The Falling of the Long Shadows
Passing Phase Music, Catalog # A2Z-2017
Released in 2017
Review by Kent Manthie
The new album by Lee Negin is a super electronic fantasy. Starting with the opener, “The Lesser Gods”, The Falling of the Long Shadows takes you on an astral journey; a trip through a kind of dream-space medium. It isn’t ambient, nor is it a techno-house-acid kind of electronica either; more of a hypnogogic dance through a viscous medium, like heavy water or corn syrup, i.e., slow-motion gyrations.
A little shorter than previous works (40 minutes), you, nonetheless, are exposed to a tour through unknown territory, maybe unreal territory, even. The music sucks you in, not unlike a black hole, except you can fall in without “spaghettifying” and even travel back, at the speed of light to come out at the end.
The stuff on The Falling of the Long Shadows is something completely new. I can’t think of anyone to whom I can compare it. On the album, Lee’s pulled out all the stops to try and discover the limits of imagination in a musical realm. Track number two, “Beyond (the Beyond)” is a kind of repetitive drone cycle, but not at all simplistic. The repetitions I’m writing about are layered over with a variety of sounds, feelings, even visions, especially if you’re listening with headphones and aren’t distracted. On “Between Thoughts” things settle down some; the song has this feeling of soundwaves washing over you as if you’re standing beneath a waterfall; cascading down on you and around you.
“Parvati” does have a little bit to it which reminds me of Brian Eno, to some degree, although only in a sonic sense, i.e., it doesn’t sound like this or that album or song, there’s just a certain feeling. But by the middle of the song it starts to get into Krautrock territory for a bit. I’m thinking here of Neu! or Faust, maybe some early Kraftwerk, as well, with some beautiful piano in there at the end, which continues on, into the beginning of “No Turning Back”, as well, in fact, “No Turning Back” serves as a kind of Entr’acte between two parts. The whole song has a really mellow, less otherworldly vibe to it, with a beautiful piano playing and strings backing it up (but that could be synthesized string sounds too). It finally ends in a quiet fading. “Warping Out” sounds like something one might hear from the modern incarnation(s) of King Crimson. A chaotic, somewhat frenzied, yet ordered all the same, melange of sonic delight. Seven and a half minutes of superb quality sounds!
Yes, this is one blissful album. By the time it ends, you’re so into it that you aren’t ready to leave this realm, so you might try to find something similar, older or new, or even a previous CD of Negin’s (http://passingphasemusic.com. is where you can find more of Negin’s catalog). The album’s finale, “Requiem for Cheeze” is a nod to Lee’s previous opus, The Cheeze Chronicles, Vol. 5, which, itself, was a delightful odyssey into other-dimensional arenas. Fans as well as neophytes alike will appreciate this paean to the aforementioned album. Not only that, but “Requiem for Cheeze” also happens to be a great tune with which to close out the album.
So, to end where I began, The Falling of the Long Shadows is a superb album. I think it’s one of Lee’s best works. From having corresponded via email with him, I know he put a lot into making this album. It was a labor of love and a kind of test for himself; pushing the limits of the imagination with sonic intensity. He definitely passed the “test”!
One other thing: I strongly urge you to get this album (that is, if you haven’t figured that out by now) One easy way is to follow this link, to where you can find out more about Lee, e.g., anything not covered here as well as purchase a copy of this great groove that digs deep into your subconscious: http://passingphasemusic.com. Then, after getting your copy, maybe go back and leave Lee a message, letting him know that this is such a soothing balm, a perfect antidote to cloying, overplayed pop songs on your average FM radio station. In other words, send words of encouragement to Lee to let him know that he is sorely needed in this era of ephemeral “alternative” radio flavors. Remember, too, that word-of-mouth is the best kind of advertising: it is genuine; you like it, you tell a friend or three. You’re not getting paid for this, which is why telling a friend or friends, plural, about how great this album is is worth more than the most expensive ad campaigns!! –KM.