CD Review

Firmament - "Open-Eyed Ascension"

By Dan Century

Open-Eyed AscensionWhen I arrived home from work on Monday I felt horrible. I had to work an hour and a half overtime, and I was stuck in hard core New Jersey traffic for 50 minutes. My eyes were dry and sore. My body was dehydrated and stiff from all the caffeine I drank that day. My skull, neck and spine ached like I was beaten with a mace. All I wanted to do was sleep and end the pain. I collapsed onto my bed fully dressed. CRUNCH! That's when I realized I had a CD in my coat pocket. Pan had given me this CD, Firmament's Open Eyed Ascension, to review in my usual candid, no-holds-barred style. Pan told me it was ambient music. I thought: "Ooo, ambient music, calm, soothing, will help me fall asleep - BUT IF IT DOESN'T HELP ME FALL ALSEEP, I'M GOING TO RIP IT TO SHREDS!"

Guess what? It worked! By the second song I was dead asleep! Firmament is better than 12 mg of Melatonin. It's better than a mug full of Nyquil!

On to the pleasant review...

Firmament is ambient music - flowing, graceful, synthetic strings and choral voices reverbing, chorusing and echoing, with plenty of tinkling bells, or gurgling space noises to fill in the blanks. For what it is, an album to chill out to or, in my case, fall asleep to, it is perfect. You won't find any new or groundbreaking ideas on this CD, so if you're looking for the next Brian Eno, don't bother. If you plan to smoke an ounce of Kind and pretend that you're Han Solo for an hour or so, Open-Eyed Ascension is your kind of CD - good, blue, cyan and white label generic ambient. The A&P Master's Choice of ambient.

This disk is pure Discover Channel outer space music - good quality space music. Put this disc on your stereo, turn on all your lava lamps (you do have more than one, don't you?) and have your friend recite this: "the great Horse Head nebula ... it is blue ... and at the same time ... it is red ... it is the cradle of new stars ... and the grave of ancient red giants ... space is deep ... space is vast…". Stoner perfection. Firmament should definitely send this disk to the Discovery Channel, the SiFi Channel and PBS and see if they can score some soundtrack work (I'm serious).

I would suggest that the next time around Firmament work on the production and try to get a crisper, more digital sound (death to analog!). If you're a fan of ambient music or like to flow on the space trip, check this disk out. Goodnight and pleasant dreams, you sofa cosmonauts...

Contact Information:
Velvet Empire Records
Post: PO Box 42188, Philadelphia, PA, 19101