitable as background music, especially as a soundtrack behind reading some of your favourite fantasy novels.

- Martin Havørn, Heathen Harvest

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