Thursday, February 5, 2009
Aeolian String Ensemble - Eclipse (2005)
The Aeolian Harp is a stringed instrument which is hung outside and "played" by the wind blowing across it, causing the strings to vibrate. It creates quite a beautiful and unusual sound, and was essentially the 19th century equivalent of windchimes, only with a much broader range of expression.
The Aeolian String Ensemble, as you might guess, uses a number of such instruments, together with a bit of electronic processing to create absolutely mesmerizing washes of slowly drifting sound.
Eclipse is the Ensemble's second full length effort, and collects two studio recordings (one new, one from 1981) and a live track recorded outside during an actual solar eclipse. Each of these three pieces average about 15 minutes long, and each has its own unique charms. My personal preference goes to the first track, entitled "Espacios", because of the way it sparkles as much as it gushes, but the entire disc is well worth hearing.
Whether you're interested in unusual period instruments, or whether you just enjoy a good ambient romp, I think you'll find "Eclipse" a rewarding listen.