Cymbl String & Drone Sketches & Phases

A fresh, exciting and sublime set of sonic mantras from the mind of sound sculptor Richard Baker. String & Drone... is a wonderful excursion in sound with classical orchestral strings and guitar samples that are looped and stretched to form vast, deep pools of sound. The music is captivating and heady, swirling over and over, inspiring dizziness from pieces like "Drone Sweet Drone” and "Ecloguing.” There are also intense and suspenseful pieces like "One Drone 4” I would call the experimental-electronic anthem of the year. These repetitions and sustained notes are saturated in overtones, often — but not always dark, making up the character of the album. Richard works at his tones like a monk rubbing at his prayer beads, repeating his "Phases” until a form of transcendence is achieved. The closing track is a cyclone of orchestral strings, "Repetition Allows Insight Into the Movement Behind,” is not unlike an unresolved question to a Zen problem, a perfect ending. Rich in smooth textures with creative manipulation of sound sources, Cymbl is a very satisfying sound project. (Arcolepsy)