Forrest Fang: Forever Cascades (CD)

$15.00

SKU: pro00391. Categories: , , , ,

Product Description

Limited edition of 500.

1. Four Points West
2. Circling the Eternal Lake
3. The Clockmaker
4. Forever Cascades
5. The Land of Nine Rivers
6. Moiré
7. Seahorses and Aeolian
8. Murmurances
9. Leaving Alpha
10. Out of Frame

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Information in English here. Click to order CD.

For fans of: electronic, ambient & fourth-world soundscapes.


Composer and recording artist Forrest Fang refined his dynamic hybrid style of composition over the past four decades, expanding upon his roots in progressive music, minimalism, textural ambient, and the traditional musics of Asia. Drawing on his deep knowledge of sound creation and manipulation, he uses the studio like a separate instrument to create distinctive, alluring and otherworldly atmospheres. With captivating approaches to sound creation, his latest Projekt album Forever Cascades presents a series of intricately-layered sonic vignettes and impressionistic soundscapes inspired by shoreline walks over the last year.


“Though my walks near the San Francisco Bay were initially a way for me to clear my head,” says Fang, “I also found myself drawn to the cycles and cadences of tides and aquatic life that shifted gradually from season to season. I was seeking a similar underlying cadence or pulse in these pieces that would evolve over time.”


The album’s opening piece, “Four Points West,” sets the scene with sustained and relaxed electronic tones suggesting vast open spaces. The trail begins with the atmospheric piece, “Circling the Eternal Lake,” that combines treated piano, gamelan, and hypnotic electronic textures. A lively piece, “The Clockmaker,” follows, combining acoustic and electronic strings, and a pulsing synthesizer.


The title track, “Forever Cascades,” continues the album’s momentum with layers of echoing electronics and cyclical patterns along with sounds from a dulcimer and a clavinet. The atmosphere shifts down to a more relaxed pace with “The Land of Nine Rivers,” a nine-minute organic soundscape populated with a multitude of melodic particles and fragments that form continuous and sublime currents of harmonious sound.


Once refreshed, the hike continues with the evocative polyrhythms of “Moiré,” a short minimalist-inspired piece that combines the sounds of bamboo percussion, organ, and synthesizer. The minimalist mood continues into the next piece, “Seahorses and Aeolians,” with tribal patterns and mysterious electronic atmospheres evoking an uncharted region of the Fourth World.


The mood deepens with “Murmurances,” a concentrated and extended meditation of pulse and interlocking melodies that features Fang’s haunting violin, accompanied by the sounds of a Balinese drum, mouth organ, textural electronics, and yet more strings. One last pause for rest follows with gamelan sounds and sustained electronic tones in “Leaving Alpha.”


The album completes its cycle with the brief but spacious “Out of Frame.” The walk through sound returns to where it began with subtle changes in perceived time and space.

Release Date: December 10 2021

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Reviews

  1. padmin

    From Bandcamp fan PS

    This is a really good album, Mr. Fang! Unlike so many artists here on Bandcamp who put out an album every month or so, Fang has taken his time to create something memorable. Forever Cascades is the rare ambient work that is optimistic without being maudlin, without succumbing to the upbeat clichés that have given New Age music a bad name. The textures here are classic Fang, with ethereal atmospheres grounded in ethnic percussion. Well worth the wait. Favorite track: Moiré.

  2. padmin

    From Obsküre
    The year 2021 ended on a light note, at least listening to Forever Cascades suggests it. This latest production by Forrest Fang is yet another testament to his immense talent. Here, the sounds are superimposed like dreamlike waves to illustrate these unique moments when our consciousness is lost in the contemplation of nature. Everything seems still and yet, fragments move imperceptibly. The pulsation arises in the hollow of subtly modulated layers. Thus, the genius of Fang is expressed in this way of making his pieces dance, with rhythms set in a luminous ambient setting. We are caught up in the density of its hovering, spatial electronics at times (cf. “The Land of nine Rivers”, close to Max Corbacho), opening each track gradually. Immersion can then begin.

    Fascinated by the concept of Fourth World by the late Jon Hassell, the American incorporates exotic instrumentation, treated harmoniously. The gamelan invites itself on “Circling the eternal Lake”, proposing cadenced textures which overlap a line of tight strings and a haunting piano. Then “Forever Cascades” is propelled by the dulcimer and the clavinet, within an aerial and undulating charge, exceeding the vigor of the beginning to deliver the delicate soul of this scintillating piece. Finally, “Moiré” and “Murmurances” are decorated with oriental motifs and percussions, tuning to the organ and the violin in a blissful trance. Forever Cascades is definitely a disc of sensations; appeasement appears when joy manifests itself. His sounds occasionally evoke those of esteemed colleagues, such as Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana (“The Clockmaker”) or even Erik Wøllo. But Forrest Fang is nevertheless distinguished by a unique style, both organic and synthetic, sometimes cleverly Berlin School (“Murmurances”) or minimalist (“Seahorses and Aeolians”). This charming, dynamic and ethereal opus does justice to the Projekt catalog. Rating: 9/10 -Oliviër Bernard

  3. padmin

    From Exposé

    Forest Fang has been developing his unique style of music since the early 80s, a refined blend of minimalism, ambient and world music of Asia, South America, and elsewhere. The textural qualities of his compositions and arrangements are something that are distinctly his own and instantly identifiable as such. His is not a formula, but an approach to sound creation, rooted in atmospherics and imagery. It should be no surprise that he is also a photographer, taking daily walks on the shores of San Francisco Bay and recording whatever he sees as he goes, and often one can detect a complementary relationship between the two. For those familiar with Fang’s earlier work, many compositional similarities will be found, though this time out his arrangements are generally more dense and detailed, and taking a more mysterious path through the textural haze.

    As he builds his lush arrangements up one layer at a time, he makes full use of a number of different acoustic instruments — violin is his first instrument, but over the past four decades he has brought a large number of varied world instruments into his arsenal, including gamelan, bamboo, metal and stringed instruments of east Asia, as well as dulcimer, clavinet, prepared piano, and synthesizers. He used to list them all in the album notes, but of late the list has grown ridiculously long, and probably now includes a number of purely software instruments. The ten tracks herein are universally explorative, with few predictable moments. There are rhythmic elements, though not in any conventional (rock, folk, blues, or jazz) sense, this is of a purely textural impressionist feel, not bound by any cadence per se, it just floats along gently with any rhythmic elements being incidental. I would be remiss not mentioning some of the most impressive pieces among the ten, which would certainly include the set opener “Four Parts West” and the closer “Out of Frame,” along with two lengthy pieces that a listener can easily get lost within, “The Land of Nine Rivers” and “Murmurances.” Many of the shorter pieces like the title track, “Moire,” and “The Clockmaker” offer alternate visions, but in fact there are so many shimmering and powerful moments in the sonic tapestry that is Forever Cascades, that one will be inclined to just play it over and over. -Peter Thelen

  4. padmin

    From Synth & Sequences
    A series of pensive chords cascade with their contrasting hues in the opening of Four Points West. Scarlet synth blades scrawl at the dusk cutting out streamers where these sequenced chords bounce, while other sharper arpeggios adjust their tinkles in symbiosis with the shrill synth wails. This first ambient choreography of Forever Cascades is more intense than meditative, more animated than vegetative with this ambient rhythm that twinkles as much as it hops with these sonorous tears that tinkle with a touch of melancholy equal to these blades that feast on our sensitivity. Intensity is the key word of this new opus of Forrest Fang on Projekt Records. In intense meshes of acoustic and electronic string instruments, Tibetan percussions and ghostly streaks of synth lines, the Chinese-American musician unveils 10 mostly furious acts that follow one another with cascading suites of sequenced keyboard chords that shimmer and flow in narrow minimalist corridors inspired by Philip Glass. These minimalist movements are repeated in succession, creating a sense of perpetual echo where the identification of instruments constantly thwarts our knowledge of Fang’s sonic universe.

    Beginning like a bitter memory, Circling the Eternal Lake makes those evasive arpeggios that linger in the corridors of this album sparkle. It sounds like two pianists confronting their ideals on a structure whose melancholy belongs to these synth waves prowling like shadows in this structure that finds its transition point around the 3rd minute. A solitary keyboard pushes a few chords in romantic zephyrs until a low chord falls and reignites the fire of Circling the Eternal Lake. The awakening is orchestral with chords falling as sharply as they do dryly in a musical drama that becomes an intense circle of passion cultivated by an imposing mesh of dulcimer chords, synth streaks, and orchestrations fitting into a narrow minimalist corridor. If I’m not mistaken, this track exposes the first barrage of musical cacophony from Forever Cascades. As Circling the Eternal Lake ends, so begins The Clockmaker whose sound cascade phenomenon unfolds from the beginning with an orchestral layer, where one guesses the musicians adjusting their instruments, until the 5th minute, when the track sighs a few meditative seconds. After an excessive flight of falling keyboard chords, the title-track shares a melodic vision of instant happiness. The birds chirp to the tunes of a music whose intensity brings us closer and closer to a cacophony lead by these cyclical bursts of sounds where the identity of the instruments is lost in a semi-melodious din. Without being quite as fiery, The Land of Nine Rivers proposes a beautiful palette of sounds with a symphony of more or less violent winds where tinkle a texture of organic percussions, like if a shaman was waving rattlesnake tails. The winds are linear and blow with an aggressiveness that raises particles and other sound fragments in a landscapes that follows its passive course.

    This leads us to Moiré and its Indonesian percussions that drum in a festive tribal atmosphere dominated by these tribal percussions, some of which have a power as harmonious as these synth layers that scroll in loops. The repetition of the sequenced segments carves an echo effect that is unique to the album’s textures. If we liked the organic textures of the percussions in The Land of Nine Rivers, they radiate in the tribal rhythm of Seahorses and Aeolians. Another intense track in Forever Cascades which started timidly with a delicate melodic thread. The work and texture of percussions are amazing on this track which makes use of a good bass line to support its rhythm. Sibylline, streaks and synth layers add a hint of magic to a structure that develops through cascades of rhythm and ambient elements on one of the most intense structures in this latest Forrest Fang release. Murmurances is another impressive collage of rhythmic textures that, once cyclical, ends up giving the illusion of a mosaic that continuously sways under the frenzy of string instruments and fire-dancing synth lines over a tangling of tribal percussions. Stepping out of the album’s sonic frenzy context, Leaving Alpha offers a fascinating ballad, mostly acoustic, where hundreds of sonic prisms radiate. A very good track, just like Out of Frame which is a beautiful night ballad with synth waves floating like nets trying to catch the thin crystal clear arpeggios escaping from a keyboard whose musical thread will never be long enough.

    What an album this Forever Cascades is! I was taken by surprise by the sudden energy of Forrest Fang. So much so that I wonder on what shores he let his feet drag to offer such an aggressive palette of sounds and rhythms. This latest album will require some adjustments from his loyal fans who will quickly become familiar with this bubbling set of feverish rhythms. -Sylvain Lupari Rating: 4/5

  5. padmin

    From Star’s End
    The music of Forrest Fang refuses summation and invites contemplation. No one possesses or inhabits sound the way as this man does. A product of thinking in pure meanings his Forever Cascades (67’12”) stimulates a category of thought that occurs without words, images or symbols of any kind – and yet can converse perfectly with the inner workings of every listener. Fang the multi-instrumentalist has here produced ten tracks that imagine a realm just beyond that of the everyday. These detailed aural surroundings are rousing to the informed, and inviting to the uninitiated. Yet, we should give up on finding ourselves represented anywhere in the complexity of this music, and rather just focus on how it makes us feel.

    As diverse as all the tones, textures, atmospheres and energy settings are, it should be obvious that these ten compositions, while all on different routes, are headed for the same destination. Where one composition moves like a swift silvery ghost, the next will be as still as a whisper. Passing through subdued tones the expressive arc of Forever Cascades rises to a brighter register, or just as easily it may roll over us like a storm. Continually awakening, absorbing and moving inward, this album also lights out in expressive fanciful flights. Whether pushing the outer boundaries of Ambient Music, or summoning a lost world of the New Age, this work excites the ears as much as it mends the mind. If the art of music is about transporting the audience, then Forrest Fang is an unrivaled guide. His talents elevate Forever Cascades to a level distinctly above common Contemporary Instrumental Music – as its humbling force aspires to transform the distances between people into an intimacy with the whole world. -Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END

  6. padmin

    From Avant Music News

    Longtime electronic/ambient artist Forrest Fang is back with Forever Cascades, another release of his unique amalgam of styles. While often spoken of in the same breath as contemporaries Steve Roach, Robert Rich, and Michael Stearns, Fang diverges from the paths of these gentlemen. In addition to synth washes and sequenced patterns, Fang employs violin, dulcimer, and clavinet, as well as other stringed and percussion instruments, in interlocking patterns. The result is rhythmically driven, uptempo, and more reminiscent of the works of Terry Riley than others in the ambient space.

    Further, unlike much of the darker ambient featured in these pages, Fang’s offerings are brighter and more optimistic in tone. But a surprising amount of sophistication underlies this positivity. Influenced by walks in natural areas around the San Francisco Bay, the tracks on Forever Cascades have a dense, rich, and organic feel. The exact point at which the acoustic instrumentation ends and the electronics begin moves about and can be hard to nail down. Perhaps to that end, this album can be listened to for purposes of relaxation or meditation rather than musical deconstruction.

    All in all, a warm and enjoyable journey. Forever Cascades will be released on December 10 by Projekt Records. -Mike

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