Alpha Wave Movement






Gregory Kyryluk from the United States formed his Ambient-focused Alpha Wave Movement in 1992 and released the first full-length release of seven tracks called Transcendence in 1995. Merging analogue synth sweeps with New Age fragments and underlining beats plus percussion, the album depicts an introverted, intimate and coherent flow. Far Eastern elements merge with warm synth washes, and while the overall atmosphere is cold and chilly, this is no Glitch Ambient album, but a synth-heavy manifesto that rinses over the listener, tucking him or her in balmy audio waves. If there is one particular problem today's Ambient listeners might encounter in terms of Transcendence, it's the many moments where the album sounds dated and the synth thicket cannot cover the thin sounds successfully. However, I believe that these observations, while important and non-negotiable, won't destroy the most important thing: the shimmering melodies and their skillfully crafted interweaving. In fact, two melodious compositions are tremendously worth it for Pop Ambient fans who long for the mellow sound which turns blurry and phantasmagoric when the textures merge and float into each other. All of Kyryluk's tracks share this attribute and enhance it in different ways.

The Passage Of Moments launches the album and is a good indicator of the New Age remnants that float incessantly through each track off Tanscendence. Deep bass pulses are accompanied by quiescent field recordings of distant ocean waves and ethereal down-spiraling whirls. Fuller synth sweeps are introduced after 45 seconds, and a bold synthetic New Age koto provides a strong Japanese flavor. And you know what? This song is great! The sweeps are melancholic but warm, and when they cross-fade into each other, the polyphony grows even stronger. The middle section of the track lets the synths fade out and makes room for tribal percussion and gloomy bells. Hollow 4/4 beats are introduced, and when equally hollow pulses spread and are traversed by tremendously soothing synth washes that encapsulate the listener, this song has reached its climax. It is in this moment that any New Age fragments are invisible, making this a fantastic Ambient track with shimmering synth coves. One of my favorites! The title track Transcendences is, in stark contrast, colder and eerier. Quiet, seraphic iciness is depicted and interspersed with oscillating whirrs and glacial bells. The feeling is solemn and soothing, the vault-like atmosphere boosted by filtered raindrop-like snares. After three and a half minutes, a beat sets in, complete with shakers and dusky synth pads, and it is here that the song suddenly starts to sound quite a bit dated, an impression that could be fended off successfully on The Passage Of Moments. After six minutes, a brighter sparkling synth of cherubic dimensions is added, enhancing the feeling of both lightness and coldness. The song fades out slowly with these ingredients intact.

The short interlude
Melting Boundaries is a proper Ambient tune without beats. The sparkling two-note scheme of the fuzzy backing synths is accompanied by coruscating harp-like foils and the warped trembling character traits of a third synth. This skit is rounded off by beautiful galactic sweeps which float up like a breeze and down like cascades. It's a nice track, but non-essential and ephemeral despite these enchanting curlicues. Terra Nocturna (Eros) starts with feisty synth sweeps and glittering wind chimes, Balearic guitars, a whistling melody and filtered bass backings plus proper beats; these ingredients make this a good track altogether which breathes and lives due to the terrific sustain and manifold colors of the synth stabs, but falls short due to the galactic pads and the 16-bit shakers. The mood that is created is flawless and deep, it's just that several ingredients aren't compatible with my listening habits. It sounds yet again boldly dated. The nocturnal Artifacts & Prophecies with its incisive synth sirens is next. It has been knighted by its recent inclusion into the fictitious Ambient radio station of the video game GTA 4. Whoever decided to put it into this game made a brave step. Its bouncy Dub works best in a real-world context. Screaming cyber sea gulls, sawtooth sweeps, mellow bells, a laser FX-laden beat and the angelically crystalline setting make this a mysteriously bubbling track full of a coldness. The penultimate non-percussive Gateway paints a heavy post-apocalyptic ambience traversed by spectral quirks and ethereal weight, while my favorite track, the outro Veil Of The Twilight Moon is a masterful piece of eupeptic contentment. Warm synth streams in major coalesce, merge and depart constantly, creating a sound carpet that is ever-changing and allows enough room for the sustain to mesh with the distant temple gongs. Occasionally, the song morphs into minor keys, but goes back to the heart-warming majesty shortly thereafter. If you give only one track of this album a chance, let it be this one!

Transcendence is a good starting point of Gregory Kyryluk's career as an Ambient artist. You hear throughout the album that budgetary reasons prevented him from using the megalomaniac wealth of synthesizers that were utilized by such likeminded acts as The Orb or Robert Rich & Steve Roach. The album is all in all spacey, rather cold and simply blue, to say it with the vocabulary of synesthesia. The clear winner of this album is the warm and unexpectedly bright outro Veil Of The Twilight Moon, while the opener The Passage Of Moments moves successfully into Far Eastern territory and maintains a cleaning aura of contentment and concentration; it is also hiding the limited resources with which the album was created. Even though Transcendence sounds definitely dated, the compositions themselves stand the test of time if you are willed to forgive them their lack of hightech gadgetry and the bold inclusion of New Age flavors. The majority of the tracks doesn't present any field recordings, and yet the album sounds cozy due to the analogue synths in all of its tracks. The two mentioned tracks are wholeheartedly recommended, and who knows, maybe you've already encountered Artifacts & Prophecies during a gaming session or two. The album is available on iTunes, Amazon and on CD.



[Update Oct. 11, 2012: In the original version of this review, I stated that Gregory Kyryluk hails from Canada. This was a wrong statement, corrected by the artist himself. Sincere apologies, and thanks for sending in the correction, Gregory!]




Ambient Review 085: Alpha Wave Movement – Transcendence (1995). Originally published on Jun. 20, 2012 at