Dave Luxton is the founder of Wayfarer Records, a successful Pacific Northwest based record label. In addition to being a seasoned producer, audio engineer, and sound designer, Dave is also a classically trained multi-instrumentalist and composer, whose film scores cover a wide range of musical genres.
As well, Dave is also a well-known, talented, and versatile musician known for his significant and notable contributions to the ambient and electronic music genres. We could even characterize him as the premier creator of “Space Ambient” music in America. His music has been featured on nationally syndicated radio shows such as Hearts of Space, Echoes, Musical Starstreams, Music With Space, and Star’s End. One of the most astoundingly accomplished people I’ve ever encountered, Dave is also a professor, research scientist, author, and licensed clinical psychologist. Whew!
His ambient “Space Music” album, “Music From The Firmament II,” is eleven atmospheric pieces that transport the listener to otherworldly realms via a combination of intricate soundscapes, evocative melodies, and innovative production techniques.
“Music From The Firmament II” is a follow-up to Dave’s best-selling compilation “Music From The Firmament” (2011). The album features selected tracks from Dave’s catalog, including two new compositions, “Shepherd Moons (Mimas Mix)” and “End of Entropy.”
Dave describes his musical mission as: “To make transcendent music from the inner and outer worlds.” Through the lush soundscapes on “Music From The Firmament II,” which succeeds mightily in that mission, Dave has created an immersive sonic experience with rich and textured musical palettes, thus inviting listeners to explore whole new worlds, both inner and outer.
To me, this is a deep and visionary album, far beyond what we may think on the surface is just another ambient album. The music does not meander around. It has purpose and direction and a conceptual narrative as a foundation. I hope I can do it some justice in this review. Let’s explore.
Now, to begin to better understand the album, we could theoretically get into an interesting discussion about what the definition of “firmament” really is. Is it, as some believe, the “dome” that perhaps covers the Earth, separating the “waters” of what is above from what is below? Or does it just refer to the vast expanse of the sky and atmosphere above the Earth: The “heavens?” This is for you to decide. But I am wondering if they have synthesizers up there. In any case, Dave has done a phenomenal job on this album of bringing to Earth some quite heavenly music for us to enjoy and ponder.
One thing that really strikes you straight away is that you find yourself mysteriously feeling better after listening to this album. It’s got some very healing qualities to it.
The album opens with the wonderfully soothing, “Ascendant Sign.” For those that do not know, the ascendant in astrology is the zodiac sign that was literally rising on the eastern horizon the moment you were born. So here, through this gentle, wide, and lush composition, we emerge and are “born” into the album. Brilliant.
Following is “Free Fall.” With its softly percolating “space sounds,” one wonders where or even what they are falling from. Here, we do feel as if we are indeed somewhere in deep space. Again, brilliant.
What does a crop circle look like from above? From space? Where do these come from? “Crop Circle” somehow perfectly captures the mysterious and geometric nature of these phenomena.
“Millions of Possibilities” invites us to remember and understand that “anything can happen faster than the speed of light.” The ethereal female voice that is masterfully interspersed here reminds us of this draws us deeply into the possibilities. We can feel our consciousness effortlessly expanding.
My understanding of Palomar is that it is a famous observatory with several large telescopes, including the Hale Telescope, which at one time was the world’s largest telescope. The track, “Palomar” is atmospheric and flowing with its gorgeous synth strings, and in our mind’s eye, we can actually “see,” and I will say, “feel,” the amazing stars and galaxies that exist out there. This is beautifully done.
One of the new tracks on this album is “Shepard Moons (Mimas Mix).” Sitting atop a bed of slightly droning and, therefore, meditative synth, the composition explores the topic of the rings around Saturn and other planets in the universe that have similar rings. These rings around Saturn consist of dust and ice particles that are carefully kept in check by two shepherd moons that keep a watchful eye on the rings from either side. It’s fascinating, really. This is a gorgeous track that transports us fully into the deep space mysteries, and perhaps our own kind of mirrored existence.
“Inside The Cosmic Void” is interesting because it leads us to introspect about what’s really out there. Is it just a big void or are there perhaps unseen multiverses teeming with life we can’t fathom from our perspective? This one takes us on a deep journey through what is probably not a “void” at all. Love this.
As a young girl, I remember reading a book that postulated a theory that there were two Earths; parallel universes. It stuck with me all this time. “Two Planets” seems to suggest the same, or at least the idea that we are certainly not alone here. A steady drumbeat underneath firmly grounds us while we are free to explore endless possibilities.
What does Earth even look like from outer space? Unless we’ve been out there, we haven’t had this viewpoint for ourselves, except in photos. “Earthshine” is a favorite here as it perfectly captures the hustle and bustle of what we humans do here on Earth, called living, and one can feel the life force and light that we must emanate out there into the universe. Another steady under-beat along with ethereal, angelic synth voices and keyboards complete this picture. It seems we are creating a lot of light out there. This composition gives us a bigger perspective on our individual doings, which are cumulative and no doubt ripple out into the universe.
“Upon the Deep” soothes the soul with its ethereal synth voices, keyboards, and expansive, atmospheric composition. This one feels like it’s alive and breathing, as is everything here and “out there.” This is gorgeous and well done in every way.
This amazing album closes out with another of the new additions, “End of Entropy.” The track is orderly, structured, and flowing, wide, and expansive, of course. But what is “entropy?” Encyclopedia Britannica defines “entropy” as:
“. . .simply a measure of disorder and affects all aspects of our daily lives. . . Left unchecked disorder increases over time. Energy disperses, and systems dissolve into chaos. The more disordered something is, the more entropic we consider it.” I think that says it all, and we could say, then, “As above, so below.”
This is a fascinating album, for more than one reason, and you should get the whole thing, which is available on physical CD, streaming, and by digital download from Amazon.com, Bandcamp, iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, and all other major digital download and streaming services.
Conceptually driven, this album takes listeners on a journey through sound. This narrative quality adds an extra layer of depth and engagement to the music, making it more than just a collection of ambient tracks, but, rather, a sonic adventure. You will find yourself coming out of it with a sense of renewed relaxation and a deep sense of peace and calm. Let the music found here serve as a soothing balm, offering solace and respite from the stresses of modern life.
For the most immersive and profound experience, I advise headphones. This way you get all the intricate nuances. The only other thing left to say is, “Wow!”
Get it here: Official artist website: https://www.daveluxton.com
Broadcast and radio promotion:
High Note Promotions