Dark Measures–Album Review: A Tranquil Adventure in Darkness
“Dark Measures” is a unique instrumental album in synthesizing two starkly different approaches to ambient electronic music. In this creation, Phillip Wilkerson and Chris Russell join once again to gift their fan base a melodic treat set in a tranquil mood. While Wilkerson is known for favoring brighter moods for composing, Russell has majorly favored the dark and abstract themes. In “Dark Measures”, their divergent styles seamlessly blend to yield a contemplative musical retreat.
If you have listened to their earlier album Vague Traces (2014), you will feel the same kind of pensive mood permeating this album too as the tracks will transport you to a heaven-like ambience. Earlier while describing Vague Traces, Russell called it ‘a sunset album’, while he titles “Dark Measures” as ‘a nighttime adventure’.
A word about the artists
Chris Russell’s works with ambient music contributing to albums since 2009. He says nature’s simplicity and the infinitude of the universe inspire his compositions. He is one of the stalwarts in electronic music often getting in some synthesizers, indigenous instruments, and bass guitar to create the desired effects.
Phillip Wilkerson hails from a family of musicians and from a very young age, he was creating music. He specializes in drums, guitar, and piano and makes elaborate use of synthesizers too. He is producing music for albums since 2005 and his main focus is on expansive cosmos, electronic drones, and meditative soundscapes. Earth Mantra is one of his representative pieces if you want to feel the uniqueness of his musical composition.
Inspiration can only be conveyed through music
Often artists become messengers carrying heavenly messages to audiophiles in the language of music. They find in music a powerful tool to share what they feel in their deepest sentiments which words can hardly convey. Narrating what inspires him to deliver soul-stirring music, Wilkerson notes, “All my music comes from a meditative and contemplative place within awareness and presence. I don’t necessarily feel like I create music, but rather music is created through me by releasing my consciousness and willful direction of the music and just letting it flow through the channel of open awareness. Attempting to put the process into words feels like a disservice to how it actually happens.”
A Tranquil Adventure in Darkness
“Dark Measures” consists of seven tracks, all of them humming an adventurous spirit to take the listeners on a journey under darkness to discover something beyond the temporal world.
The opening track is ‘Unopened Doors’ playing for 10:34 minutes and setting the canvass for the picture the album will paint eventually. You feel like gliding in an open spaceship feeling the coolness of moonlight and the glitters of hopes signaled by the stars scattered in the vastness.
The second track is “Evening’s Embrace” and this is the longest opus in the album stretching over 11:10 minutes. As the name suggests, this piece creates an ambience of darkness that swiftly follows the dusk gulping down all that is seen. So, you are left with yourself to pursue a lonely journey.
“Myriad Visions“, the next member in the album is 08:43 minutes long. The first two tracks taught you what it feels like to journey in darkness and now you start seeing many things that were earlier invisible. The excitement of discovering something new permeates the track.
The fourth opus is titled “Deep Lane” playing for 09:21 minutes. Confronting something new always evokes a kind of uncertainty. Fears and excitement move on hand in hand journeying through the deep lane that is unfrequented and inexperienced.
The fifth track “Distant Vistas” opens up the doors to an altogether new world of freshness and hope. The track gradually prepares you to meet the expansive cosmos and you feel boundless, vast, and all-pervasive. The 08:14 minutes long track is an invitation to the glory of the unexplored universe.
The sixth track “Unbroken Devotion” is 07:28 minutes long and as suggested by the title, the listener continues the journey with added enthusiasm to reach the Promised Land. The exploration continues and the doors open one after another leading to the far-reaching cosmic levels. This track lets you get absorbed within your deep consciousness continuing the tranquil journey inwards. All through the track, there is a sense of progression to the consecutive stages of the journey clearly felt.
The final track “Faring Forward” marks the culmination of the journey you made with the seven tracks of the album. This is the shortest playing one of the seven tracks in the album with a duration of 04:50 minutes. You are finally excited to know that you are nearing the destination you have been aspiring to reach for so long. The strenuous voyage now starts feeling lighter and pleasant due to the hopes of landing on the Promised Land very soon.
What Phillip Wilkerson and Chris Russell have together achieved in this album is something stupendous. They have ably invested in the power of electronic music to work on the theme of meditative music. To this end, they have built on their earlier experience while opening up some untapped doors on the way.
A piece of advice to listeners
Inspired music is not just to listen through ears, but ought to be experienced through one’s higher consciousness. To get the exact feel the artists want to drive through these tracks, switch off the lights and hear the tracks in a perfect solitude of mind. It made a huge difference when I turned off the lights in my chamber while playing the tracks, probably because the theme is something about darkness. Also, I would advise you to go through the tracks in one go from one to seven and not in bits and pieces. While journeying through the seven tracks, you are sure to land on a heavenly plane of holistic adventure, evident in the fulfillment and peace you feel at heart at the end. This is an incredible album worth pursuing if you want to experience a pensive adventure of tranquility in music.
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