The Chroma Plateau

Numina

The Chroma Plateau

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About The Chroma Plateau

Tracks:

1   Beaming up the Fossils

2   Bringer of the Beings

3   Intergalactic Traveller

4   Where all the Creatures are Dreaming

5   Mosaic of Whispers

6   When the Sea Disappears from Me

7   Sky Descender

8   Living in the Clouds

9   The Chroma Plateau

With twenty releases to his credit, Jesse Sola, the lone creative force behind Numina, has been crafting compositions of electronic ambient sound spaces for nearly two decades. During that extensive career, Numina has defined – and refined – a signature sound realized from a collection of hardware synthesizers, effects, and a custom modular Eurorack synth system.

The latest in this personal exploration of electronic expression is Numina’s debut solo release on the Spotted Peccary label, THE CHROMA PLATEAU. This spacey, ethereal journey is a deep listening experience where wondrous ambient-electronic spaces fill a vast sonic canvas, unleashing faraway and introspective states of mind. Complex synthesized evolutions, wispy bell tone soundscapes, and foundational analog drones coalesce into a complete presentation of ephemeral moments and expansive soundworlds.

With its gentle use of minimal sequences and sparse compositions, THE CHROMA PLATEAU easily finds it’s place within the firmament of traditional spacemusic albums, and with track titles like “Intergalactic Traveler,” “Beaming Up The Fossils,” “Bringer of the Beings,” “Sky Descender,” and “Living in the Clouds,” the listeners thoughts may be tempted to imagine the heavens. However, even though there is some direction implied by the track titles themselves, Sola hopes to leave the details open for interpretation. “I never want to invoke any feeling, emotion, or direction on how my music should or should not be interpreted by the listener. This music is meant for any occasion the listener chooses – sleeping, hiking, star-gazing, philosophizing, commuting, etc. – a soundtrack for one’s current activity.”

No matter how the listener chooses to interface with the music, THE CHROMA PLATEAU is most certainly filled with deeply inspiring and beautiful moments, constantly evolving as the scenery of Numina’s refined sonic palette unfurls to reveal a marvelous mosaic of colors and dreams.

Reviews

According to the Spotted Peccary one-sheet accompanying this release, Denver, Colorado based musician Jesse Sola, the creative force behind Numina, has twenty releases to his credit (and that's since 2000), and 'The Chroma Plateau' is his first on the Spotted Peccary label. I haven't heard any of them, but that's fairly typical for me. The music of Numina is what you'd call "space ambient," being rich with atmosphere and thin on melodic content which is fine by me. In fact, I'd rather not have my space ambient sullied with any melodic content, but it's hard not to have some filter through on many artists' releases in this genre, and there is a smattering of it here on 'The Chroma Plateau,' but it's abstract and sparse enough not to be much of a bother. Too much melodic content and things get "New Agey," in my opinion. (It's what I call the Hearts of Space Syndrome.) A really good thing about Numina's sonic loops and drones is that they're treated to sound huge and vast, a hallmark of most good space music. One track that does use melodic sequencing, "Intergalactic Traveller," is at least hypnotic, minimal and brief enough to keep the starship on course. There are plenty of mysterious ambiences on this album to make you feel like you may be exploring some uncharted territory, although the sounds may be fairly familiar to the well-traveled space-ambient cosmonaut. Numina employs a varied and well-integrated sound palette and even occasionally skirts dark ambient territory, as on "Living in the Clouds" with an ominous undercurrent of foreboding. Perhaps the most curious track though is the title track which reminds me a bit of Pauline Anna Strom's Trans Millenia Consort. It may lack the wild oscillations Strom is known for, but has certain other fine elements I recall on a couple of her albums. If you're an aficionado of space ambient music, you'd do well to check out this release. It's one I will surely keep on my playlist. - Steve Mecca, Chain D.L.K.
When one puts The Chroma Plateau in the player, the sounds won’t immediately jump out and grab you by the jugular, but instead slowly envelop the listener in a wash of colorful fog that shifts between warm and cool ribbons of droning introspection. The opening track “Beaming Up The Fossils” seems to be over in about a minute until you realize you’ve been in there close to seven, the time semingly freezing the listener in an endless moment. So it goes for the duration, each successive track being another signpost on a journey through the stars, an ethereal deep space ever-evolving dreamscape. Out here nothing moves fast or changes quickly, but instead involves a slow, deliberate and organic development of a floating ambient nature. Numina is the alias of Jesse Sola, a Denver, Colorado based synthesist who creates his magic with a Eurorack modular system and an array of at least a dozen other hardware synths and electronic instruments, and although this is his very first solo release on Spotted Peccary (with an earlier collaboration with Zero Ohms), some quick research will show you that Numina has been plying his craft for a long time, with nearly two dozen full length releases to his credit. While earlier releases may have utilized some acoustic instruments, I hear none across these nine spacious tracks. There are some sequences in play, but they are subtle and slow moving, never dominating the proceedings. One might detect some similarities with the earliest Tangerine Dream, the current work of Steve Roach, Michael Stearns and others, but after a few listens it should be apparent to the seasoned space traveler that Numina has refined his own blueprint like no other, creating a unique immersion zone for the listener to get lost within. - Peter Thelen, Exposé
The high quality level of Spotted Peccary's electronic ambient catalogue is upheld by Denver-based synthesist Jesse Sola on his latest Numina collection. With twenty releases to his name and two decades of soundcrafting under his belt, to call Sola an experienced hand is an extreme understatement—even if The Chroma Plateau is the debut Numina solo release on the label. That it is seems almost inexplicable, given how naturally the artist's ambient-spacemusic style dovetails with Spotted Peccary's. (For the record, a collaboration involving Numina and Zero Ohms, Broken Stars Through Brilliant Clouds, did appear on the label in 2015.)

Working with hardware synthesizers, effects, and a custom modular Eurorack synth system, Sola has crafted a seventy-one-minute set guaranteed to satisfy deep ambient aficionados. Though he prefers not to dictate the interpretative response the listener derives from his music, track titles such as “Intergalactic Traveller,” “Bringer of the Beings,” and “Living in the Clouds” certainly suggest particular directions. The range of possible meanings gleaned from the nine productions is broad, but one imagines most listeners would characterize the recording's expansive soundscapes as epic transmissions whose reach spans galaxies.

It takes no time at all for the deep plunge to occur, with the shimmering evocation “Beaming up the Fossils” spanning eons in its quietly epic unfurl of synthesizer washes and ethereal atmospheres. One of the best things about the recording is that while the nine productions establish an impression of cohesiveness, each one is subtly different from the others. In contrast to the brooding mysteriousness and ominous stillness of “Where all the Creatures are Dreaming,” for example, the sunnier “Intergalactic Traveller” feels almost jaunty. That's not the only time dramatic contrasts emerge, with other pieces ranging between claustrophobic dark ambient (“Mosaic of Whispers”), tribal ambient-dub (“Sky Descender”), and monumental, prog-inflected uplift (“When the Sea Disappears from Me”). The album's most engaging production arrives when the album-closing title track serves up a thoroughly transporting nine minutes of Tangerine Dream-styled whooshes, starbursts, and plaintive melodic phrases.

A grandiose, even gothic quality sometimes surfaces to bolster the timeless feel of Sola's productions, and no criticism is intended in saying that The Chroma Plateau often sounds like a recording that could have been released in 1998 as much as 2018, technological advances aside. - Ron Schepper, Textura
Numina’s “The Chroma Plateau” required a long-term recording process, taking US-composer Jesse Sola about two years to work on. Because of this lengthy process, there are a lot of mixed moments of inspiration, influence and emotion. As there is no particular theme or concept behind the music, Jesse likes to think of the recording as pieces of work at various "plateaus" of thought and emotion.

Production-wise, Mr Sola took a similar approach to the sound design and recording process done for several years. However, one big difference on “The Chroma Plateau” is he had added more tools to his Eurorack modular system since the former album, so there's a fair amount of complex modular drones and sequences going on throughout the whole ambient album. Quite a bit of time was also spend on sound design, patching in drones and sequences, let them evolve over time and getting them right eventually.

The 70-minute outcome taps into a haunting world of exploration as it journeys through ethereal spaces (“Intergalatic Traveller”, “Mosaic of Whispers”, “When the Sea Disappears from me”) and mysterious organic-flavored netherworlds (“Where All the Creatures Are Dreaming”, “Sky Descender”, “Living in the Clouds”). The otherworldly, remote and surreal are addressed firmly in Numina’s vast and minimalist ambient unleashing introspective far-away states of mind step by step, with a great sense of release found on the (closing) title track.

To sum it up, “The Chroma Plateau” is for all ambient fans enjoying traveling into the deeper end without things becoming too dark or abstract. - Bert Strolenberg, SonicImmersion.org

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