Edward Larry Gordon - Celestial Vibration

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  • For decades, Edward Larry Gordon was negative space. A gap if you will. Whenever one would peruse the Brian Eno section, either in their own collection or at the shop, the epochal, highly-influential Ambient series that Eno released in the late '70s and early '80s would scan as so: Ambient 1: Music for Airports was Eno's gentle-drift follow-up to Discreet Music, Ambient 2 was the collaboration with pianist Harold Budd entitled The Plateaux of Mirror and then Ambient 4 was Eno's On Land. But who, what and where was Ambient 3? Left off Virgin/ Astralwerks's reissues of all of Eno's albums, Ambient 3: Day of Radiance was the work of a mysterious busker found in Washington Square Park by Eno on a trip to New York in the late '70s (separate from Eno's discovery and documentation of the No Wave scene fermenting at the same time). Turns out to have been the Philadelphia-born Edward Larry Gordon, the name "Laraaji" a play on his name and initial. While a path in New Age music has since followed, Gordon had put out an album previous to Day of Radiance, one produced by a New York lawyer who—after encountering Gordon's mesmeric performance on the zither at a New Age Holistic event—decided he wanted to record him immediately. Privately-pressed in an edition of 500 back in 1978, Universal Sound has rescued it from obscurity, and rightly so: Celestial Vibration is the sort of album that might make heads perceive the cringe-inducing "New Age" genre in a new light. No doubt, such gentle ambience underpins so much of our highly-acclaimed music at the moment. In a recent chat with Luciano, he talked about focusing his attentions on beatless, beautiful productions that forego the 4/4, though can mix into them, while Villalobos is on the record as being a fan of the hallowed ECM label, which has specialized in releasing such crystalline sounds for decades now, in addition to their jazz catalog. Even Animal Collective sampled a bit of pan-flute master Zamfir on their most-recent EP. Crystal-haters beware, the new age of "New Age" might be upon us. As for Celestial Vibration, imagine Alice Coltrane's harp runs as captured and effected by Eno's tape loop devices and you're close to the sound of Gordon. Two majestic sprawling sound tapestries comprise the disc, "All Pervading" and "Bethlehem" each nearing the 25-minute mark. Gordon's mastery of the zither (a stringed instrument that can be plucked, strummed or malleted) makes for entrancing listening. Don't think you will just be able to doze off: Gordon moves from blissed-out washes to driving passages to ruminative melodic moments that echo outward and slowly swirl back into cosmic dust clouds, his sound ever-changing. It might not be to every electronic music fan's tastes, but open ears will soon hear that Gordon is not only a master of his instrument, but also of that "otherness" that surrounds all music: space itself.
  • Tracklist
      01. All Pervading 02. Bethlehem