James Johnson | Aperus - Ecotone

CD:   $13.00

Download at Bandcamp:   $9.00

James Johnson | Aperus - Ecotone

". . . as a naturalist, my favorite places to be are along the ecotone. It's where it's most alive . . . usually . . . the edge of the forest and the meadow. It's the edge of the ocean and the sand . . . where the rack line occurs. It's that interface between peace and chaos. It's that creative edge that I think we find most instructive. It's also the most frightening. Because it's completely uncertain and unpredictable and that's again where I choose to live."
Terry Tempest Williams - American Public Media Interview, Feb 2011

The limited edition features pressed CD's with inserts printed on 100% recycled post consumer paper and ships with photos chosen from each artist's catalog of landscape photography.

An ecotone is a transition area between two adjacent but different plant communities, such as forest and grassland. It may be narrow or wide, and it may be local (the zone between a field and forest) or regional (the transition between forest and grassland). An ecotone may appear on the ground as a gradual blending of the two communities across a broad area, or it may manifest itself as a sharp boundary line. The word ecotone was coined from a combination of "eco(logy)" plus "tone", from the Greek tonos or tension - in other words, a place where ecologies are in tension.

Ecotone finds ambient sound sculptors James Johnson and Brian McWilliams (aka Aperus) at the height of their powers as they deliver a deeply textured environmental sound study using field recordings, electronics and organic instruments.

In the studio, the duo improvised and recorded whatever happened as they worked with a wide variety of compositional techniques. Johnson set up song structures and loops on the fly while McWilliams colored around the edges with additional chords and samples. By time they parted ways, they had recorded over two hours of material to digital tape.

Final curation and mastering was intensive as McWilliams structured songs, added overdubs, and reprocessed some tracks entirely. Reflecting back, both artists feel that "Ecotone" represents a major milestone in both their catalogs and dedicate it as a strong statement of appreciation and concern for the natural world and its current fragile state.


"... a slow moving and profound organic offering of sensitive environmental sight and sound paintings venturing into dense, darker but always spacious territory ... the lush, mesmerizing textures and surreal sound patterns spread their wings and take off ... The soundings on the contemplative and cinematic "Ecotone" simply resonate the clear voice and the many dimensions of the natural environment. It ends up even more impressive when heard with good quality headphones ... Highly recommended to all who appreciate deep-listening ambient." - BERT STROLENBERG - Sonic Immersion

"... the music is wonderful. This music is varied. At times it is benevolent, lighter, and gorgeous. At other times it has a darkness, a doubt, a discomfort. But be clear, while these tracks clearly can challenge the listener in ways, it is never difficult to listen to. Even in the darker sections it is beautiful, not jarring, and very listenable. While most ambient music is created by single musicians I think this CD is a testament to the benefits of collaboration. It feels more rounded, it feels like someone was there to cover the blind spots of each musician. This is not a retreading of the earlier work of either musician. The sound of the disc as a whole feels like a clear statement of intention to do something new, but it is still familiar. With the tremendous quantity of ambient music available, I find that there is a small percentage that I really, really value. This will certainly be in that category." - MATHEW J HARRIS - Hypnos Forum

"Ecotone is a masterwork, one of the best of 2013!!!" - RICHARD GURTLER - Hypnos Forum

JAMES JOHNSON ~ keyboards, piano, percussion, drum loops, guitar, samples, field recordings

APERUS ~ keyboards, percussion, ebow guitar, ocarina, samples, field recordings

All songs written and recorded by James Johnson and Brian McWilliams. Additional sounds, structural edits and mastering by Brian McWilliams at The Sound Observatory.

"Shadowed Leaves", "Organic Branch and Leaves", "Spiral Cactus", "Reflected Cloud with Ripples", "Al Sabo Reeds 2" photos by Brian McWilliams.

"Tree Bark", "Sky and Leaves", "Rock and Frost 1", "Volo Bog 01" photos by James Johnson.

© 2013 Geophonic Records, geocd01-ltd