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From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness

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Album Review

One needn't have a European address in order to have a European sound, and Paul Ellis makes that abundantly clear on From Out of the Vast Comes Nearness. Ellis' Lotuspike label is based in Encinitas, California, but musically, this 2011 release owes a lot to the European synthesizer music of the '80s. As a synthesizer expert, composer, producer, and arranger, the California resident gets his inspiration from Germany (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze's early solo output) as well as from Greece (Vangelis), and the U.K. (Brian Eno). Ellis doesn't draw on the funkiness of Kraftwerk or Giorgio Moroder; his ambient electronica has a meditative, spacy, floating quality and shows no awareness of either Euro-disco or synth-funk. This 74-minute instrumental CD gets off to a very spacy start with the ten-minute opener "The Infinite, Minute by Minute," and Ellis continues in that vein with the four extended tracks that follow: the 12-minute "The Click and Chime of Passing Time," the 13-minute "Firefly Rising Outshined by the Moon," the 15-minute title track, and the 21-minute "Watch the Stars Come One by One." From Out of the Vast Comes Nearness doesn't pretend to point electronica in any new directions; Ellis is clearly enamored of the ambient electronica of the '80s, and his use of synthesizers never fails to recall the ways in which synthesizers were used back in that era. But while From Out of the Vast Comes Nearness is less than groundbreaking, that doesn't mean that it isn't enjoyable or worthwhile. This is a consistently pleasing, if predictable, celebration of European electronica's past.

From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness, Paul Ellis
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