CD, Faith Strange, 2008
Mike Fazio has been recording avant-garde, electronic and indie rock music since the early 1980’s and has contributed guitar and electronic input to releases by dark folk outfit Life with Lions, New York City’s Black 47 and toured with post-punk psych rockers Chill Faction and performance poet Copernicus. Orchestramaxfieldparrish is Fazio’s solo ambient project based around improvised electric guitar soundscapes.
“The Silent Breath of Emptiness” follows 2002’s “Tears” – also on Faith Strange – and was performed and recorded in a single take on Christmas Day 2006 at Luna County Observatory. The recording consists of the single improvised piece that is split into four parts with a fifth track consisting of a remix of the full performance. The music was originally intended for an exhibition of local area artists that never came to fruition.
Musically, “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” consists of huge undulating waves of guitar texture that tumble and flow over each other in cascades of fluid sound. Sometimes resembling layers of gently droning electronic texture (“Part 3”) and at others taking on an entirely more orchestral quality (“Part 1”), it is hard to believe that this music was created and documented as it happened, such is the intensity of feeling it creates. Often deep and enveloping with thick encapsulating swathes of droning texture, Fazio’s music sounds as though it has been meticulously crafted in a studio by carefully layering electric guitar and electronically generated sounds. “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” is essentially a journey in four suites that takes us from the warmth of “Part 1″‘s electronic tones through the grand church organ like emotive drones of “Part 2” on to huge demonic mechanical grind of “Part 3” to conclude with bright organ-like optimism of “Part 4”. It is almost as though we follow a train of thought that slips deeper into the dark depths of despair before emerging renewed and invigorated on the other side. As a bonus, the almost 13 minute final track is a remix of the entire musical piece entitled “Reconstruction | Afterthought” which draws recognisable elements of the preceding four tracks and gives it an edgier mood by adding undulating drones and deep vibrating undertones that result in an entirely more anxious atmosphere throughout.
Listening to “The Silent Breath of Emptiness” it is amazing to think that it was recorded live as it was performed and in a single take as music of this type is often carefully orchestrated in a studio using layering techniques and all manner of electronic effects and gadgets. Considering the core of this recording consists of electric guitar textures that are manipulated and produced live, this album could be described as ambient, drone, experimental or avant-garde but also as absorbing, intense, dark or hypnotic.
— Paul Lloyd