Newly released “PASSAGES”, by [ Chronotope Project ], is the latest musical evolution of Oregonian US national, Jeffrey Ericson Allen. With six releases to his name and a strong background in the Modern Composition / Space-ambient approach, the work shares a kinship with the celestial-ambient style of “Rafael Anton Irisari”, “Earlyguard”, “Cold Womb Descent.” [ PASSAGES ] is ingeniously structured and offers an intelligent gateway to new-age sound. Despite sparse backbone arrangements, it evokes subtle and vivid textures. The album's luscious modulation reflects Jeffrey's ability to craft and produce euphoric melodies (à la Eno’s ) in a style is that is simply one of a kind.
PASSAGES consist of five pieces, and if I may, I quote the following paragraph from the composer's description of its inception:
“PASSAGES is without doubt the most introspective of my six releases to date. Its source material emerged from the deep unconscious, to such an extent that during the initial phases of composing it, I was hardly aware of what I was doing. (I have come to agree with Buckminster Fuller, who used to say, "If you know what you're doing, you're wasting your time!") After a volcanic unearthing of that material, I gave each of the pieces a long incubation period, allowing them to breathe and settle, even forgetting them completely, returning only months later to craft and shape them with care. In that sense, each of the five pieces can be understood as "passages" from the unconscious to the conscious, from formless, pure expression to coherent, musically intelligible form. That is, in essence, the more general aim of my work as an artist.”
Clearly the above statement indicates just how the composer’s personal experience conditioned the contrasting phases of the album's genesis. Using spotless technique to achieve the most impeccable results, this latest offering, PASSAGES, goes beyond the Space and Celestial sound of its 2014 predecessor, DHARMA RAIN. While the album’s five tracks share characteristic nuances of his sparse and elongated ambience, PASSAGES also provides a captivating look at what occurs when a prodigious creativity is introduced into otherwise subdued atmospheres. Most of the album consists of deliberately-paced instrumentals and calculated sequences, emphasizing cosmic and void themes as opposed to plain and solid drones. There is a lot to digest on this album and the more I listen to it, the more I get drawn in.
In a nutshell, PASSAGES is arguably the most appealing album of [ Chronotope Project ] to date. The five track album clocks close to an hour with its complex embroidery of sounds, not once faltering across its extended run time. Throughout the album, stunning / chiming melodies ebb and flow between soft and intricate experimental electronics and deep resonances that cradle the listener, finally detonating into a turbulence of beautifully orchestrated sonorities. PASSAGES is simultaneously melodic and rhythmic in character. The songs are highly revealing, almost hallucinatory in quality, with an expressive development of futuristic depth. PASSAGES is like experiencing a reassuring dream while being awake, and even if some moments are unquestionably dark, they are temporary excursions that lead one, almost like the path on a thin bridge, to another side, where everything suddenly appears bigger and greener.
The best part of PASSAGES is that you can literally experience the composer stretching his wings to new heights. Jeffrey’s mysticism and focus keep the sound always present and compelling to the listener, inviting an intimate relationship with his creativity. This fifty five minutes of new and original composition is the perfect continuation of Jeffrey's artistry. Listeners are in for a MEGA treat on this one: electronics, guitars, tablas, flute and looping are infused into the celestial-ambient textures, constellating a mystical atmosphere tinged with oriental vibrancy. Before I wrap-up with the composer philosophy, I have to say it in the simplest of terms, PASSAGES IS BREATHTAKINGLY GORGEOUS.
The liner notes of the album sum up Jeffrey's philosophy and approach to the work:
"There is no clear path to what we seek. We navigate the myriad passages of life's vast labyrinth with only the flickering wick of our understanding to light the way. What remains, when the journey has no destination? Mystery, unimaginably immense - music, the phantom shapes that appears out of the darkness when we surrender our purposes and listen deeply to the heartbeat of creation."
- Mog, Humming Frequencies