Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Adventures in Synaptic Exploration By Byron Metcalf


Adventures in Synaptic Exploration


Byron Metcalf

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There are three words that are truly prophetic, they can be found in the notes of this album and mean so much to us as a global people, Breathe, Dance and Move, something most of us can all do, but especially for a few years now have been unable to, now I believe is the time once again to heed the words, gaze away at the reality of the natural world and embrace life once again, the aid which will most ably allow us to Breathe, Dance and Move once more is called,  Adventures in Synaptic Exploration by Byron Metcalf.

Seven tracks of a consistent intensity, a wonderful fluency and vibrant percussion can be found here, and we start on this exploration with the opening piece entitled Waves Of Preparation. This is the perfect opening piece, one that draws the listener into a world of movement, and apart from the idyllic percussion from the artist, one that also contains some truly organic digeridoo as well.

The following musical narrative is of course the title track Adventures in Synaptic Exploration, there is an addictive ancient energy here that manifests a vibrancy not felt for many a year, and Metcalf’s performance on this grandest of stages, the title track, is simply awesome, one that indeed creates power but also a myriad of colours and textures too.

The resonation of the drums on Burundi Dreams reminded me of a few years back and my global voyages to Pow Wows in the States, such power could be felt from the master drum, one could feel the earth shake from miles around, like a herd of running buffalos heading your way, here Metcalf brings that sheer volume, but also some beautifully crafted soundscapes as synths seem to swirl around us like the ancient spirits of the past.

One of my personal favourites from the album was the mystical and magical vibrations that could be found on the track Arrival Of The Elves. The scene is set with some quite breath taking soundscapes, a harmonic resonance hovers with all the intensity of an impending storm, the drums break in with a gentle approach and the track then builds with a careful, yet crafted progression, and slowly transmutes into a piece that is completely undeniable.

As we drift further into this inner dimension of sight and sound we find our next offering entitled Conscious Encounter, once more the artist sets the scene perfectly, and then produces a performance on percussion that is literally sparkling, vibrant and extremely inviting, so much so that as a listener you can feel the vibrations of this music within your chest, so why not turn the headphones up a notch, and simply enjoy the moment.

We now move to the penultimate offering of the album and this is called Leaning in to It, the deftness of touch here reminds me of another drummer and percussions supremo I know from the UK called James Asher. The electronic segments within this piece were delightfully sequenced and perfectly placed, making this composition a sublime one to allow the body to simply form its own movements and motions.

Natural sounds are added to the last track off the album entitled Water Dance Ceremony, this is a respectful and peace filled musical narrative, and was one of those pieces I could listen to for ages, as time would become irrelevant anyway, it has all the hall marks of a meeting of the ancestors and ancients through the tone and vibrations of this deep and meaningful arrangement; this alone is a master class on how to build construct and progress a track, apart from being the perfect ending to a superb album.

Adventures in Synaptic Exploration by Byron Metcalf is an album that will literally form a textured world of sublime percussion around you and never let you go until the very last note is played out. This release is an opportunity to embrace the energies of life, sound and movement; it is a release that embraces balance and harmony through motion, dance and a simple breath, and is in my view is the best work of the artist thus far.

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