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After two highly acclaimed collaborations ("Path Of Least Resistance" in 2005 and "Beyond The Portal" in 2009, the later featuring also Skip Murphy), veteran US drifters Craig Padilla (based in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho) and Richard Roberts aka Zero Ohms (Byhalia, Mississippi) have teamed again, with some help of Skip Murphy (Redding, California), for another graciously floating space exploration, a journey to encounter magnificent emptiness and silence of intergalactic space. Released on Lotuspike during October 2012, the album immediately strikes with the title composition "When The Earth Is Far Away", which masterfully melts Craig Padilla's utterly sublime synth washes and Zero Ohms' woodwind instruments wizardry. The fusion of warm and dreamy electroscapes with soaring and breathing primordial flutes is magically captivating and stunningly panoramic and absorbing. A truly grandiose overture, Maestros!!! Hauntingly immersing electro-acoustic vibrations overlap to the next composition, "Timelessness". With Skip Murphy, who is credited on this one for co-writing and synths, the duo attracts with quietly drifting and ebbing atmozones occasionally interplaying with slightly colossal drone expansions. During its length of nearly 17 minutes, serene piano parts step in here and there, along with sorrowful flute fragments, blanketed by swirling distant tinkles and futuristic sonic sparkles. "Timelessness" is totally awesome, it's tranquilly grandeur and it powerfully exhilarates the synapses of all outer space aficionados!!! Low space rumbles and freezing winds invade "Strange Storms" and drift into breathtakingly mesmerizing intergalactic space realms, colored by celestial harmonic choirs and catchy dissonances to emphasize its unbounded spaciousness. Sonic bliss continues with "Blue Distance", clocking over 12 minutes. Distant rumbles and ethereal voices carry this composition into meandering and waning, warmly inviting, nearly cinematic domain, with slightly nostalgic feel added by murky clouds of touching and evocative flute work. Tranquilizing sea shore waves unfold "Dream Travel" and smoothly transform into deeper circling drone terrains, coupled with lighter, dream-like washes and assorted breaths, swirls and tinkles, all precisely drawn and layered to sculpt a hauntingly aural soundscape, paying a tribute to the bond between the earth and outer space. The closing "Terraforming" (Skip Murphy again appears as guest on synths), with 18 minutes the longest piece, is wrapped by deeper drones, gracefully unfolding and expanding, leaving the infinite shores and entering the gates of the void. Then it swiftly cascades into more relieving and pulsing, sequencer-infused phase interacting with breathy and ethereal flute images, until the earthy field recordings announce the return back home from this amazing interstellar odyssey. Not to forget, Jeff Kowal (artwork) and Ben Cox (mastering) have done great work too, 4-panel eco wallet packaging looks absolutely flawless, there is even a print on both inside pockets!!! "When The Earth Is Far Away" is a must have sonic pearl skillfully merging evocative and magical ancient wind instruments with compelling synth interplanetary panoramas, richly luminous, gigantically fascinating and tranquilly immersing!!! Bravo!!!
Richard Gürtler (Dec 16, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)