Aperus: Tumbleweed Obfuscated by Camera Failure
by Phil Derby, Electroambient Space
I was really taken aback by this disc. First of all, it is beautifully packaged, especially as CDRs go, with a handsome set of photos (the subject of the title, by the way) slipped inside a DVD case. Second, the breadth of compositional styles and the talent displayed by Brian McWilliams and his guest musicians is considerable. There are soft floaters ("Echo Canyon" and "Radiant"); tribal pieces ("Earth & Clay" and "All Good Things"); ominous moments ("Dark Moon (Initiation)"); beautifully arranged piano ("Magnetism"); and nature sounds ("Leaves, Waves"). Regardless of the sound, the style, the mood, it all has a sure handedness to it, a clear sense of musical vision - much unlike his work as an accidental photographer! It simply sounds marvelous from beginning to end. I hear hints of people from Steve Roach to James Johnson and Brian Eno, but in the end Aperus is his own unique voice, a welcome newcomer to the ambient scene. This was an easy choice to put among my top ten best ambient CDs of 2003.