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'Stephen Bacchus' “Hinterland” CD reviews

Review at the ZoneMusicReporter website by reviewer Bill Binkleman (01/04/2017)

"...Hinterland marks a triumphant return.."

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Reviewer, Richard Gürtler (Nov 06, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)

"...If you are searching for relaxing, new age-driven soundsculptings, don’t hesitate to explore Stephen Bacchus wanderings though picturesque untamed Canadian wilderness...“Hinterland” is probably the most mature and sophisticated recording of Stephen Bacchus..."

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Listener Reviews

"I listened to Stephen Bacchus’s remarkable new album, HINTERLAND; MUSICAL SOJOURNS INTO THE WILDERNESS, with a great deal of pleasure and interest. These meditative and poignant compositions are truly reflective of nature, creating gentle moods, even as Bacchus’s unique musical voice continues to surprise and delight at every cadence. In these finely-wrought works, we find the logical 21st-century extension of the nature-evoking Symphonic Poems of Sibelius and Smetana. Bacchus, with each of these gems, paints a picture that sonically welcomes us to the hinterland’s doorstep. He then takes us on a mesmerizing journey into its heart." — Scott M.

"...Among my favourite discs of this or any other year...This Hinterland may very well be your masterwork." — Beck H.

“...great CD - really enjoyed. Actually it gets inside of you - like you are not hearing it but it casts a spell on you - holds onto you but doesn’t over power...always moving into the next level. Well done!!!” — Rob S.

“Listening to Hinterland, I felt a joyful sense of renewal and hope. Stephen Bacchus has been inspired by timeless time, spent in the wild, and the pristine purity and clarity of the north woods emerges in the melodies and ambience of Hinterland.” — Peter R.


Review by Lloyd Barde, Heartbeats Catalog 

Very simply, this is one of the finest debuts that has come our way in years. With a thoroughly understated eloquence, Stephen Bacchus has seamlessly merged the current trends and expressions in the fields of world and space music, and in ever so ambitious ways as to achieve his stated goals of making music of the Earth’s prehistoric origins. “Pangaea” recreates ancient settings of beauty,. mystery and enchantment recapturing the lost innocence of a pristine Earth of eons gone by. 250 million years ago, all of the world’s continents were joined together into one supercontinent, Pangaea. The music of Bacchus and his musical friends draws on influences from all around the world including Japanese, Javanese, Middle Eastern, and East Indian traditions and is masterfully blended with relaxing and highly melodic New Age music. Lush synthesizers, environmental and wildlife sounds, and Western acoustic instruments are interwoven with an array of world instruments that include koto, shakuhachi gamelan, santur and scrod.

Review By All Music

Like a memorable vacation in the tropics, Pangaea leaves the listener relaxed, refreshed & inspired by its vision of shimmering beauty.

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Reviews On Amazon

This was a great experience for me. I enjoyed the music and by closing my eyes I really felt that I could catch glimpses of the Permian and Triassic periods with some earlier ones as well.

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Review By Syd Baumel, The Aquarian

Forget those scary monster images of the afterlife, Tibetan style. Stephen Bacchus’ musical take on the forbidding realms of the Bardo Thodol (The Tibetan Book of the Dead) is mostly lush, tender, and postcard pretty. Many of these eleven tracks would be sweet enough for the ears of a newreborn baby.

There is much of East meets West here, starting with Bacehus’s impressive world orchestra, wherein English horns blow side by side with shakuhachi flutes, kotos,and sonorous synthesizers. The Canadian composer’s sentimental melodies often seem Oriental one moment, Western the next. It’s a tantalizing multicultural morph.

Bacchus ranks among the best of New Age composers because he is a composer, not a musically undistinguished soundscape artist. Nowhere is this more evident than in “Impermanence/Bardo II: The Wind of Karma.” The main musical stream of this seven-minute composition is a light, even joyous koto-driven march. But tugging alongside it is a more Western, sadness-tinged countertheme, movingly played by a swelling, vibrato string ensemble. Emphasizing the tension, a hollow bass and a boxy synthesizer mark the implacable march of time with cold, staccato jabs. Perhaps it’s this “wind of karma” and the laws of impermanence which dictate that good and bad, happy and sad, should forever dog each other’s steps. Bacchus has captured this bittersweet reality in this exquisite piece of new music.

Review By Geoff Chapman, The Toronto Star

Inspired by the Tibetan Book Of The Dead and other writings on past lives, this disc offers 11 Bacchus-written tracks on which the leader conducts a six~strong wind section and nine strings while also handling keyboards,percussion and electronics.

The European and Asian instruments generate mystical serenity and passages of great beauty.

Review By Serge Kozlovsky

... This music, beautiful as a magical dream, peaceful as a surface of a calm sea, taking us far away, to the other worlds, and at the same time carrying to us voices of distant ancestors...

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Ambient Origins Cover

Review By Senna Redmond

Future Music Magazine

Canada's Stephen Bacchus began making ambient music when he was 14, Dubbing found sounds between two reel~to-reel tape machines. In the late 70s, he began composing with a VCS3 and has continued to explore the outer reaches of the genre ever since. "Ambient Origins" is a collection of his early works, between 1983 to 1987, focusing on gently drifting atmospherics and the kind of elegantly chilled tracks which reject beats in favour of evolving textures. Tracks like "Winter's Way" or "A Separate Moment" quietly crafted affairs which are seductive and soothing. Overall, it's an album that isn't about to change the face of music as we know it but, as a chillout soundtrack, it works in all the right places.

Review By EER-Music

Bacchus' sonorities are consistently austere and restrained.
This is somber, serious music; if it is used for the mood-setting
purpose that ambient is supposed to fulfill, you will find yourself
wondering why your room is so cold and dark.

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Review by Artemi Pugachov

Review by Artemi Pugachov

Canadian ambient composer Stephen Bacchus is one of the leading figures of the genre. With a career spanning 4 decades, dozens of releases, both solo and in collaboration, he has gained a faithful following among lovers of ambient music.

The Keep is a retrospective of Stephen's work from 1979 to 2009, featuring unreleased tracks from various epochs. The collection opens with "Arrival", a three-minute piece recorded in 1997. The track is surprisingly rhythmic and melodic, has a relaxed, sunny mood and is imbued in the spirit of discovery and adventure.

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REVIEW:  Piero Scaruffi