This is the sixth musical offering from electronic composer Meg Bowles.

The Shimmering Land is a top contender in the ambient-space music category for 2013. Bowles is fully in control of her idiom. Sounds swell and recede through the tracks to provide an exquisitely lush, mind-expanding musical landscape.

There are six long tracks on this CD:
1.    Undulant Sea (7:01)
2.    The Sweetness of Mist (8:50)
3.    Venus Rising (14:22)
4.    Into the Gloaming (9:16)
5.    Beneath the Radiant Stars (10:50)
6.    Nightwalk Across the Isle of Dream (9:48)

Each track showcases different textures, layers, and effects. “Undulant Sea” has an unmistakable oceanic effect with rising swells of sound that swirl and ebb. “The Sweetness of Mist” is another offering filled with swirling textures in major key tonalities. It’s uplifting rather than depressing and dark. The track is an abstract or impressionistic version of a church organ that’s blurred into a hazy fog. In spite of this, one never loses contact with the ground. Melodies creep out of the blur to retain aural interest.

The longest track is “Venus Rising.” Bowles is utterly patient while developing her thematic material. One thing that is striking about this album is that the songs are so aptly named. This track does indeed give the impression of a powerful force rising out of darkness and obscurity into the light. It’s a fabulous burst of musical alchemy; the sounds seem to cast light into the mind, and gain power and intensity throughout the entire composition.

“Into the Gloaming” is more laid back. The contained sounds and harmonies are a good follow-up to the epic “Venus Rising”. “Beneath Radiant Stars” maximizes the range of expression of synth-generated temple bells/crystal bowl and wood flutes. It’s absolutely luminous and ethereal. This is another very long track, and the composer takes her time about unfolding ideas and textures. The controlled pacing is the key to the track’s elegance. The final track, “Nightwalk Across the Isle of Dream”, is an uncanny track that sneaks up on the listener. It all seems rather random at first, but then becomes coherently focused on a dominant tonal harmony of synth waves.

If you love ambient space-music, this is a splendid CD that should definitely be a part of your collection. It’s incredibly beautiful and otherworldly, and demonstrates Meg Bowles’ control over her idiom, exquisite sensibilities about her medium, and a great deal of control over how her inspirations are explored. I am loving it! These tracks will definitely be on my playlist for rituals and meditation.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Meg Bowles
Kumatone Records 2013
6 tracks, 60:10 minutes
$12.29 (Amazon price)

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