[Reviewed by stark]
Where’s Imla I wonder? Is it some sort of mythical underwater kingdom like Atlantis? Maybe I’ll ask these guys one day, but it is obvious that they’re fascinated by seas and oceans – all the titles on their full length debut are related to oceanography and they really made an effort to find poetic terms, like “Hikurangi Plateau” or “Galathea Depth”. As if they wanted to underline the ocean’s undeniable beauty and majesty.
It’s very easy to indicate their main source of inspiration, Robert Rich and Steve Roach are the godfathers of “The Radiant Sea”. Especially the first one, who’s also responsible for mastering. Hans-Dieter Schmidt and Michael Brückner generate soothing synth-waves, ear-friendly harmonies and gentle melodies in a way strongly related to the American classics; they don’t forget about their national legacy, as some fragments indicate an affinity with Berlin School masters like Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching and Michael Hoenig. I’m more than pleased that this style of music is still made as it was a very important stage in my musical education as a kid.
That being said, I wouldn’t describe “The Radiant Sea” as the most original album in the world. Creating their own style wasn’t the main purpose and I suppose that if I’d play this CD in, say, two years from now, after a long break, and if someone would ask me who’s sculpting these pleasurable drones, I’d say it’s Robert Rich from the mid 90s. Perhaps slightly remastered with the techniques available in the second decade of the XXI century. Then again, I have to ask the question I ask rather often; was their intention to achieve anything unique? Is this actually possible these days in the ambient/synth/drone niche? I would say, yes, it is. But it is reserved only for visionaries, happening a few times every decade. Hans-Dieter and Michael are not visionaries, but they’re perfect artisans and I’m sure they’re aware of that fact. As I said in one of my previous reviews, finding your own way in ambient music is not crucial if you’re sensitive enough to paint the proper atmosphere, be it dark and dreamy or the creation of both like on “The Radiant Sea”.
These fellows know what this music is about, trust me.
So yes, it gave me over an hour of a genuine aural pleasure, it makes me forget about the cold grey of late winter in the industrial town of Katowice where I live, transferring me to some remote island in the Southern Pacific. Another succesful effort of the Winter Light label.