Orion's Belt (aka Jim Brenholts and Darren Rogers) teams up again for another stellar set of ambient, drone, and spacemusic blended in seamless fashion. This set of new music, recorded during the spring and summer of 2009 and completed just 1 month before the untimely death of Jim Brenholts, firmly grasps the concept of time and the urgency of life.
This CD is dedicated to the memory of Jim Brenholts and his love and passion for music and the music makers in the ambient and spacemusic communities.
The first three words I wrote down when trying to capture my impression of the new release from Orion's Belt were: Dark. Shapeless. Adrift. And these are good things. In their final outing together, Darren Rogers and Jim Brenholts--who passed away a month after the disc was complete--stir together a mix of grim dronework, the spoken word and spacey electronics. It's deep and, in spots, a bit unsettling. If you don't get a shudder as "The Dirge of Time" deconstructs itself in your ears, the spoken narrative scraping away at itself to become a guttural recitation in some ur-tongue as funeral chords shift around it, there may be something wrong with you. In his solo work as Rigel Orionis, Brenholts was fond of sparse, long drifts that sometimes felt like they were testing your listening patience while still maintaining your interest. You'll find that element here, paired with and augmented by Rogers' own sonic sensibilities. The chemistry between the two is evident in each moment. Appropriately, The Mysteries of Time takes it time, crafting long-form meditations that evolve slowly, cloud formations moving in an eon-long time-lapse movie. This is never more true than in "The Image of Time," the CD's centerpiece, a 30-minute voyage that begins with tinkling electronics hinting at a beat over a white-noise backdrop and morphs into a soft, almost somber, prayer-like drift with touches of loneliness and uncertainty. Definitely of note is "The Legacy of Time," which drops clips of famous speeches behind the flow to nudge a sense of thematic context and understanding into the listener. Nicely done. Overall, Ecumenicals has the ability to surround you in washes of sound, make you think a bit and take you deeply inside yourself, a bit at a time. Plus, it's a moving tribute to the art Jim Brenholts brought to the ambient community and a reminder of the unfortunate gap he leaves behind. Ecumenicals is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.