This is the second CD by Forrest Smithson, a synthesist who has dedicated his talents to creating complex, spacey, ambient soundscapes.

“Dreaming Time” is a concept album that is intended to help the listener visualize a more positive future and promote positive changes, goals and ambitions. The moods change through the four long tracks:
1. Dreaming Time I: opens receptivity and the entry to awareness
2. Dreaming Time II: coaxes awareness into motion, brings the soul to life
3. Dreaming Time III: suspense, foreboding and danger; navigate through the shadows
4. Dreaming Time IV: spiritual and prayerful with feelings of gratitude and love

The music was created primarily with a synthesizer, including the sounds of keyboards, strings, percussion, bass, horns, chimes, but also lots of strictly synthetic sounds. Highly complex layers of sound and texture unfold and develop slowly throughout each track. The pacing is epic and glacial, and reflects an impressive amount of patient, painstaking creative exploration.

Music that falls in the ambient-electronica genre is typically unearthly and sometimes outright weird. “Dreaming Time” follows the canon of the genre, but with a distinctive purpose. The music isn’t a friendly puppy that’s easy to like. It’s better compared to getting familiar with an iguana over several weeks. There’s an alien, reptilian quality to the music; synthesizers can mimic traditional instruments, but on this CD, synthesized sounds stray far afield from traditional sounds and leap out into the twilight zone.

This CD really grew on me. I didn’t like it much during the first play-through. The second play-through got my attention, and I started to appreciate the complex layering and sound envelopes. By the third play-through, I was hooked! Smithson’s complicated compositions take a while to sink down to the primitive, reptile part of the brain, but once they get there, it makes all kinds of sense. That said, this CD will appeal to people who like ambient-electronica and to those who want an intellectually and emotionally challenging musical experience that simultaneously stretches the quality of one’s thoughts and promotes a sense of deep internal awareness.

This is a fabulous CD for ceremonial magic and complex talismanic spell-workings, magical jewelry making, and potion blending. It could be used as an accompaniment for guided meditations, shamanic journeys, and dream-path workings. Recommended for the wild, the weird, and the totally untamed among us.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Forrest Smithson
Forrest Smithson, 2013
4 tracks, approximately 76 minutes
Available at CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, and Rhapsody


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