View Full Version : Meg Bowles Takes The Latest Big Step Forward In The Field Of Ambient Music

Sep-03-2013, 14:19
Trying to review ambient music is a bit like trying to describe a lovely field of wild daisies -- some green stalks, green leaves and pretty white petals. Then where do you go from there? A lot of modern ambient music is very pretty, but how do you describe one synthesizer tune after another? Meg Bowles has been a recording synthesist for two decades, and she has a new, very good ambient music album out, The Shimmering Land. But it is difficult to describe music made with a synthesizer that sounds like a synthesizer (and not programmed to sound like something else). Some of the synth sounds are slow, spacey and floating, while others have pulses (her “Undulant Sea” even has a few percussive clicks) and wave-like motions. But, in general, all of the music is gentle, dreamy, slow or fairly slow, and deeply mesmerizing. Analysis is fairly pointless with ambient music. Best just to let it flow into your ears while you are in a relaxed state and let it carry you along like a leaf on a stream.

This is Bowles’ fourth solo album (she also has a duet album with trumpet player David Bilger and she appears on three compilation albums). Bowles titles her tunes after all types of meditative, reflective places and activities -- the ocean (“Undulant Sea”), foggy mist (“The Sweetness of Mist”), planets visible in the sky (“Venus Rising”), dusk (“Into the Gloaming”), the night sky (“Beneath the Radiant Stars”) and nighttime activities such as dreaming (“Nightwalk Across the Isle of Dream”). Unlike some ambient artists who purposely go for improvisation and random correlation of sounds in their recordings, Bowles says she carefully composes and constructs her music, and makes it go and flow where she wants it to. This would apparently seem to be the latest big step forward in the field of ambient music, and it might be the one to make a believer out of you too. Find excerpts of her music to sample online, or go to her website (megbowlesmusic dot com).