Forrest Fang: The Oort Cloud Meditations (CD & Digital)

Original price was: $17.99.Current price is: $16.00.

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Limited edition of 300. CD in 4-panel Digipak.

1 Planetary Hum
2 Diaphanes
3 The Lighthouse
4 Distant Signals
5 Solus

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Information in English here. Click to order CD.

The Oort Cloud is a vast spherical hull of ice proposed to reside on the outer rim of our solar system. Nothing in this cloud has yet been seen, though it may contain icy objects including comets once close to the sun. This imagined place is the inspiration for ambient musician Forrest Fang’s The Oort Cloud Meditations.


While many of Fang’s releases are a hybrid of electronic and acoustic instruments, his latest remains predominantly a free-floating, transparent and gently unfolding electronic space. Using synthesizers to a greater extent than on previous albums, Fang organically transforms their tones into undulating harmonic gestures through ambient treatments and processing. The five far-reaching movements proceed at a relaxed pace; drifting atmospheres ebb and expand gradually, encouraging the mind to wander untethered.


“I created this album over an intense three months,” says Fang. “It started with a simple experiment that continued to evolve and spilled over into new pieces as the results grew more interesting and more sonically complex. I created electronic sounds that revolved around each other semi-randomly with room for harmonies to develop organically from these interactions. I used melodies sparingly, subtly introducing alternate tunings at times to reflect different moods.”


The album opens with “Planetary Hum,” a gently rolling series of tones intended to ground the listener for the auditory meditations to follow. The work’s open-ended textures are at times reminiscent of Brian Eno’s generative soundscapes but more dynamic in nature.


The extended “Diaphanes” follows, thematically drawing on the translucence of ice and revealing a surprisingly warm sonic environment. Like the opener, the overall mood is elongated and expansive. Across eighteen otherworldly minutes, the electronic textures glow and flicker suggesting arcs of the sun’s refracted light.


A darker, more mysterious blend of hues appears on “The Lighthouse.” Fragmentary themes quietly appear and recede in the veiled fog like random memories briefly emerging from the subconscious. Long, expanding echoes trail the melodic fragments leaving a large spatial void that ultimately swallows up these ephemeral reverberations. Even so, the fragments cover a considerable distance before finally fading away.


The faint trail from “The Lighthouse” leads us to the calming spaces of “Distant Signals.” Resonating frequencies resembling the sustain and decay of bronze temple bells and gongs drift across the acoustic field in tunings suggesting ancient origins. An unearthly choral sound bed gradually emerges, bringing the listener into an imaginary floating realm of undefined dimension.


Our visit to the Oort Cloud concludes with a return from distant celestial skies to internal spaces in the final piece, “Solus.” A cluster of thick harmonious tones form their own vibrating cloud; it momentarily hangs in the air before receding into silence.

Forrest Fang CD Sale : The Lost Seasons of Amorphia $7.99 CD Forever Cascades $7.99 CD ◉ The Book of Wanderers $7.99 CD ◉  Ancient Machines $7.99 CD ◉  The Fata Morgana Dream $7.99 CD ◉  Scenes from a Ghost Train $7.99 CD ◉  The Sleepwalker's Ocean $14.99 2CD ◉ Animism 7.99 CD ◉  Sans Serif: Unbound 7.99 CD ◉  Phantoms $7.99 CD ◉ Gongland $7.99 CD ◉ The Wolf At The Ruins/Migration $17.99 2CD

Projekt release: September 22 2023

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Reviews

  1. Reviews Editor

    From Rockerilla
    Although for the writer Forrest Fang is among the most brilliant ambient musicians of his generation (to be found, if you don’t already have it, and his masterpiece, Folklore, published by Cuneiform in 1995) the American musician’s new album is printed in a circulation of just 300 copies. Fang continues to mix acoustic and electronic sounds in drones that captivate from the first listen. Despite changing times, the five long tracks on The Oort Cloud Meditations were designed to fill the 74-minute running time of a compact disc. Stellar ambient with lunar gravity to listen to all night in INFINITE REPEAT. -Roberto Mandolini

    Original Italian:
    Nonostante per chi scrive Forrest Fang sia tra i musicisti ambient più brillanti della sua generazione (da recuperare, se non l’avete già, e il suo capolavoro, Folklore, pubblicato dalla Cuneiform del 1995) il nuovo album del musicista americano viene stampato in una tiratura di appena 300 copie. Fang continua a mescolare suoni acustici ed elettronici in drone che rapiscono fin dal primo ascolto. Nonostante i tempi che cambiano, le cinque lunghe tracce in scaletta su The Oort Cloud Meditations sono state pensate per riempire i 74 minuti di durata di un compact disc. Ambient stellare a gravita lunare, da ascoltare tutta la notte in INFINITE REPEAT. -Roberto Mandolini

  2. Reviews Editor

    From Synth & Sequences

    “Celestial and cosmic Dark Ambient that should appeal to fans of the genre”

    Meditating on the Oort cloud! The Oort cloud is a vast spherical shell of ice that is thought to reside at the periphery of our solar system. According to the hypothesis of Dutch astronomer Jan Oort, the cloud contains billions of cometary nuclei, stable because solar radiation is so weak at this distance. Nothing in this cloud has yet been seen, but it could contain icy objects, including comets that have approached the sun. It would provide a continual supply of new comets, replacing those that are destroyed. It is around this cloud that Forrest Fang has decided to build his new album. It’s a far cry from the ambient tribal style to which the Chinese-American musician has been accustomed us for the past couple of years. In fact, Fang returns to the Dark Ambient movements known from his 2011 album Unbound, produced in collaboration with Sans Serif (Projekt PRO257).

    It’s a warm breeze that opens up the dimensions of Planetary Hum. This breeze becomes a buzzing shadow whose linear movement is like a star’s journey through the cosmos. The movement propels itself from its implosions, rather like the straight-line journey of a giant squid moving at the speed of a sloth on valium. The sound is very dark. It rustles of those fiery jets that surround its envelope and give it those iridescent effects, at times accentuating the quiet power of its sonic reach. Close your eyes and you feel like this celestial body drawn into the Oort cloud. So is Planetary Hum, so will be the other 4 structures of The Oort Cloud Meditations, with a few nuances near. Forrest Fang introduces shimmers that flirt with that icy effect when the sun bounces the arcs of ice floes into the cosmos. Diaphanes is a long track where this aspect scrapes the buzzing noise of its sound mass hurtling towards infinity. If you listen carefully, you can hear nuances of voice and orchestration that give a warmer texture to this track, whose first part is a veritable slide between the ramparts of the void. The second part is less violent, giving us the sensation of floating between two spheres where the celestial aspect rubs shoulders with the ebony black we might imagine depicting solitude in space. In addition to these horizons of cosmic and tenebrous atmospheric music, what is surprising as we discover the dimensions of Fang’s new opus is the absence of acoustic instruments, it would seem that there is some Gong dust among the particles of sound, which made the charms of his ambient tribal style. Here, all the journeys to the Oort cloud are conceived on synthesizers, joining at times the timbres of Michael Stearns and Max Corbacho, a reference in cosmic ambient music without rhythmic impulses.

    The ambiences are more nebulous in The Lighthouse, where the mix of translucence and opacity is dancing a fascinating slow waltz over tenebrous orchestrations. Although layers of crackling are humming in the background, these ambiences are surprisingly more musical here with slow arabesques that melt into smoky half-moons amid bursts that attempt to form a distant melodic link. A bit like a ballerina whose grace evaporates in artificial snow. The further you get into The Oort Cloud Meditations, the more the ambiences become sources of music, defined by the axes of seraphic melodies. This is the path taken by Distant Signals, of which the introduction’s heavy drones glide along with more iridescent particles. The drones have this hollow texture where filaments of astral voices attempt a mutation for a more chthonian depth in this atone choreography propelled by its roaring implosions. Within this movement, gleams of inert matter shimmer with the same discretion as the aerial voices. This creates a vague, elusive melody that wails through an alloy of sonorous metal, no doubt meditative percussions, and those long, one-dimensional impulses of reverberating drone effects. Solus concludes this symphony of dark cosmic ambiences with a rhythmless texture akin to the previous 4, except for the metallic blue envelope that crumbles its particles all around the moving drones. We may be in the Cosmos, but the stringy orchestrations have a soluble metal texture that adds a sibylline presence to the music. This presence is more noticeable here than elsewhere in the dimensions of The Oort Cloud Meditations, an intense album from Forrest Fang that should certainly appeal to fans of Dark Ambient with a cosmic, celestial flavor. -Sylvain Lupari (September 26th, 2023) Rating: 4/5

  3. Reviews Editor

    From Avant Music News

    The Oort Cloud is a hypothetical region of space believed to be the home of chunks of rock and ice at a distance of some thousands of astronomical units from the sun. None of our extra-solar probes, such as Voyager I, will reach the Oort Cloud with enough power to confirm (or deny) its existence.

    Unlike long-time ambient / electronic artist Forrest Fang’s recent releases, on The Oort Cloud Meditations he eschews acoustic instrumentation for long, slow-moving drones. This allows Fang to delve into uncharted territories of pure sound manipulation that are perhaps analogous to this uncharted part of the universe.

    The album’s five pieces are gentle and for the most part brightly toned, though a sense of disquiet lurks around the edges. There is little in the way of melody, harmony, or rhythm, and instead Fang generates a majestic space-orientated theme of wonder and isolation. In doing so, he immerses listeners into a boundless realm, where the passage of time feels irrelevant. Each track unfolds like a cosmic voyage, guiding us through serene expanses of textures that oscillate with tranquility and placid fascination.

    The striking yet peaceful feel of The Oort Cloud Meditations lingers long after the final notes have faded into the endless void. -Mike

  4. reviews editor

    A review from Exposé

    Dutch astronomer Jan Oort proposed that at the outer edges of the solar system, beyond Neptune and the Transneptunian planets, well beyond the Kuiper Belt, that there existed two regions of frozen celestial objects, the nearer disc shaped region almost aligned with the solar ecliptic plane, and an outer spherical region that defines the cosmographic boundary of the solar system. Although neither of these have ever been seen or proven to exist, it is believed to be the source of comets — short-period comets from the nearer Oort disc, and long period comets falling in from the outer spherical Oort Cloud. This provided the inspiration for Forrest Fang’s latest release, The Oort Cloud Meditations; whether it exists as such or not is immaterial, the concept provides a strong basis for the music at hand. Most of Fang’s music to date has been a rich hybrid of electronic and acoustic instrumentation, synthesizers of all types mixing freely with exotic instruments from around the world in a heady stew of amazing sounds. The five tracks here stick mainly to an electronic recipe — synthesizers and samples feeding tone and textural changes at a glacial pace, much like the cold, dark worlds that are supposed to exist in the Oort Cloud, sometimes a mix of pure ambient free-floating sounds hovering at the edges of darkness, cycling across the rough fabric of space in its farthest reaches, along with shimmering harmonies that evolve as each piece unfolds. Titles like “Diaphenes,” “Planetary Hum,” and “Distant Signals” go far to convey the feeling of floating through cold empty space, like an ever-expanding dreamscape so far from the light of the sun that one might never find the way back. With each piece ranging from around ten to eighteen minutes, there is plenty of time for a listener to immerse themselves into the worlds of Fang’s meditations, perhaps falling even deeper into interstellar space. “The Lighthouse” is of particular interest as it seems to use some heavily processed (beyond recognition) overlapping violin sounds as its source, with some faint shadowy percussive elements out on its far fringes. And then again, it could just be my imagination playing tricks on me, like the faint voices I think I hear buried in the mysterious synth textures on the closing track “Solus.” The Oort Cloud Meditations is another masterful soundtrack from Forrest Fang.

  5. reviews editor

    A review from Stars End
    Calling forth yet another reality in need of testing Forrest Fang has realized The Oort Cloud Meditations (69’29”). Any compositional motion in this music comes, not from the notes on the staff, but by subtle shifts in timbre – leaving listeners to go everywhere the richness of sound may take them. Off on a wander charting our inner realm we encounter an incomparable sense of possibility. Seeking newness and otherness Fang’s five meditative exercises in fragility will be found captivating and challenging in equal measure. With no specific or known point in the rhythm – like a continual and electric sensation – one must listen to each entire piece to realize that, even as they change the totality of these electronic arrangements are constant. With all the suggestions of scale removed we are lifted into free, infinite space. The atmosphere of expectancy enlarges, distending under pressure from within, then rests amidst ethereal resonances beneath a tenuous stability. The placid mood breathes and lightens, while the ringing and humming of Fang’s coalescing drones interact with themselves. In this liminal aural realm the mind must give meaning to the music – making connections that cannot be traced in the lab. The Oort Cloud Meditations is a pure experience. Throughout the moody flow of flaring, fading textures and interplanetary ambiance, notes and tones progress in slow motion flight along quietly curving contours – such a subliminal, minimal response to the unknown wants of the cosmos. -Chuck van Zyl

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