Fans of Toronto electronic artists dreamSTATE will no doubt be thrilled by the release of "Passage", a series of soundscapes specially created for an installation held in Goderich, Ontario. Inspired by the poetry of Lynn Harigan from her collection "Moon Sea Crossing", "Passage" tells the story of Aina, an Irish immigrant who settles in Huron District during the 1840s. Her life during this time is filled with hardship and turmoil, ultimately resulting in a mental breakdown which leads to her being confined in the Huron District Gaol where her mental state further declines. Through a masterful creation of sound and environment, dreamSTATE is able to draw the listener into Aina's plight and brings her story to life in a powerful and haunting manner...
As brilliant as it is emotional, "Passage" is a beautiful work by one of Toronto's premier electronic acts. Many lesser talents would find themselves lost in such a dark subject matter, but dreamSTATE are able to convey the scene, the situation and the emotions felt in a succinct and powerful way. A testimony to their sophistication and artistry, "Passage" is sure to become a classic of the genre.
~ rik maclean / Ambient Visions
This work is a moving and profound listening experience the listener will not forget. It is highly recommended to all lovers of adventurous ambient music and deserves to be a classic!
~ Dodds Wiley / ambient.us
The work stands easily as an independent album from the drifting watery warmth of "Crossing", with an Irish lilt, through a more pastoral feel of "Clearing", including birdsong and a working melody; then into "Watershed" and "Fall" where the darker more ominous side begins to develop, watery sounds and a developing chord, getting darker in the second track, with up welling voices. Spiral tones and voices layered in "Captive", then a gentler mood with "Stone and Sky"... A melancholy acceptance in "Gyre", edgy but not nasty, before "Watershed Reprise"'s singing ringing tones offer release. A very enjoyable drifting ambience, as the moods do not bring it down but provide contrasts.
~ Jeremy Keens / ampersandEtc
Evaluating "Passage" as an ambient recording is easy. This is an excellent CD, provided you enjoy this genre as a textural experience, comprised of ethereal and glowing spacemusic-like washes as well as darker drone-style ambient soundscapes (with the exception of "Clearing"). The technical quality is flawless and the choice (by Moore and Todd) to separate the tracks with a few seconds of silence does not detract from the overall cohesive impact of the entire album. However, that said, the true power of this CD comes from integrating the "story" with the music, where you, the listener, immerse yourself in Aina's tale (she is the lead character) and allow the recording to walk you through her tragedy as well as (hopefully) her triumphant crawl from the abyss. It is within this context that "Passage" elevates itself from being merely a good recording to being an important artistic statement. I highly recommend this album in either regard.
~ Bill Binkelman / Wind and Wire