Electronic solo artist Ethan Rose is very dedicated to playing layered sounds that are both natural and processed in the midnight-blue spectrum. His sound is equally dark and bright, restrained and exuberant, but never blanked-out black and macabre. Hope and destiny are fulfilled in the inferences Rose concocts, a nocturnal activity that is based in subterfuge, but with a keen sense of clarity in his night vision. Rose is also fond of water, perhaps inspired by Lake Michigan at Chicago's Navy Pier close to where this was recorded, or his home in the Pacific Northwest. Rose utilizes acoustic, player, and toy pianos, as well as music boxes, strings, brass, loops, samples, electronic backdrops, and percussion inserts. His stated concept of "ceiling music" is that of constructs made from the ground up, and reaching for the clouds. "Song One" (they are not really songs) starts with backwards loops, electronic sea washes, chimes, and bells, and a peaceful oceanic or hymnal refrain. "Song Two" is again evocative of midnight, with humming electronics and sighs of dark night-time creatures, and is in effect a shorter extension of "Song One." The 20-minute "Song Three" is patient, slow developing, and very organic, and has Rose layering ad infinitum. It is clear he's fond of wet sounds, a liquid stellar music with an occasional harmonica or melodica cry, organ, and deep bell rings. The influence of Brian Eno in his ambient period is telling, as well as all the natural elements. What is most gratifying is that this project seems so unified, is executed beautifully, and -- though not stated -- appears to be produced without overdubs. It is a great example of how music in this technologically advanced age can be made by a single mind in such a sophisticated and diverse way. It's one-man orchestral music in its glory, and is easily recommendable to those who want to hear the real deal in modern electronic music -- sans beat.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos