Island Visions, the recent collection of music from Seahawks for KPM, touched on the deeper, more spatial side of music and led to Jon exploring this territory in greater depth, again for KPM, under his Ocean Moon alter ego. This time he brought along some of today’s most visionary musicians: Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle / Ghostbox) for his intuitive melodic mastery, Seaming To (Graham Massey’s Toolshed) for her extraordinary vocal talents, Steve Moore (Zombi) for his sophisticated and inventive rhythmic sensibility and Richard Norris (The Grid) for his sensitive and deeply resonant ambience. The initial recordings were made at The Centre Of Sound in Cornwall, with the collaborators various contributions coming from London, Derbyshire and the US.
The supremely serene electronic flute and bells of “Crystal Drift” ease us into our journey and we take our next steps with “Rainbow Ripples” as it gently folds space with arpeggiated synth swells and delicate machine beats. Light vocal tones, bells and breath FX on “And Breathe” keep us going, accompanied by synth drones and billows of electric piano.
We travel through the synth-space-surf haze of “Lost Oceans”, with soft bass and warm ambience, to reach the “New Infinity” of revolving melody, spacious pads and light electronic beats. The celestial tone floats of “White Mirror” close out the first side.
Temple bells ring out to running water flowing together with deep resonant vocal tones as the second side opens with “Peace Bells”. “Revolving and Evolving” follows, a tranquil electronic meadow of lush pastoral synth tones where we rest for a while for “Mountain Dreaming”, a light rhythmic dance of zither and birdsong.
The undulating “Forest Motion” ripples with synth arpeggios, dreamy Solina strings and percussive modular electronics before allowing the crackling ambience and Cantonese whispers of “Sleep Golden” to wash over us. Finally we find ourselves on “The Long Path”, its warm temple ambience of drones and chants guiding us home.
Crystal Harmonics is inspired by four particular albums from KPM’s catalogue. There’s The Electronic Light Orchestra by Adrian Wagner from 1975 and then Temple Of The Stars, Breath Of Life and finally Keith Mansfield’s Circles, these last three coming from KPM’s mid-1980s run of modern classical/New Age gems. For Jon, “making library music can be very liberating. I really enjoyed the additional focus it brought to the music working on different facets of composition with each collaborator”.
But Crystal Harmonics is no mere exercise in vulger pastiche. As the past, present and future sound of paradise, this fresh exploration of mid-90s ambient and original New Age sounds exists outside of our linear experience of time.
The cover started as a collage Jon made a couple of years ago, a different expression of the same impulses that guided the music. As a nod to the records that provided seeds of inspiration, the collage was framed by KPM’s house style of the 1980s for the finished sleeve by Richard Robinson.
Mastered for vinyl by Be With’s sonic shaman Simon Francis, cut by the legendary Pete Norman and pressed in the Netherlands by Record Industry, Ocean Moon’s Crystal Harmonics is the tranquil balm for these turbulent times.