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The Bandcamp download includes the full album as one long piece, as well as cue points for the six individual “Visions.”
Persistent Visions is a 70-minute heart-centered sonic meditation from veteran transformative shamanic practitioners Byron Metcalf and Mark Seelig. Designed for a continuous, uninterrupted listening experience that slowly evolves and builds with increasing tempo and dynamic complexity, Persistent Visions consists of six parts (visions). As seamless blending parts of a singular composition, these visions invite an expanding consciousness to find its way into an ecstatically blissful and oceanic completion.
“Heart-centered visions are rooted in the Truth of our souls and persistent visions are expressions of our soul’s Truth.” – Mark Seelig
Four years after their last collaborative masterwork Intention, these two kindred musical spirits merge their meditational music talents to guide both veteran meditators and adventurous newcomers on a soul-immersive path towards beauty and tranquility.
Byron’s superbly crafted meditative rhythms and patterns create a neural and sensory awareness of body and soul. Mark’s bamboo (bansuri) flute performance is based on two classic Indian ragas that are beautiful and haunting and at times celebratory.
From the dawn of history, spiritual seekers have relied upon visions for guidance, clarity, inspiration and more. Meditation, prayer, drumming, trance-inducing music, shamanic journeying, vision quests, ecstatic dance, and the ritual use of psychedelic plants and substances are some common approaches to the visionary experience. This album is a powerful support tool for extended meditation practices, massage and body work, entheogenic and empathogenic exploration, and any practice that is intended to reveal the Truth of one’s experience and life circumstances. Once the revelation of that Truth is recognized, the essential nature of persistence assumes the guiding role of an internal pathfinder.
These seasoned veterans of shamanic and meditational music create a stunning recording that facilitates the unfolding nature of the visionary experience, and an alignment with the inner regions of the listener’s heart – an experience of balance and a deep sense of peace and calm.
Reviews Editor –
From Comarcas na Rede
What to say about this job? If two masters of ambient music with reminiscences of tribal music get together, they can only give rise to a wonderful album like this. Divided into six cuts or visions, the composers show us their musical world with electronic backgrounds and tribal sounds, the kind that immerse you and transport you to the depths of our world, that remind us of those rituals that our ancestors must have practiced and that relate us to the planet around us.
A true musical pleasure to enjoy our mind. -Roberto Vales
Reviews Editor –
In the press release for this collaborative effort, Mark Seelig (bansuri flutes) and Byron Metcalf (frame drums, udu, talking drums, drones, pads) are referred to as “shamanic practitioners,” which turns out to be no exaggeration at all. For seventy-one transformative minutes, the two call into being a deep sonic meditation that, especially when lulling rhythms gently (and sometimes not so gently) animate the music’s flow, has the capacity to induce an equally deep state of enchantment. Seelig’s flutes and Metcalf’s drums and atmospheric textures make for a combination that’s not just potent but seductive, too. It’s not the first time they’ve partnered either, with Persistent Visions arriving four years after the earlier Intention.
Against a backdrop of sultry ambient washes and relaxed drum rhythms, the flute drifts gracefully, its tone soft, harmonious, and alluring. Seelig, who apparently based his performance on two classic Indian ragas, plays with admirable humility. Never in his playing is there any hint of ego indulgence; on the contrary, his every expression seems tailored to strengthen the total musical effect, and the aromatic quality and haunting tone of the flute is consistently reinforced by the expansive backdrop Metcalf fashions for it. For the most part, the woodwind embraces the role of front-line soloist with everything else designed to support and accompany it on its journey.
Though Persistent Visions consists of six indexed “visions,” it plays continuously (the Bandcamp download includes the piece both as a single uninterrupted track and one with cue points for the six parts). It’s not static, however; discernible changes in tempo and subtle adjustments in sound design surface along the way, the former sometimes occurring abruptly. My preference would have been for those tempo shifts to have been executed more gradually to render them less perceptible, but that quibble aside, the contrasts from one part to the next prove enhancing. By way of illustration, intensity builds during the recording’s first half until a culmination is reached in “Vision 4,” after which the peaceful, almost somnambulant character of “Vision 5” is especially satisfying.
Often the changes in sound design are so subtle, they go (almost) unnoticed; at other moments, one can’t help but notice a dramatic alteration. Midway through “Vision 3,” for example, all of the elements except for Metcalf’s drums drop away and then fold back in one after another. Elsewhere, synth washes surge in volume and density, though never so much that they threaten to overpower the flute. Drums disappear altogether in “Vision 6,” the arrangement in this instance nothing more than the hushed murmur of the flute and a softly droning galaxy of starlit synths. Modulations of these kinds do much to sustain listening engagement for the entirety of the trip.
From Star’s End
It would seem that anyone with a heartbeat could find something of themselves in Persistent Visions (71.03) by Byron Metcalf & Mark Seelig. In its news from the frontiers of consciousness we all should be able to find a pulse. Turning cerebral mechanisms Metcalf’s drumming patterns are accompanied by Seelig’s skyward flute tones. A sense of gradual momentum, neither outward nor inward, declares its primal quality. Rhythms and grooves trek through our psyche beneath silvery notes carrying the comfort of melody. Diffuse synthesizer harmonies sustain, and then draw us back to still subtle spaces. Each element combines to superb effect. Persistent Visions is not episodic, or circular, but somehow continually expanding, as it descends ever deeper into its listeners. The pace is methodical, the playing intuitive, and the music genuine. We are calmly led into a unique space, within which a musical vision is shared, and knowledge is whispered. The digital society de-emphasizes contemplation, and so it is difficult for modern musicians to develop habits of mind that do not feel half-machine themselves. But this duo was genuinely moved while playing their music, as will we be upon attending to it. Throughout Persistent Visions we feel Metcalf & Seelig always reaching for something – otherwise, why would we bother to follow them on this journey at all? In a constant flight forward, this duo plays whatever occurs to them, always advancing the threads of their story – with the narrative of their music broadening as far as our listening minds allow it. -Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END
Reviews Editor –
From Synth & Sequences
“I don’t think you will sleep nor dance even if some moments should call for it, but you will be blasted away by these percussions technics and the sweet flamering flute chants”
I never thought that one day I would become a fan of this music. These spiritual trances rhythms which are soothing while exciting the senses when the intensity is eating away more and more the latent evolution of these atmospheres. And yet, many albums later by Steve Roach and from the American label Projekt Records my senses stunned by pain-killers made me appreciate this music whose beauty lies mainly in these tribal percussions from Byron Metcalf. I’m not disliking here the delicacy of Mark Seelig’s lips on his flute, far from me this idea. The flute is very beautiful. But too much is like not enough! While the percussions, their different languages and tones as their variations in the momentum of the rhythms are elements of enchantment. And they dominate here with a nice assortment and an excitement that grows more and more up to the point of explosion in “Vision 3”. Subsequently, it’s the ecstasy until the extinction of the drums. As usual with Projekt, Persistent Visions is offered in a CD manufactured version with a 4-sided digipack panel embellished by a nice artwork and the texts and graphics related to the album. A downloadable version is also available and comes with the full version of the album in an entire 71-minute title with CUE points to index the 6 parts.
The opening of “Vision 1” is equal to these openings of ambient tribal rhythms. Its decor is that of the open air with insects that communicate by stridulatory waves under a sky delimited by dark breezes and faint gleams of ambient drones which bound the distant horizons. Byron Metcalf’s magical hands dance lusciously on his frame drums, causing Mark Seelig’s Bansuri flute to flicker like a flame over the different shades of Shaman Metcalf’s tribal percussions. If the percussions play with their tones, the flute sharpens its pagan songs with intonations as low as very airy. Synth pads add a little more ethereal mists while the percussions adjust the tempo for a little more force when “Vision 2” walks on the borders of “Vision 1”. The flute is not outdone. Mark Seelig controls the air of his lungs by blowing in the beak of his instrument those same songs which follow however the new cadence. It’s only further that we notice these ambient mists of Paul Casper & Frore’s synths become denser and more on the move. They look like seraphic violins waltzing with the sparks of the percussions. We are approaching the territories of “Vision 3” and the rhythm is beating with new fervor. The sky is filled with these layers misted by visions of Steve Roach. Imperturbable, the American flutist makes his songs dance like that flame tortured by the winds. The avalanche of drums, of talking drums, can be swept away, and the spiritual trance may well be excited that this sonic flame remains phlegmatic. Her harmonies even transcend the agitation of the drums. We can’t sleep anymore, so much the drums are resounding. And these resonances forge a continual trance with a harmonic hint in the elastic reverberations of the drums. Hints supported by these fog pads that have become an essential asset, while Mark Seelig now extends the silences of his interludes. “Vision 4” brings the moods to its point of origin with a flexible rhythm flooded by the tonal caresses of Seelig and by the fog layers of the two other synthesists invited to deepen the sound field of Persistent Visions. Metcalf’s hands seem out of breath since the flute expires its soporific songs that no longer dance, but that animate the ambiances of “Vision 5” where the tonal drones buzz in a kind of astral blues, so much the rhythm is became lascivious. And it’s Mark Seelig who takes the destinies of this album to lead it in a finale where our ears hear again these crickets which had fled the fervor of the multiple percussions of Byron Metcalf. -Sylvain Lupari
Reviews Editor –
From Darkroom Magazine
Cinque anni dopo Intention, i due esperti strumentisti americani (il percussionista Metcalf ed il musicista new age/ambient Seelig) tornano a collaborare per un nuovo album a quattro mani, anche stavolta sotto l’egida dello storico marchio Projekt. Racchiuso in un essenziale digipack, Persistent Visions consta di sei tracce che funzionano come un corpo unico (la versione digitale include infatti l’album anche in formato monotraccia) dove a dettare i ritmi sono le percussioni di Metcalf, come da copione, mentre a Seelig tocca il compito di tessere le melodie attraverso i flauti bansuri, con piccoli ma significativi aiuti esterni da parte di Paul Casper (Frore) e di quel Max Link già al lavoro nel succitato Intention, oltre che in altre release collaborative in cui figurava Mark.
Un flusso sonoro meditativo che si protrae per oltre 70 minuti e che si dipana attraverso le sei “visioni” in cui è diviso il dischetto: ethno-ambient lucente, leggiadra e sciamanica che prende le mosse da un apporto percussivo placido, col suo culmine nella maggior intensità ritmica della terza traccia, verso un finale che assume i contorni di un’ambient più dilatata. Niente virtuosismi e/o eclettismi di sorta in questo viaggio sonoro, perfetto – anche dal punto di vista tecnico e formale – per accompagnare non soltanto quei momenti di pura e profonda meditazione, ma anche quelli dedicati alla cura e alla ristorazione delle membra, a prescindere dalla disciplina praticata e dalla sua provenienza culturale. Un lavoro realmente trasversale e di alto valore spirituale la cui efficacia risiede nel padroneggiare un linguaggio universale, in grado di parlare al cuore come all’anima con la credibilità e la maestria che accompagnano la caratura artistica dei suoi due artefici. -Roberto Alessandro Filippozzi
Reviews Editor –
From Avant Music News
Metcalf and Seelig continue their long-running collaboration on Persistent Visions, released March 29 on Projekt. As a whole, the album harkens to the type of tribal ambient music pioneered by Steve Roach 25-35 years ago in a series of now-classic releases. This is not terribly surprising, as Metcalf and Seelig both have worked with Roach at various points since then. But what separates this recording from others of the same ilk is how easily it brings one into its meditative soundscape.
Metcalf provides exquisitely-timed hand-drum rhythms that are both hypnotic and not overly repetitive. On top of these, Seelig offers lilting bamboo flute melodies and a subtle synth layer. This simple combination is the basis for the album’s 71 minutes, which are broken up into six raga-like “visions.” These trance-inducing pieces are neither overly bright nor dark – instead, they evoke a sense of harmony with nature, others, and oneself. It is difficult to make it through more than a few minutes of Persistent Visions without feeling a rising sense of calm and serenity, even if one is not a practitioner of the meditative arts. -Mike