2. Song of the Wanderer 05:54
3. Tale of the Egret 08:05
4. Astir 04:00
5. Atlantis 12:44
6. Elephant Steps 06:24
7. Chasing Stars 05:47
8. From the Hollows 08:28
9.Water Pod 04:22
10. Kepler’s Return 06:20
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Avant Music News Pick of the Week, August 30, 2020
The Book of Wanderers, from Projekt ambient musician Forrest Fang, creates an auditory escape, an aspiration towards venturing outwards, imagining better times ahead. Direct and emotional, the collection of electronic tone poems was recorded primarily during the spring and summer 2020 coronavirus lockdown. “While confined to my home in the Bay Area,” says Fang, “I felt the need to create pieces that provided virtual spaces for my mind to wander. These idealized spaces became my inner world during this time.”
The album begins with “An Atom on a Long Chain,” an ambitious and lively piece featuring echoing piano, hypnotic string sounds, and interlocking rhythms derived partly from fractals. The mood shifts with the atmospheric “Song of the Wanderer,” in which a gamelan gong and an electric piano share space with misty synthesized and processed textures. The sustained mood continues with “Tale of the Egret,” which features special guest artist Robert Rich who plays flutes over a relaxed backdrop of treated percussive sounds and a celestial zither.
“Astir,” a quiet interlude for piano and strings, provides a transition to “Atlantis,” an extended soundscape of shimmering strings, piano, Mellotron, and gamelan that perhaps best embodies the album’s theme of utopian worlds. An intriguing Fourth World-style track, “Elephant Steps,” follows, combining its tribal rhythms with hammered strings and sustained choral voices.
A shift into the spatial realm of pure electronic music occurs on the next track, “Chasing Stars.” The expansive sound fields and distant reverberations of this piece evoke the beauty of stargazing. We then return to terra firma on “From the Hollows,” a textural piece Fang had originally intended as a belated birthday tribute to ambient musician Brian Eno.
Another short interlude, “Water Pod,” provides a playful transition into The Book of Wanderers’ final piece, “Kepler’s Return,” in which otherworldly electronic and choral drones converge into a harmonious universe suggested in 17th-Century astronomer Johannes Kepler’s “music of the spheres.”