Alpha Wave Movement
Eolian Reflections






Despite my love for the Drone and Glitch subgenres, there are times when a densely layered ethereality with gazillions of textures can be an entrancing affair, especially so when the ensuing ambience is filled with interesting ornaments and melodious vesicles. Eolian Reflections by Alpha Wave Movement aka Gregory Kyryluk is such an album, released in September 2012 on the Periphery label. Like the New Age-oriented works of Robert Rich and Steve Roach, or better still, the synth-heavy natural depictions of Thom Brennan, the music of Alpha Wave Movement generally focuses on a particular elemental force or related phenomenon and embedds it as an overarching theme in-between high plasticity dreamscapes. On Eolian Reflections, Kyryluk explicates the concept of the wind and is thus a pitch-perfect example of this transcendent subgenre which is as much ridiculed as it is beloved: the generous amount of various patterns and surfaces as well as the injected pristine purity result in remarkably saturated arrangements which literally swallow the listener and place him or her in wadded surroundings. Even if the synths only underline certain melodies and sequences, they are never just floating in the background, but keep the visibility of their presence and bold luminescence intact. The negative sides of such albums are usually twofold. The permanently overexposed state of trance on the one hand can be a bit too much and tiresome, and on the other hand, the implied overarching leitmotif cannot unfold, for the usually glaringly electronic nature of such releases cannot depict or closely resemble the organic landscapes that are cited as inspirations. Kyryluk intertwines wind- and animal-related field recordings to rectify this situation, but the listener has to come to grips with a deliberately artificial or synthetic production. To many people, this is no problem at all, and fans of Alpha Wave Movement and the artists mentioned above know what to expect anyway.


Canyon Reverie marks the point of departure and is at the same time the longest composition of 13 minutes. A relatively quick fade-in leads to a mysterious deepness in the form of stretched two-note chimes and almost mechanical synth waves. The admixed windy drone layers inject an elemental force which boosts both the erudite depth and the wide scope further. It is shortly before the two-minute mark that an Eno-esque contrastive electric piano melody is interwoven. It comprises of a sparkling loftiness that meshes well with the bolstered structures, as the ensuing interplay between the massaging drones and the crystalline tone sequences mediates between the opposite spectrums. The many textures of the balmy synths are always powerful and voluminous. The plinking melodies contain characteristic traits of the Glitch genre, but the majesty of the composition as well as its many cavernous bass bursts and galactic backing strings elevate Canyon Reverie into towering, ethereal realms. I am especially fond of the slowly emerging downbeat in the middle of the arrangement. It adds blebs of progress and movement in adjaceny to the wraithlike theme. To be honest, I cannot spot a particular canyon-related element in this Ambient piece, but anyway, it provides a great start whose positive, enchanting vibe is continued by Cliff Dwellers Dominion with its much more intense, glacial structure. The wave-like setup sounds decidedly energetic and fresher, and the many New Age elements such as wind chimes, goblet drums and didgeridoos might put a few listeners off, but Alpha Wave Movement interweaves a blissful synth structure of whimsical notes in minor which are swallowed by hugely euphoric spirals so that these slivers are entirely tolerable. The middle section puts the synths to the background where their river-resembling flow accentuates the reverberated, arcane percussion and the unsuspectedly punchy synth pads. The evoked alcove provides yet again no Ambient still life, but moves forward due to the clear cut rhythm until it reaches its wind gust-fueled endpoint.


While the first two tracks are balmy, but nonetheless rather dynamic and cold, Dune Reflections draws an even stronger ambiguity: it launches with an aural mirage of forlorn, wind-interspersed synths and underlines them with glacial bells. Their echo conflates with the orange-colored solemnity, but the occurring galactic synth pads seem to tower above the composition, completely detached from the snugly warmth, yet somehow involved in boosting the thermal heat thanks to their opposite effects. The warm mystique is boosted after the fifth minute when the synth washes whirr in climes that cannot be pinpointed; neither is the atmosphere filled with brightness, nor is it crestfallen, making Dune Reflections the most contemplative addition of the six tracks. Of particular note is the outro, as the quirky laser sounds mesh tremendously well with the heat wave. Since the New Age factor is low, I am all the more fond of it. Full Moon At Window Arch breaks the intrinsic formula for the first time, and boldly so, as the track opens with a nocturnal field recording of croaking crickets and scattered birds. The added synth stream is undoubtedly the dreamiest one of the whole album, combining  both a hazy mellifluousness and a seraphic peacefulness. This gorgeous setting is backed by additional rapturous synth infusions. Gentle claves and clicks as well as whale song-like ornaments refine this straightforward but tremendously catchy concoction.


The last two tracks consist of a particularly melodious theme and a proper Ambient outro loaded with manifold textures and surfaces. The penultimate Natural Geometry opens with a mélange of soothing synth breezes and a delicate marimba-based Far Eastern tonality with a few shakers and bass droplets underpinning the tranquilizing moment. Liquedous harpsichord-esque guitars join a bit later. The ambiguity of the effervescent particles in front of the resplendent soundscape make this the warmest, mellowest composition. The ethereality is kept at a low level, as this track is much more focused on the glistening melodies and the related plinking molecules most of its time, although the final phase allows a closer particle-free look at the floating synth washes. If there is one tune on Eolian Reflections to whose melodies one can hum along with, it would be Natural Geometry. The final track The Crossroads Of Time & Silence is a particularly encapsulating and deep composition. Another wave-like structure is maintained by swelling and downfalling two-note synths, and it is here that the textures start play a much larger role, as there is no particular melody apparent. The flow is magnificent, the long sustain phases allow a glimpse onto the otherwise hidden nuances, and the many coruscating glitters and sparks purposefully lessen the heaviness. The Crossroads Of Time & Silence is a deeply entrancing Ambient anthem that closes the album on an eminently reflective note.


If there is one thing done terrifically right by Kyryluk, it is the magnanimous amount of textures. The synths gleam and shine, but can also consist of a blurred, hazy nature or imply pastel colors. This variety elevates the albums of Alpha Wave Movement to higher spheres, as they offer both cohesiveness and variety in this regard, making the trancelike states the artist seeks to create less tiresome. Fans of the aforementioned Thom Brennan will know what I mean when his albums such as Mist (2000) and Vibrant Water (2001) offer tremendously deep and aquatic panoramas, but do not offer much variety, therefore teaching impatient Ambient listeners – an oxymoron in itself! – a lesson in terms of close listening sessions and their will to adjust to a particular meandering soundscape for an hour or so. Eolian Reflections is a boon, mixing field recordings, Far Eastern melodies and New Age percussion patterns with differently texturized synth structures. Fans of this deepest kind of Ambient music will rejoice. The amount of different textures is astonishing! The occasionally occurring beat structures are among the coziest, adding just the right amount of dynamics and movement. In all of these regards, Gregory Kyryluk succeeds time and again, and Eolian Reflections is another homerun in a long series of albums. I, however, was not able to distill the driving factor out of the six Ambient tracks. Sure, wind gusts and breezes are in here, but the Southern panoramas of the United States cited by the artist as an inspiration do not appear in the music itself. It is hard or next to impossible to transform the silence and pompousness of these landscapes in an ethereal Ambient album. The red dust and blue skies are even eliminated at times, especially so when a few icy synths are unleashed. So I advice you to detach the music from the front artwork and just enjoy the trance-like state while listening to this album. Maybe then the link to the artwork will unfold automatically.




Further listening:

You can listen to two-minute excerpts of Eolian Reflections on the Bandcamp page of the Periphery label.




Ambient Review 144: Alpha Wave Movement – Eolian Reflections (2012). Originally published on Nov. 7, 2012 at