John Shanahan @ Hypnagogue - The Past Is Another Country
The sonic landscape of The Past Is Another Country spends much of its time dwelling in shadowy darkness, but slowly and by its final track meanders out toward, but not entirely into, the light. Steve Roberts, recording as Amongst Myselves, invites listeners to take an “inward focussed journey to explore your darkest thoughts and fears.” But it’s not as dark as all that. Not by dark ambient standards, at least. Yet what it might lack in pure darkness it more than makes up for in shadow-carved layers of sound, processed field recordings, and a superb sense of being out there quite alone. Roberts opens the proceedings with the title track, which comes off as a fairly straightforward bit of ambient built out of gently oscillating waveforms. Then he flips a switch and off we go into places a bit less pleasant. “Dark Places, Winter Shadows” is a haunted thing with quiet windy backdrops, a persistent cadence meted out by one grim bass note that lands over and over, and vocal snippets of voices—some of children, some of an adult male voice, neither distinct. It feels like isolationist ambient but without the typical grinding weight. It’s more atmospheric, and effectively so, pulling a true sense of unease out of an uncomplicated construct. Drones take the forefront on “He Who Bathes in the Black Sun” and build into a thick, mesmerizing wall that then slowly fades to mist. “Cave of the Swimmers” plays in experimental ground, spiraling together field recordings, squibs of electronic sound, and a sparse, lonely feel. Roberts is not afraid of silence of the pause, and doesn’t feel the need to over-pack his sonic space. At this point, Roberts turns us back toward the light. The timing is excellent, and bright guitar notes in “The Day the Crickets Listened” are the perfect vehicle. After almost half an hour of feeling mildly creepy and a bit lost in the mist, the solid tones of the strings guide us out and up. Nice harmonies at play here between the guitar and the pads, and he stirs in some textures from more small electronic sounds. The feel continues through the final two tracks, “Campfires of the Night Sky” and “In My Depths, All Treasures Dwell.” Roberts eases us back toward a soft ambient space filled with pads and textural touches that play in the ears, and in doing so pulls the end of the release in line with its beginning—which of course means it loops very nicely.
The Past is Another Country is the third Amongst Myselves release I’ve reviewed and it is, hands-down, my favorite. Past efforts have always contained some small, probably picky thing that takes me out of the flow; that never happens here. The album contains no bumps, no jarring moments, no twists that merit a “huh?” It tells its story, it keeps me immersed and moving forward, it makes me want to hear it again. This is very much a headphone listen. You need to take in Roberts’ detail work to truly appreciate what he’s so carefully placing into your head and how he’s eliciting deep and often visceral responses from you. A great piece of work.
Peter Van Cooten - The Past Is Another Country
Amongst Myselves (Steve Roberts), has dedicated his work to all the classic ambient artists that inspired him since he first heard the works of groups like Tangerine Dream (at the time of “Atem” and “Alpha Centauri”).
His seventh full album release is dedicated to the work of Conrad Schnitzler.
Despite all references to the classic artists of ambient music, his music sounds far from ‘retro’. On the contrary, perhaps: “The Past Is Another Country” presents a great selection of dark soundscapes – “a new direction in composition which leaves more melodic pieces behind and explores more experimental landscapes.”
Jerry Kranitz - The Past Is Another Country
Amongst Myselves is the solo project of Australian composer and musician Steve Roberts and The Past Is Another Country is his 7th album since 1999.
This is Space-Ambient music that requires attentive listening to fully absorb, yet at the same time has a subliminal quality that performs mind massage while planting imagery in the listener’s brain. In my case this ranged from lone man in the bowels of the spacecraft scenes to darkly atmospheric drifting through pitch black space. If it’s true that in space no one can hear you scream, then the lightly symphonic rumbling drones and slowly sweeping soundscape waves certainly paint a sonic portrait of what the experience of being there might be like. The music can also be peacefully majestic and uplifting, like an angelic drift toward the event horizon of a black hole. Who could imagine that the point of no return could be so blissful? Dark Places, Winter Shadowsis one of my favorite tracks. It retains the deep space character of the album while incorporating phantasmal voices, ghostly harmonies, the sounds of nature, a needle spinning around the end of an LP side, and dark orchestral drama, as if we were traversing across multiple dimensions that intertwine with the living and spectral worlds. Cave Of The Swimmers goes in a slightly different direction and is one of the most quietly understated pieces, suggesting cosmic drama in some alien environment where the ambience provides the underlying drive for a succession of singular pulsations, waves, rushing wind, and percussive clatter. The Day The Crickets Listenedsurprised me by getting downright musical, with guitar plucking and strumming a pleasant melody surrounded by bubbling space symphonics, drones and soundscapes to create a kind of Ambient Space-Prog excursion.
I noticed in the promo sheet that Roberts’ intention with this album is to focus on experimental landscapes and leave the more melodic pieces behind, and indeed that is largely what the music on The Past Is Another Country is about. In short, headphones and surrender are the way to experience and enjoy this 60 minutes of Space-Ambient bliss.
Chuck van Zyl - The Past Is Another Country
Music can break every rule and still produce an emotional effect. Steve Roberts records as Amongst Myselves and understands this fact and, in showing his depth, has since 2001 released several noted albums of mystical minimal soundscapes. The Past is Another Country (59'16") is yet another in a line of innovative, slow burning Ambient works. To Roberts' credit he has come up with a new way to share stories - and his music may possibly reconstruct consciousness itself. Solitary and lost The Past is Another Country progresses in a dreamlike haze. Recordings of a natural wilderness environment mingle with synthesizer pads, guitar strumming and detailed electronic manipulations as Roberts expands the far-flung reaches of his music once again. The seven tracks begin in a strangely dark zone where crumbling tones and fluttering metallics outfit a surreal soundspace with a desperate frigid imagery. Beyond this rupture in reality this album fills out with a fascinating array of timbres and atmospheres, states and airs. Representing different landscapes, signs and seasons each piece makes an exploration of a unique mood. As cold and slow gives way to warm and suppleThe Past is Another Country moves the listener through wonderfully earthen nightscenes both inviting and foreboding. An incoming tide of drones covers us with lulling harmonics while in the evening sky above constellations of comforting sounds drift and slowly swirl in the afterglow of creation. Should the music of Amongst Myselves be considered experimental? - Absolutely, but with an emphasis on the "mental".
Sylvain Lupari - The Past Is Another Country
Long and slender synth lines, to the colors of melancholy, are floating and caressing waves which, sometimes, let hear a subtle sibylline singing. Profoundly meditative, "The Past is Another Country" transcends the borders of the dark ambient music with a very esoteric approach tinted by some fine dramatic nuances which isolates the listener in his thoughts. There are airs of Michael Stearns and Juta Takahashi on this title-track where the brightness illuminates the shadows with a delicate meshing of idle lines which seem to suffer as much that they seem to sing in an intense contemplative shroud. An envelope where the white is nibbled at its purity by fangs all black and which encircles our somber feelings up until the singings of discreet birds, meaning frankly that the past is actually another country.
Amongst Myselves is an interesting musical project of Steve Robert who is undoubtedly going to please those who love black and meditative ambient music, well for this one in any case. With 7 albums to his credit, albums a little bit closer of the celestial airs, the Australian synthesist takes another step by abandoning his usual style, which flirted with a more New Age kind, to switch for a more Dark Ambient music. And “The Past is Another Country” reaches this height of a dark music where Amongst Myselves doesn't deny entirely his rustic roots by flooding his structures of elements of an Australian nature which floods our ears of an absolute charm. Moreover this very last album presents the bound of this transition by mixing darker and serene vibes, even rather black, with sound effects where the sweetness of the nature crosses the sourness of the insanity. The chirping of birds may cheer up our ears that "Dark place, Winter Shadows" plunges, in spite of the soft caresses of a nature always charming, into gaps blacks. The surrounding noises establish a climate of worry, even of fright, with dark winds which hoot the distress. It's a little as when that Frodon Sacquet, and his good friend Sam, left the prosperous countered to enter into the lands of Mordor. There are growls which speak and reign over a fauna to thousand whispers. It's very enveloping as it's enigmatic but also very fascinating, like on the moods a little more musical over "The Day the Crickets Listened" where a timid guitar sings the romance to some very twisted reverberations. As darker as "Dark place, Winter Shadows", "He Who Bathes in the Black Sun" is clearly less threatening. Except for brief period, toward the end, with a mass of translucent lines from which we distinguish vaguely the singings of breezes. "Cave of the Swimmers" leads us to another level of intensity with synth lines to the colors of silver shouts which squeak over an indefinable nature. We perceive some unclear riffs of guitar and resonant chords trying a rhythmic breakthrough but the absolute void is swallowing "Cave of the Swimmers" into an ambiospherical and ambiosonic pattern which depicts quite well this tortuous glaucous universe of “The Past is Another Country”. "Campfires of the Night Sky" is undoubtedly the softest moment on this rather dark album with beautiful synth lines, to the colors of the romantic dreams, which float in an approach as poetic as ethereal. It's a good moment which catches up the lyrical bases of the title-track, while the very somber and penetrating "In My Depths, All Treasures Dwell" reveals a captivating symphony of hollow winds of which the somber atmospheres, fed by a thick cloud of sound drones, are titillated by scattered ringings of bells. These winds, at times tinted of refulgence, flood the ambiences of an album which sounds with fascination like some purely electronic ambient folk. Very immersive! And the fans of black ambiences will be extremely charmed.
Bert Strolenberg - The Past Is Another Country
Compared to the previous releases of Amongst Myselves, the 59-minutes of ambient music contained on "The Past is Another Country"offers the next level into further abstract/experimental and overtly dark ambient spaces journeying inward.
The seven organic-spiced, contrasting electronic and natural ambient/drone compositions carve through the hinterlands of a deep and mysterious world with slow morphing effort, finding its peak on the weird and uncanny "Cave of the Swimmers". In comparison, the opening (title) track sounds plain light, positive and accessible, which also goes for "Campfires of the Night Sky" where Mr Roberts merges lush soundscapes with treated e-guitar licks very nicely. The final track "In my depths, all treasure dwells" puts an end to an album that focused on the dark side of life with an impenetrable but drifting drone tapestry and treated e-guitar morphing onward.
As such, the biggest part of "The Past is Another Country" is not for the faint of heart, but recommended if one likes to dwell in and inhale the breath of shadowed caverns of netherworlds beyond.
Morpheus Mall - Ambient, Landscape and Space
Ambient landscape and space music. As the title suggests, this album explores broad panoramic audio vistas both earthbound and bound for the infinite. There are vast landscapes where wide open skies stretch forever and ever-changing cloud patterns twist and flow over lonely horizons; there are immense galactic expanses of dense darkness and evolving, colourful nebulae. Amongst Myselves delivers an absorbing package that constantly changes character: one moment the music meanders with sighing pads and slowly heaving drones - smooth and open; then it is dense, dark, faintly percolating with synthetic twinkles and punctuating bird calls; then the drones take on a multi-layered celestial spacey tone - a contrasting tribal beat of sonorous electronic drumming reverberating among the stars; technical computer sounds and electronic chatter; disturbing zones of peculiar tension and unsettling shadow. Never settling for long into a particular mood - this is an ambitious release that boldly transports the listener from light to dark and from warmth to lonely cold.
In Depth -
For this album Steve Roberts is joined by with Bernard Haseloff on guitar synth and Garry Roberts on electronic percussion. The sound is accordingly colourful and varied: Shoreline Fading fills over a minute with the sibilance of waves breaking upon a shore; Interstellar Message is a fifty one second stream of flickering blips and bright bleeps upon a mechanical bed of noise; at almost ten and a half minutes, Up Into The Air And Over The Edge (Between The Trees And Clouds Mix) opens with a sonic stream consciously reminiscent of air movement and proceeds to fly the listener through harmonious cloud banks and brooding atmospheric regions. The darkest passage on the album ventures into a cold place of alien sound forms and abrasive textures - a punchy beat stabs then thuds for a while before being shredded apart by distorted bell tone and squealing noise. Possibly evocative of dank subterranean caverns but equally suggestive of wet night air and exposed insecurity. Rain and thunder, whistling winds and the clank of untuned bells forms the main fabric of Interlude - The Dark And Cold; strange disturbances and disturbing strangeness eventually displacing the elements. There passages of more structured music, where guitar textures lazily waft or electro-beats clatter in time with ponderous bass lines - a fresh terrain at every turn.
Ambient, Landscape and Space is presented in a double disc jewel case with a folded insert of three panels. The front panel contains no text - just a section of a time-lapse rotating light image that spreads across all three outer sections. Titles are neatly confined to the transparent spine of the case. When opened out, brief creation, mastering and contact details are found on the central section. Flipping the insert a second, soft focus version of the light rings form a backdrop to a series of small performance photographs on the right. To the left performance credits list the gear employed by each of the contributing musicians. Track titles are on the back cover.>
Steve Roberts' Amongst Myselves project here delivers a self-released twin package of DVD (with audio in both stereo and 5.1 surround) and Audio CD. The DVD holds a morphing visual presentation of attractive time-lapse movie footage; grainy black and white statuary; vividly lit performance recordings; moving viewpoint oil painting imagery and 3D graphics. Roberts gathered the material over a four year period collaborating with artist Bernard Haseloff to create a seamless visual accompaniment to Amongst Myselves audio. There are three new compositions here as well as remixes of older tracks, all strung together into a single listening experience. If you visit the Amongst Myselves website you can explore the music and experience a taster of the kind of visual material found on the DVD.>
Artists Thoughts -
Steve designed and built the computer controlled camera used in the videoing of Syene and Tales. It's also used for some of the timelapse footage. Description of moods created by Amongst Myselves: quasi melodic landscapes to convey you from the cold abyss of outer space to the distorted recollections of your inner world. Origin of Artist's Name: Track title from Future Sound of London’s “Lifeforms” CD.
Morpheus Mall - http://www.electronicmusicmall.com/Html/reviews100.htm#amongst
Bert Strolenberg - Sonic Immersion - Ambient, Landscape and Space
Ambient, Landscape and Space
CD-R/DVD-R, Private Release, 2012
"Ambient, Landscape and Space" is an cd/dvd package offering a collection of visuals and performances alongside music of Amongst Myselves (aka Steve Roberts), all made and assembled over a period of four years.
The atmospheric music is performed by Steve Roberts is accompanied by Bernard Haseloff on guitar synth and Garry Roberts on electronic percussion. It contains remixes of tracks from previous Amongst Myselves releases as well as three unreleased tracks showing other sides of Amongst Myselves' music.
The sonic excursions of Amongst Myselves have always travelled into the deep, rather extreme end, with occasional abstract and experimental turns and twists (e.g. "Argo Navis" or "The Dark and Cold"), making it at times quite hard to follow or digest. Mr Roberts ambient atmospheric sketches can also be comfortably reflective (opener "Greybox Shadow"), venturing into grand symphonic sketches ("Ship of Dreams") or being groovy and almost jolly ("Tales").
The visuals on the dvd feature beautiful time-lapse cinematography of scenes of the natural world sped up ("revealing the hidden world that the normal pace of life doesn't see") next to nice footage of unsettling oil paintings by Bernard Haseloff. The audio on the dvd comes in both stereo and 5.1 surround.
I imagine "Ambient, Landscape and Space" will mostly please the experienced and open-minded ambient music fan.
© Bert Strolenberg - www.sonicimmersion.org
Richard Gurtler - Fan Review - Ambient, Landscape and Space
Amongst Myselves "Ambient, Landscape And Space" CDr/DVDr
It's always very interesting and challenging to see an ambient artist who pays attention also to the visual part of his compositions. But a CD/DVDr combined release is nothing new for Australian Steve Roberts, the protagonist of Amongst Myselves. Back in 2007 he has released his album "Auburn Silhouette" with bonus DVDr featuring 3 short films. Now he returns again with this format, only pressed CD is this time replaced by a CDr, but again nicely packaged in standard 2CD jewel case with printed 6-panel front cover. The album, released at the beginning of March 2012 through Steve Roberts' own Amongst Projects label, consists of 12 tracks, 9 of them are remixes of previously released pieces plus 3 unreleased. Even is solo project, Steve Roberts is joined on this album by Bernard Haseloff on guitar synth and Garry Roberts on electronic percussion.
The journey opens with "Greybox Shadow (Into The Light Mix)", serenely washing organic ambience, here and there spiced by drums or electric guitar as well as by some gracefully floating celestial choir-like sounds.
A very tranquil and relaxing intro! "Bay Of Dreams (Through The Memories Mix)" merges all kinds of environmental recordings (bird calls, child's voices, everyday's rumlings...) with smoothly drifting soundscapes, various buzzing and tinkling sounds and heavenly choirs. Richly colorful and enchanting piece of organic ambience! Recordings of ocean waves lead "Shoreline Fading", a short, transitional piece.
"Argo Navis (Blinded Mix)" opens with buzzing effects, then the texture gets more richer, mysteriously droning on the back, with melodramatic expressions on the fore, although the piece remains rather minimal, but still quite effective and evocative.
"Southern Lights (Black Hole Mix)" invade the journey with deeper, aerial drones enhanced here and there by high-tech effects, distant choir-like sounds. The texture keeps on expanding until it changes like chamaeleon into rhythm-infused, tribal adventure colored by few catchy sounds of birds. A very nicely bridged serenely gliding cloudscapes with stirring allegros.
"Interstellar Message" is the next filler, sculpted with cybernetic experiments. "Ship Of Dreams (The Journey Continues Mix)" is invaded by crystalline tinkling and buzzing sounds, interplaying with the moments of silence. The piece keeps on cascading until it reaches fully orchestrated and cinematic feel leaded my marching rhythms.
"Syene (A New World Mix)" holds its soundtracking mood, based on slightly distorted lazy, Mediterranean melody, with ocassional voices and shoutings appearing on the back. very unique composition within ambient genre!!!
"Demon Haunted World - Somnium" fits precisely its title, organic drifts are joined by sharper industrial rumblings, distorted grooves, alienating sounds and children's cryings.
Another really strange, nearly cacophonic piece!!! "Interlude - The Dark And Cold" is painted by rainy, thunder and windy sounds as well as by assorted sonic experiments, rumblings and creakings, and strange voices. "Up Into The Air And Over The Edge (Between The Trees And Clouds Mix)" starts with arctic, windy atmospheres, slowly elevating into more massive and immersing level, enriched by expressively tender strings and fragilely tinkling bells, to capture a beautifully picturesque experience!!!
The album reaches its finale with "Tales (It's Been A Good Trip Mix)", a truly ear-catching, melodic piece with its euphoric rhythms and atmospheres, infectiously blending synths, guitar and drums. Absolutely stunning closer, the name of the mix fits perfectly!!! Hats off to these Aussies for their highly distinctive, unique and courageous approach, when combining elements of various styles into richly sculpted and enormously diverse recording!!! And I am awarding this work with extra points also for audiophile sound quality.
I would like to pen few words also on the visual content. According to the infos, the visual pieces on the DVDr were created by Amongst Myselves' leader, Steve Roberts and visual artist, musician Bernard Haseloff. Loaded with 75 minutes of visuals, mostly based on time-lapse technique used by Steve Roberts and supported by oil paintings by Bernard Haseloff. Some pieces are leaded by time-lapse sceneries, presenting spectacularly beautiful, vast Australian landscapes, but also scenes from Egypt or Paris for example can be seen, some visuals are drifting into deeper space, some capture shadowy nocturnal beauty, while some others feature manipulated images. Few spooky paintings enter the show as well. The more rhythmed parts feature also some live performance footage. There are also polyhedra and rudimentary 3D graphics, created by Steve Roberts, and appearing on "Tales" track, on the first version interacting with live performance footage and time-lapse technique, while on the later version the 3D graphic take the dominating role, with time-lapse landscapes, but without live footage this time. I must say the visuals magnificently portray the music, a very nice work, guys!!!
"Ambient, Landscape And Space" is an all-inclusive audio/video package, explore it and be transported to many different adventurous places, a must have!!!
Richard Gürtler (Apr 10, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)
Carlton Crutcher - Aural Innovations - Ambient, Landscape and Space
Amongst Myselves – “Ambient, Landscape and Space” (self-released 2012)
(May 15, 2012 Aural Innovations)
From Australia, the music on Ambient, Landscape and Space is performed by Steve Roberts on guitar, bass and synth, with Bernard Haselhoff on guitar synth and Garry Roberts on electronic percussion. This release contains remixes of tracks from previous Amongst Myselves releases as well as 3 unreleased tracks showing other sides of Amongst Myselves’ music.
GREYBOX SHADOW (INTO THE LIGHT MIX): Opens with birds and ghostly sounds…gets progressively louder…some nice drones, then one big beat!…gets better and better, true ambient space!! Some nice Bernard Haselhoff guitar synth!!
BAY OF DREAMS (THROUGH THE MEMORIES MIX): A more contemplative feel on this one! Meditation music to float thru inner space!! Beautiful, ethereal…these guys have probably been doing this kind of stuff for 35 years in various projects.
SHORELINE FADING: Starts with waves crashing…very short, just the sounds.
ARGO NAVIS (BLINDED MIX): Cicadas? or a synth version!? Keyboard melody with some burblin’ drones…synth swooshes…very similar to the David Bowie Low ambient, instrumental pieces that were done with Brian Eno.
SOUTHERN LIGHTS (BLACK HOLE MIX): Yes, let’s drone into the black hole. Then comes the big doumbek drum by Garry Roberts (Steve’s brother?). Bringing the earth together with space…yes, that’s us here!! For an experimental album this is also very slick and commercial without the compromise…big wall of sound with the driving drumbeat! Then goes into ethereal drone space.
INTERSTELLAR MESSAGE: Some Morse code intro then some Prog-like keys…a short one.
SHIP OF DREAMS (THE JOURNEY CONTINUES MIX): More loveliness, my wife says she “Loves it”…big military drum beat with soaring keys…probably can’t compare this to anything!?! Maybe a cross between 70′s Prog-rock and Tangerine Dream!!?
SYENE (A NEW WORLD MIX): Rhis one is more Arabic, almost a Cure feel!! Pretty cool, just needs some Robert Smith vocals about how tormented and rich he is!!
DEMON HAUNTED WORLD-SOMNIUM: The spooky track, some kinda female vocal?…effected out doumbek…and the haunted house slips off the side of a mountain into demon world out-thereness!!
INTERLUDE-THE DARK AND COLD: Then the rain and thunder, sounds like field recordings!…gets weirder and weirder…really sounds like a different band from the earlier tracks! Tripped out female(?) vocals by the mystery singer!!
UP INTO THE AIR AND OVER THE EDGE (BETWEEN THE TREES AND CLOUDS MIX): More soaring beauty! What to say? This is what New Age music should have been, music with artistic and spiritual integrity!! Not just a product for people who don’t know better!!!
TALES (IT’S BEEN A GOOD TRIP MIX): Now the big Night Club Disco hit! Big bass and drum machine…again, different than any previous track!!
The CD also comes with a DVD of visual pieces, along with the music, that were created by Steve Roberts and visual artist Bernard Haselhoff. “With his experience in time-lapse cinematography, Steve Roberts has created several of the tracks using his custom computer controlled hardware and DSLR cameras. Time-lapse footage goes hand in hand with his form of ambient music and adds to the serenity when appropriate, while Bernard’s use of his unsettling oil paintings brings an added depth to Amongst Myselves’ darker moments.”. A little Stonehenge, old photographs! Uber psychedelic! Some real artsy stuff, like you are looking from inside a snow globe!! Oh, there is some footage of the guys playing!! Nice to see some guys my age still kicking ass!! Some really cool early 70′s-ish acid art/paintings…some really excellent camera work on a lot of this!! Reminds me of the movie Koyaanisqatsi!! It’s hard to imagine why these guys aren’t doing this kinda filmwork for some big money!??! Maybe it’s the major label’s/big studio’s agenda to make “No” art!?!?
For more info, visit: http://www.amongstmyselves.com Reviewed by Carlton Crutcher
Original review posted at Aural Innovations
hypnagogue.net - john shanahan - Ambient, Landscape and Space
Ambient, Landscape and Space
May 1, 2012
For his new release, Amongst Myselves (aka Steve Roberts) pulls some older tracks off the shelf to remix, along with three new tracks, to go with a DVD of his time-lapse-based visual art. The result, musically, is a mixed yet quite acceptable bag of styles that bring the listener through various spaces. Aided by Bernard Hasseloff on guitar synth and Garry Roberts on electronic percussion, Amongst Myselves keeps his creations mostly on the spacier side of things, with a couple of forays into dark zones. (Like the effectively creepy and aptly titled “Interlude – The Dark and The Cold.”) “Greybox Shadow (Into the Light Mix)” kicks the disc off with bass-heavy space-tones–a very classic sound that represents Roberts’ stronger side here. “Argo Navis (Blinded Mix)” does a great job of straddling the border between smooth ambient and interesting experimental. A buzz carves its way through rising ambient waves as wayward, warbling notes mark the passage. The roughness of the buzz, and its persistent presence, makes a nice counterpoint. I also like the heavy tribal drive at play in “Southern Lights (Black Hole Mix)” and way Roberts pairs it off against cavernous, shadow-shrouded drones. A very nice 10-minute ride that’s as effective when the percussion is pounding as it is when it widens out and sets the listener loose. Speaking of drifts, Roberts is at his best here on the long, quiet washes of “Up Into the Air and Over the Edge (Between the Trees and Clouds Mix),” which starts out with soft rushes of cool wind that nudge along a patient melody. It’s quieting and reflective and simply slows things down as it passes. Take out the 51 seconds of “Interstellar Message,” which has done nothing but drill unpleasantly into my skull any time it comes on, and Ambient, Landscape and Space makes for another pleasing sonic ride from Amongst Myselves.
Albert Pollard - Aural Innovations - Fragments
Amongst Myselves - "Fragments"
(Amongst Projects 2010, SG-15)
From Aural Innovations #42 (May 2011)
Fragments is, in the creators eyes, a remix of his previous three albums. Still Life. Sacred Black and Autumn Silhouette, which he likens to KLF's Chillout, of which he is a big fan. Well, having never heard any of the albums, nor KLF's, I'll plough straight in.
It flows very much in the sound creation vein, mellow and minimal, with a focus on the electronic meditation aspect. At times it is almost none music, focusing more on subtleties of sound rather than notes, as I think it should be, if the journey into the mind is the desired destination, which it obviously is. It is a definite headphone album.
If I were to liken it to anything I would say that it is very similar to some of the material coming from the Black Xote label. Kyron in particular springs to mind as the sound and structure on Fragments is similar to his early albums, but there are also many similarities to many other artists out there, ranging from Tangerine Dream, Klaus Shulze, and Steve Roach through to Graffiti 61 and Kyron. All of which have that hypnotic aspect, very minimal and repetitive throughout.
The sound is crisp and the production is excellent. Every detail of sound can be heard with clarity and vigor. Excellent focus for the journey deep into the frequencies of light, as it was!
Reviewed by Albert Pollard
Serge Kozlovsky - sergekozlovsky.com - Fragments
It seems to me
In whispers of dark skies
The world is an illusion
These are not the soothing tunes only for background. The album “Fragments” by Amongst Myselves is a fanciful and bold experiment in the field of ambient music.
At first glance it seems to be simple, but when you listen to “Fragments” more and more you discover the complexity and originality of this music. It is penetrated by various enigmatic noises and nature sounds. In general, “Fragments” is filled with subtle sound nuances.
Steve Roberts aka Amongst Myselves carries you into endless space which allures you deeper and deeper. And you have a chance to be completely lost in it for a while. But the space which is created by Steve Roberts isn’t empty. It is full of life and activity.
This album has a clearness of musical language. The compositions of “Fragments” bring inspiration and they have an influence on the listener to start his own journey from the chaos to inner harmonization.
“Fragments” needs to be listened to very attentively and, then, it will unfold all its beauty before you. Steve Roberts created a very unique work which is not for one-time listening.
Serge Kozlovsky http://sergekozlovsky.com
Chuck Van Zyl - Star's End - Fragments
"Fragments" by Amongst Myselves
After three CDs worth of impressionistic sonic vignettes, Amongst Myselves has realized Fragments (56'57"), an album which combines the sounds and forms from his earlier releases into a new and completely re-imagined dreamscape. Drawing from Still Life (2001), Sacred Black (2003) and Auburn Silhouette (2007) Steve Roberts fashions everything from the most minimal tone and field recording to guitar melodies, synth voices and deep drones from his three previous releases into a kind of Ambient re-mix album. These extractions are creatively edited then combined with other unrelated pre-existing elements and melded into original music. The results range from sustaining lines of sound and minimal electronic modulations to rich arrangements of considerable complexity. While proudly synthetic, Fragments (as all music by Amongst Myselves) offsets any hint of its machine origins with a consonant warmth corresponding with a more reflective human mood. Throughout it all beautiful environmental recordings rise and commingle with hymn-like harmonies. Fragments looks back and forward simultaneously. By collecting his earlier work into something new Roberts seems poised to embark on music projects that go beyond his past successes, and on to unexplored realms and deeper rewards.
Chuck Van Zyl - 10th October 2010
Bert Strolenberg - Sonic Immersion - Fragments
Amongst Myselves – Fragments
CD, Private Release, 2010
Previous to the release of “Fragments”, Steve Roberts aka Amongst Myselves did a good portion of experimentation with his synths, e-guitars and electronics between March 2008 and April 2010 with crossing over different elements from various tracks in order to create new pieces of music. Eventually, “Fragments” became the outcome, essentially being a remix of the music found on his former three releases, but now rearranged and moreover less recognisable due to the more ambient nature of the music, to which extensive field recordings were added. The nine tracks (presented as a continuous sonic canvas) on the minimal sounding “Fragments” often use just a single musical sound alongside a moody field recording. Altogether it evokes a moody chill-out listening space, a flowing and quieting sonic backdrop with dreamy and imaginary undercurrents to break away and let the mind linger for a while. When you take the time to dive into this quiet well of sound, which is overall based on structure, this expansive and constructed field recording might prove pleasantly satisfying and fulfilling.
Berrt Strolenberg www.sonicimmersion.org
Matt Howarth - Sonic Curiosity - Fragments
AMONGST MYSELVES: Fragments (CD on Amongst Projects)
This release from 2010 offers 57 minutes of introspective ambient music.
Amongst Myselves is Steve Roberts.
Ethereal textures waft on temperate breezes, establishing an aerial foundation of delicate tonalities. Additional tones are filtered into the sparse mix, creating fragile structures of sound just shy of minimal silence. The sort of silence that has just enough substance to go unnoticed but the artful puissance to slide into the listener's subconscious and affect the cerebral workings. These effects are extremely subtle, acting below the subject's cognitive level, tweaking synaptic connections and inducing a soothing calm that spreads throughout the body.
The electronics are very tenuous, crafted to remain generally unintrusive except on a psychological level. These tonalities are soft and gentle, pursuing harmonic waves of peaceful determination. Atmospheric and congenial, these tones are elongated to generate a near-infinity presence. Their embodiment undergoes rarefied changes, flowing through variations at an extremely gradual pace.
While electronics are the main instrument utilized in crafting these auralscapes, the discerning listener will hear environmental sounds (birdcall, etc.) hidden in the mix, flavoring the flow with terrestrial elements, grounding the music to an earthly mien. Other instruments include guitar, light strumming which introduces a human quality to the ambience. And percussions are present too, but used very minimally and with their beats suppressed to the point of sounding as if they come from very far away.
For one track, the music elevates beyond minimal ambience and adopts a melodic presence with twinkling keyboards and hints of processed strings.
These compositions are intended to induce introspection, and their meager definition allows them to slither through the environment, unseen and barely heard, delving into the psyche with amiable skill.
Matt Howarth - Sonic Curiosity
JOHN SHANAHAN - HYPNAGOGUE - Fragments
Amongst Myselves - Fragments
November 19, 2010
by John Shanahan
Steve Roberts, recording as Amongst Myselves, practices the art of recycling in his latest release, Fragments, and the outcome is definitely reusable. The concept is interesting: Roberts has been recording under a variety of guises for several years. For this CD he culled some old pieces and repurposed them–remixed, rethought, reworked, added field recordings–and created pieces that are new but with a ring of the old. (Roberts notes that much of the old work is “unrecognizable.”) Given the mix of source material, Fragments moves through a variety of identities, more often than not in mid-stream. The first two pieces, “Smell of the Sun” and “She Who Loves Silence,” are built around drone tones and atmospheric elements. (I quite like the hollow windchime sounds in the latter.) The shift comes in the last minutes of “She Who…” as Roberts brings in ringing guitar chords that vie with bassy notes for dominance. Much of Fragments is characterized by these types of turns in tone. “Field of Broken Mirrors” may surprise you as it goes from dark, droney wash to melodic guitar piece before Roberts twists it into something slightly experimental…with a modicum of success. “Clouds of Unknowing” turns more successfully a couple minutes in as pads give way to wobbly sequencer rhythms, both perched on top of a nice field recording of (I believe) the ocean.
Speaking of which, the field recordings on Fragments serve two purposes. First, obviously, they add depth and atmosphere to Roberts’ music–perhaps at their best in the crickets-and-thunder opening to “Town on the Hill.” More elegantly, however, he uses them as a bridge between pieces to create a continuous wholeness out of these fragments. The transitions are utterly smooth; your mind notices no discernible break as the sound and feeling of the track you’ve just heard fades slowly away and the new track begins to present itself. Overall, Fragments is consistently interesting, even if the shifts in tone don’t always entirely work as smoothly as one might like. In bringing his past forward to meet his present, Amongst Myselves has given himself a new direction he should definitely continue to follow into the future.
RJ lannan - The Sounding Board - Fragments
Fragments By Amongst Myselves
Label: Amongst Projects
But I Thought All the Pieces Fit
Ambient electronic music is not as strong in America as it is in Europe, but the genre persists and flourishes with each new discovery in computers and software technology. Case in point; Amongst Myselves new release Fragments. This kind of dark ambience is not for the light of heart, but cannot be dismissed as a contender for thought provoking sound that lends itself to self exploration and other journeys. Probably how the band name came into being, but that is just a guess on my part. The mastermind for this ambient landscape music is Australian composer Steve Roberts. His first introduction to electronic music was a science experiment which led him to be an audio engineer. Once the baseline of sound from circuits boards and DC current was established, he discovered Robert Rich, Vangelis and Tangerine Dream. Look them up youngsters. Now he is on the "A" list.
The latest album Fragments is literally, pieces from his previous ambient journeys laid out in a path that encompasses several genres of electronic music including dark ambient, electronic and space music with a nod towards the cinematic from time to time. His last album Auburn Silhouette gave insight into his thought processes with the addition of a several short vignettes that accompanied his music. The current release relies on the listener to create their own mental landscapes or can we call them mindscapes?
The most important thing about this music is that it makes you a better listener. There are so many nuances in every track that you are morally obliged to pay attention. The opening track Smell of the Sun has a curious pulsation. The continuous drone is a placebo. The real treat is the itinerant sound that pervades the piece. Usually music of this type is slow, but this song's mid tempo made my heart race just a bit. Then the introduction of ambient rasping made me listen attentively. You cannot smell the sun without consequences.
The computer made each track segue into the next so I went quickly into She Who Loves the Silence. The tune is warm and unassuming until about the middle where a very low bass line rattles your teeth and makes you wonder. Sometimes what we think of as silence can be very loud. Sometimes it is subliminal.
The trouble with walking though A Field of Broken Mirrors is that generally, you will only see yourself. The tune was very mild up to a point and then the drama became overwhelming. A gong pealed in the background, breaking more glass. Then every perception up to that point was shattered. Back to the beginning.
City of a Hundred Gates was my favorite on the recording. My natural curiously makes me relish any sort of new discovery and a city with a hundred gates just begs for mental exploration. The soothing, swirling music made me calm, but then the semblance of a storm on the horizon disturbed the flow.
On the final cut Haunted by the Ghosts of Sounds the chirping birds were deceptive. I was not fooled. There were gradations and nuances of every sound in a day. Wave upon wave of muted sounds reminded me that somewhere in the back of my mind was every memory of every sound I ever heard and some of them should have been expelled a long time ago. But sound, like all the other senses makes lasting impressions.
I have not heard a really good ambient album in quite a while. This is really good. I revisited my copy of Auburn Silhouette and found it just as intriguing. Amongst Myselves has an ability to allow the listener to plunge to the murky depths of their own minds and dredge up all the uncertainties that they have acquired over time. Finally, all those pieces fall into place.
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 12/17/2010
Richard Gurtler - Fan Review - Fragments
Amongst Myselves "Fragments" CD
Amongst Myselves aka Steve Roberts is another newcomer on my fave list, for long time unrecognized and mostly known for his appearance on "Chasing The Dawn: Ultima Thule Ambient Volume 01" CD compilation. Even if relatively unknown, "Fragments" is already 5th album of this Australian. "Smell Of The Sun" introduces the album more than effectively with its nice drifting and immersive ambience colored with few glitchy sonic adventures. Aerial "She Who Loves Silence" is again supported by various glitches and later also by catchy strings, very interesting I must say! Cicadas and bird sounds start "Morning In The Bowl Of Night", this gloomy piece is carried by cicadas through most of its length. "Field Of Broken Mirrors" is more experimental track with little touches of modern classical music in its first half, while the second part features again some strings. Fresh blend of modern classical elements with guitars and on-site recordings makes from "The Sunlit Tower" one of the highlights on "Fragments", amazing!!! Carried by ocean sounds, "Clouds Of Unknowing" is more minimalistic and dominated by field recordings, later melancholic guitars invade the track. Quietly drifting "City Of A Hundred Gates" and "Town On The Hill", mixture of storm, birds and ocean sounds and guitars, later shifted into pleasant synth washes, are another beauties on this album. "Haunted By The Ghost Of Sounds" flows beautifully from bird calls to ethereal sound waves, a trully captivating end. "Fragments" is a very personal, colorful, warm and naturally sounding work of one of the most underrated artists in ambient genre. It's highly recommended to explore the soundworlds of Amongst Myselves!!!
Richard Gürtler (Bratislava, Slovakia)
Paul - Morpheus Mall - Fragments
Amongst Myselves - Fragments
review by Paul - Morpheus Mall
- Ambient soundscapes and spacey expanses. Fragments plays as an unbroken fifty-seven minute whole wherein nine distinct sections segue seamlessly from one to the next. Dark spaces with subtle sonic light currents mirror the cover art: brooding and isolationist in places; hauntingly beautiful in others. Roberts employs silken synth textures, electric guitar forms and various field recordings as well as glitchy sound beds. In places guitar fingering ascends out of abstraction, chiming tinkles and rhythmic fragments fanning the gentle warmth of melody. Sparing keyboard patterns move against keening guitar threads; oceanic turbulence juxtaposes wafting vocoder shreds; low sonorous drones roll below graceful shafts of synthetic tone; nature noise - chirps of birds and insect whir - busies itself behind strongly effected chord strums. Fragments evolves constantly, playing with brightness and gloom; emotionally stirring up delicate twists of wonder, evocative transportational suggestions and disquieting zones of obscurity.
- The ten minute twenty four second Morning in the Bowl of Light is the longest track here - a slowly unfolding emptiness where subtle electronics wash around faint cricket-like coruscation and bird sound. Midway (as with a number of pieces here) the mood shifts and dreamy synth tones meander upon a deep breath-like rhythmic pattern. Toward the end of the track the mood again alters abstract threads and somewhat less melodic waves leading the way into the subsequent piece. City of a Hundred Gates is the shortest fragment at three minutes twenty eight - this track revolves around a relatively dense mass of warm drones, interwoven with delicate hypnotic swells before dissipating into atmospheric space.
- Fragments arrives in a shiny jewel case with minimalistic yet vivid artwork - deep, saturated greens; colour in motion; long exposure light streams. On the front cover various horizontal bands of verdure smoothly flow - single white streak; heavy black ground. The title doesn't break this abstract simplicity, but sits within the transparent spine. On the rear, a more energetic sweep of colour curls around the track titles. Titles are repeated on the flip side of the gatefold insert - the green sweep of the front cover continued here. Inside to the left are simple credits, contact and website details as well as a small number of genuine thanks. To the right, green light shafts hang vertically, reminiscent of grass blades viewed close up.
- Fragments was recorded by Australian ambient musician Steve Roberts between 2008 and 2010. As the title hints, the music draws upon previous material - inspirational threads taken, reimagined and embellished. Three earlier studio albums are revisited and absorbed - now unrecognisable in fresh form. Although nine tracks are listed, the nine titles more accurately identify point markers within a single longform composition. Often the nature of the music makes a change at the point markers - perhaps an interlude where field recordings move to the fore - many times though tracks vary more dramatically part way through. You can explore this unusual release at the Amongst Myselves website, where there is plenty to read and opportunity to listen to samples of the album.
Morpheus Mall - http://www.electronicmusicmall.com/Html/reviews99.htm#amongst
Morpheus Mall - Auburn Silhouette
Amongst Myselves - Auburn Silhouette
review by Paul - Morpheus Mall
Ambient spaces and landscapes with percussive incidentals and some beats. Auburn Silhouette contains tracks with smooth ambient sheets, an almost choral tone at times lurking beneath; warm, harmonious synths shot through with brassy strains; booming, dense sonic environments suggestive of roaring emptiness, atonal turbulences, atmospheric disturbance. These sound zones are embellished with subtle snatches of melody on guitar and keyboard, the echoing chirps of birds, sampled sounds, short warbling sequences, jangling metallics ringing and clattering, rich, deep chimes. There is the low, far off booming of a single colossal drum softened by distance, random, arrythmic percussives that sound like processed field recordings, fluttering electro-grooves that don't quite unite into beats and plenty of beatless void, open air weightless, vaporous. Two tracks break the mold - first Hole In The Sky where rock chords and drums with a synth lead deliver an instrumental that could have come straight off a seventies concept album and the final piece Winter Of The Falling Stars with strumming acoustic guitar, electric lead, complete drum kit and electronic enhancements.
Serene and warm, revelling in wonderment at the earth and the universe and then dark and isolationist, heavy, grey textures overlaid with thin strains and sweeps of tuned air. There are also exotic and global elements such as the rolling, clanging chimes of Munstead Heath and the almost tribal drumming thumping in regular measure on the drifting Southern Lights. A number of tracks create gloomy abyssal underlays that evoke dark depths or universal immensity coloured by delicate surface detail, hints of peripheral light or soft melodic touches. The two rock tracks present laid back, feel good pieces with hints of psychedelic transportation.
Auburn shadows trace the silhouette of an elegant tree onto the rough surface of a whitewashed wall - at one end warm and sun touched, at the other cool and drained of colour in shade. Titles are separated from the imagery by being placed within flat monochrome bands - brown, black. On the reverse tracks are listed each with their playing times. Inside is a two page fold out that takes the front cover wall into closer view, here acting as a backdrop to credits, thanks and website info all sprawled diagonally across the dappled light and soft shadows.
Auburn Silhouette is the fourth CD from Steve Roberts' Australian based ambient project Amongst Myselves following up the 2003 release Sacred Black. The album comes with nine audio tracks and an accompanying three track DVD that aligns the tracks Southern Lights, Up Into The Air And Over The Edge and Star with images of shifting cloud, revolving starscapes and the kaleidoscopic, curling tendrils of computer generated organic models. Promotional material explains that each track of the album "evokes a different environmental experience, with inspiration drawn from outback Australia and twelve months working and travelling overseas .... certainly a headphone experience".
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM
Lovers of meandering, environmental ambient music will enjoy much of Auburn Silhouette - much of it beatless and expansive. The album contains plenty of variety and so holds the attention well if you want something more than a zone drone.
- Morpheus Music , posted 03/21/07
Chuck Van Zyl - Star's End - Auburn Silhouette
Artist: Amongst Myselves
Album: Auburn Silhouette
Released: 20 April 2007
Label: Amongst Projects
For Steve Roberts, encounters with the environment are miraculous and reverential experiences. That is how it comes across in his music. Working under the name Amongst Myselves Roberts has produced an impressive body of work, not in a single style but more as an encompassing vision seeking to bring creation back into modern life. Centered on the infinitely faceted theme of nature, his CD Auburn Silhouette (62'00") presents nine tracks with a clear source. Roberts covers a wide sonic territory. From luminescent beauty to anonymous landscapes, this episodic album offers edge to edge motion. Throughout Auburn Silhouette churning synth drones lighten then darken against rumbling field recordings as delicate electronic whispers stir soft chimes. While guitar effects echo distantly beneath string pads and bubbling modulations, a building dissonance remotely threatens. But this music is more than the sum of its sounds. It offers relief from the misperception that all electronic music is emotionally cold. Roberts' soundscapes communicate his sensibility and passion as well as more conventional works and established methods.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 5 April 2007 - Star's End Ambient Radio
Rfi - Christian-marius Burcea - Auburn Silhouette
"Auburn Silhouette" is #9 in "Journeys to the Infinite- RFI Romania Report Submittal for March (www.newagereporter.com).
This is an excellent recording and one that explores new vistas, as well as carrying a unified feeling and a minimalistic sound that soothes and inspires. Influences: Steve Roach meets Jonn Serrie meets Michael Brook. And as if that's not enough, the CD is accompanied by superb visuals on a DVD.
There's cloud-like music and serene ambience, surreal balance between electronica and good old acoustics, and an endless space for timeless emotions.
Thank you for the Journey!
Melliflua - Dene Bebbington - Auburn Silhouette
Auburn Silhouette is the fourth album by Australian artist Amongst Myselves. Steve Roberts, the man behind the recording name, is a film maker and sound producer by trade so it's only fitting that this release includes a DVD containing three short films set to his music. The natural environment is the theme of this album, with Steve's inspiration coming from the South Australian outback and journeys overseas.
The album is primarily ambient, though there's also drone, shoegazer, experimental, and even a bit of soft rock! Opening the album is my favourite piece “Greybox Shadow” in which drones flow easily like leaves of a tree gracefully shifting in a light breeze. Adding to the natural feel is birdsong at the beginning which made me imagine opening curtains in the morning to see the world waking up for a new day. Gradually the mood becomes more intense and heavier as the drones become deeper and hybrid “ahhh” vocals/drones layer the atmosphere further.
In “Hole in the Sky” the manner of the music changes noticeably into shoegazer territory. Grey and silvery washes ebb and flow with the regular yet subtly different lapping of waves on a beach. Then a slow unobtrusive drum rhythm starts up along with cymbal percussion and aching electric guitar notes that are plucked only to stretch off into the distance.
Sometimes other elements add to the atmosphere, as in “Southern Lights” where tribal drum rhythms beat out against delicate drones and washes gliding over the soundscape like the the ethereal ribbons of colour in the Southern Lights themselves.
A fascinating aspect of several tracks is how electronically created drones feel organic and natural. This is sky music, as ever evolving and hard to pin down as the sky itself where clouds, sunlight, and stars paint shifting pictures and moods. Also, there's a good contrast of earthbound and cosmic experiences and journeys on Auburn Silhouette which I found to be a work that needs deep immersive listening sessions to appreciate fully; and headphones will doubtless bring out even more of the sonic nuances. It's a work that takes ambient impressions of the natural world to a new level.
The accompanying DVD contains three films, each set to music from the track of the same name. There's stunning day and night time-lapse photography in “Up Into the Air and Over Edge”; pictures of nebula, stars, galaxies etc in “Southern Lights”; and “Star” has some computer generated images. This DVD is a wonderful adjunct to the CD.
Dene Bebbington - Melliflua
E-dition Mag - Bert Strolenberg - Auburn Silhouette
Amongst Myselves – Auburn Silhouette
CD, Private Release, 2007
Amongst Myselves is Australian ambient musician Steve Roberts who’s “Auburn Silhouette” (released April 10th 2007) is his fourth album. Like its former album, it’s accompanied by a dvd featuring some great nature footage to 3 audio tracks. From the start it becomes clear Steve’s music has further grown, although he apologizes for the fact he needed more time to finish this album after all. As Roberts states in the press-sheet, each track on the album evokes a different environmental experience, with inspiration drawn from outback South Australia and 12 months working and travelling overseas. “Greybox Shadow” sets out with great ambient, highly cinematic soundscapes and environmental sounds, nicely followed by the mellow textures of “Bay of Dreams”. Next comes “Star”, a more darker sound trip with analogue/experimental fx’s. “Munstead Heath” clocks over 9 minutes and is a far more experimental/industrial sounding track offering rather uneasy atmospheres and strange fx’s. “Hole in the Sky” is rhythmic composition with drums and guitar sounds, capturing a nice uplifting but also laid-back feel, while the nice sculptured soundscapes of the dreamy “Southern Lights” soon get company of minimal tabla-like rhythms. The spacy, delicates shapes of “Up into the air…” takes us into smooth atmospheres and beyond with additional environmentals. The uptempo “Winter of the Falling Stars” is a fine instrumental guitar based track to close the cd.
Although contrast is a major theme throughout this excellent produced album, make sure to tap into this well crafted, varied ambient journey through the elements.
Journalist E-dition Magazine - www.e-ditionmag.com
Sonic Curiosity - Matt Howarth - Auburn Silhouette
AMONGST MYSELVES: Auburn Silhouette (CD & DVD on Amongst Projects)
This release from 2006 contains a CD with 62 minutes of stimulating ambient music, while the DVD offers 34 minutes of videos.
Amongst Myselves is Steve Roberts, with Garry Roberts (on doumbek) on one track.
Heralded by sampled birds, regal tonalities approach. The texture rises in strength, swelling until the hints of a heavenly choir appear. The mix slides into an ascension as these elements conspire to achieve a soothing resonance tinged with psychic vitality. Electronic drones unfurl with sweetened edges while muffled impacts resound in the distance. Clarification creeps in as auxiliary sounds lend depth and scope to the expanding space. This is how the shadow is born.
The subsequent tracks embellish on this portentous mood, delivering excursions into a variety of pensive corners of the mind. Electronics trickle forth, sparkling softly and gathering force. Footsteps guide the way to more adventurous passages.
A variety of sounds augment the thickening textures, blooping diodes and mechanical hums join forces to achieve a captivating series of elevations. Shuddering chimes bestow a glistening presence of imminent expectation. Beneath the music's haunting disposition lies a promise of deliverance from mundanity.
These compositions are designed with more than sedation in mind. A certain zest lurks in these airy soundscapes, a seething energy that is excellently infused in the audience, revitalizing and invigorating. Whether the tunes are sprightly or somber, their effect is contagious, uplifting. The listening mind becomes cocooned in these temperate harmonics. Power is derived from their influence. What you do with that power is a matter for you to decide amongst yourselves.
© 2007 Matt Howarth - Sonic Curiosity
Ambient Music Guide - Mikey G. - Auburn Silhouette
Artist: Amongst Myselves
Album: Auburn Silhouette
The third album from composer Steve Roberts aka Amongst Myselves continues a kind of tradition among Australian electronic composers that's been with us since the late 1980's. Its mostly old-school ambience made with cutting-edge technology, drawing inspiration from landscapes around the globe to create airy, slightly melancholy tone poems with an unerring sense of wide open space. Auburn Silhouette comes over quite dark without being actually grim. Pieces that border on atonal like "Munstead Heath" still compel attention thanks to a creative use of environmental samples and sound effects. Two slow rock jams are quite lovely although jarring in context. Dark tribal ambience gets a look in on "Southern Lights" and the ambitious ten-minute drone piece "Up Into The Air" includes episodes of acoustic guitar, electric piano and vocodered voice. As an album it struggles to hang together but track-by-track its worth investigation. Rating: 3/5
Mikey G. - Ambient Music Guide
Ultima Frontier - Roberto Vales - Auburn Silhouette
Artist: Amongst Myselves
Album: Auburn Silhouette
Desde Australia nos llega "Auburn Silhouette", el nuevo trabajo del proyecto Amongst Myselves tras el cual se encuentra Steve Roberts. Este compositor, comenzó bebiendo de fuentes tan diversas como el post punk, el pub rock Australiano o la world music, aunque cita como sus principales influencias a gente como Tangerine Dream, Synergy, Kraftwerk o Vangelis. Su música se mueve entre el ambient y lo experimental, con algunos toques de la world music y algunos momentos cercanos al rock.
"Auburn Silhouette" supone su cuarto trabajo, un disco donde nos podemos encontrar con suaves paisajes creados con elegancia que nos sumergen en eses lugares profundos y misteriosos al estilo de gente como Steve Roach o Robert Rich y al mismo tiempo es capaz de transportarnos a lugares más terrenales como lo hace con los temas "Hole in the Sky" o "Winter of the Falling Star". Incluye un DVD con tres vídeos con imágenes basadas en los temas del disco. Música para sumergirnos en lo profundo, en lo terrenal, en lo abstracto, pero que nos hace resurgir con fuerza para hacernos sentir que estamos vivos, la "silueta es castaña" pero la vida es bella.
Atte. Roberto Vales
A Ultima Fronteira
Web Programa: http://www.ultimafronteira.es
Aural Innovations - Charlton Crutcher - Auburn Silhouette
Amongst Myselves- Auburn Silhouette - (Self Released SG-14)
From Aural Innovations #37 (Sep 2007)
Amongst Myselves is Australian Steve Roberts and Auburn Silhouette is his fourth CD. GREYBOX SHADOW birds and majestic keyboards, drones and swells, yes very nice! Beautiful soaring feelgood bodybuzz music! Then the deep end percussion...like Tangerine Dream, almost new agey but it's not. BAY OF DREAMS softer, lilting space, more birds...babies talking? Very well recorded! Lush deep space! STAR similar to previous track, more lovliness. Nice stereo blips and blaps! Submarine sounds, soaring drones! MUNSTEAD HEATH spooky laughter in outerspace, tinklin' things, bells and more bells! Drones that are calming and frantic at the same time...changes pace.....HOLE IN THE SKY starting to sound a little samey but still beautiful. A CD to listen to over and over to get the Love Buzz. Whoops! Now it's hard rock, wasn't expecting that! But with full on rock drums bass and guitar it still sounds beautifully awesome. Some deep space keys! Pretty killer! SOUTHERN LIGHTS this one starts in deep space and at around 3 minutes comes the uptempo percussion. Tribal, yes very nice! UP INTO THE AIR AND OVER THE EDGE deep deep space, very still, soaring spooky nice! At 3:40 some lovely acoustic guitar! Big heavy noisy drone in the background! A marimba?!? Some Peter Frampton guitar talking! People from down under are over the top! Get's loud, television squawking! PERFECT MUMU Oh, the short one! Some funky Edgar Winter keyboard! WINTER OF THE FALLING STARS some Neil Young country strum with loopy keys bubbling past! A total change of pace from previous tracks, now the tablas, 2nd lead guitar, very 1969 Los Angeles with the big rock drum. Wow, top 40 dude! Just needs some Linda Ronstadt vocals, wow, here they come! No lyrics yet! Yes, very 70's but very cool with modern production! See, experimental musicians can rock out if they want, they just don't usually want to!
REGEN - Matthew Johnson - Auburn Silhouette
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2007
By: Matthew Johnson
Assistant Editor of REGEN Magazine
A perfectly executed excursion into open ambient spaces.
It's hard to extol the latest album from Australian ambient act Amongst Myselves, because Auburn Silhouette moves so slowly and gracefully that to shout its praises to loudly would do its subtlety a disservice. Like much of Steve Roach's work, Amongst Myselves creator Steve Roberts draws inspiration from the landscape, and his work expresses that. "Munstead Heath," in particular, evokes pastoral breezes through washes of breathy synth and gently tinkling wind chimes, and "Bay of Dreams" is as otherworldly as its title suggests, conjuring half-hidden images of foggy shores and distant wildlife. "Up into the Sky and Over the Edge" is suitably celestial, its ringing keyboard notes and hints of plucked strings floating aloft on winds of sustain, and "Star" moves into cosmic territory with signal chirrups pulsing their way through light years of ambient distance. Luckily, Roberts' mastery of traditional instruments as well as synths and studio effects keeps things tethered, and "Winter of the Falling Stars" guides the listener home on languid acoustic strums and muffled hand percussion. A filmmaker as well as a composer, Roberts also includes three extended video meditations that perfectly fit with the music. "Up into the Air and Over the Edge" uses sped-up images of shifting clouds to complement the song's contemplative sky-gazing, and "Southern Lights" features a collage of images from the Hubble Telescope. As the music itself gets earthier and more organic, with moody tribal percussion joining the drifting washes of sustain, the images themselves take on a more organic character, the spirals of ionized gas taking on the appearance of underwater gardens. Most conventional is the video for "Star," a visual "trip toy" of computer-generated fractal imagery, but it too is magnificent in its way, quietly entrancing rather than over-the-top psychedelic, and it fits well with the song's outer space meanderings. Incredibly deep yet accessible even to ambient novices, Auburn Silhouette is a remarkable work, and Steve Roberts proves worthy enough to be listed alongside such masters of the form as Steve Roach, Robert Rich, and Vidna Obmana.
Chuck Van Zyl - Stars End - Sacred Black
When he is conceiving the music of Amongst Myselves, Steve Roberts must first describe the aural consistency of the work. On the album Sacred Black, we experience Roberts' knack for contrast; the putting together of varied forms so as to heighten their effect and his ability to establish the connectiveness between tones. The 8 tracks sweep and stumble between sonic states of wordless quietude and opalescent shine to chilling shades of frosted brittleness and impliable density. Roberts is an explorer amidst the vast region betwixt tonality and disonance - his mission being to link the two.
Sacred Black can be classified as an album realized using electronic gear, but Roberts draws out of his instruments an incomparable range of frequencies, pitches and sonorities - arranging them into organic, three dimensional shapes. The track "The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean" being the most reassuring, opens with the sounds of surf against the shore and on into the warm glow of synth pads, soft melodies and glistening harmonies. An undertow of musical current pulls us along on our descent into peacefulness. "Sea of Rains" portrays a strange, more somber condition. Synthetic explosions punctuate airy drones. Almost environmental in its stasis, the track seems to move and develop like a storm through its 8 minute course. "The Demon Haunted World" is somewhat unsettling with its rattling chains, dripping effects and melodic chromatism - but we are eventually rescued as the concluding track segues in and brightens up our clouded soundworld with the pleasant strumming guitar of "Returning Home".
Sacred Black has been endowed with a transcendent quality. The listener feels surrounded and hopefully even liberated by Roberts' designs. This album deals with what is between and beyond dreams and memories. Its areas of translucency provide clarity of vision while the regions of opacity are relatively impervious to understanding. Could it be then that Sacred Black is truly based on all the complexities of the individual.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 16 February 2003
David J. Opdyke - AmbiEntrance - Sacred Black
Australian ambient comes in the color of Sacred Black; freeform dronescapes from Amongst Myselves are amorphous and mesmerizing.
The boiling sonic liquids of Dawn 1958 (3:12) sometimes pulse with rippling energies, but mostly just stew in ethereal wonder which seeps into Morning of the Earth (10:00) where skyborne streamers arc across woofer-thrumming deepness; eventually faraway drums are discerned through the glare. Twinkly little tonal progressions traipse over the stormy cloudboiler Sea of Rains, until they are swallowed into its seething dark gusts of organic-yet-unnatural environments.
The piano-accented drones of The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean precedes the sometimes-twangy steambath auras of entrancingly shapeless Argo Navis. As one might expect, The Demon Haunted World exists in a creepier realm where nervously shifting rays writhe with cinematic moodiness. Warmer Returning Home features softly strummed strings that rise and fall over smooth contours of glowing radiance.
Eight tracks (51 minutes) of lovely audio-ephemera unfurls with easy-to-fall-into fluidity. Steve Roberts of Amongst Myselves forges immersive new ear-environments, bathed in Sacred Black. Very nice!
AmbiEntrance © 2003-1997 by David J Opdyke
Jeremy Keens - Ampersand Etcetera - Sacred Black
'Sacred Black' is a the most recent album. 'Dawn 1958' is very much that, a track of awakening or growth as it swells and echoed percussion emerges into 'Morning of the earth'. Here slow long layered tones, almost drones, builds and shimmers, strings, very minimal a tapping develops, we drift in pleasure, the tapping builds, there are some twitchy metal noises. There are little animals in the 'Sea of rains', first a scraper whistling one and then a rising song and smaller squeaks that cycle. Big waves of musical hiss wash as a synth tunes becomes almost carnivalesque then thunders roll providing a sea of pulsing parts, rapid dits, ending with calls in the wind.
At 'The shores of the cosmic ocean' washing waves bring drums and long organ tones and twirls, a low electric piano melody and long synth horns. Deeply resonant, it rises to a semiclimax that twitters before slowly easing. Active, layered buzzing loops and hollow rumbles provide energy to 'Argo navis' with its twangy notes and swelling chords, varying components in a twisted musicality. There is an air of mystery or disorientation in '5am melbourne 1996' as woobly water tones, tinkles, bowed resonances and zingly metals appear within swirly spacey synths with oblique cyclings and calls. Perhaps Melbourne is the gateway to the burblings whips and tones of the disturbed 'The demon haunted world' with a background of emerging cries. Finally, 'Returning home' takes us into a relaxed world of long tones and guitar playing rhythm loops and melodies.
This set has a second disk containing a videoclip of 'Dawn 1958' featuring polygons emerging from a billowing colour eruption as stars drift by a nice addition to an excellent ambient album.
AM is working in an area where there is a lot of competition, much of it very good - including these. As does any developing artist, he has listened to his influences, absorbed and reconstructed it and created his own sounds that are as relaxing, intriguing and enjoyable as any around. I hope he gets heard because he deserves it.
Bert Strolenberg - Klem Magazine - Sacred Black
Sacred Black is the 3rd cd of the Australian musician Steve Roberts who already caught my attention with his former album Still Life. The album opens with the slow morphing soundwaves of Dawn 1958, delving into intimate reflection, riding the edge between dark and light, which is nicely followed by Morning of the Earth, which continues in same way for exactly 10 minutes. Sea of Rains is an otherworldly adventure in ambient/space with strange cascading effects over solar winds. This is intriguing spacemusic offering some new dimensions, followed a dreamy oriented piece of music: The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean. The slightly choral-like textural environment contains a beautiful classic sample of Martin Denny's Quiet Village, a gentle match with a more than interesting outcome. Argo Navis gives the listener an sort-of uncanny feel , slightly experimental with some vague distorted guitar at the end. Listening & experiencing 5am Melbourne 1996 is a typical happy accident in audioland: its slightly circling sound is hypnotising, making you can't just look away from what Steve is sculpturing: transforming a personal experience into audio format, not to forget the little Pink Floydish sound at the end. The Demon Haunted World is the most difficult track on the album: its overall industrial/experimental soundscapes have the impact of strolling over the darkest edge, I think it not at place here. Returning Home seems to be the reward for this former hard track, as you encounter very nice, slightly dissonant & electronically moulded guitar-licks, which keep drifting an circling in your head after the disc has come to a closure after 50 minutes. A nice reward for an album that requests deeper listening than the average stuff encountered nowadays in ambient/space territory. Those looking for some unexpected encounters should really try this on. I'm sure they won't be disappointed.
Klem Magazine The Netherlands
Chuck Van Zyl - Stars End - Still Life
If you're not half asleep when you begin listening to Still Life, you will be by disc's end. Recording
as Amongst Myselves, Steve Roberts demonstrates his natural ability in spacemusic. Rather than
coerce his synths, Roberts communes with them and composes soft labyrinthine soundscapes of
well designed detail. The arrangement of Still Life obviously began somewhere outside of the
music studio where Roberts carefully plotted the placement and delivery of each sound. Once
inside, he used the studio as a compositional tool, realizing nine ambient tracks which resonate in
each of us differently. This is not an album that acts through repetition, not the edited highlights of
an extended process. Still Life is a very personal conception, dutifully crafted and produced. The
intricate windings are contoured with the unpredictability of a dream, making the album
contemplative, yet bewildering. This music is an immersive experience and locates the listener in a
different space from where they began.
An album in the truest sense of the word, Still Life is a scrapbook of sounds containing a range of
shapes and moods. A perfumed nightmare, an uninhabited theme, the cool of blue - with each
listen this album adds another shade to the emotional palette. Due to its indistinction of form, the
album must be described in relation to its tension and release - compression and expansion. When
compared to a gallery walk, this album becomes a collection of sonic vignettes ranging from the
serene to the brash, the muddled to the crystalline, from calm to stormy and ultimately more
interesting with each visit. This Still Life is one created in impressionistic style, the true sonic
representation of something remembered.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 16 August 2001
David J. Opdyke - AmbiEntrance - Still Life
Australian ambience from amongst myselves (gotta love the subtle schizophrenia in that one!)...
This still life is not the kind with fruits on a table... this is the kind with immersive ever-changing alien atmospheres strewn with traces of more-Earthly musical essences.
The boiling substrata of Ra's Playground (11:24) twists beneath glimmering shreds of tonal ribbons and sharper crystalline chirps; from within this wormhole dimension comes softly spoken words of unknown meaning, but only for a few moments, after which this atmosphere fades to nothingness. Lower (and sparser) tones travel on various planes through the phantasmal zones of Shepherd of the Rings, an intriguing place indeed. Whispery electronics are engulfed in a violent explosion of sound and its resulting vacuum rush as The Ground Melts (1:46).
Cyclical space-notes rotate over vast organ drones in Ship of Dreams, conjuring interstellar visions before the piece evolves into an epic bit of snare-drum and synthorchestra majesty. Safe in Narwang Baru's vaporous streams eventually are permeated by percussive pulsations. Entrancingly murky Encounter at the Bay occurs within a deep, fluttering stew; light symphonic shimmers float above, while more-powerful drones plow straight through, until ocean waves come crashing.
The otherwise-smoothly-soaring breezes of Lowell's Legacy are cried into by several echoey, pitch-shifted bellowings and yells. Spiraling ephemera soaks in Darkness, periodically blasted by strong guitar blurts, then spaced-out electronics and voices. The adventure continues until, following a bassy haze, the off-kilter plinks of Relics of an Early Universe enigmatically waft in stasis.
steve roberts is amongst myselves; he paints still life's offworld audioimagery with bold strokes from his wide studio palette, decorating here and there with subtler sweeps. An evolving panorama of 8.3 soundscenes which are anything but still.
:::: AmbiEntrance: http://www.spiderbytes.com/ambientrance
:::: David J Opdyke: email@example.com
:::: 12767 Prosperity Road, Marion IL 62959 USA (temporarily)
John Ray - The Last Sigh - Still Life
26 November, 2000
From Australia comes the lastest release from Amongst Myselves/Steve Roberts, and a fine one it is. The disc opens with "Ra's Playground", a wash of warm primordial drones. As are many of the tracks on this album excellent production, what little pops and clicks there are add to the heart of the music. Distant bells and looming bass loops are broken up by majestic synth progressions during "Ship of Dreams", one of the albums brighest moments.
Many of the tracks are quite long, but all have plenty to listen to, and boredom never sets in. This is a recommended headphone experience. There is a fine balance between sadness and hope here, and overall it reminds me of slow motion montages. If you could spend time staring at the sun without pain, these are the sounds that might fill your head.
Hans Stoeve - PowerSpot FM - Still Life
(RMC SG 12)
This is the second release I have heard from Amongst Myselves(aka Steve Roberts), the first one being The Sun In The Bottle, reviewed last year. This is also a more consistent recording and one which further finds him exploring ambient terrains, predominantly in the area of atmospherics and space music. Still Life comes across as polished and smooth, an album which has had much thought go into it, certain musical passages heading off into beautiful silences. The ghosts of his musical influences are still there as on the previous release. I am reminded of the likes of Kitaro, Tangerine Dream, even Vangelis. I also appreciate the fact that he has resisted the urge to compose dramatic music. In fact, this album is completely the opposite. It aims at a sense of serenity, a quiet space one can retreat to and float away with, if need be. Some may see this release as heading towards a more classic ambient direction, coupled with environmental sounds, predominantly water and birdlife. After all, those afore mentioned were all early 70's and 80's pioneers of the synthesizers who went on to inspire others to explore the ambient genre further. Some will hear this as new age, others will hear space music. It will sit comfortably on both sides of the fence.
Ra's Playground opens the album, clocking in at over 11 minutes, allowing the artist to explore themes and moods which will be further explored throughout the album. The piece itself is one long sheet of sound, with occasional narrative being read (possibly in Russian). Over this continuous sonic sheet are layers, or waves of sound, as well as environmental sounds, sometimes it sounds as if it is birds, sometimes it doesn't. Other pieces are almost cloudlike in their structure, the music drifting along, gently bobbing to and fro in some sort of delicate vaporous existence. Occasionally Amongst Myselves allows himself to get a bit cosmic, incorporating rocket lift offs and the like to his music. Ship Of Dreams is about as dramatic as you'll get on this recording. Having lifted off, (the sound of afterburners almost vibrating my Epos speakers off their stands), we drift along in outer space, content no doubt to look down on the blue green planet beneath us.Pure Vangelis in its construction and theme. The space theme continues for some time, with what sounds like bullroarers and whirlwinds coming in at some point, to eventually ground the piece. It's the sort of thing Steve Roach might do.
Enter the sound of waves crashing, bringing us all back down to earth. Relics of an Early Universe introduces the sound of (what sounds like) an old piano, reminiscent of some of the ghost town piano music Harold Budd has engaged in. It's a nice way to end the album.
Steve Roberts has certainly evolved his sound with Still Life. For anyone who is interested in electronic music, it's worth the effort to seek out a copy. I believe he also has a track on the compilation CD entitled firstname.lastname@example.org, brought out by some of the participants on the same discussion list . As far as electronic ambient music goes, this is quite a satisfying release. One wishes him luck with Still Life, as well as future projects.
Jeremy Keens - Ampersand Etcetera - Still Life
It is good, as always, to welcome a new local talent Amongst Myselves hails from Adelaide, South Australia, and produces a well developed atmospheric ambience.
'Still Life' was released in 2000 and impresses as a visual auditory journey. 'Ra's Playground' takes us away with a long spacey ambience, long tones, a distorted female announcer, swelling, long vent tones, we drift for almost 12 minutes, melody suggesting itself occasionally, the voice returning (German or Russian) fading slowly. We keep drifting through 'Shepherds of the rings' with a soft deep melody, resonances and slicing shimmers and long descending touches.
'The ground melts' briefly as a manipulated voice swaps for a big blasting rumble tone rising through to 'Ship of dreams' as a twinkling synth sequence is gently phase/tweaked, deep wells below and a male voice, To slow melody and soft whooshes as a computer burbles, a melody that gently drives it into big horns and a majestic drum roll. A simple ear-to-ear percussion that has a shaker edge is introduced over the soft winds and gentle long tones of 'Safe in narwang baru'. A deeper thud develops and the percussion opens out into a shimmer as dits and squiggles join the drift.
The first three quarters of 'Encounter at the bay' reminded me of The Resident's 'Eskimo' (what a classic) with deep low tones, swirls and winds and a long tone melody pulsing across the waters, developing a more active sense of drama until the final few minutes where the waters break and crashing waves fill the soundspace. 'Lowell's legacy' is based on strange bent calls, piano and synth swirls swells and chords that is bleakly stirring. As 'Darkness' opens a gentle hissing continues (AM segues tracks nicely) with little noises in and a melody from changing notes (short, modulated, squelched) that is interrupted by interference bursts that has a skittering aura. A strange voice and frog loops presages a shift to a spacey dark ambience with voices in. Voicish rhythms of long edgy tones then bloopy pulses and long tones imbued with a slow upright piano are the drifting 'Relics of an early universe' that close the album.
Hans Stoeve - PowerSpot FM - The Sun In The Bottle
AMONGST MYSELVES RELEASE - A NEWER AGE EXPERIENCE
1st October 1999
The first release by 'Amongst Myselves' - a collaboration of South Australian musicians, Steve Roberts, and contributing artists - is a welcome addition to the ambient music genre.
Entitled 'The Sun in the Bottle' ( with credit to a popular ABC children's program, 'Catweazle') this release is the result of four years of writing and development - an 11-track journey into self-realisation and reflection.
"I actually see the CD as cross genre collection - at once covering ambient, dance and landscape sub-genres," said Steve Roberts, composer and title artist on 'The Sun in the Bottle'.
The 'ambient' genre has developed out of the trends towards 'New Age' music, but takes sounds one step further - incorporating rhythms perfect for relaxation, movement, dance or trance. Ambient theorist, Lloyd Barde, has said that the music generally possesses 'a rhythmic or trance-like nature'.
"As we watch the ever-evolving growth and rising emergence of this genre, it is often described by terms as 'mutated' or 'deconstructed' - anti-categorisation at its very best," said Barde.
Highlights of the 11-track release include Urban Desert, Pale Blue Dot, Moxam's Stars and Passing the Sword Handle of Orion.
Many of the tracks have a dream-like quality, enabling the listener to take their own journey, into self-reflection, contemplation or indeed, inspiration.
Roberts says that the release gradually became a very personal and emotional project for him, with many intimate life experiences inspiring his writing to an almost autobiographical level.
"Many major events in my life have led to the creation of tracks such as First Woman on Lysithea which leads the listener to the end of a womans life into a less painful existance. This woman is my mother." said Roberts.
"I believe that everyone brings his or her impressions and opinions to ambient music, which makes the experience unique and exciting for every different person," he said.
"This is what first attracted me to the style - the ability to be able to reach people in a very different way each time they listen," Roberts said.
Roberts is currently considering pursuing several options for 'The Sun in the Bottle' including negotiations for possible inclusion in local soundtracks.
The release in now available through the Amongst Myselves WWW site