American, multi instrumentalist Don Robertson’s ‘Celestial Ascent’ was originally released exclusively on tape in 1980 (11 years after his 1969 debut ‘Dawn’). Divided into two parts, the album explores the concepts of day (A side ‘Oracle Of Love’) and night (B side ‘Isis Unveiled’), conjuring transcendental atmospheres of peacefulness and sanctuary through a variety of instrumentation and sounds including the zither.
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- Celestial Ascent by Don Robertson
8/10 Laurie Staff review, 24 June 2015
Another forgotten tape pressing here - there will always be lost tapes, I guess it adds some sort of magic, not that this record needs it at all. Nashville resident Don Robertson originally put this out on the ol’ cassette back in 1980, and as you can see from the colourful cover, things are about to get spiritual.
The music on Celestial Ascent is decidedly neutral, refusing to challenge the ears, instead performing a sort of hazy cranial massage courtesy of the plucked zither. It’s sort of presented as a light-dark duality, the first side being a pretty damn uplifting caress of major pentatonic purity, a counterpart to the introspective wondrous tones of ‘Isis Unveiled’. The majority of it is underpinned by a static drone note to set the mood, light the candles, huff the incense. Over this, Robertson places flourishes that leap from the zither with the quality of a human at play, sort of like an ambient Raga.
It isn’t overly cosmic and is devoid of the deep synthy cliches that usually come with a record as new age as this, which definitely works in its favour, leaving the zither to shine through, all 80 strings of it. Fans of JD Emmanuel and Bronnt Industries Kapital who crave more delicious deep music will enjoy this.
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