Randal Collier-Ford

Album Title: 
Release Date: 
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
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One of my ‘favourite’ artists on Cryo Chamber must be Randall Collier-Ford – no, stop! I have no favourites, for the Cryo Chamber roster has nothing else but great Drone / Ambient musicians. So I’ll start all over…

One of the many great artists on Cryo Chamber must be Randall Collier-Ford, a gifted musician who joined Cryo Chamber’s roster about three years ago. Under his own name, he took part of the Locus Arcadia project (with three other excellent Cryo Chamber projects: Flowers For Bodysnatchers, God Body Disconnect and Council Of Nine), and he commenced a trilogy about an extra-terrestrial civilization, bringing earthly life towards total apocalypse. These unpleasant events did start with The Architects, about aliens reshaping culture on Earth, with the extermination of (human) life, followed by the post-apocalyptic emptiness and attempts of survival after that eradication, by means of Remnants. With the fitting working title Promethean, we’re invited to experience the aim to reshape that what once was, to enter the new future as a search for humanity’s new destination. The transformation of mankind’s nature lies into a new vision of introspection and mental resurrection. Humanity must search for, and follow, a new quest facing psychic metamorphosis and a new way of consciousness. When technology and industrialism take over primal emotions, social constructions and inter-human relations, and when the conscious thoughts are like degenerated by post-mechanical structures, where would it lead us to?

Like most releases on this label, this one has been mastered once again by label owner Simon Heath, who took care of the (transcendental) artwork too. And following the hugely differentiated execution of Aural Art by this Portland-based artist, the whole album is an exploration, an investigation of sonic constructions and structures. But after a couple of listens, the totality of this final chapter reveals itself. Oh yes, this sonic presentation lasts for three quarters of an hour…

As from the start, I sort of get a vision, an illusion, darkening my thoughts with darkness à la Lovecraft. But quite soon, this aural darkness turns somewhat ‘lighter’ (666 shades of black, and we’re evolving to the lightest nuances) – humanity’s survival as reborn entities might be possible! In a characteristic manner, Randal creates an intriguing web of abyssal drones, natural Ambient and electronic pulses, fusing those typifying aspects into one overpowering, even asphyxiating entity. The acoustic Ambient-Drone Music sounds organic, little introspective and meditative and, from time to time, even jazzy – cf. the oboe / sax-alike additions. There’s the ominous, apocalyptic essence of both former chapters of the trilogy, the enlightened, even classical presence of Piano Movements (indeed, with piano movements…), or the introvert integrity of Melodies For Silent Rain, and still Randal is opening new borders, new possibilities, to translate his expressive creativity. More than before, a nihilism in his work takes over the archetypical obscurity that characterises the (recent) past, and I think it fits for this album being the final chapter in a horrifying history that ends with that unreal search for life’s continuation. Acoustic minimalism as expression of post-apocalyptic desperation – yes, there’s a logic going on. Remarkable too are the many machinal samples, sounds and field recordings used this time, strengthening the cinematic aspect of this story, as well as the astral-psychedelic sounds (like in the esoteric-transcendental soundscape called Reverence Of Wounds, which features Simon Heath [PS: also Canadian label-colleagues Northumbria feature as guest-musicians on one track, Apotheosis]).

So, once again Randall Collier-Ford created something that is both characterising his craftsmanship, and typifying his open-minded approach on writing and recording Ambient Music. The apotheosis, Rebirth To Fire, even touches the borders of IDM / Psybient, and it does feel like some mental rebirth, probably as being like another physical shape, but a new future, distantly and endless, might open after lifetimes of insecurity, suppression and despair…

FYI: in the meantime, Randal compiled and released the album [APEX], which sort of fills in the hiatuses of this trilogy (The Architects / Remnants / Promethean), exploring the deeper meanings of the search for the new destination by the story’s surviving protagonist. Maybe, possibly, hopefully more about it soon…