August 1, 2019

'Swallowed by the Sky', conceived & created as a tribute to Joni Mitchell, 'Swallowed by the Sky' presents original soundscapes by anthene, Slow Dancing Society, and orchestramaxfieldparrish that were inspired by her music & honor her in spirit.

track listing:

1. anthene - 'Letters From Across the Sea' (16:50)
2. Slow Dancing Society - ' Devils and Deeds' (17:46)
3. orchestramaxfieldparrish - "The Clouds of Michelangelo (17:50)

Exclusively through textura



October 23, 2016

Faith Strange is very proud to announce the release of not one but two new orchestramaxfieldparrish titles. There are only 100 copies printed of each of these cd's in gatefold digisleeves. Ordering / listening / downloading at this point is through Bandcamp (click on album cover or title to bring you to it's Bandcamp page). For those who just wish the limited edition CD's without downloads, please visit the Faith Strange Shop (link is in above main menu). Cheers.

Instant Light
instant light-webscan-2

orchestramaxfieldparrish - Instant Light (fs32 / Archival Works No. 3)

Three years in the making, the first new orchestramaxfieldparrish album since 2010's beloved classic 'Crossing Of Shadows'. A masterful concoction of processed treated guitars, field recordings, singing bowls, metals and modular synthesis and electronics, solidly in the vein of the best Coil ambient masterpieces, this is truly moon music. Extraordinarily conceived and produced, and expertly recorded and mastered in the highest of fidelity.

preview on

A Midsummer's Night

orchestramaxfieldparrish - A Midsummer's Night (fs33)

2016 sees Mike Fazio revisiting his beloved orchestramaxfieldparrish project with not one but two new releases and with 'A Midsummer's Night' has produced yet another experimental guitar manifesto to add to his catalog of unconventional recordings. Stretching the conceived notions of what guitars can actually do, this album showcases a rare 1936 Gibson L7 archtop with an antique mellophone, a German lute guitar and a treated baby grand piano, very different acoustic instruments that sound nothing like you can possibly imagine them to sound after recording them through a series of unconventional effects. This album solidly stretches the limits of what experimental guitar is all about. Expertly recorded and mastered in the highest of fidelity.

preview on



orchestramaxfieldparrish - A Midsummer's Night [Faith Strange - 2017

A Midsummer's Night, released in 2016, is three years later still the most recent work from avant-ambient guitarist Mike Fazio's orchestramaxfieldparrish alias.  Like all of Fazio's music, it is self released on his own Faith Strange label in a limited edition, an edition of 100 copies in this case.  As a long time fan of Fazio's experimental guitarscapes, I am honored to own a copy.

The liner notes describe these pieces as 'music for prepared guitar & treatments', except for the last piece, which uses a piano.  Fazio's digital processing transforms the guitar into a refined etheric mist, an unreal smooth momentum of astral dimensions.  His plucks are stuttered and finely sliced into thousands of glittering granular beads, artificially charged with color and tone.  The peak of brightness and volume near the end of opener "Head to Heart" is an exhilarating white rush of resonance, a manic thrill of godlike delusion.

As always, Fazio is content to dwell within free rhythm space, to emerge from the opacity of silence and then retreat back into it, to faintly tint the air of the space but leave it transparent.  From swell to swell we move, happening at times upon chords and discordant shrouds.  The rattling of strings is occasionally audible, but rarely a clear pluck or the punctuated beginning of a note, as this would disrupt the fluid glide of its unfolding.

Passages of his music come close to the lush compositions of melancholic classical ambient masters like Kyle Bobby Dunn or Stars of the Lid, who similarly utilize processed acoustic instruments.  However, these artists favor gradually unfolding structured melodies in their work, and Fazio's tendency is toward a kind of exploratory anarchy, a continuous testing of the abyssal waters, a divination technique from which entities of ambiguous, asymmetric form emerge.

By the third piece, we've completely left the realm of recognizable guitar playing, and the sound is a howling solar wind, a metallic billowing with such a crisp, subtlely dimensioned layering that I would swear it was acoustic in nature.  Further into the dreamlike and farther from the familiar, this point in the album is the deepest of night where emotions have distorted under the crushing weight of vertiginous currents.

The glittering blackness of lengthy closer "It Just Is" is truly nightmarish, an expression of fear and smallness in the face of all consuming vacuum.  Perhaps a pessimistic ending, I am struck by Fazio's uninhibited spirit of embracing darkness.  Snaking, smoking and eerie, this is certainly the most difficult piece on the album.

Fazio has surely stepped up his trademark methods of composition for this album, one of the most starkly vibrant and expressive of his career.  His gift for morose melody is more thoroughly employed here, one of his most focused and directed feeling sets.  While free association remains the core of his approach, I can really feel the emotional drive behind the choices he made for this album.

Now to track down the newest full lengths from his A Guide for Reason and Mike Fazio aliases!

Josh Landry

One of the
Best Of 2016 at textura

Musique Machine:

Experimental ambient guitarist and composer Mike Fazio has been playing and performing for decades now, really coming into his own during the 2000's with a profific string of soundscape albums under a variety of aliases on his own Faith Strange label.

Since the release of "Crossing of Shadows " in 2007, Fazio hasn't released any music under the orchestramaxfieldparrish alias, focusing on other aliases like A Guide For Reason and Sonic Arts Society, as well as putting out several albums under his own name.  While there may be thematic ideas behind each alias in Fazio's mind, generally I find his style remains reliably consistent.

He tends to create a sort of tonal soup, a free rhythm soundscape fashioned from heavily processed instrumental noodling, awash in glints and glimmers.  It is resplendently resonant, wet, and glowing, tuneful at times, but almost completely impromptu and unstructured.  It is also immediately emotionally relatable, a sort of mournful, weary peace, with occasional brooding excursions into paranoia.

Fazio chose to resurrect the orchestramaxfieldparrish name in 2016 with two new albums.  "Instant Light" is one of his most quiet and abstract works, in which his guitar is not immediately obvious.  it is also one of his most complex and varied, new sounds emerging from the corners and crevices at a constant pace, completely transforming the ambient environment every three or four minutes. The improvised feel is diminished on this recording, which is highly composed and layered.

There are the mesmerizing sounds of bells, and natural recordings cleverly intermingled with their digital imitations: crashing surf, rain, and distant thunder.  In the 2nd piece, I hear the soothing halcyon chords of dub techno, warmly flickering from behind a membrane of thick honey.  Angelic, choral pads swell and surge out from the deep.  I am reminded of the ethereal consonant zen of early ambient pioneer Iasos.  As such, this is one of Fazio's most peaceful and contended albums, in contrast to the "Interiors" album from 2013 under his own name, with its brooding sampled musings about death.

The 3rd track feels much like classic 90's downtempo with its dreamy two chord alternation, taking the yearning tonalities of house and chillout music and floating them in an endless expanse, scrambling the rhythms into a mild flickering and shifting.  Fans of Ishq or Vladislav Delay would likely enjoy this, as they have done a similar thing.  Fragmenting the notes into scintillating tiny shards and refashioning sounds from the particles, the result is something of a tuned cloud.  Are these obliterated chords sourced from a synthesizer, a guitar, or something else?  With Fazio, it's impossible to tell, as digital processing is his forte.

There are no lapses into pure silence as one might find on an A Guide For Reason release. An airy drift underlying the entire piece, an infinite reverb contrail.  Each of the three lengthy tracks begins with a return to field recordings of a thunderstorm.  The bells from the 1st piece are reprised in the 3rd.  There is a great thematic unity to the album as a whole.  The album ends with a receeding siren wail, which lasts nearly ten minutes.

This is one hell of a beautiful space trip.  It might even be my favorite Mike Fazio album, and I am a longtime fan.  It is an ambient recording with astonishing textural beauty, compositional depth and complexity, engaging from start to finish.

Josh Landry

from textura:

orchestramaxfieldparrish: Instant Light Faith Strange Recordings
orchestramaxfieldparrish: A Midsummer's Night Faith Strange Recordings

Of all the group and solo projects with which Mike Fazio has been involved (A Guide For Reason and Gods of Electricity, to name but two), it's his orchestramaxfieldparrish that is my favourite. In fact, so dazzled was I by 2008's
The Silent Breath of Emptiness, I contacted him about the possibility of creating something for textura's first label release, Kubla Khan; not only did he contribute the magnificent “Waning Moon Over Sunless Sea” to it, he mastered the album, too. Subsequent to that, Fazio released the mesmerizing Crossing of Shadows in 2007, as well as To The Last Man / Index Of Dreaming, though that set appeared in 2009 under the orchestramaxfieldparrish presents ÆRA alias. Issued on his own Faith Strange imprint, as much of his output is, Fazio has just made two new orchestramaxfieldparrish releases available, both of them well worthy of one's attention and equally distinguished examples of his highly developed artistry.

Though different instruments are used on the four tracks of
A Midsummer's Night, an impression of unity is achieved when processing treatments are applied liberally to all four. Two pieces were created using prepared archtop guitar, another pizzicato lute guitar and mellophone, and the fourth piano. The opening “Head To Heart” illustrates Fazio's mastery at sculpting sound and handling pacing and dynamics. For nine minutes, shimmering swaths of archtop guitar advance and recede, the thrum and rumble of the instrument suggestive of waves rippling ashore. The sound tapestry expands on “In These Long Years” when rapid, spidery strums of the pizzicato lute guitar are countered by the muted, horn-like murmur of the mellophone, whereas the treatments applied to piano on the twenty-three-minute “It Just Is” radically transform the instrument into an uninterrupted, pulsating stream wherein piano clusters occasionally surface. In all four settings, sounds advance with a precision that feels almost scientifically calibrated, the elements' movements managed by Fazio with the kind of sensitivity that comes from a lifetime of musical practice.

Though recording info beyond that already mentioned doesn't appear on
A Midsummer's Night, one guesses it's the more recently recorded of the two sets when details included with Instant Light clarify that its two parts were recorded in 2013 and 2009, respectively; a note on the inner sleeve reveals that Instant Light comprises “private, archival works not originally intended for release,” and a detailed account of the background leading up to the release appears, too. The range of instruments on Instant Light is also greater than On A Midsummer's Night, with Fazio augmenting his customary electric guitar (prepared, processed, glissando, treated) with singing bowls, metals, electronics, modular synthesis, and field recordings (collected between 1988 and 2013).

The presence of singing bowls and field-recorded rain on “...They Would Fly Upwards” immediately individuates
Instant Light from A Midsummer's Night. Not only is the sound palette different, but there's also a tonal shift whereby the former's direct connection to the physical world makes the latter seem more ethereal by comparison; further to that, the resonant ping of the bowls lends the peaceful setting an almost Gamelan character, something absent on the other recording. Far stormier is “And Be Carried Off and Vanish,” which also threads generous helpings of Fazio's guitar playing and bold electronic treatments into a swirling mix that grows ever more celestial as it advances towards its nineteen-minute end. The recording's so-called second part “When Your Dreams of a Perfect Tomorrow Come True” perpetuates the texturally rich soundscaping style of the first with shimmering, metal-tinged surges that convulse, reverberate, and billow with controlled regularity.

If there's anything regrettable about this exceptional pair, it's that only 100 physical copies of each have been produced (though they are available digitally, too). In a perfect world, there would be a place for explorative music of such genuine quality in thousands of receptive listeners' homes, but such a world, alas, doesn't seem to be the one we inhabit.

November 2016

Vital Weekly:

orchestramaxfieldparrish - A Midsummer's Night (CD by Faith Strange)
orchestramaxfieldparrish - Instant Light (CD by Faith Strange)

Did I hear of orchestramaxfieldparrish before? I don't recall, and it is a strange name, so I would have
probably remembered, I guess. This is another project by Mike Fazio, who works also as A Guide For
Reason and Sonic Arts Society, though I know him best under his first moniker. He is also part of
Chill Faction, Gods Of Electricity and Life With The Lions. I must admit to be a bit at a loss as to the
exact musical differences between his various projects. I do know however the difference between
these two releases.

 'A Midsummer's Night' has four pieces and seems to have recent recordings. For each of these
pieces the cover explains what is going on here, so the first is 'music for prepared archtop guitar and
treatments', the second is 'music for pizzicato lute guitar, mellophone and treatments', etc;
obviously I have no real clue what these preparations are or in what way Fazio plays them, let alone
what kind of treatments he applies. I can only assume that he plays his instruments in a more or
less improvised way and then adds a whole bunch of electronic sounds, and/or feeding them through
modular synthesizers to arrive at what becomes a cross-over between something more improvised
and ambient music. Via the extensive use of reverb and such like he suggests all this great space
and atmosphere, and somewhere buried along we find the origins from the instruments. It makes
that 'A Midsummer's Night' is not your standard ambient album, as orchestramaxfieldparrish makes
it sound grittier perhaps, atmospheric but with a fine twist, and as such this is quite a fine album.

    On 'Instant Light' there are three pieces, and from what I gather the sounds used are a bit older
and this is the one that started Fazio off thinking about orchestramaxfieldparrish again, after an
initial flow of releases between 2007 and 2010. These three pieces are less rooted in the world of
instruments it seems but it might use a lot of sound effects, field recordings, singing bowls, metals,
modular synthesizers but according to the cover also guitar on the final piece, 'When Your Dreams
Of A Perfect Tomorrow Come True', but whereas on 'A Midsummer's Night' the instruments play an
important role and it all sounds a bit more improvised, the music is all the more ambient. Everything
is covered with a sufficient amount of reverb, delay and with the soft tinkling of bowls it all becomes
very meditative. In 'And Be Carried Off And Vanish' no more bowls and just a delicate process of field
recordings. Whereas I did enjoy both releases, I must admit that if I had to choose between the two,
I would go for the 'Instant Light' release, perhaps because it had a great flow of electronically
processed sounds, some great production and maybe for a calm Sunday afternoon the most fitting

    All of this made me curious to the older works by orchestramaxfieldparrish and why I never
heard those in the first place. Both CD are limited to 100 copies and have the usual high quality
artwork. (FdW)
––– Address:

orchestramaxfieldparrish - The Silent Breath Of Emptiness (CD by Faith Strange)
orchestramaxfieldparrish - presents AERA (2CD by Faith Strange)
orchestramaxfieldparrish - Crossing Of Shadows (CD by Faith Strange)

All right first of all, I know I set some 'rules' when it comes to reviewing old stuff and so, when I
wrote in Vital Weekly 1054: "Did I hear of orchestramaxfieldparrish before? I don't recall, and it
is a strange name, so I would have probably remembered, I guess. This is another project by Mike
Fazio, who works also as A Guide For Reason and Sonic Arts Society, though I know him best
under his first moniker", it wasn't an exactly an invitation to get his much older releases, but
Fazio offered them anyway to send to me as mp3, just to check out, not to review, but lo and
behold, he didn't find the mp3s but then send me the three first releases, that followed 'Tears',
his debut in 2002. Sucker that I am, I feel obliged to do a full pay back and review them anyway.
I played them in the order they were released. Or not.

On 'The Silent Breath Of Emptiness' the guitar is the primary instrument, an electric one,
and, so I assume, there is most likely quite a few audio processors, mainly the delay pedals at
work here, along of course with a dashing amount of reverb. All of this was recorded live in the
first four parts of this, while the fifth piece is a studio reconstruction using those parts in a
different configuration. With his electric guitar and sound effects, plus what I assume is an
e-bow, regular bow or otherwise methods of getting his strings to sustain on some end, Fazio
creates quite dark atmospheric music here, and it is not something that is without any force.
In the third part his guitar sounds like an organ at times and towards the end almost like a
conveyer belt, but it's not in anyway industrial music. In the other pieces Fazio takes the Fripp
textbook on how to play ambient guitar quite literal and he does a great job, adding his own
slightly darker and experimental edge to it. The reconstruction doesn't sound too different from
the other four pieces, and I might be missing a point here as to the nature of the piece; it seems
a bit denser, with a few more layers, but otherwise not too different.

'Presents æra', in with the first A and E are glued together is a double pack and sees the
expansion of the sound of orchestramaxfieldparrish, through the use of field recordings,
synthesizers and rhythm, all sitting next to the use of the guitars. I am not entirely sure what
'Presents Aera' means, as both discs have a separate title; maybe this was the (false?) start of
a new name?  I am not sure, as it also seems a one-off in his catalogue. From the lot that I heard
first, a few weeks ago, I got the idea that orchestramaxfieldparrish was indeed all a bit orchestral
like and that is the feeling that I have here too, especially on the first disc, which has a great
variety in orchestral approaches; not only with a piece that contains rhythm, as in 'Ennoae', but
also with the sampling of string sounds and playing a kind of Arvo Pärt like clusters of sound. On
the second disc it seems as if Fazio returns to the world of ambient music, and it's just not just
the titles, '1/1', '2/1' etc. that reminded me of Brian Eno's first ambient record; the use of vocals,
humming quietly yet choir like does the same thing. Yet Fazio knows how to give a bit of edge,
through a mild form of distortion here and there.

'Crossing Of Shadows' was already recorded in 2006, but the CD version came out in 2010,
in a re-mastered form, which is the one I have here. Here the orchestral approach of the music is
taken to a more extreme level. Fazio uses field recordings and improvised electronics, in order to
play around with processed as well as unprocessed versions of it, adding guitar, piano and voices
to create quite a rich sound here. Like in most of his work he stretches out his sounds quite a bit
and let them develop in a natural way, following their own course, but there might also be the
possibility that there is a sudden crescendo and/or a sudden break; a bang on the can as it
were and the pieces takes on a different course after that. With the addition of field recordings,
not the most common feature in orchestral music, even of the sampled variety, he adds a fine
different element to the music, something that gives it the quality of a radio drama maybe,
certainly when the voices are talking, such as in 'A Walk Amongst The Raindrops'. This is music
that is beautiful, powerful, intimate and cinematographic; the end of a great trilogy of some of
the finest ambient music; in whatever form Mike Fazio wishes to play this. He shows he has a
few tricks up his sleeve. (FdW)


orchestramaxfieldparrish – INSTANT LIGHT / A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT
There has been quite a long gap between Mike'orchestramaxfieldparrish’ Fazio’s  last release in 2010 (Crossing Of Shadows, which was in fact a remix from the 2007 release), but 2016 suddenly saw the simultaneous release of two titles.

One is called 
A Midsummer’s Night and features four abstract soundscapes created on a ‘rare 1936 Gibson L7 archtop with an antique mellophone’, a german lute guitar and a treated baby grand piano. Three string instruments ‘that sound nothing like you can possibly imagine them to sound after recording them through a series of unconventional effects.”

The other, 
Instant Light, is every bit as abstract, but its sound is very different. Here, the sound of processed treated electric guitars is mixes with field recordings, the bright sound of singing bowls and metals, and modular synthesis and electronics. Due to the instrumentation, it has a somewhat ‘brighter’ overall sound.
But in the end, both releases explore the same puzzling kind of landscapes.


Crossing Of Shadows 


Crossing Of Shadows  (fs12)

orchestramaxfieldparrish's Crossing Of Shadows is a dark
collection of lamentations originally recorded in 2006 and only released in a small private pressing in 2007 and has now undergone a remix and remastering. This new edition of six improvised electronic compositions is based on field recordings both left unprocessed and severely reprocessed, with added guitar, piano, voices and electronics, creating a musical path beginning from a place of extreme darkness and culminating in a point of light and hope.

Recorded and mastered in 96K 24 bit audiophile audio. Included is a reconstructed version of '
Thirst' which first appeared on the Caligari - An Exquisite Corpse dvd release through the Chain Tape Collective.

There are two limited editions of this release, with the first being a hard cover book bound artist edition. This First Edition is 75 copies and will have elegantly handcrafted covers made from the finest papers and photographic printing. The Second Edition is 225 copies and will be in a Japanese style mini lp sleeve. Total one time press of 300.
 crossing spread
orchestramaxfieldparrish -
crossing cover
crossing back
crossing monoliths
The handmade Artist's Edition is no longer available.
Musique Machine (May 2012):

orchestramaxfieldparrish - Crossing Of Shadows

'orchestramaxfieldparrish' is one of the primary projects of the under-recognized Mike Fazio, a New York musician dealing mostly in sophisticated soundscapery. I am lucky enough to have heard the previous release, the masterful double album "To The Last Man / Index Of Dreaming" (technically released as ÆRA, 'presented' by orchestramaxfieldparrish), as well as his concise 3" CD release under the "A Guide for Reason" name "VII - VIII".

At first glance, the new album "Crossing Of Shadows" contains many of the same ingredients as Mike Fazio's other work. This is not at all a bad thing as his formula is a robust one: this is a colorful, melodious ambient music, 'ambient' in the classic sense, and also classically infused, with real, audible notes! The natural timbres of stringed instruments are shrouded in a glowing digital cloak, delicately treated to enhance their reverent qualities, divine overtones extracted and amplified.

This album in particular relies on heavy use of silence. It has patient elegance, and a hushed, haunting, fragile beauty, like icesicles dripping. It is slower and more dynamic than his previous works, and each gesture feels more intentional. There is no excess.

First of six pieces, "Thirst (Revisitation)" is quite the imposing entrance. First, a hollow howl of wind, soon dramatically joined by a string chord resonated and echoed into vast, unstoppable drone. At peak moment, an orchestral hit slices through the sound like a knife: eerily, it ceases; a few seconds later, swells anew, now encircled by whispering rushes, rattles.. The track explores many shadows and crevices, but always drone returns to lift us up.

The second track "On Nine Mile Marsh" begins in a kind of slow, crackling pulsation I associate with tape loops, and then disperses into deep emptiness weathered by thick, slow swells of filtered synth and noise. It's a beautiful and classic sound. "Lost Star" borrows a few of the strange bubbling, consonant resonances found on the "A Guide For Reason" release, and compliments them with expansive synthesizer textures and rushing reverberation. Its abrupt ending is food for thought.

Elsewhere "Mystery By Moonlight" and "A Walk Amongst The Raindrops" represent Fazio's romantic yearning. These are watery soundtracks for solitary pondering and meandering in the Fall and Winter months. In "Mystery By Moonlight", there is a notably perfect blending of field recordings and synthesizers, and a hazy naturescape becomes perfectly imagineable. Anyone who has experienced it first hand will also be reminded of the peculiar way crickets can be nearly deafening when found in abundance. "A Walk Amongst The Raindrops" was instantly my favorite track upon first hearing the album, an intensely emotional soliloquy for rippling synth and the delayed, percussive pinging of droplets.
"Lament" is a duet for a pure, shimmering synth and piano that closes the album is perfect 'lunar ambient' fashion and recalls Coil songs like "Tiny Golden Books", which is never a bad thing.

Overall, orchestramaxfieldparrish's "Crossing Of Shadows" is an entrancing, emotional and unique work of soundscape music, too melodious and pleasant to be referred to as 'avant garde', but far too sophisticated and experimental to lumped in with most of what passes for 'ambient' these days. I highly recommend Fazio's vibrant and intelligent music to any listener with a little patience, and this is one of the best examples yet of his style. -
Josh Landry
December 2011 - "One of the top 20 of 2011" -
Bad Alchemy (August 2011):
Mike Fazio war zuletzt in der Band von Copernicus zu hören. Crossing Of Shadows (fs12) zeigt den New Yorker Gitarristen wieder in seinem eigenen Reich. Als orchestra maxfieldparrish wandelt er in elegischen Gedanken, die das Andenken an Jeff Ladd, seinem verstorbenen Partner in Life With The Lions, noch intensiviert. Die Schatten dröhnender Wolkenbänke sind durchsetzt mit den Schritten eines Spaziergängers, von Vogelstimmen und von Grillengezirp. Etwas Helleres als Dämmerung oder Mondlicht ist zu der düsteren Stimmung schwer vorstellbar. Fazio suggeriert gleich mehrmals das Bild eines einsamen Wanderers ('On Nine Mile Marsh', 'A Walk Amongst The Raindrops'), eines Melmoth oder Heathcliff, der eine gothische Aura als Mantel um sich geschlagen hat. Durch 'Lost Star' geistern gitarristische Klangfetzen, das Brüten weicht einer neuen Unruhe, sogar einer pulsierenden Bewegtheit von kaskadierend verhallenden Echos. Ganz unerwartet kommt jedoch eine Männerstimme, die, von Pianonoten umsäumt, etwas auf Japanisch raunt. Die In memoriam-Stimmung hellt auf zu 'Lament', das mit Pianoschlägen und hellen Drones Ende und Anfang in eins setzt, zugleich Feuer und Rose, gestärkt durch den Trost, den T.S. Eliot mit 'Little Gidding' spendet, dem buddhistisch angehauchten vierten seiner 4 Quartets (wenn es denn ein Trost ist, sich das Verbrennen im Nessus-Gewand vorzustellen als Liebkosung durch die Hand, die es webte).
Norman Records UK:
...according to our Business Lady on 15 June 2011:

This is a repressing of orchestramaxfieldparrish's 'Crossing Of Shadows' album. Originally released in 2007 it's been treated to a makeover (remaster) and reissued with a bonus reconstructed version of 'Thirst' (originally in the soundtrack for the film 'Caligari: An Exquisite Corpse') added as a cheeky bonus. orchestramaxfieldparrish's music is the height of ambient bleakness. Constructed from treated and non-treated field recordings with occasional appearances from guitar, piano and voice, 'Crossing Of Shadows' invites you to a dark musical place. It shifts from an almost industrial coldness to a spiritual light in slow and steady waves that engulf the senses and makes for a harsh yet potentially hopeful music listening experience. Serious business.

Previously orchestramaxfieldparrish has navigated interstices between experimental ambient and a neo-classical distillate, dealing in ritual tone-whorls over dark drone and post-Gothic colourings to wispy atmospherics laced with orchestral infusions. Mike Fazio’s questing sensibility manifests here in a turning away from repetition of gestures. Where the previous was restless in its experiment, Crossing of Shadows is more restrained, self-contained - immediately more timbrally open than To The Last Man / Index Of Dreaming, and before that The Silent Breath of Emptiness, whose narrow focus on abstracted guitar-tones is expanded, integrated into a wider architecture. The album was released privately in 2007, but only now gets a full public issue. Comprising 'six dark lamentations,' perhaps of a general existential nature, though likely with a specific personal ceremonial note – this at the passing of a friend, to whom the album is dedicated.

Its 'lamentations' are formed of aether and earth, oneiromantic and spatial. The ancients had it that ‘through suffering comes wisdom’ and this may be at work here, especially in Part One, as Fazio transmutes mourning to enlightened musical movement. It sets out contemplative but unsettled with “Thirst (Revisitation)”; originally part of the soundtrack to the Caligari: An Exquisite Corpse DVD project, it hosts an initial lamenting cadence rising and extending through the soundfield, before a caustic drone sounds a signal to an irruption of spectral sound, a seepage of low-end crackle and hum, fluctuating between remote decay and more visceral attack. “On Nine Mile Marsh” comes with ominous sonorities before Part One’s brooding conclusion, “Mystery by Moonlight.” This is pervaded with a sense of eerie-serene reverie, communing with Coil. Fazio has an inveterate predilection for other iconic ambient / space / drone artists, and the lately resanitized ’70s Kosmische of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream, and these are no less present here - a hint of Cluster maybe, even a passing glimpse of Sky.

A paradigm shift in tenor comes with Part Two - less grim, more elegiac, with flickers of light more insistent, and darkness diminished. The light-seeking tendency is notable on “Lost Star,” (see above), with its spatial guitar leitmotifs and discreet treatments. “A Walk Amongst the Raindrops” is propelled by a sublimated echo-laden hypno-pulse before taking a meditative turn to spoken word (Japanese) and piano interludes. “Lament (“The end is where we start from, a new beginning always begins with an end.” “…Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is…”)” (gulp!) grounds celestial guitar-streams with a ballast of piano chords in closing. Throughout the album the use of spatial emplacement techniques transcends simple foreground-background determinations, allowing a vast expansiveness of soundfield to be suggested.
Alan Lockett, April 2011
Wonderful Wooden Reasons:

orchestramaxfieldparrish's Mike Fazio is a perennial favourite around these here parts whose melancholic and symphonic sounds are a deliciously seductive tincture.
On this exquisitely presented new album Mike we see two distinct sides to his musical nature. Part One of the album is a sumptuous set of low key, bewitching and seductive droneworks (with occasional flashes of exuberance). It’s very much in the vein of the previous work I’ve discussed in these pages and it’s lovely.

Part two is a much more fragile affair. It’s music is more ephemeral. A series of ghostly images and vaporous effusions that flicker, glimmer, writhe and cavort. It’s utterly wonderful and I am drowning in it.

Always recommended.
Ian Holloway, February 2011
Cyclic Defrost:

According to the orchestramaxfieldparrish myspace page, this shadowy outfit reside on Green Dolphin St, US of A. Somewhere in the psychic and musical neighbourhood of Dutch outfit Dolphins Into The Future, its a glowering neighbourhood of broken street lights and steaming ventilation ducts, neglected and mournful in contrast to Lieven Martens dayglo Cetacean odyssey. orchestramaxfieldparrish main man Mike Fazio initially released Crossing Of Shadows as a limited private pressing in 2007. A New York native, Guitarist Fazio has a long and varied history of improvisation and band-driven outings reaching back until the early 1980s.

Opening track ‘Thirst (Revisitation)’ was previously available as part of the soundtrack to the DVD Caligari: An Exquisite Corpse, released by the Chain Tape Collective, of which Fazio is a member. If Crossing Of Shadows had continued in this dark ambient / isolationist vein throughout, it would be a harrowing listen, but the atmosphere gradually allows more light in over the duration of proceedings. The orchestral WHOOMPH! around three minutes in might make you jump out of your skin, as befits a movie including Caligari in the title. ‘On Nine Mile Marsh’ dynamic panning and deep sonorous ambience tell a tale of a foggy place of foreboding and dread, straight out of some Victorian potboiler. Concluding Part one, ‘Mystery by Moonlight’ summons up the spectre of late 90s Coil, more creeping bent than creeping dread. It’s also reminiscent of Cluster and the Germanic Sky axis from the late 70s; a contemplative ambience draws the listener into the sultry night.

Part two swims further towards the light with ‘Lone Star’, as subtle repeated guitar motifs and low-key manipulation allow the ambience to shine through. Gradually, pointillist washes and space-age guitar echoes overtake the piece. This is a very interesting approach to guitar driven dark ambience, reminding me of Per Henrik Svalastog’s release for the Rune Grammofon label. The following track ‘A Walk Amongst the Raindrops’ has hypnotic Chain Reaction style pulsed rhythms and enough echoic delay to maintain that ‘minimal tech’ feel. The piano interludes and Japanese spoken word interludes feel somewhat clunky when contrasted to this beguiling rhythmic base. With the whole album serving as a lament to the memory of Life With the Lions band mate Jeff Ladd, orchstramaxfieldparrish has created a worthy shrine for the remembrance of a multi-faceted life. -
Oliver Laing, February 2011

Improvised and recorded “at the Luna County Observatory and outdoors within the shadows of Hell Gate,” orchestramaxfieldparrish's Crossing Of Shadows was recorded during the summer of 2006 and subsequently released in a private pressing in summer of 2007, and now appears in a fully remastered form for public consumption. It wouldn't be stretching things too much to say that the respective characters of the recording locales are manifested by the music, given that its six dark lamentations are both ethereal and earthy. It also wouldn't be reading too much into the album's elegiac tone in noting that the album is dedicated to Jeff Ladd, a dear friend of Fazio's who co-founded Faith Strange, played with him in Life With The Lions (among many group ventures), and passed away on May 21st, 2010. As such, one could quite legitimately hear Crossing Of Shadows as a memento mori, though one whose journey might begin in darkness and despair but is finally imbued with hope. As the saying goes, from tragedy great art is born, and the principle applies here too, as Fazio transmutes the great personal pain he endured into a moving fifty-two-minute statement that could be the most personalized work he's ever produced.

There's much to admire about the new release. On presentation grounds alone, it's striking, as Fazio prepared two limited editions of the release, the deluxe version a hardcover book-bound edition (75 copies) and the other a Japanese-style mini-LP sleeve (225 copies). Part of the recording's appeal is that it sounds almost nothing like Fazio's previous orchestramaxfieldparrish recording The Silent Breath of Emptiness, Fazio's thinking being that repeating a previous release's sound is pointless. It's a more sonically expansive recording than its predecessor, for one. Whereas the earlier recording focused on a purer distillation of guitar-generated textures and tones, the new album brings into its orbit field recordings (untreated and heavily treated) and piano while it at the same time downplays the guitar's presence, at least in so far as it appears in recognizable manner. It's an album that's also best served by a surround sound playback so that the multi-dimensional distribution of its elements can be experienced. Spatial positioning in this case transcends simple foreground-background determinations; instead, entire geographical expanses are suggested by the album's material.

The album begins with the magnificently realized rumination “Thirst (Revisitation),” so named because it originally appeared as part of the soundtrack to the Caligari: An Exquisite Corpse DVD project. After first rising out of the gloom like a softly moaning spectre, the piece builds gradually in intensity, its elements filling in and spreading into the space, until a lethal metallic drone detonates with a violent clang and thereby opens the gates to a flood of spectral noises. Ethereal creaking sounds whistle until they're supplanted by a low-level rumble and crackle, with the volume level and intensity continually shifting. “On Nine Mile Marsh” then unfolds like a patient scanning of a lunar surface alien territory, after which the brooding nocturnal ambiance of “Mystery By Moonlight” appears, enhanced by the inclusion of cricket thrum and an overall sense of dreamlike calm that nevertheless contains an undercurrent of turbulence and threat. Near the end of the piece, the musical elements fade away altogether, leaving in their wake the cricket drone accompanied by the sound of footsteps trudging through the undergrowth at three in the morning.

An intentional moment of silence separates parts one and two, the gesture signalling a subtle shift in tone towards a second half that plays like a requiem of sorts, even while flickers of light seep into its material as if to posit the possibility of rebirth and hope. “A Walk Amongst The Raindrops” unfurls peacefully with the flutter of spindly textures gently prodded by a whisper-soft shuffling rhythm, and then takes a meditative turn in its second half when a speaking voice recites text in a foreign tongue and acoustic piano playing appears. Only once does the album recall the sound-world of The Silent Breath Of Emptiness, and that's in the closing piece “Lament (“The end is where we start from, a new beginning always begins with an end.” “…Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is…”),” which pairs celestial streams of guitar-generated material with piano chords—the ethereal and earthy united a final time.

There's a certifiably enigmatic quality to the album that enhances its appeal, and one of the mysteries, naturally enough, concerns the identity of the speaker in “A Walk Amongst the Raindrops” and an account of what he says (though one presumes that the speaker is Fazio, there's nothing to confirm unequivocally that it is so). This is a recording that is not only a superb addition to the orchestramaxfieldparrish discography but also a beautiful tribute that honours Ladd's memory in dignified manner.

January 2011
September 2009:
Paean-No 1 2nd
Pæan No. 1 - The Paradise Syndrome ...I have found paradise, Surely no man has ever attained such happiness. Here, there is much time for everything. Each time your arms hold me it's as joyous as the first. Each kiss is as the first...
(fs10) Second Edition.
Professionally duplicated cdr in 6 page extra heavy cardboard sleeve with archival rice paper inner sleeve to last forever. Originally released as a limited edition 3rd disc with
To The Last Man / Index Of Dreaming.
May 2009:
Pæan No. 1 - The Paradise Syndrome is now out of print. Sincere thanks for the support that was shown by the forward thinkers out there. A reprint is now in the works.



orchestramaxfieldparrish presents ÆRA

orchestramaxfieldparrish -
The Silent Breath Of Emptiness
muted front copy copy copy
"One of the best of 2008" - Musique Machine

"One of the top 10 of 2008" -
orchestramaxfieldparrish interview in textura:
AUGUST 2008:
August 2008, textura's premiere label release Kubla Khan is now available from textura - the number one authority on new experimental music on the web.

Kubla Khan is comprised of interpretive musical responses to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'Kubla Khan, or a Vision in a Dream. A Fragment', written in 1797 and first published in 1816.
Featuring original music from orchestramaxfieldparrish titled "Waning Moon Over Sunless Sea' an extended 19 minute improvisation on pedal steel guitar, there are also beautiful, powerful and sublime works from Ryan Francesconi and Lili De La Mora, Alexander Turnquist as well as The Retail Sectors. You can hear an edit of 'Waning Moon Over Sunless Sea' here.

All compositions are exclusive to this release. There are only 500 units printed and undoubtedly will go fast.

Mastered by Mike Fazio.

Available exclusively through textura
REVIEWS (Kubla Khan):

Tokafi (Tobias Fischer), October 16, 2008:
"Most people think of music journalism as merely passing judgement. Canadian print magazine textura, however, has taken a completely different route. Far more interested in providing information than doling out meaningless ratings and focusing on essential lines of artistic development instead of short-lived phenomena, the Ontario-based publication has established itself as a source of inspiration for anyone with an inclination for sound art and experimental electronica—and as a serious threat to purses incapable of handling all the compulsive CD orders resulting from regular reading.

If the editorial team has now decided to enter the supposedly saturated label market, this neither comes as a big surprise nor as a random act dictated by a fleeting fancy. The impulse of finding out about interesting new artists on paper and the desire to listen to their music are closely connected, after all. And since well-reasoned subjectivity has thankfully replaced cool, market-oriented pseudo-objectivity in deciding on cover stories and review coverage, the case for a magazine to feature the same acts both through stories and physical releases is clear: artists and media have turned into partners, mutually supporting each other and shaping overlapping scenes and communities based on shared aesthetics and a need for uncompromising sounds.

As Kubla Khan proves, predominantly personal preferences need not contradict coherent creative concepts either. Admittedly, the artist roster for this four-way split draws a decidedly diverse line-up from textura's editorial innards: typographically nightmarishly-titled orchestramaxfieldparrish, Japanese one-man Post-Rock project The Retail Sectors, ambitious folk duo Ryan Francesconi and Lili De La Mora as well as New York'ean sound scuptor Alexander Turnquist have all been featured on their pages before. But two distinct selection criteria prevent the album from falling into arbitrariness.

On the one hand, there's the obvious outward leitmotif of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's eponymous, drug-induced hallucinatory poem. Its lines represent a point of departure for the participating composers, whose stylistic differences are suddenly carefully aligned by the joint goal of approximating the lyrical mystery of these verses through sound. In fact, the musical distinctions serve to sharpen one's perception of the words more than a more smoothly-styled sampler ever could: The Retail Sectors' plaintive minimalism and elated ecstasy and the shimmering, beautifully brittle love letters of Francesconi / De La Mora detect constant change in Coleridge's verbal magic, while Turnquists's epic spatial ruminations and the orchestramaxfieldparris's darkly peaceful and amorphously floating 18-minute wonder-world underline its enigmatic, ambivalently anthemic nature.

Less pronounced and yet equally essential is the fact that all of the artists involved use the Guitar as their main compositional tool. In the textural sections of the album, this factor sometimes dies down to a mere echo of its original timbre or to short, fragmented figments of strummed strings or melodic picking—but it always remains a clearly audible, distinctly recognizable element. Kubla Khan therefore not only allows readers an enlightening juxtaposition of some of their favorite projects, but also offers a glimpse of the very plurality of a scene all too often lazily summarized under the tag of “experimental Guitar.”

Already, the poles of this simplified term have started moving towards each other, driven by their inherently similar approaches and fruitfully pollinated by their idiosyncrasies. It is the task of the media to uncover these trends and to establish links between seemingly unconnected camps. By boldly following the latter ideal and ignoring the traditional allocation of tasks for magazines, labels and artists, textura has taken another step in establishing music journalism as a positive rather than a judgmental force—and in presenting themselves as a fully-fledged crossbreed of record company and print mag."
The Milk Factory (Bruno Lasier), September 30, 2008:

"Already a successful music magazine, textura is now launching a new imprint, and releasing its first album. Kubla Khan takes its name from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's classic nineteenth-century poem Kubla Khan, Or A Vision In A Dream, A Fragment, which was, according to Coleridge, inspired by an opium-induced dream. The poem also serves as a thread to the seven tracks featured on the album, as each song takes a particular aspect of the poem and is built as a response to it, or an interpretation of it, by the respective artists.

Four very different acts have taken on the challenge and brought their own musical vision to the project, from the expensive guitar-laden dense rock of The Retail Sectors and the vast sonic stretches of orchestramaxfieldparrish to the delicate folk flourishes of Seattle-based Ryan Francesconi, who contributes two solo tracks here plus one with vocalist Lili De La Mora, and the exquisite sound assemblages of New York's Alexander Turnquist. The focus of the album is therefore very much centred on experimental guitar work in one form or another, and while the scopes of the artists involved vary greatly, there is a surprising impression of consistency throughout Kubla Khan.

The album is bookended by compositions from Japanese artist and Symbolic Interaction label head Kentaro Togawa, who single-handedly spearheads The Retail Sectors. "Precarious Awakening," which opens, and "The Ever-Changing Scene," which concludes, are in many ways sister tracks, each building up momentum from originally spacious and crystalline formations, where shimmering guitars draw gentle shapes over an increasingly potent drum section, especially on the former. Little by little, the compositions gain in riches and depth until Togawa pushes into more distorted and altogether less clearly defined territories. On "Precarious Awakening," the distortions are abrasive and acidic, but it is a much more mysterious and haunting cloud of noise that temporarily erupts on the latter part of "The Ever-Changing Scene" and puts a very final touch to the album.

In between these two electric discharges are much more delicate, complex and ethereal pieces, first with Alexander Turnquist's complex sonic architectures on the epic "Fragments Vaulted Like Rebounding Hail" which, in the space of just over seventeen minutes, shatters acoustic instrumentation, interferences and processed electronics and found sounds into textured wallpapers which morph and change appearance throughout while remaining almost static. At first, Turnquist applies a finely detailed mechanical setting, but as layer upon layer of sound is added, and the reverb grows considerably, the piece becomes much more monolithic and rigid in appearance. Yet, there is a constant flow of activity just below the drone glaze of the surface which maintains the momentum throughout the piece. orchestramaxfieldparrish proposes the equally epic and dense "Waning Moon Over Sunless Sea" which shows a much more electric reading of quite similar ambiences. Yet, Mike Fazio creates here a wonderfully oneiric piece which takes shape very progressively into vast swathes of processed guitars. Unlike Turnquist, Fazio never drastically changes sonic setting here, and while strips of darker matter rise occasionally in the latter part of the track, the overall progression is almost imperceptible, yet it is very much real and tints the piece with rich undertones.

The three shorter middle tracks come courtesy of Seattle's Ryan Francesconi. His delicate acoustic pieces contrast greatly with the rest of the album. "Parables" is wonderfully light and airy. The feather-light melody is surprisingly complex and detailed, and actually seems to develop on a multitude of levels at once. This is also a characteristic of "Deep River Run Quiet," but the piece is more introspective and emotional. On "Green To Red," Francesconi teams up with Lili De La Mora, with whom he released the rather lovely Eleven Continents album earlier this year. Once again, the piece is somewhat reflective, but Lili's voice gives a much warmer and impressionist relief to Francesconi's delicate wanderings.

With its first release, textura has certainly created an impressive collection which reaches far beyond the realm of usual compilations to actually create a true narrative throughout. While the musicians featured come from somewhat diverse horizons, they meet here on common grounds and, while retaining their own identity, manage to contribute to the overall mood. Only 500 copies of Kubla Khan have been made available, and it would be a shame to miss it!
from cyclic defrost:

Ears aware of the quiet precision of sound in a blatantly loud world may have passed their eyes across the reviews in Textura. Akin to Cyclic Defrost, discrete sonic adventurers abound in this Canadian music blog/magazine. It’s first CD release is in a sense a contemplation on Coleridge’s Kubla Khan (or A Vision in a Dream. A Fragment), poetic vision on history, all too resounding in modern times where the promises of ‘the pleasure dome’ lull to sleep its entrants. But the representatives are no slouches, The Retail Sectors (Kentaro Togawa) bookend the compilation with a build to drone and distort intensity and warmth. Alexander Turnquist’s ‘Fragments Vaulted Like Rebounding Hail’ is epic textural melding of his skill with 12 string guitar, toy zylophone, fused with samplers electronic manipulation. Ryan Francesconi 3 tracks standout somehow their direct crisp guitar play convey more; simple bright, deceptively naïve minimal guitar scapes reveal a depth of knowledge alluded. His ‘Green to Red’ with Lili De La Mora vocals holds a delightful whimsy in the center of the compilation. Mike Fazio under the guise orchestramaxfieldparrish presents a pedal steel guitar shimmer of light akin to ambient cathedral works of overly sacred organists. It takes skill and active imagination to stay awake in Kubla Khan’s dream, the players are aware of it being a dream and the entrants asleep, aware of their complicity in the dream state, close examination of technique, awareness and mind activity allows you entrance and exit to this beautific dream palace. With clarity of mind Textura’s debut awakens the mind to the beauty beyond the soporific poetry of Coleridge.
- Innerversitysound
muted front copy copy copy
Faith Strange Recordings is pleased to present the first new full length orchestramaxfieldparrish work since 2002's highly revered 'Tears', titled The Silent Breath Of Emptiness. This new recording consists of an improvised solo electric guitar soundscape originally intended for an exhibition of local area visual artists that never came to be. This piece was totally improvised and freeform, recorded live and captured in one take and then divided into 4 parts. No overdubs were done so as to not augment the original intention of the piece. A hauntingly beautiful reconstruction of the entire work is included as the fifth track. Recorded and mastered in 96K 24 bit audiophile audio. Beautifully presented in a full color limited edition digipak with matte varnish. First edition includes a handmade obi strip of vellum.

This work is a refreshing return to the art of true improvisation in the age where music is now recorded mainly as computer edits. Fazio has gone back to his roots of abstract guitar playing on a very personal level with a symphonic approach first explored in past outfits Æ, Copernicus and Chill Faction throughout the 1980's and early 90's and further explored on 2002's 'Tears'.
One minute excerpts can be heard on the soundpage.

REVIEWS (The Silent Breath Of Emptiness):
One of "The Best of 2008" -
CD Feature / orchestramaxfieldparrish “The Silent Breath Of Emptiness”

Heartbreaking charme: Interrelated tones conglomerating into thick tonal tufts. What is it about the stars? Poets are comparing them to the eyes of their lover, scientists are breaking apart at the weight of their mysteries and uncountable generations of musicians have used them as a metaphor for the final frontier and the finity of all human knowledge. To Mike Fazio, however, the sky is the canvas and his guitar the brush for a musical work full of little galaxies.
On the scale usually applied by music industry executives, time between two subsequent orchestramaxfieldparrish releases should indeed be measured in lightyears. Previous album “Tears”, now available again in a completely remastered edition, was published in 2002 and in between, Fazio has been active in various parallel universes as a collaborator and band member. The thought that “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” was essentially recorded on a single night makes these stretches seem even more romantic. It is almost, as if Fazio has been waiting for that one inspired moment to arrive and to follow it wherever it might lead him.
His second album is a fully improvisational effort bemused by the panoramically plaintive view of the Luna County Observatory. Recorded on Christmas Day, however, it not only captures the yearning sensation of sensing one’s own irrelevance underneath the sky’s umbrella, but also conveys the doleful emotion of a year drawing towards its close: “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” is about things ending, about horizons we’ll never see, places we’ll never reach. On top of that, though, it is also about the inspiration one can get from feeling one’s fragility and about the need to make the best from the little time we are given.

Fazio’s sound is wide and epic, his themes composed of intricate interrelated tones which initially combine into longing melodies before conglomerating into thick tonal tufts, their decay in turn constituting dreamy drones in their own right. After introducing his material in full in the beginning, he often merely quotes poignant passages, sometimes only a single note, to create cohesion, familiarity and alienation at the same time. On other occasions, things are allowed to drift and develop in a floating kind of way, with sheets of sound overlapping to create harmonic tension.

The most radical piece on the record is the third part of this aural quadrilogy, a sixteen minute series of inhaling and exhaling, each breath appearing different from its predecessor and revealing tiny new details. Growing from a noisy opening with percussive patters, a swelling deep bass pad leads into an icecold Dark Ambient meditation, which at first puts the listener in a vulnerable and insecure position, but then intangibly transforms into a comforting rhythm of sound and silence.

In the thirteen-minute “Reconstruction – Afterthought”, the album receives an unexpected recap, its motives reoccuring as if filtered through a sieve of melancholic memory. Entire passages are played backwards, tracks are combined into new compositions, melodies are twisted and deformed, others allowed to shine even more then previously. On paper a seemingly unnecessary addendum to an otherwhise agreably concise album, this final chapter in practise proves to be vital in adding a consiliatory and calming finale to a work which otherwhise profits from its irridescent intensity.
With its heartbreaking charme, “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” is of course no food for gloomy characters or rationally-minded analysts. It is an album, which can only be understood by intuition and by piecing wordless metaphors together. They may not make sense from an objective perspective, but translate into something far bigger and more important than us. Just like the stars above us.

Tobias Fischer
from Incubator / Petri Supply:

Quietly drifting dunes of electronic sand blowing under a subtle breeze, describes the sound of this release. Although guitar is the primary instrument Mike Fazio uses to generate these sounds, they seem in the range of an orchestral string section. At any time the music thinly migrates in a soft voice that says more by remaining distant. Three quarters of the CD is taken from a series of improvisations at the Luna County Observatory, and the final track is a subsequent mix. It's a slowly evocative work packaged in an attractively atmospheric digipak.
Aural Innovations 39 (May 2008):

Cultivating sonic terrain first explored by Fripp, Eno and other ambient anarchists, Mike Fazio (who, for all intents and purposes, is orchestramaxfieldparrish) ventures into the hinterlands of tonal expressionism, creating strange un-guitarisms that congeal and mass into virtual icebergs of sound. On each of the five distinct parts of “The Silent Breath Of Emptiness,” Fazio conceives and utilizes his guitar as an orchestral instrument, his sweeping chords achieving an almost symphonic grandeur while the drone of endless delays and the slow glacial drift of key changes imply a studied minimalism absorbed from Glass and Reich but filtered through Branca and other 80’s New York guitar terrorists. Among the infinitely-sustained, ringing tones of Fazio’s guitar, one is at times assaulted by abrasive dissonances and harsh metallic clusters of sound that evoke the clatter of machinery and the kling-klang of heavy industry. But there are also moments of stark beauty in several movements of this 50-minute composition. At times, Fazio’s uncanny guitar symphony approaches the soaring ecstasy of a Gregorian choir, creating a mood of temporary detachment from the terrestrial world.

Ultimately, what Fazio demonstrates on The Silent Breath Of Emptiness is that he’s equally at home in both the secular and the ecclesiastical and in both the lyrical and the mechanical, as well. Like Fripp, he’s a man at work with his machine.
Charles Van de Kree
cyclic defrost:

The Silent Breath Of Emptiness is like encountering a static photograph that, upon closer inspection, reveals itself to be a timelapse film. The slow building, reflective guitar drones absorb as though a dark starry field. These pieces stand without any foreground or background. Rather, they exist as a network of needling threads, crosshatched and manipulated, sketching a welter of variations on a single theme.

Pieces are played with a gentle spirit and an attention to the occult and elemental. At first, the work is a treacle of strums, which unfurl and circle in the shifting light of successive sound washes. With the momentum being slow, an intense concentration on the interlocking lines is made possible, better still, it is encouraged or even requested, though always in a hushed manner. Indeed, the piece lays itself open while at the same time making its emotions felt subliminally, as though transmitting or sharing a secret, rather than making it known explicitly.
The remaining segments continue to coil into themselves with stronger and more malicious thrusts. “Part 3
sinks into a morose, melodic continuum and almost epiphanic chimes, before oozing into a distantly undulating crescent of atmospheric noise. “Part 4 continues to seep into dark, tunneling visions, using what sounds like several guitars to produce a dense, almost symphonic feedback drone. Even here, though, shards of light filter through the darkness, giving the piece a movement and vibrancy that is knotty and wholly inflaming.
Max Schaefer

orchestramaxfieldparrish: The Silent Breath Of Emptiness Faith Strange

The Silent Breath Of Emptiness, a fifty-minute set of guitar-generated soundscapes issued by Mike Fazio under the name orchestramaxfieldparrish, is rather similar in sonic spirit and perhaps equal in quality to Robert Fripp’s superb At the End of Time: Churchscapes, Live in England & Estonia, 2006. Like his better-known kin, Fazio uses various effects to expand his solo guitar playing into an hypnotic polyphony of rolling waves, supplicant peals, and hazy drones; conventional guitar sounds are all but absent as Fazio generates industrial sheets and metallic washes throughout the five explorations, the first four of which are in fact a single live improvisation he recorded (sans overdubs) on December 25th, 2006 at the Luna County Observatory (indexed into four sections for the recording), while the final piece is a reconstruction of the preceding material that may be more deliberately conceived but sounds no less spontaneous. The sixteen-minute third section is the release’s most aggressive though Fazio never intensifies its industrial character to an unmusical or unpleasant degree. Part four exudes a devotional character reminiscent of the Fripp release, and Fazio’s guitar shimmers celestially too. Though devotees of experimental guitar playing will find much to admire about this follow-up to 2002’s Tears, The Silent Breath Of Emptiness is so captivating in terms of execution and its material so arresting that it deserves a listening audience far greater than that associated with a singular fanatical group. To Fazio’s credit, the recording manages to be avant-garde in spirit yet also thoroughly accessible, in large part due to the material’s “symphonic” character. Put simply, a beautiful recording.
March 2008
Musique Machine:

orchestramaxfieldparrish is Mike Fazio, a composer, as well as a (studio) member of New York City’s Black 47. The Silent Breath Of Emptiness seems miles away from the Celtic inspired rock of Black 47. It’s important to note then, that Fazio, and a couple other members of Black 47 originally backed up Avant-Garde musician and poet Copernicus (Joseph Smalkowski). Maxfield Parrish was a Philadelphian painter and illustrator, who lived from 1870-1966. Though he was a commercially successful illustrator, his paintings were quite often fantastical. I’m not sure how his work ties into Mike Fazio’s project, but Parrish’s art is well worth exploring.

The Silent Breath Of Emptiness consists chiefly of four segments of live improvisations recorded in one take at the Luna County Observatory, with no overdubs. The music was created solely on electric guitar, but the sounds presented here rarely conform to the traditional sound associated with the instrument. Instead, Fazio treads ground which runs the gamut from pleasant ambience ala Eno or Bill Nelson to sheets of drone, which could be more closely tied to Andrew Chalk and his work with Mirror.
Fazio’s technical ability certainly shows through, as these pieces rarely sound like music created by one individual. The improvisations are distinctly different from one another, yet they run together nicely. The music runs from quiet, neo-orchestral ambience to fairly noisy drones. Apart from the previous comparison to Andrew Chalk, the latter passages remind me quite a bit of John Duncan’s seemingly straight-lined drones (though Duncan doesn’t use guitars), which upon closer inspection are anything but.
The feeling of event is paramount to the success of any spontaneous performance, and
The Silent Breath Of Emptiness is steeped in that spark of inspiration. Perhaps that inspiration was the result of the observatory setting, but judging from the mastery of the different approaches on display here, it’s more likely that Mike Fazio’s enthusiasm and technical ability are responsible. It’s rare for a performer to pull something together which is subtle and genuine, while displaying obvious skill. More often than not, those with technical ability are more interested in showing how well than can play, rather than investing their music with soul and depth. The Silent Breath Of Emptiness, thankfully, is honest, unpretentious and, in it’s own odd way, soulful.
Erwin Michelfelder
All Music:

Besides his various group and collaborative efforts, Mike Fazio has pursued irregular solo ventures under the orchestramaxfieldparrish name, an interesting choice of nom de plume but one with an admittedly evocative edge given the reputation of that painter and graphic designer. The Silent Breath Of Emptiness surfaced after a six-year-gap from the previous effort, showing that Fazio’s ear for atmospheric textures via electric guitar remains strong; if there are now any number of releases exploring this form worldwide, Fazio’s approach remains one of the better ones. The core of the album consists of four untitled pieces recorded on a single day, ranging from artful reflectiveness to a sculpted, understatedly angry grind, the latter most prevalent on the third track. The fifth song recaps and reworks all the other pieces into a “Reconstruction” as titled, a sort of summary of the entire album that becomes its own distinct piece. Functioning both as meditative background and direct sonic captivation, The Silent Breath Of Emptiness is a gentle treat.
Ned Raggett
Chain D.L.K.:
Despite the name of the band, this is the solo work of Mike Fazio. I had not heard of this project, but I am familiar with his work in Copernicus, which is a wonderful blend of poetry and music. The label describes the disc thus: “This new recording consists of an improvised solo electric guitar soundscape originally intended for an exhibition of local area visual artists that never came to be. This piece was totally improvised and freeform, recorded live and captured in one take and then divided into 4 parts.” Guitar drone is often polarized in terms of quality—when it’s good it’s really good and when it’s bad it’s really bad and there is little in between. Fortunately, this falls on the good side of the spectrum, probably because it doesn’t really sound like just guitar drone. I’m assuming that there are a lot of effects being used to create the variety of sounds in these tracks. The album opens with what sounds like an orchestra warming up for performance. As the disc progresses, the layers become more and more intertwined to the point where, in Part 3, it becomes almost like a wall of noise that continually crescendos and decrescendos. But this wall of noise is not to be confused with the Merzbow style of wall of noise. It never becomes oppressive, just intense. Overall, this is a nice disc to relax to but still engaging. I suppose it would work for your next gallery installation as well…. The main comparison that comes to mind is Vidna Obmana. This disc weighs in at 49 minutes and is nicely packaged in a digipak. You can check out some of it at his myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/orchestramaxfieldparrish.
Wonderful Wooden Reasons:

Contrary to the suggestion made in the name this is the work of one man, Mike Fazio. ‘The Silent Breath Of Emptiness’ consists of a single solo guitar improvisation, subsequently edited into four discrete and cohesive parts and accompanied by a fifth reconstruction. It’s a stunningly melancholic and hallucinogenic experience with Fazio’s guitar often sounding more like a bank of synthesizers than a guitar. The use of ‘Orchestra’ in the project name is readily apparent in Mike’s playing style which is described in the press notes as ’symphonic’ and I can find no more apt word to replace it with. In style OMP is reminiscent of people such as Andrew Chalk but in sound is very much related to the ambient recordings of Eno, or Phaedra-era Tangerine Dream with lush electronic chords layered to create a sumptuous bath of sound into which you can submerge. I think I would have liked to hear more variety in the effects with which the guitar has been treated but equally I am quibbling over small things as this is a fine and recommended release.
Foxy Digitalis:

orchestramaxfieldparrish is nom de plume of the underground New York musician Mike Fazio. “The Silent Breath Of Emptiness” is a solo electric guitar piece that was originally created as a soundtrack for an art exhibition that never actually got off the ground. The piece itself was recorded in a single take and is presented here without overdubs, divided into four tracks. A fifth track, which is an abbreviated reworking of the entire piece is also included on the disc. The entire album contains a variety of ambient guitar loops and sounds that traverse many moods. In fact, the guitar effects often cause it to sound like other instruments, namely keyboards and various orchestral strings.

Really, much of the work could be labeled as ambient music. For example, the first track, called “Part 1
has an ethereal feeling as guitar echoes over a low background drone. “Part 2 has a similar feeling, but gives way to more powerful sounds, to the point that it almost sounds heavy. Layered distortion and effects come into the latter part of the song and produce a droning, almost mechanical, eerie feeling. In many ways, “Part 3 continues what was begun on the previous track, rising and falling into cacophony several times before slowly fading out. The fourth track, “Part 4 returns to the ethereal beauty of “Part 1 to bookend the original long piece. Finally, comes the album recap, which is entitled “Reconstruction | Afterthought.” Amazingly enough, this track does call on many of the sounds and themes present in the previous tracks. Still, it does not come off as a rehash of the other music. In fact, it combines well with the rest to nicely close out the disc.
“The Silent Breath Of Emptiness” is ultimately a great disc to settle back with and take in. It’s very easy to get lost in its complex tones and textures and I have a feeling that this will prove itself to be a favorite in those quieter times in life.

Definitely, a recommended disc.
Matt Blackall

orchestramaxfieldparrish - The Silent Breath Of Emptiness

Med den mycket lämpliga titeln “The Silent Breath Of Emptiness” återvänder amerikanska orchestramaxfieldparrish med sin första platta på över fem år. Upprepade slingor av improviserade, maskerade gitarrdroner gör att musiken får en klart minimalistisk prägel trots en tät struktur. Man skyndar långsamt framåt och de ljudvågor som sköljer över lyssnaren är så pastorala att det är svårt att tänka sig något som fungerar bättre en grådassig morgon.

Tydligen var musiken ursprungligen tänkt att ackompanjera en konstutställning som aldrig blev av och att döma av den nerv som finns närvarande rakt igenom skivans fem utdragna spår kan man inte låta bli att låta fantasin måla egna bilder. Varma melodifragment tittar förbi ett kort tag för att sedan försvinna in i ett muller av mörk gitarrabstraktion. Fjäderlätta moln hotas ständigt av en annalkande storm över öppet hav. Skivan illustrerar på ett förnämligt sätt litenhet i något väldigt mycket större. Skrämmande? Ibland, men allt som oftast är känslan av att släppa taget, det fria fallet, att tidlöst stirra ut i det tomma intet, något befriande och själsligt rengörande. Knappast ett banbrytande album men så imponerande genomfört att det är omöjligt att inte förföras.
Mats Gustafsson
Earlabs (3-2-2008):

orchestramaxfieldparrish - The Silent Breath Of Emptiness

Although involved in the underground/experimental music scene since the 1980‘s, Mike Fazio is a another new name to me. Using the alias of orchestramaxfieldparrish since 1999, this diverse purveyor of experimental guitar music has been composing and improvising atmospheric drone and drift since before these terms were widely used or even recognized. The Silent Breath of Emptiness is the seventh release on Faith Strange Recordings of which Mike is a co-founder.

The press release says that followers of such established avant-garde music artists as Arvo Pärt, Robert Fripp, Brian Eno, Andrew Chalk, Thomas Köner, and trombonist Stewart Dempster among others “will find much to savor here.” The common denominator being beautiful experimental/ambient music that comes from the heart. I’ll add to this list of icons Canadian multi-instrumentalist Aidan Baker another like-minded improviser of spacious experimental guitar drones.
Initially a single improvised, free-form performance for an exhibition that was never realized, The Silent Breath of Emptiness was recorded in one take (with no additional sounds added) and for this album has been split into four segments of varying lengths. The fifth track is an almost thirteen-minute beautifully opulent reinterpretation of the original performance. All of the segments are guitar-based cinematic drones having a symphonic quality. The first and fourth segments are vibrant, harmonious and translucent. In contrast, the second segment begins a descent into darker, denser, more atonal drones. The third segment continues the dark, droning atmosphere initiated by its predecessor but takes the listener even deeper into thick, murky, distorted, inharmonious ambiances.
For the dedicated drone enthusiast, you might not hear a whole new here, however, the symphonic touch is a nice twist on an old theme, and it’s clear that Fazio’s sounds originate deep within his psyche. On the other hand, the novice or occasional drone listener will find much to enjoy and appreciate on The Silent Breath Of Emptiness.
Larry Johnson
Bad Alchemy (BA 57):

orchestramaxfieldparrish - The Silent Breath Of Emptiness (Faith Strange 07):

Wenn man in der Vergangenheit des Gitarristen Mike Fazio stöbert, stößt man auf Life With The Lions, auf Chill Faction mit ihrem FunkNoFunk und auf die irischen AgitPop-Stews von Black 47, zwei New Yorker Projekte mit dem Green-Suede-Shoes-Crooner Larry Kirwan. Zusammen mit Thomas Hamlin, einem alten Weggefährten bereits seit den 80ern, bildet er auch die Gods Of Electricity, die Dark-Ambient-Welten jenseits von Eno erschaffen. Hier jedoch lässt er allein seine Gitarrenwellen aufrauschen und durch den Raum branden. Ältere dürfen an aufgeraute Robert-Fripp-Soundscapes denken, Jüngere an Fear Falls Burning. Nennt es Dröhnminimalismus oder psychedelisches Tripping ins Parrish-Blaue, Fazio ist lange genug dabei, um dafür als einer der Blueprints zu gelten, nicht als Kopie. Er erzeugt seinen nahezu symphonischen ‚Orgel‘-Klang ohne Overdubs, im intuitiven Freispiel, Welle für Welle für Welle. Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) war übrigens ein stilbildender Märchenillustrator und Maler von androgynen Träumern und phantastischen, anfänglich goldschimmernden und später mondlichtblaue
n Landschaften. Seine präraffaelitischen Wesen sind zu ätherisch für Fazios Klang. Der gehört zu den Monument Valleys und erhabenen Plateaus ihrer Traum-Monde. [BA 57 rbd]
Rigobert Dittmann
from Connexion Bizarre:

Mike Fazio has been recording avant-garde, electronic and indie rock music since the early 1980's and has contributed guitar and electronic input to releases by dark folk outfit Life with Lions, New York City's Black 47 and toured with post-punk psych rockers Chill Faction and performance poet Copernicus.

Orchestramaxfieldparrish is Fazio's solo ambient project based around improvised electric guitar soundscapes.

"The Silent Breath of Emptiness" follows 2002's "Tears" - also o
n Faith Strange - and was performed and recorded in a single take on Christmas Day 2006 at Luna County Observatory. The recording consists of the single improvised piece that is split into four parts with a fifth track consisting of a remix of the full performance. The music was originally intended for an exhibition of local area artists that never came to fruition.
Musically, "The Silent Breath of Emptiness" consists of huge undulating waves of guitar texture that tumble and flow over each other in cascades of fluid sound. Sometimes resembling layers of gently droning electronic texture ("Part 3") and at others taking on an entirely more orchestral quality ("Part 1"), it is hard to believe that this music was created and documented as it happened, such is the intensity of feeling it creates. Often deep and enveloping with thick encapsulating swathes of droning texture, Fazio's music sounds as though it has been meticulously crafted in a studio by carefully layering electric guitar and electronically generated sounds. "The Silent Breath of Emptiness" is essentially a journey in four suites that takes us from the warmth of "Part 1"'s electronic tones through the grand church organ like emotive drones of "Part 2" on to huge demonic mechanical grind of "Part 3" to conclude with bright organ-like optimism of "Part 4". It is almost as though we follow a train of thought that slips deeper into the dark depths of despair before emerging renewed and invigorated on the other side. As a bonus, the almost 13 minute final track is a remix of the entire musical piece entitled "Reconstruction | Afterthought" which draws recognisable elements of the preceding four tracks and gives it an edgier mood by adding undulating drones and deep vibrating undertones that result in an entirely more anxious atmosphere throughout.
Listening to "The Silent Breath of Emptiness" it is amazing to think that it was recorded live as it was performed and in a single take as music of this type is often carefully orchestrated in a studio using layering techniques and all manner of electronic effects and gadgets. Considering the core of this recording consists of electric guitar textures that are manipulated and produced live, this album could be described as ambient, drone, experimental or avant-garde but also as absorbing, intense, dark or hypnotic.
Paul Lloyd
Tears remastered reissue

Due to demand, 2002's '
Tears' has been reissued in a second edition and has now been remastered in 24 bit 128k audiophile fidelity.
This new design is professionally printed & duplicated and comes in a 4 color fold out gatefold cardboard sleeve with archival rice paper cd sleeve. Very cool indeed...
This remastered reissued edition can
only be purchased through the faith strange shop.
REVIEWS (Tears):

Aural Innovations #31 June 2005:
orchestramaxfieldparrish -

Deeply influenced by the 80's academy of ambient guitarists (Bill Nelson, Robert Fripp, Michael Rother, Durutti Column), Mike Fazio's orchestramaxfieldparrish project is a splendid concatenation of soaring e-bow guitars, heavenly synthesizers, crystalline percussion and an assortment of other instruments finely tuned to the frequencies of the heart and soul. Fazio's closest spiritual antecedents, however, serve as mere ghostly projections that infuse his compositions with a kind of invisible aura and rarely a heavy-handed presence. At their best, Fazio's songs are channels to other times and places that resonate in the pools of memory, anthems of transcendence for fallen angels and romantic warriors. The lovely "Bow" is a case in point. Chiming electric guitars create a lush dreamscape over which an orchestra of tuned percussion, wood, glass and assorted metals flicker like fireflies on a summer evening. Both intoxicating and entrancing, "Waiting for Twilight" builds swelling guitars into a symphonic architecture of longing ascension, where rich chordal clusters rise and fall like the shadows of velvet birds cast against a kaleidoscopic horizon. These and the other shorter pieces ("…and then a crowd, impossible to number…" and "Where the Angels Crash and Die," for instance) all share a consistency and fluidity of vision that the extended suites ("The Tears of Christ" and "Music from the Empty Corner") occasionally lack. This isn't to say that the longer compositions are too repetitive or directionless, only that within the less consciously circumscribed, more open-minded framework, Fazio tends to drift far afield to esoteric circles that only true initiates can fully appreciate. "The Tears of Christ" effectively utilizes musical space for the creation of sounding structures through time - a kind of kyrie eleison for solo guitar processed with a multitude of effects. "Music from the Empty Corner" is perhaps Fazio's clearest and most heartfelt expression of his connection to the Orphic myth he alludes to in the album's liner notes. Using little more than bells, gongs and synth, Fazio sculpts a mesmerizing tone poem of luminescent beauty. Here, timbre and pitch are constructed in the same way that a painter might use light and shadow on a canvas. Shimmering and radiant, "Music from the Empty Corner" sunders the darkness like veils of light from another sun - truly splendid music for the deep silences of the night. Tears is a rare oasis in what is increasingly becoming a barren world of sound.
Charles Van de Kree
FUNPROX - July, 2005:

...‘Tears’ by the formation orchestramaxfieldparrish is a record one mustn’t skip.

‘Tears’ is an evocative and dynamic blend of all sorts of instruments (listed separately beneath each track in the cd-booklet) as electric guitars, drums, piano, synthesizers and acoustic guitars. Keywords to describe the music would be: atmospheric, soundtrackish and dreamy. The overall audial impression of the record is not dark at all, more soothing then menacing, sometimes even more poppy than ambient.
The rich variation of styles is clear in ‘A lot like you’. After the initial drones, orchestramaxfieldparrish suddenly breaks the ambient structure and starts a moody and catchy song. In the next track, besides droning electronics, also drums and a bass-line are present, but this time more to support atmosphere than to create a songstructure. ‘Bow’ is definitely my favourite track, which sounds like a mixture of Raison d’être and Alio Die. The echoing, reverbing guitarsounds create a very powerful lush feeling of desolation and sadness. Like Orpheus’ lyre twanging sad strains, emitting nice vibrating sounds. These chilling, distant guitarstrains are present in most of the tracks; resulting in an album that sounds as a whole. Everyone sensitive to soundscapes will absolutely be touched by the efforts of this band from the big apple.

Orchestramaxfieldparrish combines the best ingredients of ambient-electronic music on the one hand, and post-rock-alike guitar drones on the other.

A definite recommendation.
EXPOSE - issue 27, JULY, 2003:

orchestramaxfieldparrish -
I chose this CD for review based solely on the name. What a welcome change to see a project that absorbs influences from other art forms, not a common enough trait. And the serenity in the paintings of Parrish - once the whipping boy of hip mid-century moderns, for whom all but splashes and blobs of ugliness was bourgeois and out-of-fashion - is the perfect afflatus for the beautiful ambient sound paintings of OMP. And it is all the work of one man, Mike Fazio.

Striking is Fazio's grasp of the production savvy needed to achieve a professionalism that exceeds the grasp of most other ambient music projects. Surely the emphasis is on mood and atmosphere - each track explores a different side of the craft, delivered by a distinct orchestration. Electric guitars here, Mellotron, piano and acoustic guitars there; synths and samples on another; and so on. Cues are taken from various ends of the genre: Fripp & Eno, Harold Budd, Bill Nelson, David Sylvian, etc. But he reveals his instruments more prominently, adding bass, even a touch of drums and symphonic elements as well, something that most ambient composers run scared from. It all coalesces into a wonderfully coherent statement, not a hodge podge.

Ambient music is easy to fool around and dabble with, but deceptively difficult to get right. OMP hits the mark splendidly, and I recommend it.
Michael Ezzo
Mike Ezzo's Best of 2002:

New Releases:
1. Univers Zero - Rhythmix 2. Jonas Hellborg - Icon 3. Pat Metheny - Speaking of Now 4. Lars Hollmer's Global Project - Sola 5. Peter Hammill - Clutch 6. Manring/McGill/Stevens - Controlled By Radar 7. orchestramaxfieldparrish - Tears 8. Tangerine Dream - Inferno 9. Wayne Shorter - Footprints Live 10. Softworks - Softworks
APERSAND ETCETERA - SEPTEMBER, 2002: &&&&&&&&&&&&&&
orchestramaxfieldparrish Tears
faith strange - fs2 Mike Fazio is the Orchestra, and has been around since 1987 – the sleeve includes a useful bio: Black 47 prominent for over a decade amongst other gigs, various production. Among the enthusiasm of a pr insert, the references to Bill Nelson and David Sylvian strike a chord at first listening (celebrated by the cheeky sampling of samples from the Orchestra Arcana for one track).
'Beauty and wonder' is that, echoed and delightful backwards and forwards guitar tones, reminiscent of Bill Nelson, which is furthered by the choppy Chinese chimes and sweeping guitar in the first half of 'Dorothea gets her wish' but then a big percussion enters with voice tones and piano and OMP is finding its own voice, perhaps symbolised by the squeezed guitar at the end. But the Nelson sampled samples of '…and then a crowd, impossible to number…' surrounded by long tones and washes, sounds swirling around the slightly echoed voices.
I have often wondered about track lengths – and there does seem to be a pointed nature to 'A lot like you' being 8:01 long (we are the 801, we are the central shaft). But it opens in an un-Eno way with a couple of minutes of tidal crackle rumbles before a very nice guitar solo with piano accompaniment that fades back into the rumble that is extended to fill the time. Some echoes of Windham Hill, but there seems to be a little more edge. Unstable and phasing surging and pinging tones (including some high guitar) grounded by drum and rubbery bass are 'Where the angels crash and die'.
The lush echoed and reverbed guitar provides a varied density melody surrounded by restrained chimes and soft scraping noises in 'Bow' after which long tones in 'Waiting for twilight' form embracing and warm clouds of sound, with room for a bass solo and then some edgy guitar. The Fripp-ish nature of that sound is echoed in 'The tears of christ' a 17 minute soundscape that is a spacious work with phasey looped and delayed guitar, lyric chromatic clusters that nod towards Fripp's soundscapes but develops OMP's own sound. Finally 'Music from the empty quarter' is a contemplative piece for gongs and deep rumble, chimes and tones drifting and surging, some larger echoed sounds, but generally relaxed. Or almost finally, as there is a brief extra piece of backward and ringing guitar to balance the opening track.
This is one of those albums which is going to get replayed because it is full of timeless pleasure – from the more dramatic guitar pieces to the extended spacious contemplations - a musical suite to savour (especially if you like Bill Nelson).
Jeremy Keens &&&&&&&&&&&&&
WIND AND WIRE - November 2003 Volume 1, Number 7
orchestramaxfieldparrish -

I have mixed feelings about this ambient music CD, the work of Mike Fazio recording here under the pseudonym orchestramaxfieldparrish. Those songs that I do like on Tears I like a lot. Then there are two to which I have a negative reaction. On balance, though, I would give the CD a solid recommendation because of the brave nature of what Fazio is doing as well as the music contained on the tracks I do enjoy. And, while I had to hit the "skip" a few times when playing the album, you may not have to.

Instrumentation on the nine tracks (which range from one and half to over seventeen minutes in length) varies from electric and acoustic guitars, drums, piano and bass to more traditionally ambient tools of the trade (samplers, synths). This variety also extends to the music, as I hinted at above. The album opens with a short (the minute and a half piece mentioned earlier) abstract electric guitar song, "Beauty and Wonder," and segues into the full-bodied (guitars, drums, piano and synths) upbeat "Dorothea Gets Her Wish," full of sparkling electronic notes, rolling piano chords and soaring electric guitars (placed back of the mix). From there, we are treated to a very nice pure ambient cut, "...and then a crowd, impossible to number," featuring layers of billowing serene but minor key synths helped along by some dialogue snippets (one sounds like Spock, one sounds like Lousie Fletcher from Brainstorm and the other one I'm unsure of).

As I mentioned above, some of the tracks on Tears are misses for me, including the disjointed "A Lot Like You," which tries to evolve an opening stretch of noise and static into an acoustic guitar and piano number resembling an instrumental folk music piece. For me, it didn't gel and neither of the disparate parts hit me much either. Likewise, the next song, "Where The Angels Crash And Die," while deserving of its pessimistic title, plays like a goth rock band (electric guitars, drums, bass) jamming to no real purpose except to craft a lot of dark textures. If that turns your crank, you'll love this.

Things take a sharp turn upwards (meaning, for the better) starting with "Bow," a drifting but melancholy Jeff Pearce-like electric guitar song that also features assorted percussive effects on metal, glass, and wood which are, remarkably enough, cohesive and non-pretentious. Guitars on this track are both strummed and also used as drone-like ambience. From here on out, the album is on a roll, with one solid number after another. "Waiting For Twilight" is a serene ambient cut, on which Fazio's electric guitars sound more like synths as they weave a darkish, but not too, pattern in the night sky. At more than seventeen minutes, "The Tears Of Christ" is far and away the most ambitious track on the CD. Using nothing but electric guitars, Fazio explores abstract minimalism, experimenting with the silence between notes as well as a variety of tones, shadings, and more overt "guitar-like" musical stylings. The only other artist doing anything at all like this that I'm familiar with is Jon Durant, and Fazio stands toe-to-toe with him on this piece. It's possible that the track could have been shortened, yet with minimalistic music like this, how much is enough or not enough?

For me, the closing track is also far and away my favorite. "Music From the Empty Corner" (an alarmingly appropriate title) also journeys down minimal pathways, but this time does so with assorted bells and gongs, most of them reverberating and sustaining for long periods of time. The various tones, each of them pleasant in their own right, coalesce to form fascinating patterns yet in a completely random fashion. While the music is not "dark," there is a brilliant juxtaposition of contemplation tinted with profound sadness (or at least that's my reaction) which transfixed me every time I played this cut. While twelve minutes long, I never tired of the wind-chime like allure of this selection.
The upside of Tears far outweighs my complaints and since it's easy enough to program out the two cuts I don't care for, I can recommend it to ambient and minimalist fans with breezy confidence, assuming the listener is not opposed to non-traditional (i.e. not synthesizers) sources for his/her ambient bliss. Because, the majority of this album contains more than a few blissful moments, as well as stretches of artistic creativity and virtuosity that bode well for Mike Fazio's future releases.
Bill Binkelman
Tears first issue - OUT OF PRINT
To hear streaming MP3's of 'Bow' & 'Music From The Empty Corner' from the album 'Tears', as well as preliminary mixes of "On Nine Mile Marsh' & ' A Walk Amongst The Raindrops' from 'Crossing Of Shadows', please visit the
orchestramaxfieldparrish MySpace.com page.
To hear 'Dorothea Gets Her Wish' in its entirety, please tune into
Dave Mandl's, The World Of Echo 7.11.03 show on WFMU, 91.1FM from NYC.

To hear 'Beauty And Wonder' in its entirety, please tune into
Dave Mandl's, The World Of Echo 11.26.03 show on WFMU, 91.1FM from NYC.
This first edition is now out of print but the remastered second edition is exclusively available from the
Faith Strange Shop and also available as a digital download from:

CD Baby
Great Indie Music

Several Famous Orchestras:

Mark Rushton, founder and former webmaster of Bill Nelson's
Permanent Flame has put a super-human effort into gathering together and co-ordinating some marvellous contributions for a series of "like-minded" compilations. The track 'Bow" has been graciously included into Volume 1.