It may be that the corporeal part of attendees at the 12 October 2019 Awakenings All-Dayer never left the town of Rugely, but during the Phobos performance certainly their minds did. David Thompson's set as Phobos gave the audience plenty of room to roam through mentally. The mind was permitted to go everywhere the richness of sound could take it - off on a wander charting the inner realm. The album A Visual Presence (76'35") provides an opportunity for those not at this live set to experience the spacious sonic environment known only by those who were. At the glowing core of this quiet excellence are the trembling ambiguities of Dark Ambient Music. Throughout the moody flow of its sensory effects the unpredictable flaring and fading of tones, notes and room rumbling lows progress in weightless flight along curving contours. Within mesmerizing drones the digital, minimal and subliminal question the unknown wants of dissonance. Passing through night, diffuse sounds rise against a much larger backdrop. When finally the twisting tempest lulls, if you listen closely you may hear Thompson's synthesizers telling their mind-chilling tale. Phobos' style of music is a philosophical choice. This work's incremental change amidst a vast scale finds its player trying to meet his audience on a human level, and so the six dark lessons found on A Visual Presence provide a lasting reverberation - because as you are left so far from anything, the silence after this CD stops spinning feels almost holy.
Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END - 7 May 2020