Frore & Shane Morris: Eclipse
Spotted Peccary Music

Spotted Peccary's output might emphasize luscious electronic-ambient soundscaping, but its discography encompasses other realms, too. Indicative of such heterogeneity, the material presented on Eclipse is tribal-ambient of the kind generally associated with figures such as Steve Roach, Robert Rich, and Byron Metcalf, with in this case alchemical shamans Paul Casper (aka Frore) and Shane Morris donning the ethno-electronic garb. Preceded by the duo's first collaboration, 2015's Blood Moon, Eclipse guides the listener on a seventy-minute, eight-part journey through tribal soundworlds that seem both primal and futuristic, in large part due to the music's wedding of spacey electronic textures and earthy percussive elements.

While their roles would appear to be fairly clear-cut, Morris the percussion side of the equation and Casper the electronic atmospheric half, the truth isn't quite so simple. Yes, the latter is credited with analog and digital synthesizers, but he also contributes singing bowls, flutes, rattle, and shells to the release; for his part; Morris plays frame drum, udu, djembe, shakers, bells, gongs, and electronic percussion, but also flute (chromatic and Navajo cedar), didjeridoo, and digital synthesizers.

Eclipse treats as its conceptual springboard pre-scientific beliefs held by primitive cultures about cosmology and the way their subjects scanned the skies in hopes of developing an understanding of the universe and gods who could seem temperamental, unpredictable, and even wrathful. In such a context, the occurrence of an eclipse would understandably induce awe and mystification in those struggling to grapple the event's meaning.

Sonically, the result isn't far removed from Roach's own tribal-ambient style, so anyone whose taste runs to it should find Eclipse an equally satisfying proposition. The collaborators wisely change things up as the recording unfolds, with pieces such as “Shadow Medicine” and “Nomadic Dreaming” deriving ample kinetic thrust from percussion-powered rhythms and others, “Stone Arch, “A Lonely Path,” and “Changing Seasons” among them, registering as meditative and sultry by comparison. As much as Casper and Morris's pan-global sound design is rooted in percussion and synthesizers, flutes play just as big a part, and those haunting woodwind textures, which resonate seductively throughout and bolster the music's organic quality, makes Eclipse a much more appealing recording than it would be otherwise.

December 2017