According to the orchestramaxfieldparrish myspace page, this shadowy outfit reside on Green Dolphin St, US of A. Somewhere in the psychic and musical neighbourhood of Dutch outfit Dolphins into the Future, its a glowering neighbourhood of broken street lights and steaming ventilation ducts, neglected and mournful in contrast to Lieven Martens dayglo Cetacean odyssey. orchestramaxfieldparrish main man Mike Fazio initially released Crossing of Shadows as a limited private pressing in 2007. A New York native, Guitarist Fazio has a long and varied history of improvisation and band-driven outings reaching back until the early 1980s.
Opening track “Thirst (Revisitation)” was previously available as part of the soundtrack to the DVD Caligari: An Exquisite Corpse, released by the Chain Tape Collective, of which Fazio is a member. If Crossing of Shadows had continued in this dark ambient / isolationist vein throughout, it would be a harrowing listen, but the atmosphere gradually allows more light in over the duration of proceedings. The orchestral WHOOMPH! around three minutes in might make you jump out of your skin, as befits a movie including Caligari in the title. “On Nine Mile Marsh” dynamic panning and deep sonorous ambience tell a tale of a foggy place of foreboding and dread, straight out of some Victorian potboiler. Concluding Part one, “Mystery by Moonlight” summons up the spectre of late 90s Coil, more creeping bent than creeping dread. It’s also reminiscent of Cluster and the Germanic Sky axis from the late 70s; a contemplative ambience draws the listener into the sultry night.
Part two swims further towards the light with “Lone Star”, as subtle repeated guitar motifs and low-key manipulation allow the ambience to shine through. Gradually, pointillist washes and space-age guitar echoes overtake the piece. This is a very interesting approach to guitar driven dark ambience, reminding me of Per Henrik Svalastog’s release for the Rune Grammofon label. The following track “A Walk Amongst the Raindrops” has hypnotic Chain Reaction style pulsed rhythms and enough echoic delay to maintain that “minimal tech” feel. The piano interludes and Japanese spoken word interludes feel somewhat clunky when contrasted to this beguiling rhythmic base. With the whole album serving as a lament to the memory of Life With the Lions band mate Jeff Ladd, orcehstramaxfieldparrish has created a worthy shrine for the remembrance of a multi-faceted life.