AMN Reviews: Byron Metcalf & Mark Seelig – Persistent Visions (2019; Projekt Records)

Metcalf and Seelig continue their long-running collaboration on Persistent Visions, released March 15 on Projekt. As a whole, the album harkens to the type of tribal ambient music pioneered by Steve Roach 25-35 years ago in a series of now-classic releases. This is not terribly surprising, as Metcalf and Seelig both have worked with Roach at various points since then. But what separates this recording from others of the same ilk is how easily it brings one into its meditative soundscape.

Metcalfe provides exquisitely-timed hand-drum rhythms that are both hypnotic and not overly repetitive. On top of these, Seelig offers lilting bamboo flute melodies and a subtle synth layer. This simple combination is the basis for the album’s 71 minutes, which are broken up into six raga-like “visions.” These trance-inducing pieces are neither overly bright nor dark – instead, they evoke a sense of harmony with nature, others, and oneself. It is difficult to make it through more than a few minutes of Persistent Visions without feeling a rising sense of calm and serenity, even if one is not a practitioner of the meditative arts.

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