Stephen Peppos is a composer and multi-instrumentalist whose fifth album, Leaving Terra Firma, explores a variety of atmospheric sonic terrain. Comprised of thirteen compositions spanning seventy-two minutes, the compositions herein range from classic new age to cosmic space and electronic-ambient music, which are often imprinted with unique touches of eclecticism.
Washy synthesizers and muffled piano droplets open the subtly sweeping and melodic title track, “Leaving Terra Firma”, bearing all the classic hallmarks of cosmic new age music. The comparatively more ambient, “Magnetic Fields”, follows next with slowly metamorphosing chords and deeply immersive tones. Here, both electronic and organic textures create a slightly foreboding and cavernous soundscape full of vaporous swells and subterranean sounds, which impart an esoteric sense of mystery. “Vita Secundom Vita” ensues with a gentle pulse and harpsichord effect, which are soon followed by distant thundering percussion. One of my favorite pieces on the album, it possesses a distinctly medieval or renaissance flair that incorporates ambient-chamber musical elements, while imparting an earthy yet ethereal quality that seemingly eludes to a mysterious and fantastical voyage. Following up this number is “Everlast”, a celestial, classical-tinged composition that recalls the music of Aeoliah and Constance Demby. Bathed in an immersive glow of distant angelic choirs, streams of light seemingly slip in and out of this most heavenly, peaceful passage of gossamer tones and textures. Moving on to “Sea of Joy”, this especially gorgeous composition aptly conveys the watery depths of the ocean. Expansive washes of synths move along a gently rolling undercurrent, as radiant, shimmering tones seem to mimic the sun’s rays illuminating a beautiful undersea kingdom. Picking things up a few notches is the equally mesmerizing, “Transulence”, which possesses a more ambient-chill vibe. Guided by a light trance rhythm, this euphoric number imparts a feeling of flying high above the sea. The tenth track, “Amor Dei”, is an especially majestic sounding piece that features Seay on vocals, which are given a cosmically ethereal and processed effect. Comprised of synthesizers, strings and symphonic percussion, this piece recalls that of an epic fantasy movie depicting magical creatures in a land of enchantment. Closing out the album is a thirteenth bonus track that clocks in a just over two minutes. Aptly titled “Cold But Warm Peace”, its whimsical, crystalline soundscape seemingly paints a picture of an ice castle hidden among a snow forest.
A thoroughly rewarding album that bears subtle similarities throughout to the music of Aeoliah, Constance Demby and even Vangelis, Leaving Terra Firma is sure to appeal to a wide range of both classic new age and ambient-space music fans!