Between Realities is a pure ambient music CD by dreamSTATE, Canadian artists Scott McGregor Moore and Jamie Todd. I say "pure" ambient because there are no beats, melodies, grooves, dramatic gestures; just a continuous wash of beautiful relaxing soundscapes.
The interesting thing about this CD is that it was a live recording of a gallery presentation using the Calrec Soundfield microphone. This microphone is quite unique; capable of recording in 360 degrees for full surround using a technique called Ambisonics. I don't believe the Ambisonic technique was used for this CD, but instead a figure 8 pattern was employed; a good choice for a stereo recording.
The piece was performed at the H5 Project, a holographic gallery on Queen Street East in Toronto's Beaches area. The recording was made in 1997. The music was played through four monitors. The sounds were played on 3 minidisk players that played tracks randomly creating unplanned polyphony, but the tracks were designed for this. The resulting sound is quite good; there are no wacky unexpected combinations.
Recording Configuration Making recordings of music played back through speakers in a reverberant room is risky business. One would normally expect to get a very muddy and highly colored result. But this recording exceptional; its an example of very refined recording skill. I'd even have to say that the "room tone" adds to the texture of the soundscapes quite nicely.
Not only is the room tone pleasant, but there are great additions made
by the ambient sounds natural to the gallery. These include the sounds of distant traffic, spoken words, birds, etc. When listening to this CD in my studio, I found it hard to determine if sounds I was hearing were from the composers' sources, the ambience of the gallery, or the ambience of my own room. I've got birds outside my windows too. This makes the recording interesting, something I find lacking in many ambient projects.
We think Between Realities may go down as a classic ambient recording of this period. Here are some other reviewers' input:
BETWEEN REALITIES consists of a one-hour slice from a soundscape installation entitled waveforms that ran continuously for eight months in 1996 and 1997 at The H5 Project holographic gallery in Toronto. Created using three MiniDisk players on shuffle and loop modes, the sounds produced by dreamSTATE for this installation were pure, deep ambience as originally defined by pioneer Brian Eno: Music that merges with the surroundings to create a different listening experience with every listen. And since it was recorded using an open microphone, sounds from the street and gallery space hum through the mix and merge with the sounds in the listener's environment, blurring the line between realities - just as the title suggests.
~ Greg Clow / Chart Magazine / Feedback Monitor
This is a professionally manufactured CD in a full-sized jewel case and shrink wrapped.
A little over an hour long, dreamState have come up with one of the finest examples of ambient music this year. In effect, this is one long soundscape in the tradition of David Parsons (Yatra, Himalaya), Steve Roach (any of the longer later solo works), and possibly old man Eno (Discreet Music). Having said this, let me say that this is as good as any of these recordings, and taken from a live, long running installation. ... This will appeal to a lot of ambient fans and no doubt, space music listeners. No dramatics, no groove, no discernible melody. Just classic ambience. Me, I love it.
~ Hans Stoeve / Power Spot
BETWEEN REALITIES is definitive ambient music. By that I mean it can be used to literally define the term. ... Highly recommended for ambient and, in my view, space music fans everywhere.
~ Bill Binkleman / Wind & Wire
Soft electronic washes phase in and out in an ever-changing state of ebb and flow. Totally beatless and smooth, the lush chords swirl mistily, merging and remerging into different billowing configurations. Trickling water sounds run through several passages, as do occasional waves of rippling electro-distortion. It translates into a dreamy hour-long listen for your own environs.
~ David J. Opdyke / AmbiEntrance