Time Travel







New Age Reporter - Binkelman's Corner
a review by Bill Binkelman

Richard Bone

Richard Bone melds a variety of his assorted musical personas on Sudden Departure, one of his best albums ever (considering his storied and successful career, filled with great releases, this is saying something). I've been a fan of this highly talented man since the late 1990s and even I was unprepared for how chock-full of musical magic this disc is, as the estimable Mr. B. (as I like to call him) cruises effortlessly through serene and warm ambient soundscapes as well as bouncing lightly through subtly sly electronica and a little bit of patented Bone cyber-lounge territory. When compared to his more rhythmic and energetic albums, such as The Reality Temples or Disorient, or his overt loungey efforts, e.g. Coxa or Electropica, Sudden Departure is decidedly low key, although Bone still cranks up his mojo on Paetr Pax with its slinky beats. Most of the album, though, inhabits a minimalist landscape, at times sounding like Darshan Ambient's more pastoral side (not that artist's more recent trippy rhythmic releases). Bone even takes a side trip into darker motifs on The Memory of Caves which brings to mind his earlier excursions into shadowy sonic sculpting on The Spectral Ships and Etherdome as the piece features sparse piano over billowy darkly tinted layered synth washes and a forlorn solo string sample.

Sudden Departure ingratiates itself into the listener's spinal column and cerebellum via rich luxuriant swaths of lush electronic textures, played on a variety of keyboards with melodies that weave a patient soothing web of warmth, often incorporating minimal echoed piano, as evidenced right off the bat on the great opening track,
Unknown Waters. Soothing waves of flowing synths and strings serve as the undercurrent to a lead melody on a lower pitched woodwind-like keyboard which is joined by sparse piano and a dash of chorals. Sea Clouds evokes a cheerier countenance with wonderfully panned reverbed tones, beautiful strings and delicate upper register bells with the mid-song introduction of a sly cyber-lounge lead keyboard.

Bone displays his usual idiosyncratic approach to naming songs once again with titles such as
Why Lithia Flies (the track itself evokes comparisons to Tim Story's sad melancholy minimalism), the heady hazy electronic undulations of We Call It Sashir, and the gently percolating beats, tones and piano on Sugar Dust Sunday. Pure floating ambient merges with sparse new age piano on School of the Builders and Ophir closes the album in typical wryly humorous Bone fashion with grin-inducing male and female choral loops, bouncy beats, and swirling synths, sounding like a hybrid of Renaissance music and gentle electronica! Ahh, one can always count on dear Richard to put his one hundred percent unique spin on things! Bless his unpredictable heart.

Sudden Departure clearly shows that Richard Bone is far from being out of fresh ideas for his music. I thoroughly enjoyed this album, not just for its own many wonders and delights, but also as a "departure" from his more kinetic and lively recordings of note. While the music is seldom what I would refer to as "dark," there is a haunting beauty at work on many of the tracks on the CD, juxtaposed with a cheery warmth, both elements sitting comfortably next to each other despite their polar opposite natures. It takes a special artist to make this work, but then, this is Mr. Bone we're speaking of, so why am I not surprised? Sudden Departure warrants a highly recommended from me, especially for fans of the aforementioned Darshan Ambient's more pastoral releases.
Rating: Excellent

- reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 6/14/2009