Moon of Ostara - The Star Child 4Zero records by Eric Nielsen
I think/hear England and the beginning of the wyrd 60's, as soon as the first notes creep out of the developing mists of The Star Child Part I. The album begins with ambience and lists lovingly into this organ figure and classic sound that alludes to the timbre and tone of all four Parts that make up The Star Child. Fred Laird is blessed with a magicians hand to dip back into the English 60's and 70's, seemingly anytime he wants.
I've been following Earthling Society for a while now (Beauty and the Beast is my favorite of theirs). And I've collaborated with Fred, (most notably on Earthling Tempel - A Pilgrimage to Thunderbolt Pagoda) and I have always been amazed how authentic and true Fred can make his sounds.
He has a strong sensibility for putting authentic instruments together with compelling ambiance and tasteful psychadelic top layers of mood. I first noticed his ability to do this on his guitar. In Earthling Society he has shown an adept hand at compostition, and this album finds Fred exploring the sometimes wide open spaces of Popol Vuh and orchestrating different sounds to carry the songs rather than focusing as much on the guitar.
Part II begins with a very Pink Floyd motif, this time it's a rhythm that reminds you of the roots and the soul and sounds that Moon of Ostara are born from and lay down a legacy towards. The guitars are often used as more of an accompliment than the lead. And when the guitars do lead, they are often so effected in a way as to invite images of otherworldly instrumentation.
All of this is done to me in a very pure white light that allows an opening into an appreciation of listening. Many sounds are bubbling through: some of the electronic sounds remind me of Hiroshi Higashi's synth playing in Acid Mothers Temple. It's of a similar pallette, though Fred's is played more in a sampled/intended style instead of the really loose and free that Higashi brings AMT. This track grinds blissfully on into a krautrock extravanganza and hypnotizes underneath a long bath of steady impactful german sounding depths and musical mantras.
These ambiant mantra pools are the base of the whole operation. It's a true pleasure to bathe in these giant fields of sound. The scope intended is epic, though it's not overdone, and rather the right number of layers and instruments and time to create a magic other land.
The beggining of Part III is the first move towards a more overt modern sound on the disc. Reminiscent of the new AMT live set, poppy and another true flavor of England. Part III starts to take the album from an ancient place and a recent past, that was being steeped and brewed before we were born and when we were kids, towards current times.
Part IV moves the album into the most current/future times. It's layered in ambiance and dipped in oils, and moves the Pink Floyd name of the lord bed right into a Mercury Rev or Flaming Lips big sendup. At first this seemed confusing, seeking a kind of resolution for the piece as a whole with just a trace of psychadelia lingering. Then clarity as a sort of 'Passion of Christ soundtrack' takes hold, then slowly, gently winding its way home.