Title: Excursion Three
Release Date: 2014 May 23
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: Earth Mantra
I haven’t reviewed any Earth Mantra releases on The CerebralRift, despite knowing about the label for several years. Even so, starting with the three excursions of Altus on this release make is a great place to start covering works from this well-respected, long running Netlabel.
The reason I haven’t reviewed anything from Earth Mantra was mostly due to the circumstances under which I found them. I was doing to some random web-surfing a few years ago when I came across an article about Lucette Bourdin. I recall following through on links to her personal website, and somehow finding out that her estate had allowed Earth Mantra to release all of her musical works.
I recall checking out some of her music, and thinking that here was an artist whose works required deeper listening. I felt kind of strange downloading all those releases (after all, these were the works of someone who hadn’t left the planet all that long ago), but I was compelled by the idea that this was (in a way) the document of a life.
So, we fast forward a few years. The original operator of Earth Mantra decided to step aside, and turned over the label to a new owner. There have been a few bumps along the road, but this year they have started getting the new site together, and releasing new recordings via BandCamp.
The Three Excursions of Altus
What is odd about reviewing this release is that it is the third recording in a series of releases, and I haven’t listened to the first two. That might seem like reading that last novel in a trilogy and expecting that you can understand all of the plots, sub-plots, and character developments that happened in the first two novels.
According to Mike Carss (Altus):
Every excursion has a destination.
Whether you stay is your decision.
This is a fairly succinct way of putting the three tracks of this release into perspective. Each of them is an excursion, or a journey of sorts. ‘Journey’s End’ with it’s harmony and sustained bass line, and delicate melody floating in and out over the top of the pulse pushing you forward towards your destination.
‘Gathering the Moments’ is the gentlest of reflection at the end of the journey. The melody that weaves together the experiences into a single narrative. The quote from Homer, “The journey is the thing.” comes to mind when listening to this piece.
‘Silver Shores’ feels like gliding over still waters under a full moon towards a silvery beach in slow motion. These nothing to disturbed the overall peace of the experience, riding up one small swell and back down, then up a larger swell, and back down again.
This is a release where you can almost pick your excursion. While it’s all about the end of the journey, it’s also about putting the experience or mood of the journey into perspective internally. It’s up for you to decide what the journey has meant to you, and whether you wish to remain. Overall, these three excursions of Altus are a great reprieve from a hectic life.