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 Shadows is 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 Listened surprised 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.
For more information visit the Amongst Myselves web site at: http://www.amongstmyselves.com
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz