Monday, December 19, 2022

Voices from the Ethereal Forest By Meg Bowles


Voices from the Ethereal Forest


Meg Bowles

Written by

Steve Sheppard


Meg Bowles is a remarkable composer and musician; her albums have literally taken me too many places over the last few years, I traversed a Shimmering Land in 2013, and listened enthralled to the Evensong: Canticles for the Earth some 5 years later.

I have but one bit of sound advice before listening to this album, use headphones, and turn up the volume, the experience is simply amazing, and as such Voices from the Ethereal Forest is an utterly extraordinary album.

Meg has manifested a seven track album here that is beyond beautiful, and to start with the title track was just a blessed thrill, as Voices from the Ethereal Forest, is a track that comes to you in waves, its tones and synth structures are astonishing and magnificent, reminding me in parts of artists like Kendle or Serrie, and reminding me I have a long way to go with my own compositions!

This stunning start is followed by an even more compelling track entitled Ode to a Fragile Sea; one of the things I am going to incorporate in my own creations is the use of ethereal vocalisations, and here Bowles balances perfectly such vocal explorations, and matches them with such grand and sumptuous synth work gestures, ones that could easily be akin to great classical works of far forgotten ages, in a piece that is utterly mesmerizing.

The gentle symbiosis of this next piece is transcendent and called Grove of Light, combing the past, present and future paths of this genre, manifesting a peaceful calm realm for it to reside, and this musical sanctuary is brought to life by Bowles superior understanding of compositional structure and free flowing abundant synth magic.

Taking but one tentative step into the second half of the album, finds us knocking on the door of one of the most ambient pieces off the release, and probably of the year as a whole, as we lay in the arms of Slow Dance Under a Red Moon. What the artist does so well here is to take her time and sublimely create layer after layer of delicious textures upon each other, thereby bringing into reality a depth of ambience as of yet unheard of.

The mournful title of Woodland of Sorrows is now upon us, this wonderland of peace and tranquillity created by Meg Bowles has been filled with meditative islands of calm and tranquillity, but here we have a different consistency of tone to enjoy, a reflective pastiche of lament and sadness, but even here, this is done with such an artistic sense of respect and love, its ethereal energies lift up the listener in the arms of true hope, in what is probably one of the most beautiful creations ever manifested by the artist.

The penultimate offering is entitled Winter Fog and of all the compositions I have heard, over decades of years in the business, I rate this piece to be the most relevant to the subject matter, perfectly exploring the mystical elements of mist and fog, and the landscapes with which they come into being. Here the artist crafts an almost otherworldly creation, manifesting a slow, deep pathway of fog, one that lifts and falls with the grace of a ghostly veil upon the environment below.

The last and final concluding composition is also the longest off the album as well, at just short of twelve minutes in duration and called Evening Chorus. Once more Bowles shows her intelligence by terminating her project with simple, but sublime ambience. The synths manifest a heavenly realm of serenity, whilst the offering swirls and drifts around the listener with unreserved musical perfection, what a splendid way indeed with which to leave the album.

It just has to be said that Voices from the Ethereal Forest by Meg Bowles, is without a shadow of a doubt the best work thus far in the career of the musician, its artistic flair and intelligent designs, have all created an album that is simply magnificent, but apart from the plaudits, she has also created for the listener a sonic sanctuary, a respite of tone and timbre with which to escape the craziness of the world. Voices from the Ethereal Forest by Meg Bowles has to be one of the best ambient electronic albums released this year, this album is one that has to be a total must for all those fans, who constantly seek truly top class music, the good news is, you need to look no further, it is right here! 

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