Even if you missed your chance to be part of an early 80s ex-hippy meditation commune, electronic pioneer JD Emmanuel’s newest release may still be of interest to you. Layered with patterns and laced with little instrumental decorations, Echoes from Ancient Caves’ sole mission is to to bring you inner peace, happiness, and complete spiritual enlightenment. Limited to 500 copies.
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- Echoes From Ancient Caves by J.D. Emmanuel
8/10 Robin Staff review, 17 March 2015
This beautiful record sounds like it’s been found in an archaeological dig; its electronic innovations are now the sound of decay, the modular refinements creased and archaic. Sharing the quietened vibes of new age artist Ariel Kalma, JD Emmanuel has only recently been discovered, but his ruminations of electronic ambient and natural recording sound their best on 1981’s ‘Echoes From Ancient Caves’, a record which offers different examples of his romantic, born-nostalgic sound.
Inspired by jazz, new age, ambient and filling it all in with prog rock affectations, ‘Echoes From Ancient Cave’ is a diverse work of modular tinkering. Emmanuel was proficient at lacing together polyrhythms and intertwining separate melodies (look to “Memories of Atlantis” for that), but he also thrived on open fields of spectral ambience, with the chimes of looping “Sunrise On a Tibetan Hillside” acting as a wake up call into his world of gloopy sustained keys. Where melodies meet and fall apart, that’s where you’ll find Emmanuel: finding beauty in the disorientation.
The diverse range of aesthetics on ‘Echoes From Ancient Caves’ can be attributed to Emmanuel’s intuitive attention span for recording; he used two different synths as well as an organ and a processed guitar, plus a few pedals for good measure. The record switches between these instruments interchangeably, which lends it an air of carefree experimentation: at times it sounds krautish and distantly intimated, such as on the Tangerine Dream drone “Infinity”, but it can also sound destructively and swiftly generative, Emmanuel playing his keys with intensifying urgency. He was informed by all sorts of approaches, and electronic music didn't necessarily mean the opposite of natural sound. It’s all just sound, and it’s all wonderful.
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