Ambient-Chill-New Age Review: Dark Sky Alliance-Interdwell

Release Date: March 12, 2024

Label: ‎Spotted Peccary


Interdwell, the debut album from the Dark Sky Alliance group, is a testament to its members' collective experience and expertise. The group, which includes music industry veteran percussionist Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Indigo Girls), keyboardist Rupert Greenall (The Fixx), synthesist Eric "the" Taylor, and cinematic ambient guitarist David Helpling, has crafted a work of art that is sure to captivate listeners.

The first thing that captures one's imagination is the cover art—the globe with a logo suspended in the air. It immediately gives you an indication of what you may hear. At least for me, artwork tends to paint a picture of what kind of music is in store for my body, mind, and spirit to absorb.

If being aroused in some way does not sound like something you want at the moment, there is always some other benefit to music that has an atmosphere that creates a certain mood or feeling (and all music does, of course). I want another state of consciousness from any ambient chill or new-age recording I am hearing. Most listeners of this type of music would have that expectation.

"Search" is a short intro to set the stage for what else is coming.   "Fortunate One" is 7:19 minutes of new-age ambient chill that offers an anticipatory trajectory, particularly with the percussion. The chanting fits well with the soundscape created as you listen. It is very complex, with many divergent elements coming together. Although intricate, it is masterful in presentation and production. You recognize this from this point and in the future during your listening.

"Warm Inlet" has a super cool vibe with an echoing guitar and prominent bass line weaving through it, all strengthened by the excellent synths and keys. It has a jazzy feel, especially with the guitar and bass, that quiet storm feel I love so much in jazz. However, regardless of hearing that, the ambient and chill carry your consciousness to another level of being. Its innate eclecticism and the many genres and influences that come together define it. I would not mind hearing more of this musical improvisation with that underlying chill atmosphere. 

"The Desert Mind" starts with a synth and birds, making you feel you are in the middle of a rainforest in some remote land. The echoing and natural sounds combined with the music strike you in a cerebral way, yet they're emotionally calming. The connection between the music and your spirit is undeniable; there is something extraordinary going on with this track. It is like the mind is a desert waiting to be populated by sounds and music frequencies.

"Latch" is one of the shorter tracks (3:16). It starts with an ominous wave of synths, creating a curtain of sound and a feeling of wondering which way it will turn at any moment. But it doesn't. It maintains that heavy synth sound, reminding me of some other bands (open to interpretation) I have heard that focus on primarily instrumental. It was a significant change of pace and mood and very effective in pulling you in an entirely different direction.

The title track, "Interdwell," is the second-longest effort at 8:30 minutes. As it has been from the start of this album, percussion is vital to start pushing the composition as the other elements are added. Looking at its length, I was ready for many transitions and was not disappointed. I liked the way it was built as it went along. There is plenty of excitement and colorful collaborations of the instrumentation. I heard a good guitar line come in to add more potency to the mix. It is a very transitory musical experience and sounds fantastic at a higher volume level; it will fill your room.

"The Far Cry" begins gently with the synths, and then an acoustic piano arrives. The percussion is still bold and well-placed. Once again, your mood shifts at a different pace as the music dictates. The bass sounds like a beating heart as the layers of keys acknowledge its presence. I found this track cinematic, like you are watching a movie, and the scene goes through its movements and changes; the sounds match what you see. We all have been there before, and usually, the music is in the background, helping the scenes along, but you don't appreciate it. This makes you realize how this music can be filled with many colorful emotions. Next time you watch something, you may want to take note.

"Marotta Swamp" is Jerry's track, and although you hear him clearly throughout this album, it gives you pause to sincerely appreciate his artistry and talents and what he can bring to a soundtrack. Ironically, percussion is not part of the presentation. The track is more balanced with the synths, bass, and layers that help it build as you move along. 

"Tré Pur" is relaxing, like melting into a cloud and riding through a clear blue sky. The keys have a rhythm like a musical clock or a metronome to focus on your breathing and heartbeat. Quite beautiful.

"The Slow Train Home" is their most ambitious work, clocking in at 10:30, and it lives up to its name. I am thinking about time and how it consistently carries a definitive mood. It starts very purposefully, and then a cello joins in. That instrument can be melancholy in its effects, but it depends on what other instruments or effects join as the track moves along. It takes little time to sound appropriate once the layers of synths are alongside it to enhance the listening experience. Based on the composition's subtleties and length of time, it could serve as a meditative tool. Towards the end, you can hear a train going across the tracks, the perfect way to lead to the conclusion. 

"Linear" starts in a spacey manner, then a whooshing sound arrives, and the percussion changes the entire direction. The guitar is a nice touch with the echo effect as it punctuates the track. You can hear exciting sounds; it is entirely different in style and approach than any other track, so I appreciated it more. It ended up being one of my favorite tracks, and the guitar lends a more rock feel, which I loved with all the other instruments.

"Bring Myself To Say It" is the finale. What would they come up with next after the previous track? It is a shorter one at 3:50 minutes. It was an excellent way to close out the recording. The brief, soft, sweet piano and layer of synths lead you out gently as your feet again touch the ground, and the musical journey is over. 

Interdwell is an excellent recording that is very eclectic and entertaining. The instrumentation, mastering, and engineering are superior. The musicians involved are all veterans, and it shows from track to track. You will love this if you enjoy instrumental ambient chill with a new-age flavor!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

May 25, 2024


01. Search

02. Fortunate One

03. Warm Inlet

04. The Desert Mind

05. Latch

06. Interdwell

07. The Far Cry

08. Marotta Swamp

09. Tré Pur

10. The Slow Train Home

11. Linear

12. Bring Myself To Say It

No comments:

Post a Comment