Avatara

by Steve Brand

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From the original release notes:
Steve Brand got his start releasing experimental music under the name "Augur," and more recently switched over to releasing music under his own name (both solo and in collaboration with such artists as Ishq and Disturbed Earth) on the Atmoworks, Hypnos Secret Sounds and Relaxed Machinery labels. He's quickly established himself as one of the more interesting and distinctive artists working in ambient music, and having released two albums Bridge to Nowhere and Children of Alcyone on Hypnos Secret Sounds in 2008 and 2009, we're very excited to follow up with Steve Brand's new album Avatara on the main Hypnos imprint. This album has a ritual feel common to many of Brand's recordings, though Avatara is more ambient and less percussive. The recording starts out in a place of low-key contemplation and evolves through distinct stages and moods, though it is always gentle and meditative.

Steve Brand describes some of the inspirations behind this album:
Avatara is Sanskrit for "descent" in the sense of a deity's descent from heaven to earth. Avatara is inspired by the various avatars of various ages and cultures...Yeshua, Quan Yin, Buddha, Brigit, Krishna, Saint Germain, White Buffalo Calf Woman, and others. I’m fascinated by the idea and the various stories in various ages and cultures of humans becoming "ascended masters," or avatars, non-human beings that still are attached to humans and choose to returns to Earth to assist them. The stories vary, and almost every culture has its masters, but one thing is consistent throughout each of their stories, they've realized a more expanded expression of being and awareness, of what we are and what we are capable of, and return to assist other human beings.

"Brand follows two previous Hypnos recordings (on Hypnos Secret Sounds), Bridge to Nowhere and Children of Alcyone, with Avatara, a Sanskrit word that stands for “descent” in the sense of a deity's descent from heaven to earth; the title also takes its inspiration from avatars such as Buddha and Krishna and from cultural myths about humans who've become “ascended masters,” non-human beings who choose to return to Earth to assist others. In keeping with such concepts, the album's six tracks are deep ambient in style, often long-form in design and conducive to meditative drift and elevated states. “Morning Glory” unfolds in a series of irradiated exhalations with pauses generously spaced between them, while the aptly titled “Still Here (Breathing Space)” arrests the pace to near-stillness, with percussive rustling seeming even more active when heard alongside the track's streaming washes and tones. At fourteen minutes the album's longest piece, “Act of Creation” perpetuates the meditative mood with the quiet chatter of newly born life-forms audible in between church-like synth tones. Largely downplaying percussion, Brand's becalmed material emphasizes long trails of synthetic chords, their ethereal character heightened by their pristine synthetic design, throughout its epic, hour-long journey." - Reviewed by textura.org

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released April 22, 2011

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Steve Brand

Steve Brand originally recorded and released in the experimental genre under the name “Augur,” with more than 20 limited edition releases on independent labels. In 2003, Steve began creating in the “ambient” genre under his own name. He has issued more than 40 self-released disks, as well as a number of solo and collaborative releases on U.S. labels, Hypnos and AtmoWorks, the Italian label, Afe. ... more

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