Forrest Fang: The Lost Seasons of Amorphia (CD)

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Product Description

1. The Isle of Welcome
2. Throwing Salt
3. Inlets
4. A Shadow on the Shore
5. From Post to Palm
6. Distant Figure
7. Urchins

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The lush ambient space music of veteran Bay Area composer Forrest Fang explores the tactile nature of sound. On his latest, The Lost Seasons of Amorphia, he brings electronically-treated Asian instruments such as gu-zheng, kim and Javanese gamelan to the fore, subtly complementing them with hypnotic processed electronics in a manner that evokes his explorative sensitivities. Over four decades, Fang developed a distinctive style deeply informed and inspired by his studies of electronic music, minimalism, and Asian traditional musics of Indonesian Gamelan, Chinese classical music, and Japanese Gagaku court music. 


The compositions are varied in mood, perhaps reflecting the “seasons” lost when our states of mind change during especially difficult times (such as the current one). “When I recorded the pieces, I tried to avoid being expressly programmatic,” says Fang. “However, the ups and downs of this past year probably had an indirect effect on what I created, and these pieces were my way of making sense of what have been strange and uncertain times.” 


On the opening twenty-minute track, “The Isle of Welcome,” warm ambient textures flow within its four continuous sections with treated electronics and acoustic instruments bridging the transitions between sections. The sustained orchestral tones of the introduction gradually give way to the percussive interplay between an Asian zither, electric piano, and layered synthesizers. The synthesizers provide a continuing sonic bed for echoing and gongs and a gamelan at the halfway point, and also complement the electric piano, strings, and sequenced electronic tones in the final section. “Isle” was composed for a special Thanksgiving show in November 2021 for the celebrated Philadelphia-based space music radio program, “Star’s End.”

The album continues with “Throwing Salt,” an evocative amalgam of contrasting timbres that combines the primal sonorities of a gamelan with soft electronic strings lingering in the aural space. A short interlude for zither and electronic drones, “Inlets,” follows.

A moody and quiet foreboding prevails on “A Shadow on the Shore.” Airy and ephemeral synthesizers and processed field recordings slowly dissolve into a darker droning cloud of horns. Out of this season of darkness emerges a brighter sonic tableau in “From Post to Palm.” Violins and flutes are accompanied by hypnotic polyrhythms and ostinatos from gongs, hand percussion, metallophones, organ, and processed strings. The flutes are performed by veteran progressive musician Dave Newhouse, who also guested on Fang’s 2018 release, Scenes From a Ghost Train.

The ebullient atmosphere of “From Post to Palm” is soon replaced by the mysterious calm of a quiet and hypnotic “Distant Figure.” This interlude features shifting electronic drones, processed environmental sounds, and a faraway electric piano. The album concludes with “Urchins,” sequencer-based space music that gently undulates and gradually recedes into the night.

The Lost Seasons of Amorphia is a classic Fang release. Its ethereal atmospheres are grounded in primal Asian instruments that seek balance in the sometimes unpredictable darkness and light of our interior seasons.

Projekt release: November 4, 2022

Also released November 4 2022 🔹 🌱 🔹 🌱 🔹 🌱 🔹 🌱 🔹 🌱 🔹 🌱 🔹
Michael Stearns: Chronos

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Reviews

  1. Reviews Editor

    From Star’s End

    Forrest Fang treats the mind as an area of activation – a dense meaning-space where each of us experiences subjective reality. Exceptionally rendered, his The Lost Seasons of Amorphia (68’48”) offers an encounter with some superior realm of the psyche. Intricately balanced, invariably surprising, in a density of detail Fang plays the music of the world he knows. From lulling dreamscapes and somnambulant bliss to the vigorous whorl of sharply conceived moments his studio and its implements provide plenty of room for inventiveness. Each of the seven tracks seem like a drama unto itself. In an abundance of color and presence the sounds and notes tell us something about the space they are resounding through. Sensuously swollen shapes recede into a soft-focus mood under points of starlight clustering in vastness.

    Measured and finely modulated, scene after scene are calculated to colonize the listening mind. Some will hear melodies in the dancing, pulsing rhythms – as seductive percussion runs shift the shape of the palpitating drive – while others will be more attracted to the explorations of fabric and form, structure and tonality, timbre and pacing. In a unique intermingling of acoustic instruments and those more overtly electronic, patterned compositions float along an arc of lustrous synth tones and gently resounding gu-zheng, gongs and gamelan. Pushing through a dreamy, verdant realm we recognize this album’s sheen, unanimity and teeming complexities. So where does this music really come from? Is it from a region to our North, South, East or West? Is it from another world? …or from the future? The Lost Seasons of Amorphia is alternately dark and intense, dense and impenetrable, gentle and delicate, and ultimately conjures an atmosphere under which the truth of the composer is briefly known – as Forrest Fang continues to beautifully reveal himself to us one album at a time. -Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END

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