Contemporary Instrumental-Ambient Review: Jon Durant-Soul Of A River

Release Date: October 9, 2020

Label: Real  Music


Jon Durant has an immersive catalog of recorded music dating back to 1994. I had the pleasure of covering two releases prior to the latest effort Soul Of A River. In 2018 my introduction  was  Parting Is and in 2019 Alternate Landscapes.  So, with each passing year I get another slice or aural ear candy from Jon to absorb.

Jon explained the recording like this: “With Soul of a River I wanted to capture the feeling of peace and stillness that I experience living right on the Willamette River. There’s a meditative quality to the experience of watching the river flow past that I hope is reflected in this music—both through the sounds and the melodies.”

Jon’s unique fretless cloud guitar sounds could pass for other ambient textures and sounds. In actuality that is what he is creating with an exceptional degree of excellence. There is a lot to take in within each track and not one is under six minutes and the longest “Current,” clocks in at nearly eleven minutes.
The cloud reference is quite fitting actually because the music does give one the feeling of floating above our earthly confines. I do understand where he is coming from with the relation to a flowing river. Life does have a flow to it and it signifies our activities within each of our lives. Some rivers are slow moving because there is not enough water pushing through and others flow with tremendous purpose non-stop. We can look at our lives that way, everyone flows differently with an entirely dissimilar objective in mind. Music also has a definitive flow to it, with varying degrees of force and purpose. It brings one to the conclusion that life itself is all connected  -  humans, the animal kingdom, and nature as a living entity unto itself. As the animals have instinctual behavior we humans run more on emotion and act on that. Thus the immediate reaction to the sounds around us, which is more cerebral than instinctual, and in particular strongly to the music we listen.

In the case of Soul Of A River, which is an interpretation of nature in more broader sense, this music conceptualizes that thought pattern and brings it to life. This is relaxing, contemplative, and very meditative music. This brings me to the conclusion that yes, it is instrumental but there is a lot to more to it than that. The foundation of this album draws from an ambient space experimental approach to a broadened appreciation of the tenets of new age.

The congealing into one musical unit in every track is most significant and on the longest and most poignant piece “Currents.” It is filled with many layers and all the spaces are filled in with sounds that take you away to the stars beyond our earthly existence. If that is the primary purpose of this music, and I am not the one to say it is, for me it most certainly had the effect.

While the Soul Of A River is spiritual and one of our many earthly delights, a touch of heaven and the stars beyond is what this music can project very strongly at times. Again, it all ties into life itself and how important music can be interconnected to everything for our enjoyment and times for healing. And finally, what it means for each individuals interpretation.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
October 31, 2020

Track List:
1. Tributaries 05:58
2. Current 10:37
3. Estuary 09:11   
4. Glistening 06:16
5. Watercourse 08:27
6. Flow 06:08

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