Our second release when we were still calling ourselves Embracing the Glass. Everything was recorded straight to 2-track in front of a live audience in various venues between 2003 and 2004.
Sean Carroll: electric guitar; guitar-synth
Jeff Sampson: voice
"Eerie sounds waft like spectral entities, generated by guitar then transformed into highly treated otherness. Chords slip and skitter like a young child crossing a frozen lake, achieving a crystalline distinction. There are instances in which the guitar strums untreated, counterpointing a violin-like cadence.
The vocals start out sounding like a cathedral recital, but swiftly adopt a more modern resonance with liquid properties reminiscent of a ghostly opera. The voice trembles and warbles, each expression stretched into a sonorous call that combines humanity with a sense of timeless endurance."
- Matt Howarth -- Sonic Curiosity
"The level of ambient music depth and texture they achieved in these live settings is quite the achievement. FROM DUST TO DUSK is a beautiful album which veers from ethereal floating minimalism to darker stretches of formless, more abstract, soundscapes. Sampson’s voice, while usually treated somehow (e.g. deep echo) is almost always discernible as being of human origin, and frequently has a haunting and even delicate quality to it. Carroll’s guitar is sometimes recognizable as such, but frequently it’s indistinguishable from a variety of synths.
The album begins with the best track, the stunning "Moon Over Pi", which floats on clouds of gossamer notes and spacy washes above which Sampson’s voice gently hovers singing in an unintelligible but beautiful language. His voice has a strong choir-like sound to it, and this makes the song even more peaceful and soothing. "Enchanted" opens with a soft and sad acoustic guitar loop and occasional peals of sparse echoed electric guitar. Here, Sampson's voice is less altered and more straight-forward. I can't discern if these lyrics are an imaginary language or perhaps an ancient tongue, but I don’t think it matters much as his singing is haunting regardless. Synth strings color the background in melancholic shades of deep blue/violet. The track unwinds patiently over its near ten-minute length with subtle variations, yet has a sustained mood of sadness and longing. "Man is Sand" is decidedly more abstract than the first two songs, beginning with an assortment of skitching noise effects and swirling textures but eventually veering into a feedback-like number, drenched in the same wall of sound approach as the duo Hammock brings to their music. "Sombre" resonates better for me, with its strummed and slightly twangy guitar, a-la Twin Peaks, and background reverberating synth textures containing a high-pitched timbre. Sampson's voice, again deeply echoed, adds a forlorn quality to the minimalism of the piece. "Invocation" goes in a drastically different direction, with its deep rumbling drones and overtone chanting-type vocals. While not oppressive or dark, the gravitas and weight of the music stands in marked contrast to the more ether-like strains of what has come before. Primal and powerful is how I would describe the cut. "The Eastern Front" closes out the CD in superb fashion, with minimal bell-like guitar notes pealing off in deep reverb. Humming textures add breadth to the music and Sampson's wordless vocalizings, first in the mid-to-low range of the scale then back to his characteristic higher end, fit the stark landscape of the track perfectly. Expansive stretches of land are evoked by the sheer spaciousness of the music."
- Bill Binkelman -- Wind and Wire
released May 18, 2005
Creativity, desire, open-minded attitude, and opportunity all came together at a Central Massachusetts open mic in the summer of 2001. Jeff had just listened to Sean play a set of guitar-based soundscapes and asked him if he’d like to try doing the same with voice added. The two went back on stage and proceeded to stun the audience and themselves with vocal melodies floating on, and entwining with, gossamer clouds of looped and layered electric guitar.
10+ years later, they are still weaving dreamy, haunting melodies with atmospheric soundscapes.
Both musicians have been playing committedly since their late teens. Both bring playing and listening to left-of-center rock and chamber music to this meeting place of spiritual, ethereal sounds – which is not the contradiction it may seem at first, as the willingness to experiment and explore is a foundation of each.
The music Jeff Sampson and Sean Carroll create is lush and minimal; melodic and drone-like; pastoral and edgey. It places a travel mat in the minds of listeners, coaxing them to go wherever one’s thoughts need take them – wherever their emotional state need be. Over the years, the duo has explored sonic and emotional territory that falls under many different “spirits” – from aboriginal to eastern orthodox, from caverns to lofty peaks, from breeze-filled summer fields to close encounters with introspection.
Sampson – Carroll’s music says many different things to many different people. It’s music from and to the collective heart. The duo acknowledges that everyone who, and everything that, has come before influences what is. They are merely a serendipitous channel.