An Unexpected Shelter
The Wind at Night
The Flatlands (Ghosts in the Heatwaves)
Exposé Magazine. "…uniformly excellent, tapping into that subconscious wonderworld of sound that guides the listener along on an explorative floating ambient journey. The Blue Dunes represents a glacial moving sonic sculpture that will quite intentionally alter the listener’s mood and consciousness."
Best New Release 2022 – WPPM Sound + Vision
The Blue Dunes, a serene and meditative work from starfaring Australian ambient/electronic artist Deepspace, paints calm and exquisite sound pictures of imagined desert landscapes. Deepspace’s second album on Projekt Records contains six floating passages of soft waves inspired by the Odyssey orbiter’s 2018 finding of what first seemed to be blue-coloured dunes on Mars. The Blue Dunes takes the aesthetic impact of that discovery and explores a desert bathed entirely in those cool serene hues.
Even though the dunes only appeared blue due to false-colour imagery indicating temperature, it was enough to kindle the desire for such a surreal place. This desert, with its imagined shadings, is the starting point for Deepspace’s hypnotic floating ambience. Longing, desolate shimmers with glassy luminescence abound, interspersed with soft transient murmurs not quite identifiable — maybe the aural representation of a cluster of strangely-shaped rock, or something unusual on the path into a vast and strange terrain. Like a pulsing heatwave, blue chords hover and transform, invoking a halcyon shimmer that sings of the love of solitude and nothingness. Occasionally, some respite from the harsh barren desert occurs as the chords dissipate and clouds form, providing shade from the penetrating sun.
Mirko says: “I think that most ambient creators listen to their own work after creating it for a number of reasons: to check for errors, consistency, feel and various other aspects. But I have listened to The Blue Dunes almost obsessively since creating it. It calms me deeply and is the right feeling — and this aspect is so intangible to me that after all these years of creating ambient works, I still don’t know what makes any piece the right one for an album, other than how it takes my imagination on a journey and somehow fits the theme. I try to let inspiration drive me, as it always ends up being more exciting than too much intentional planning. I’ve discovered this through trial and error.”
Wandering through an ambient dream of deserts unknown, the album is a 70-minute exploration of a far-away and imaginary place. Whatever the type of place evoked, this album is a love song to escaping the chaos and noise of our world and feeling the glittering, gentle pull of solitude and warm isolation.
And who knows, maybe there are blue deserts somewhere out there?
Deepspace is Brisbane, Australia-based ambient artist Mirko Ruckels. His hypnotic, glacial, dreamy and atmospheric work is created with synthesizers, software and acoustic instruments such as bells, guitars and piano. When he was a little boy in Germany (he is German/French) he would slip into a reverie at hearing a distant lawn mower, church bells, passing planes, or the rumblings of far-off trains. This love of drones and ambient sound led to a wonderous moment upon discovering like-minded artists and listeners who also enjoyed atmospheric environments that evoke liminal moods and spaces. Ruckels discovered vidnaObmana and later Steve Roach; their unconventional approach inspired him to explore and create his own pieces. He says, “I literally had no idea how to make ambient music and just felt my way in the dark.” In 2006, Deepspace was born. Themes range from macro — such as space, underwater, deserts and science fiction imaginings, to micro — internal states and microscopic life.
Mirko was so inspired by his exploration into the blue dunes that he authored a science fiction short story that conveys the experience of journeying into these lonely sand hills where the mind begins to question itself as time passes. His account of a solo trip across vast dry drifts is included as a 10-page downloadable booklet at Bandcamp, complete with photos and illustrations.
If you are streaming only, you can view the pdf here.
Reviews Editor –
This journey doesn’t begin suddenly, but floats in softly through cracks in the windows and floor vents, gently displacing all of your troubles and replacing them with a soft, creamy warmth that gradually affects a listener’s consciousness and slowly frees the spirit. Chords slowly breathe in and breathe out, colorful drifts of magical waves that encircle every moment, building on the one before it, and ultimately setting the scene for all that follow, one after another, drifting in a slow steady frequency.
Deepspace is the moniker of the German-born synthesist Mirko Ruckels, currently resident in Australia, who has been quite busy of late, releasing fifteen full length albums since 2007, and though I can only say I’ve heard a fraction of those, they have been uniformly excellent, tapping into that subconscious wonderworld of sound that guides the listener along on an explorative floating ambient journey. The Blue Dunes represents a glacial moving sonic sculpture that will quite intentionally alter the listener’s mood and consciousness; those dunes on the cover could be out in a desert, or at the bottom of a deep ocean, or even on some other planet, and while the stillness and calm can easily produce that inner tranquility that many of us seek from this type of music, it can also take a listener a step or two beyond that point and prepare the psyche for slumber.
There are six distinct titles here, though one might not be aware when the changes take place; the transitions are so soft and muted that one just seems to flow into the next. The title track, at nearly seventeen minutes opens the proceedings, and a six-minute single edit closes the album as a bonus track. Other tracks bear titles like “The Wind at Night,” “The Memory,” “Emptiness,” and so on, all perfectly descriptive of the dreamscape at hand. Listeners who appreciate the long-form ambient pieces of artists like Steve Roach and Robert Rich would do well to explore The Blue Dunes. -Peter Thelen
Reviews Editor –
From Dave Aftandilian (on Bandcamp): In the cool of the night, the desert flower blooms, delicately scenting the still air. Stars wheel and freeze in the heavens, millennia passing and standing still in a timeless moment. My soul expands to encompass the universe, even as I realize that all of my Self matters even less than one grain of sand in these endless, shifting dunes. Yet somehow that puts a gentle smile on my face.
Reviews Editor –
From Ambient Blog
With the act named Deepspace, The Blue Dunes from the title obviously does not refer to any dunes on earth. But not exactly ‘deep’ space either: after all, Mars is relatively nearby. The Blue Dunes refer to the Odyssey orbiter’s 2021 finding of what first seemed to be blue-colored dunes on Mars.
‘Even though the dunes only appeared blue due to false-colour imagery indicating temperature, it was enough to kindle the desire for such a surreal place.’
Deepspace (Mirko Ruckels from Brisbane, Australia) explores these dunes in seven deeply immersive tracks of various lengths (the last one being a short edit of the 16:25 minute title track).
‘Longing, desolate shimmers with glassy luminescence abound, interspersed with soft transient murmurs not quite identifiable — maybe the aural representation of a cluster of strangely-shaped rock, or something unusual on the path into a vast and strange terrain.’
As if the music itself was not enough to express his vision, Ruckels also wrote a short story accompanying each track, which ‘could be atmospheric to read while listening to the album.’ This story is included as a 10-page PDF booklet included in the download, which is offered on a Name-Your-Price basis. As if that in itself is not generous enough, the story can also be read here in case you are streaming the album. But I suggest you download it and pay what it’s worth to you. -Peter
reviews editor –
MYSTICWOLF75 wrote (on Bandcamp): This is a really beautiful album of floating ambience. The gorgeous opener, “The Blue Dunes”, really sets the mood for the rest of the album and “An Unexpected Shelter” has a real Steve Roach feel to it (and I mean this very complimentary, as I am a huge Steve Roach fan). This will definitely be getting played a lot! Lovely cover art, too! Favorite track: “The Blue Dunes.”
Reviews Editor –
I have been listening to Deepspace (Mirko Ruckels) since his 2006 release The Barometric Sun. His sound has greatly evolved since then but the quality of his ambient works has only improved over time. This is one of my favorite ambient releases of 2022. It is very calming and meditative and could easily be put on endless loop for a wonderful aural space. “Emptiness” is well worth the price of admission – but every track is wonderful. This belongs in the collection of every fan of beatless, non-rhythmic, enveloping soundscapes type of ambient music. Well done, Mirko! -John W. Patterson