Prayer for the Forest (2002)

This is a real favorite around here, sharing the same enchanting atmosphere as Healing Herb's Spirit. The percussive element is a bit stronger, and while its not specific to one region or style, the processed hand drums shift between somewhere in Africa and South America, then beyond to the new world. The gurgling soundscapes and organic textures give the feeling that you might find moss growing on your speaker ports by the time this CD is over. This and Healing herb's Spirit are a must-have if you are drawn to the ethno-shamanic sound blends.

Steve Roach

"When the man will throw down all the trees, the sky will fall on his head." dedicated to Pachamama - Native Americans. The followup to the 1999 Healing Herb's Spirit release on the Crowd Control Activities label. The environmental recordings, percussion, and drones take you on a mystical journey deep into the hidden forest of the mind and beyond. Composed and performed by Antonio Testa & Stefano Musso between 2000 and 2001. Antonio Testa: Percussion, Flute, Stalagmite, Sound Recordings, Samples. Stefano Musso: Samples, Textures and Drones, Environmental Recordings, Digital Effects, Photographs & Design

SoundVision - TJ Norris  (c) 2002

Ambient rainforests and native drums - this could be a pathway to the soul. In follow-up to their "Healing Herb's Spirit" release (Crowd Control Activities) Italian multi-instrumentalists Antonio Testa and Alio Die (Stefano Musso) have made a recording of spirited release. The six tracks here merge fluidly into one another and massage your brain for just about an hour. Prayer for the Forest works its spiritual, tribal ways in the droning "A Mechanical Dust Sphere". One pictures a deep, lush Costa Rican forest in pitch darkness except for a distant, almost neon vibrant path of silhouetted shapes. Samples and environmental recordings showcase the underbelly of "Ancestor's Breath", a methodical track taking very slow steps towards its end. The cinematic air to this disc is quiet and dark, prowling through your subconscious.

AmbiEntrance - David Opdyke  (c) 2002

Antonio Testa and Alio Die's followup to their 1999 Crowd Control Activities release "Healing Herb's Spirit" presents another program of mystical textures and reverberant atmospherics. The new release is calmer than the first, befitting the luxuriant jungle overtones of the cover art, and focussing on the primeval sounds of the native American forest. The flute melodies of the first release are more submerged here, showing up only as distant echoes in the drifting wind sounds of A Mechanical Dust sphere. There are also fewer voice samples, audible only in the nearly subliminal prayer of the title track and the general camp sound field recordings in Walking through the Camp. Instead, the textures have become more nebulous, with slow drum loops forming the background for resonant percussive gestures and billowing, slow-moving electronic drones. The languid percussion loops inspire the calm retrospective glance at the ancient forest, visible through the dreamscape superbly represented on the opening track. Crickets and a peaceful drone give way to distant melodies barely audible beneath a wash of sound, before the opening tranquil beats and brighter electronics signal the beginning of the new day. Crickets also accompany the murmured Prayer for the Forest, merging into a loping triple drum loop. The long final track, An Active Foggy Pathway, starts slowly with sustained bell sounds, similar to a gamelan, then a series of alternating rhythms that lead the listener through a final introspective musical tour. With its quiet ambience and gentle percussion loops, Prayer for the Forest is well suited for late night listening, reading or studying, and is an excellent followup to their first release.

Antonio Testa and Stefano Musso give life to their trance-ambient glorification, letting blow this iridescent album composed of 6 very long visionary and oniric tracks from emerald rains. A true psychologic and evocative trip, characterized by constant meltings of monsoon reflections and of dawns from Amazon, photograms captured and developed with descriptive extreme care and executive accuracy. The melodies are beaten by careful and changeable percussions, radiated by filmy synths, enriched by noises and rustles, surreal flutes, electronic water toys, intruguing loops, living vegetation rules the winding atmospheres of "African Dream" between tribal percussions and clear keyboards in suspension. In the wide natural aviary of "A mechanical dust sphere", we look at light bio-evolutions and around crackling rhythms. Fires on not being found waterfalls overhang the inside parts "Ancestor's Breath", distant percussions and invisible rituals gush out from Rain Forest's bowels. Native voices and daily life scenes of the forest, are evocated by "Walking through the camp", harmony and simplicity catch the listening. Tribal beats and progressive sideral infiltrations diffuse several incenses in the heart of "Prayer for the Forest", every perception is stimulated under a huge sonic dome, which stripings are made of chlorophyll and heavenly feathers. "An active Foggy Pathway" closes the album, inspired by spotted percussions and iridescent flashes, which are lost among mysterious testimonies let in the rock. The aural exhalations of the Supreme Green Spirit, moderator force and nurse soul for all of us.

:twilight zone:

The second eco-ambient collaboration between Stefano Musso (Alio Die) and Antonio Testa after 'Herb's Healing Spirit'. Innocuous as these titles may sound, no whale-song here. They are anything but New Age paeans to holistic cures or rants about rescuing the rain forest. Instead, the duo's albums are masterpieces of understatement, sonic texturing and deliciously restrained use of sample and field recording. Soft, organic ambient soundworlds are conjured forth, underscored with quiet, repetitive African drumming. Imagine the meditative polar opposite (while maintaining the spirit) of Philip Glass' 'Powaqqatsi' and you will begin to form an image of the muggy, sylvan world Testa and Alio Die inhabit.

Stephen Fruitman