I have been a fan of the work of Meg Bowles ever since the release of what I rated as one of the best electronic albums for decades in The Shimmering Land, and now some 9 years later, much water has drifted under our bridges of musical endeavours, and it could well be that this latest collection called Pilgrimage could well surpass even that phenomenal landmark.
Our sojourn within this quite beautiful dimension of sight and sound starts with a sublime beginning piece called Ancient Paths. The synth work and floating energies here are beyond creative, and in parts remind me of another amazing electronic musician in Thom Brennan and his Mountains album. I would rate the performance here as one of the most artistic starts to an album of this genre I have heard for years.
Description, narration and textures are all part of the electronic music artist’s palette, here our artist uses those with sublime skill and manifests one of the most atmospheric pieces off the album in Cave of Secrets. You are literally there, in the cave, with the water dropping, and the musty damp smell of your surroundings, the gentle procession of notes and chords manifest a mysterious and mystical inner landscape of electronic dreams, in a piece that is completely addictive and almost hypnotic.
Meg Bowles has perfected her genius to be able to literally paint with tone and timbre, and on Cloudburst Over a Parched Land you have a perfect example of that skill set exploding into life, a piece that contains a rich palette of sonic energies, a creation that gifts us such a vast expanse to wander within musically, and a composition that gently flows, drifts and hovers. This fine manifestation of electronic mastery reminds me of early Tomita, as within I felt certain classical motifs pop up to say hello, perhaps even Ravel and his Pavane for a Dead Princess? One could find many memories within the hallowed halls of this most remarkable creation; however one thing is for certain, Bowles has brought into reality, a wonderfully emotive dream filled opus into this world of ours, and we can be truly grateful for that.
I was eager to listen to this track, as its long form structure is something I am trying to create myself within my own music. I’m glad I took multiple listens to Mountains Reaching for Stars, because here Bowles shows the pace, patience and creative ability needed to make something well over 12 minutes long, and hold the listeners attention with such ease to its majestic sweeping soundscapes. This could with ease fit into a movie; its vast landscape of brilliance also has a meditative quality to its proceedings as well, and for me is one of the finest examples of electronic ambient long form music around today.
Our penultimate offering is called Luminous Garden of Repose, this is another wonderful example of how to birth top class ambient music, allowing the composition space to hover, allowing those textures to manifest tones within themselves, and all the while holding a delicate form of calmness and tranquillity, one created by the mind and imagination of the artist, and placed softly into the hands of the open minded listener.
The concluding composition is entitled Source of Enduring Light, and is without doubt one of the smoothest and serene endings I have heard to an album of this genre for quite some time. Bowles also brings an essence of reflection into the composition as well, one that adds an almost luminous radiance into the construction of the piece and allows us, the ever eager listener, to drift within the realms of this last final creation, like we have done over the years with artists like Serrie and Kendle.
Pilgrimage by Meg Bowles is without a shadow of a doubt the best work ever created by the artist, here is an album you could listen to all day and forget time completely. Pilgrimage by Meg Bowles I would dare to say, has raised the bar tenfold in the electronic ambient genres, and is an album that any good self-respecting fan, or any purveyor of top class ambient electronic music should have in their collection at all costs, this album isn’t just good, it is outstanding.