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MP3 Jonathan Block & The Circular Ruins - Shadows on Water

Tranquil, liquid ambience from two accomplished artists.

8 MP3 Songs
ELECTRONIC: Ambient, ELECTRONIC: Soundscapes

"Gears of Sand label founder Ben Fleury-Steiner urged Jonathan Block (a.k.a. Synthetic Block) and Anthony Paul Kerby (a.k.a. APK, Lammergeyer, and The Circular Ruins) to join musical forces, and I am so glad he did. The end product is a truly unique melding of talents, such that the resulting product isn’t readily identifiable as coming from either of them. Oh, there’s a mellow, soundtrack-like quality that I would attribute to APK, and the accessible melodic structure likely stems from Jonathan’s influence. But I have no idea where the gentle tribal sound of “Eye of the Beholder” comes from; clearly, they inspired each other to expand on their established sonic territory. I could envision Synaesthesia coming up with this track, although it’s a bit brighter than that. “The Outer Island” is darker and more ethereal. Formless at first, a soft melody drifts in, very nice; perfect music for a lazy Sunday afternoon, or whenever. Unusual background noises add texture here and there. “Circles” has a pinging bell-like tone, almost like hammered dulcimer, and smooth oboe sounds, very Patrick O’Hearn-like. The title track has a similar organic/synthetic fusion that so characterizes O’Hearn’s work, and I mean that as a compliment of the highest sort. Drones, piano, and subtle synth colorings prove the less is more adage. “An Ordinary Day” is light and yet daring, the sort of accessible experimentalism that Saul Stokes might make. Suffice to say, I think Shadows on Water is a winner."

c. 2007 Phil Derby / Electroambient Space

"Making this album was a bit like opening a window, pointing the speakers out, and then waiting for the echoes to reach back. From a bunch of isolated musical ideas to the cohesiveness of the final mix, this disc is a true aggregate of our two approaches. From the expansiveness and epic reach of "Eye of the Beholder" to the composed recapitulation that is "Seeing Is Believing," there is a shimmering thread of warm ambience that permeates all the music. Although the sounds of classic synths, mellotrons, electronic pianos and field recordings are evident, the focus is rarely on an individual instrument but instead on conjuring a space within the expanse of sound. A big thank you to Anthony; this disc is truly greater than the sum of its parts. I hope you enjoy the music."

-Jonathan Block

"I confess to enjoying collaborative work. It''s both challenging and a cause, or spark, for innovation. The results are always interestingly unpredictable. The challenge is the melding of styles to create something that is a musical unity, and not just two guys in a room doing their own thing. And I think "Shadows On Water" succeeded admirably. It is a very strong album musically, and a collaboration that seamlessly blends our two styles. An album of one vision. Musically it threads a path through a few related ambient-electro styles, leaning more towards the traditional than contemporary experimentation. It reminds me of Jeff Greinke, FAX, and related material when I hear it. The album flows with relaxed rhythms, addictive leads, and absorbing soundscapes, threaded with lots of field recordings and details. What can I say ... it''s totally enjoyable. And was a joy to create with Jonathan. Give it a listen."

-APK (The Circular Ruins)

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