Acclaimed Floridian soundforger Phillip Wilkerson, who has an extensive discography on his credit with many pro CDr releases and digital downloads, has teamed up on "Vague Traces" with talented Illinois based artist Chris Russell. Chris Russell is mostly know for his four albums released on Relaxed Machinery. I am very glad to see both these crafted composers on Spotted Peccary roster, a really nice move by this sympathetic label, because both these artists really deserved a glass mastered CD. If I am correct, it's second for Phillip Wilkerson, who has already appeared on Spotted Peccary with his Time Being project (featuring also Jourdan Laik), with an album entitled "A Dimension Reflected" (April 2011), while for Chris Russell this is his debut on pressed CD format. "Vague Traces" album was released during November 2014 and as usual for latest releases by this, in Encinitas, Southern California, based label, the CD is packaged in attractive 4-panel eco wallet, which showcases the trademarking visual artistry by photographer Jourdan Laik and designer Daniel Pipitone.
Rather shorter "Far Past" grandiosely unfolds this exploration with utterly gracious drifts, magnificently infinite. when entering the deepest ends of pure atmospheric bliss, yet intriguingly strengthened with assorted cyber-tech-infused subtleties. Absolutely awesome introduction of this collaborative endeavour, congratulations, gentlemen!!! But there is one small complaint. I just can't identify with that, rather insensitive cut at the end of this track when it soothingly evanesces, maybe it's not that much noticeably disturbing, but it's there, so for full deep listening immersion this should be avoided. "The Diamond Sky" is by far more reverberating, bridging mindscaping, at times quite piercing drones, with intangible tinkles and hints of organic sounds. Floating from contemplative quietness through murmuring surges to puncturing transcendence. "Across The Sun" straightly delves into deeply enigmatic spheres, where spiralling and oscillating drones are intermingled with abundant cyber-biotic dissonances and sparse elusive chimes. This intensely undulating and oddly carved composition is a real mind-blower. If the previous piece was hanging at the edge of transcendental realms, this one immerses us deeply into these mysteriously crescendoed and powerfully spellbinding zones. "Evening's Empire" clocks over 12-minute mark and dives immediately into unfathomable depths, although remote rumbles flicker here and there. But monolithic dronescape continuously keeps on emerging until it's permeated by environmental sounds, some hi-pitched nuances sneak in, but the journey is clandestinely stolen by warm-hearted piano blankets, tranquilly monumental with touch of medieval gracefulness, before dissolving into fascinating horizons of nocturnal silence. An epic soundscaping awaits here!!! The next piece, "Just A Shadow", starts quietly, but persistently unfolds into tenser monochromatic backgrounds, contrasted with fronting, windingly cascading sonics, both diaphanous and exaggerated, and velvety guitar and harp-like strings. 11 minutes long "For Dreaming" takes the route to the tranquilizing paradise, crossing through calmly nuanced celestial terrains with few incisive peaks, and meticulously fragranced with fragilely acoustic reminiscences. The listener is bathed in absolute aural peacefulness!!! "Until Tomorrow", with 12:33 the longest track, remains on the same, spaciously engrossing fields, where amorphously drifting drones amalgamate with vaporously meandering piano notes. Immensely transporting conclusion!!!
To complete the credits list, the album was mastered at The Armory by Ben Cox, of the ex-Lotuspike gang (now fused in Spotted Peccary Music community). "Vague Traces" album gorgeously melts common artistic visions of Phillip Wilkerson & Chris Russell, it safely finds its significant place in lustrously vast catalog of Spotted Peccary and proves their soundsculpting talent within ambient/deep space journeying. I should add that Phillip Wilkerson has self-released few weeks before "Vague Traces" his solo album "Wondrous Encounters", while Chris Russell has released during December 2014 his another collaborative project, "Memory Palace" with Greg Moorcroft of Eyes Cast Down. There is a lot of essential recordings to dive into, so don't hesitate to explore them, these guys really deserve it!!!
- Richard Gurtler, Discogs.com