From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness

Paul Ellis

From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness


CD on sale – $10

Clear selections & start over

About From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness


1   The Infinite Minute By Minute

2   The Click And Chime Of Passing Time

3   Firefly Rising Outshined By The Moon

4   From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness

5   Watch The Stars Come One By One

From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness, Paul Ellis‘ first release on the Lotuspike label, is a purely electronic expression of five long-form pieces that blend ambient sound design with rhythmic electronics, recalling the classic works of genre masters like Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze or Vangelis; but with a restrained modern air.

With a mixture of synthesized sonics, both melodic and cerebral, the music brings to mind the unfolding expanse of the cosmos, stated with a graceful patience that propels the steadily evolving, constantly moving synthscapes to a highly personal level.

Fans of Paul’s style will recognize his signature immediately, and while this new work retains familiar elements from his earlier releases, it is perhaps his most reflective album to date.

Paul’s usual high production standard is maintained here, and his talent for sound design and the careful orchestration of each piece makes every element of the mix sit perfectly in place with an attention to detail that draws us closer with each listen.

From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness is packaged in a dual gatefold presentation, in the tradition of the vinyl record jacket, with beautiful photography from master artist Pablo Magne, whose visual style will be familiar to fans of Paul’s other works such as Silent Conversations or Echo System.


My brain goes into a sort of sound-association, Name That Tune mode when I listen to Paul Ellis’ new release, From Out of the Vast Comes Nearness. Ellis manages to meld the familiar and the original in a very listenable mix that’s kept me engaged for multiple repeat listens, and not just for the way it puts me in very good mind of classic ambient and electronic tunes. While I may pick up traces of Tangerine Dream in twanging bass lines or a tang of Vangelis in Ellis’ bolder moments, there’s never any doubt that you’re listening to an individual talent. Ellis offers up five sizable tracks, the shortest clocking in just shy of 11 minutes, giving himself plenty of space to express and explore his own ideas while tipping the hat to his influences. “The Infinite Minute by Minute” opens the disc with spacey electronics; pauses give structure, creating fading moments from quick runs of notes and giving focus to the dwindling sounds in the spaces between. A nice science fiction soundtrack feel courses through it. The minimalist repetition of “The Click and Chime of Passing Time” drives forward with an infectious energy punctuated with easy tone shifts. This track does me the disservice of sounding like something I know but can’t place. I love it while I’m banging my head. It’s the first shift, around the 4:45 mark, is where I hear it. Up to there, I’m caught in the high-register bounce, taking flight with the feel of a classic early electronic piece. “Firefly Rising Outshined by the Moon” also plays with minimalism, the guitar line at its center confidently repeating its message against whispered electronics. It’s a nice touch when bass sounds enter to bolster the guitar and rich vibraphone-like tones. The title track opens with a tactile darkness courtesy of a thick bass wave, then settles into a deep-space drift with a potential energy that just burns slowly. This track puts me in mind of the superb collaborations between Craig Padilla (with whom Ellis had worked) and Zero Ohms. I could loop this one all day. “Watch the Stars Come One by One” is a pure homage to TD, a dramatic bass riff anchoring appropriately twinkling high notes. The main sound just drips with the pure pleasure of 80s-style synth work. The longest track at 21 minutes, it’s equal parts guilty pleasure and synth-lover’s joyride. I particularly like the way Ellis stretches it out to sparseness in the closing moments.

From Out of the Vast Comes Nearness has the immediate effect of making me regret not having heard Paul Ellis’ work before. The disc clearly shows off its heritage without getting bogged in it. It’s familiar but not slavishly attached to its inspirational source material. As I said at the outset, I’ve had this loop literally for hours without it wearing out its welcome. It has energy, narrative, drama and fun tucked into it. A superb work and a must-hear from Paul Ellis.

- John Shanahan, Hypnagogue

From its title full of hope to its music so imaginative, on From Out of the Vast Comes Nearness (74'25") synthesist Paul Ellis has realized a most distinctive and vivid work. With its five compositions so stylistically sharp and quietly new, listeners will find themselves falling in love with Ellis' work all over again. Preceded by several noteworthy albums of electronic instrumentalism, From Out of the Vast Comes Nearness finds Ellis continuing to reach for and grasp musical moods and cerebral atmospheres heretofore undiscovered. For the most part this CD features sequencer music in a state of motion - both slow and fast. The restless key shifting and vibrant patterns produce animation and warmth while slow mono synth leads tell tomorrow's tales with yesterday's gear. But the one track without any rhythm may have the most interesting energy. It comes on easy, but a few moments in we realize that it has got hold of us. The ever expanding drones hum and writhe in the sub-frequencies as swirling white noise and ethereal string accents course through the loftier regions. This album is really quite an achievement. The music, and the direction it is going, is new - without being hard on the ears. We may wonder, how has Paul Ellis has been able to do this consistently for so many years? Is his music the result of environment, or is it the product of his audience's expectations?

- Chuck van Zyl, Star's End

About two years after his last hard-copy release "Last Hiding Place of Beauty", synthesist Paul Ellis brings us the 74-minute "From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness" (working title "Watch the stars come one by one") of which the music is especially dedicated to Steve Reich, Klaus Schulze, Peter Baumann and Patrick O’Hearn.

Most of all, its solid and well-crafted music merges the sound of the vintage electronic years with the large range of possibilies in high-tech sound design provided by modern music technology.

The minimalist outcome, made up by five slowly evolving long-form tracks, is an emotive exercise in electronics, sounding very open and transparent while also carrying a strong reflective undercurrent. Paul’s sonic kaleidoscope of lush sequencing and melodic lines along smooth solo voices and gentle textures creates a timeless, magical feel and unhurried atmosphere.

All in all, listening to "From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness" is a deep listening experience and should be your choice if you’re looking for long extended impressionistic ambient/space music with a contemporary touch.

- Bert Strolenberg, Sonic Immersion

Always so poetic, Paul Ellis has the gift to surround his works of very beautiful artworks and splendid titles. And it’s inside a splendid artwork sleeve, where people are staring at the sky and passing time that hides this superb realization of the Canadian synthesist. Dedicated to artists who left their imprints on the electronic and minimalist music; Steve Reich, Klaus Schulze, Peter Baumann and Patrick O' Hearn, From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness is a minimalist ode which soaks in atmospheres and atmospheres filled with a surprising variety of tones and enchanting spirals. This last Ellis’ opus reveals in 5 long musical acts where rhythms are less dominant than on the very beautiful The Last Hiding Place of Beauty. and where atmospheres are wrapped with an enchanting mixture of eclectic tones which cross this last musical poetry of the synth man from Vancouver. So much delectable as mysterious, "The Infinite, Minute by Minute" opens with hesitating strident pulsations which beat of an intermittent way beside more somber and veiled pulsations. For this first track, Paul Ellis weaves a strange cosmic canvas where fine and muffled oscillations roam in a sky sieved of sinuous streaks, of sudden synth impulsions and beautiful solos which float in a fossilized ambiance. An ambiance which gradually waggles its torpor with a suave bass line, à la Patrick O' Hearn, increasing a crescendo, minute by minute, wrapped of delicate solos which glide over a cosmic ambiance to thousand mysteries and prismatic tones. Tones sometimes dark and sometimes limpid which are sucked up by a beautiful sequenced spiral which swirls and waltzs with the transparency of its chords, creating a superb timeless musical whirlwind to crystal chords which dance with all the romanticism of a sphere in the colors of prisms before diving back into its ambient universe to multiple pulsations and eclectic tones. A very nice track where the refinement of the minimalist art crosses enchanting lines of an oniric synth and series of ambivalent chords, "The Click and Chime of Passing Time" is a wonderful minimalist whirlwind which spins of its crystal clear chords through suave fluty synth lines. Chords swirl with a surprising musicality, crossing the romantic universe and daydreamer structures of Michael Stearns and Patrick O' Hearn, with fine modulations and impulsions initiated by lines of bass and synth which disrupt the course of a spiral where crystal clear arpeggios crisscross in a movement with subtle variations. Arpeggios marching in different tones where finely hatched lines cross drummed percussions/pulsations and suave fluty breezes on a minimalist structure which permutes subtly in a rich musical fauna wrapped by a synth of which multiple lines embrace a hypnotic movement which would turn again and again that we won’t notice time passing by. Yes, "The Click and Chime of Passing Time" is a great musical moment as magic as rapturous. And From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness' soft and surprising musicality continues with "Firefly Rising Outshined by the Moon" and its arpeggios of glasses which dance in a captivating mist, harpooned by a bass line to more and more caustic notes and decorated by suave fluty lines as well as tones of a boiling cosmos. The movement gradually wakes up with a soft sequenced escapade. Jerky sequences draw a delicate incursion towards soft a progressive rhythmic where piano notes and hybrid synth layers, in the tones of flutes and trumpets, swirl slowly around this fine glass spiral which turns around dramatic impulsions mislay here and there. Slowly, the momentum of "Firefly Rising Outshined by the Moon" gets lost in the multiplicity of scattered impulsions and implosions which revolve around a surprising structure where harmonies and melodies transcend its intersidereal peace of mind. The title track, "From Out of the Vast Comes Nearness", is a long ambient movement where muffled reverberating pulsations beat a measure without rhythms in a heavy ambiance garnished of cosmic waves. A movement which is not without reminding Klaus Schulze’s first atonal works, "From Out of the Vast Comes Nearness" offers a stunning musical variety with a very poetic synth which displays an array of tones swarming among floating layers and a beautiful cosmic mist where sparkle stars and eclectic tones on a slow ambient and enchanting movement. "Watch the Stars Come One by One" ends this Paul Ellis' last opus in the continuity of the first 4 tracks. It’s a long track to hybrid atmospheres beginning with another beautiful circular movement fed by fine twinkling arpeggios which flutter in a charming oblivion before a heavy synth wave strikes this delicate glass spiral. A synth which frees swaying solos, among series of chords which flit on the back of a heavy bass line to resonant notes. In spite of these noisy bass notes this last track evolves gently with solos become flutier, drawing beautiful melodies that a piano absorbs of its incisive notes. Notes hammered vigorously in a universe to multiple musical tones, as these heavy pulsations which fall in a cavern where walls ooze from droplets of water and these jingles of stars which travel among a synth with curt metallic pads. Carillons which resound in the tones of prisms and replace the order of things, established by the intro of "Watch the Stars Come One by One". And so ends From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness, a very beautiful opus fed by a surprising musicality for an album stuffed with so many heterogeneous tones. Quieter and smoothing than The Last Hiding Place of Beauty, Paul Ellis manages to do a tour de force by weaving movements to variable atmospheres which leave place to fine harmonies and short melodies scattered throughout these 75 minutes. I quite liked well his winks of eye to those artists of whom he dedicates his last opus. Yes From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness is full of reminiscences to Schulze and O' Hearn on minimalist structures more harmonious than those of Steve Reich. A very good album fed by slow circular rhythms from which glass tones draw beautiful musical poetries. A poetry which floats with all the delicacy of its movements as oniric as enchanting.

- Sylvain Lupari, Synth&Sequences

From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness presents a suite of twinkling electronic streams: some ripple and flow in purposeful rhythm; others pool and meander in more languid motion; at times the current almost slows to a halt, heaving idly, uncertain depths. Using a combination of soft synths and hardware items in layered threads Paul Ellis weaves a mesmerising, expansive series of mindscapes that seep into the consciousness in evolving repetition. The structure is minimalist, airy; melody emergent, transient. Beats are all but absent, yet percussive synthesiser notes fleck many of the tracks and overlaid sequencer patterns sometimes amass into stirring rhythms. Flute sounds, bird-like squeaks, low chimes, sonic turbulence and air movement all embellish the rise and fall of shifting cycles and wafting pads - murmuring bass motifs, sparse and deeply rooted reaching downward.

From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness arrives in a well constructed card wallet - attractive and sleek. The package opens out into two panels, the disc neatly slotted into one horizontal pocket. The cover imagery (which was first conceived when the album was to be titled Watch The Stars Come One By One) shows a ragged line of figures in long, dark coats on a bleak, rugged landscape all staring skyward. Above the clouds the sky darkens and pin-prick stars can just be made out - a single shooting star flares in a short arc. The rear cover holds a similar image, only this time the men are gone, a telescope in the place of each one; titles are here with times alongside. The package opens out to reveal two more photographs of similar terrain; here solitary figures gaze outward - one at a glimmering galaxy, the other at sky and distant horizons. Track titles are repeated on the left inner panel, credits, love and thanks also here. There is a dedication to Steve Reich, Klaus Schulze, Peter Baumann and Patrick O'Hearn whose influences can be readily discerned in the music. Finally the title From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness is expanded with the words: An open secret unravelling.

Released on Lotuspike, Vancouver based Paul Ellis presents From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness as follow-up to Last Hiding Place of Beauty. Having played as part of the band Dweller at the Threshold, Paul's back catalogue includes a number of solo albums and collaborative works with musicians such as Steve Roach, Craig Padilla, Rudy Adrian, Nemesis, Ron Boots and Otso Pakarinen. This latest release contains five tracks gradually increasing in length from the ten-minute-forty-nine second introduction The Infinite, Minute By Minute to the twenty-one-minute-seventeen-second conclusion Watch The Stars Come Out One By One. Hints of Berlin school roots evident on most tracks are steeped in contemporary ambient restraint and spacey openness. The Spotted Peccary website (of which Lotuspike is a subsidiary) holds audio for each track and the Ambient Visions website has a lengthy interview with Paul discussing the creation of the album.

- Paul Jury, Morpheus Music

More from Paul Ellis