Review of “The Deception of Reality” by Bert Strolenberg of Sonic Immersion:
From the labels notes on Jesse Sola’s concept release “The Deception of Reality” I learned it’s about introspective escapism while balancing light and dark themes, with the music transporting the listener to wherever they wish the music to take them.
Jesse’s previous two albums already opened the doorway to a much deeper and darker-flavoured sonic environment, something that nicely continues on the five lengthy, uninterrupted pieces on this 75-minute album. We’re talking about spacious, slighty melodic but overall expansive soundscapes here that venture into alternate realities with lots of mystic caverns and longform dwellings into the vast unknown.
Besides occasional undercurrents of mourning and melancholy, Numina’s expressive, constantly evolving and overall emotive textures paints beautiful pictures, all fitting in a grand, transparent design.
I though can imagine the drifting flow making up the rather Roach-oriented 19-minute “Empire of Nothing” may be a bit too minimal for some. Fortunately, the smooth, warm and dreamy waves of the final track “Translunary Return” again pull things in a different direction.
All in all, if you love imaginary and in-depth ambient soundscape music, the excellently mastered “The Deception of Reality” won’t disappoint the least.
Review link: http://www.sonicimmersion.org/review.php?letter=N&review=72552
Review of “The Deception of Reality” by Richard Gurtler:
Numina “The Deception Of Reality” CD
In Parker, Colorado, USA, based ambient drifter Jesse Sola known as Numina comes here with a brand new album released on Hypnos during July 2012. Marked as 4th album for Hypnos, but Jesse’s discography is quite extensive with around 27 albums and collaborations (with IXOHOXI, Stephen Philips and Caul). The album unveils all its secrets with over 17 minutes long “The Illusion Transmission”. A composition expertly sculpted with mysterious drones, diffusing with coiled tension and eeriness, but always having its celestial and graceful timbre. After 11 minutes the piece silently transfers into utterly sublime and tranquil spheres and immerses each journeyer deeply into entirely magnificent sonic trance. Bravo, Jesse!!! This heavenly odyssey continues also throughout “Our Elegant Experience”, another track clocking to 17 minutes. This time more textured and evolving, with less drifting mood, although still strongly expansive into massive, but majestically heartwarming realms. Deeper drones invade “In Cerulean Haze”, with 9 and half minutes the shortest piece on this journey. Gliding through slightly more dramatic dreamscapes with divine voice-like sounds and heading into peacefully immense, nearly cinematic paths. Again filled with refined beauty and grace. “Empire Of Nothing”, with 19 and half minutes the longest composition, remains deeply plunged into aerial dreamscapes, smoothly cascading, warmly inviting and blissfully tranquil. Moments of pure sonic ecstasy are captured again, this certainly must be Numina at its most graceful!!! Windy dissonance carries “Translunary Return” into another precisely colored texture with enormously visualizing and serenely painted moods. A truly masterful 12-minute finale. To be honest, even if I am a really big ambient enthusiast and collector, I am still quite an outsider to Numina’s impressive discography (shame on me!!!), so I am unable to compare this album to previous works by Jesse Sola. However, to me, “The Deception Of Reality” is highly sophisticated album and absolutely stunning listening experience!!! Once again, great work, Jesse!!! And another big one from Hypnos clan!!! Elegant 4-panel digipak nicely interacts with the sonics. A must have for all space journeyers!!! Now it’s time to dig up some older treasures of Numina…
Richard Gurtler (Sep 16, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)
Review link: http://www.hypnos.com/smf/index.php?topic=5387.0
Review of Subterranean Landscapes & Dawn of Obscurity by John Shanahan of Hypnagogue:
It’s been three years since the last release from Numina (aka Jesse Sola), and he returns with a pair of CDs that absolutely shine with his signature sound of dramatic, pensive drifts and edge-of-darkness overtones. Subterranean Landscapes and Dawn of Obscurity differ somewhat in tone, with the former spending much more time lurching around in the murk and gloom, but both are filled with strong and vivid sonic descriptors, breath-slowing pacing and moving emotional cores.
Subterranean Landscape sounds exactly as it should, given the name: thick low-end grumbles, a tectonic grind of sound, miasmic banks of synth pads, and impressive chords rising like gargantuan stalagmites. The space created has real depth to it, a sense of the sound layers echoing through some massive cavern. These are the sort of big, off-to-the-horizon vistas Numina has built his sound around, and he fills them with slow-moving activity. We are being shown around down here, and the sights are inspiring. Sola modulates the ride beautifully, able to take the listener from the dramatic flair of “A Deep Sense” into the shadow-thickened, meditative flow of “Fluid Red” without breaking stride. Toward the end of the disc, he points the listener back toward the surface, the feel of the music growing somewhat airier, less claustrophobic, and brighter. “Underneath the Silent Storm” leads the move on choral pads and skyward twists of electronic sound. “Resurrection of the Stone Giant” amplifies that lighter sense and finishes the climb up from the depths. This hour-long ride will transport you to the scenes inside Sola’s head–and they’re quite magnificent.
Dawn of Obscurity is the lighter of the pair tonally, but certainly the darker emotionally. Where Subterranean felt like a guided tour of a particular space, Dawn is more of a soundtrack for introspection. Sola never lets his music’s mood descend into grim moroseness, however. There’s a feeling of resignation, of unexpressed sadness finding voice, pads rising and falling like sighs yet trying to muster a forgotten inner strength. Again Sola uses those reaching, upward-coursing pads to urge the listener toward hope, and chanting, choral voices echo back in a prayer of possibility. The spatial aspect runs strong in spots, particularly in the remarkable “Faces Remain”; between those voices and the depth of field Sola creates, the mind can’t help but put the listener in the narthex of some empty and ancient church, watching the sound ascend in colors to the vaulted ceiling. Overall, the sound design here is rich and full, with new sounds in constant birth even as older ones fade softly to the backdrop. Sola runs together six long tracks here to create a single, complete and truly stunning ambient suite. If the purpose of music is to evoke an emotional response in the listener, then Dawn of Obscurity easily sets a standard for ambient. The closing track alone, the 23-minute “Withdrawn,” is a perfect, breathtaking example and easily stands as one of my favorite Numina tracks.
Subterranean Landscapes and Dawn of Obscurity mark the very welcome return of a growing ambient master to the field. They’re strong, visual discs that will quite certainly end up on repeat play. They hold up to close scrutiny and are perfect low-volume meditations. While I’m taken by them both, I must say that Dawn of Obscurity stands out enough to be a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD. (But you need to hear both.)
Review of Subterranean Landscapes by Rik Maclean of Ping Things:
One of the biggest musical highlights for me in 2011 was the welcome return of Jesse Sola’s project Numina. Following are a few capsule thoughts I have on the individual tracks from his album “Subterranean Landscapes”, and tomorrow I’ll share my feelings about “Dawn of Obscurity” which was also released last year.
“Subterranean Landscapes” opens with “Scraping the Surface”, a deep thick piece of music where expansive drones ebb and flow, resulting in a very impressive creation of space and atmosphere.
“A Deep Sense” follows, a thick wash of bells and metallic ringing, a haunting piece that brings to mind dark caves at night. Pads wash across the proceedings, adding a little bit of depth and a touch of colour to the sound of the track.
“Fluid Red” is like a night time journey through a rain forest in the heart of the rainy season. Tones rise and fall, and a wash of sounds play throughout. Probably my favorite piece on the disc. Very nice work.
“The Dark Air” has rich and strong tones that ring out, sweeping across the soundspace. Nicely produced and nicely arranged.
“In the Molten Murk” pairs a cold metal feeling with deep sweeping pads to create a ringing and beautiful cavern of lost souls. Nicely played Mr Sola.
“Underneath the Silent Storm” has a delicate sensibility underneath it, a still life painted using musical forms. Of particular note are some strange springy sounds that move back and forth through the soundscape, resulting in a beautiful sense of movement and grace in the piece.
“Resurrection of the Stone Giant” closes the disc, leaving the listener with a beautiful summation of everything that’s gone before, and a suggestion of work to follow. A lovely way to end the album.
I’m quite impressed by “Subterranean Landscapes” and I totally recommend it as an excellent starting point for those of you that aren’t already familiar with Jesse’s work as Numina, as well as an excellent addition to the collections of those of you who, like me, are already big fans.
Be sure to stop by tomorrow for my thoughts on “Dawn of Obscurity” by Numina!
rik – ping things
“Subterranean Landscapes” by Numina is available through the Numina website.
Review of Subterranean Landscapes by Sonic Immersion
Jesse Sola’s “Subterranean Landscapes” (inspired by the alien landscapes of the American desert Southwest) is a project of dark-oriented and longform ambient dronescapes, presented in seven imaginative tracks.
While ambient musicians Biff Johnson and Nathan Youngblood join Jesse’s work on three separate tracks individually, the whole body of work roams in shadows. It’s an imaginative, soft breathing and slow drifting space of ambience meant for deeper listening.
Next to its spatial sound, at times there’s also a strong organic element running underneath and shining through Numina’s fine crafted, overall mysterious music of textural pads. Of all pieces, I espcially like the deep vibe created by “A Deep Sense”.
As an extra, Jesse has made a video for the track “Resurrection of the Stone Giant”, which can be found online.
“Subterranean Landscapes” is most certainly recommended when you’re into deep electronic ambient with an occasional tribal touch, following the trademark of Steve Roach.
Review of Dawn of Obscurity by Rik Maclean of Ping Things
In addition to “Subterranean Landscapes”, Jesse Sola also released a second Numina album in 2011 titled “Dawn of Obscurity”. A beautiful study in slowly moving musical textures, “Dawn of Obscurity” continues Jesse’s artistic journey through the stars, referencing familiar themes while simultaneously taking his audience in new musical directions. A few things that come to my mind as I’m listening…
“The Shadow of a Day” begins with a rising and falling pad, sounds echoing through the soundscape, dark and a tad ominous, but still very appealing.
“Cold Shine” glistens and twinkles, space music for winter time astrological pursuits, a dense trip through the stars on the outer edges of the known galaxy. An Alien choir singing songs to doomed spacemen floating in tin cans.
The Alien Choir remains for “Faces Remain” but they’ve evidently moved to a new location resplendent in Alien reverb. It’s a beautiful track with something almost sacred to it that gives it an added appeal. A very moving piece.
“Moment from the Past” follows, a spacey and beautiful piece of music that echoes the sounds of stars and nebulae. Or at least what I expect that stars and nebulae sound like.
“We Will Always Be” ramps up the alien element resulting in a vaguely unsettling track where distorted voices and sounds travel through the ether, distant radio transmissions perhaps, certainly something that has been traveling through space headed for earth for thousands of years, only reaching us now. It’s cool stuff, but just a touch unnerving.
“Withdrawn” sizzles and flies, moving through galaxies we haven’t even dreamed of yet. It’s an epic piece of music, with a truly beautiful build and the creation of a sparkling new space that’s never been imagined before. Moving through deep space, past lush and beautiful planetary vistas, this is an epic track that captures the quintessential Numina sound in one place. A brilliant and moving piece of music that’s really quite lovely.
It should be noted that while the tracks on “Dawn of Obscurity” are indexed as individual pieces, they all blend seamlessly into each other to create one long form piece with distinct movements. And in this era of randomized playlists and mixing and matching tracks, it’s my suggestion that this is the best way to listen to the album, an active listen in one sitting that creates a continuous and uninterrupted journey through the musical mind of Jesse Sola. I expect you’ll feel the same.
rik – ping things
“Dawn of Obscurity” by Numina is available through the Numina website.
Review of Dawn of Obscurity by Sonic Immersion
After being absent for a while in the electronic music scene due to personal circumstances, Colorado-based musician Jesse Sola (aka Numina) fortunately brings us not one but two brand new ambient albums in July 2011.
One of them is “Dawn of Obscurity”, in the press-sheet described as “six songs that blend seamlessly into one another in an introspective dark-ambient excursion of the mind and spirit and the obscurities of life”. Well, Jesse has come up with some smooth morphing and drifting synthscapes. It’s a dynamic rise and fall of mesmerizing and hypnotizing textures with an ongoing soaring character.
If you’re into ethereal darker-flavoured ambient sound design with a “Steve Roach” touch, make sure to take a dip into the carefully crafted sonic well that makes up “Dawn of Obcurity”.
Review of Sound Symbols by Rik Maclean of the Ambient Ping
For his latest release, “Sound Symbols”, Jesse Sola of Numina returns to ideas previously explored in an exclusive ping things ALMOST LiVE SESSiON, building and expanding on them to create a new work that stands as a distinct addition to his catalogue. As with all of his earlier releases, “Sound Symbols” finds Jesse paying careful attention to the development of atmosphere in his work, shaping an environment that surrounds and engages the listener.
“Buried Icon” opens the disc, with the sounds of shifting pads and floating tones that suggest deep desert sands, a night time wind slowly changing the landscape. There’s a sense of hidden mysteries and solopsisms to keep just between ourselves, stories that need to be kept for generations and passed on when the time is right. It’s a timeless sound that Jesse has created here, something that exists in the now wherever that now might be. Wonderful.
“Symbolic Script” follows, a fluid follow through from the previous track. Long, sustained pads flow through the soundfield, creating a lush backdrop of sound over which a series of new tones and forms begin to take shape. As the track progresses, there’s a shift in the direction of sound, and the listener is taken to a more melodic space, but one that still shares the same feeling of drift that has been sustained to this point.
Track three, “Hieroglyph”, begins with a bell tone, the sound of ringing, which echoes throughout the soundfield, creating another new space for the listener to explore. Sparse tones play distantly in the background, rising to the outer edges of the track and then vanishing again. There’s a nice suspense inherent in this track, a strong feeling of impending danger that sets the listener at unease, inspiring a higher level of active listening while one waits for the lessening of tension. Deep, bass-y tones add to the suspense, along with haunting wind-like pads. A truly unsettling piece of music that impresses me greatly for it’s ability to play with the feelings of the listener.
“The Segret Figure” flows seemlessly from the last track, a return to more comfortable spaces and tones. The listener is returned to a bed of flowing sounds and drifting tones that create a background over which a series of bells and wind sounds play. It’s a welcoming sound, something very calming and womb-like that appeals.
The disc closes with “Angelic Relic”, rising and falling pads paired with arcing synths and softly pulsing analog sounds. It’s a masterful blend of tones, a very appealing sound that simultaneously soothes and invigorates the listener. As the track progresses, a melodic guitar line appears, adding an organic element to the proceedings that firmly grounds the track for the listener. Very nice work and a lovely way to close the disc.
As with previous releases from Numina, the music on “Sound Symbols” is a beautiful soundscape suitable for drifting and dreaming, an emotional collection of work that stays with the listener long after the last notes have faded. I’ve been a fan of Jesse Sola’s work for a number of years now, and “Sound Symbols” is a fine example of all the reasons that his music appeals to me so much. Highly recommended.
Review of Symbiotic Spaces by Hypnogogue
With every new release, Numina (aka Jesse Sola) drives home the fact that he is constantly developing and redefining himself as a craftsman, and those efforts have made him a true mainstay of the electronic/ambient genre. And while this has been reinforced with each new CD going forward, his latest offering, a compilation of unreleased and rare tracks spanning the years from 2000-2007, shows us that he’s been hard at it between releases, too. Symbiotic Spaces is a vivid journey through Numina’s musical capabilities and his evolution as an artist A trip through the various worlds he creates and the distinct sensations he evokes. The path alternates from the furthest depths of weightless interstellar space to the cool, dank darkness of primitive caverns. It encompasses our future in sweeping synths and electronic fabrications, and our past in shamanic, tribal rhythms conjuring basal, primordial responses. And the way in which they’re stitched together verges at times on breathtaking. For example, the way in which the first disk winds down along a course that slides through the throbbing drum-pulse of “Aleph-Zero” into the sighing release of “Dronecoil” and then onward to the ominous nocturnal atmospheres of “Cells”. There’s a lot to like here, in general of course, but also in small touches, such as the gamelan-style bells in “Space Lilt” or the hypnotic, repeating backdrop of “Moments in Darkness”. Indeed, each track on the two disks is rich with character, texture and an eloquently stated, unique narrative. Sola is a superb sound-based storyteller.
Listening to this collection is a genuinely immersive experience. Each track slides readily and gracefully into the next with no perceptible break to the flow. Elements rise intermittently to the forefront, giving the listener a chance to refocus on Sola’s masterful composition before being lulled back into the soundcurrent. Even the silence between tracks seems an integral part of the overall offering. These previously unreleased tracks are a true gift from Numina and a welcome addition to his canon.
Review ofSymbiotic Spaces By Morpheus Music
STYLE: Smooth flowing synthetic ambience. The twenty tracks here include both beatless drifting drone zones and pieces carried by gentle swaying percussion. In between there are rhythmic compositions stirred onto motion by the regularity of sequential structures or subtly cycling tonal motifs. Numina’s music generally has a silken flowing nature – delicate gossamer sheets and fine sweeping layers filling the mindspace from one horizon to the other. December Sky is a fine example of beautiful, immersive minimalism – graceful, gentle strains in slow motion oceanic undulation. Other passages have a spacey coldness about them, with slight sci fi effects twinkling in a broad expanse, there are even places of abyssal darkness, lonely and mysterious with tribal drums looming up from somewhere far below. Numina demonstrates a visionary ability to establish evocative mood music and to build very expressive narratives in a broad range of emotional contexts – soothing and pensive, floatational and blissful, unsettling quietus, enigmatic isolation…
ARTWORK: Symbiotic Spaces comes in a twin jewel case adorned with soft focus jellyfish photography. Orange pink translucent hemispheres trailing strands and streamers swim through the space of the various panels. Bodies aglow, their inner parts revealed – these beautiful creatures appear as if carrying their own luminance. The rear cover has the jellyfish back lit, partially silhouetted, curling pennants catching the light. Here track titles appear in white font with thick black edges. Within, the tracklist is repeated with a key to the original release details for each piece. The second inner panel holds a brief explanation of the project along with thanks and website/contact details. Behind the CD itself, one more image hints at another side of Numina – a tenebrous monochrome picture. Here the surging medusae appear weightier, deeper, darker.
OVERALL: Symbiotic Spaces (Rare and Unreleased 2000 – 2007) is a double disc collection that brings together twenty compositions that were released via mp3.com, E-dition and the Drone Download Project as well as a number of previously unreleased tracks. Written, as the bracketed title points out, between 2000 and 2007, this pack takes in much of Numina’s musical history and gives a broad insight into his range of ambient creation. We see the artist variously exploring panoramic sonic starscapes; beguiling, sonorous subterranean depths; crepuscular vistas under open skies, and bathing his listeners in luxurious sunshine sheets and veils of coloured light. Despite the varying source material – here the tracks work with surprising coherence – each running naturally into the next as if the artist had intended it that way all along.
Review ofSymbiotic Spaces By Phil Derby of Electroambient Space
A collection of rare and unreleased tracks, Symbiotic Spaces is a first-rate collection of floating ambience by Jesse Sola aka Numina. Though compilations can sometimes be uneven, this 2-CD set has remarkable flow, moving deftly from pure drifting like “Waves of Reflection” to the tribal timbres of “Broken Silence” to the swirling synths of “Death of a Sun.” There is enough variety to keep things interesting, but Numina plays to his strengths by sticking to the smooth ambient style that fans have come to expect. Titles aptly describe the music; for example, you might correctly guess that “Space Lilt” is light and bright, while “December Sky” imparts a somewhat darker, colder tone, although it is still quite silken. Three of my favorites are back-to-back-to-back at the end of disc one. “Dronecoil” is a sparse piece with a shimmering metallic character that builds just so. This is followed by “Cells”, a deep space journey filled with cool electronics, which surprises by segueing into primitive tribal ambience. Disc one closes with “Anemone [Version Three],” whose dark silky sounds remind me of early Cocteau Twins, softened around the edges a bit. Disc two opens equally strong with “Moonrise,” a dark haunter with a touch of Goth. “In the Shadow of Machines” is moody ambient electronics much like Pete Namlook sounded in the early FAX days. And so it goes from strength to strength, some lighter some darker, some abstract some more melodic, all good.
Review of Symbiotic Spaces By Bert Strolenberg with Groove
Numina – Symbiotic Spaces CD, Gestalt, 2007 In my opinion, Numina (aka Jesse Sola) has always been a rather extraordinary ambient musician composing delicately crafted ambient space music. The beautifully designed “Symbiotic Spaces” is a double-cd containing rare and unreleased tracks from 2000 till 2007, featuring music of which I’m more than happy it’s now available. Listening to this album puts you in another state of mind as it takes you “out there”, transforming rather melancholic feelings (as e.g. heard on “December Sky”) into carefully sculptured textures, sometimes accompanied by well chosen rhythms. “Aleph Zero” is more rhythm-oriented track with swirling, hypnotizing soundscapes while “Dronecoil” drifts into quiet, deeper sonic landscapes before ending up in the surrealistic soundscape world of “Cells” with its cyclic rhythm structure. The second disc offers another 70 minutes of fine tracks which fit the same description, but sometimes moving into a bit more darker, denser landscapes. In all, Jesse’s ambient excursions on “Symbiotic Spaces” are deep, highly cinematic outings which also work very well through headphones. Definitely value for money & by all means highly recommended to any ambient fan!
Symbiotic Spaces from CD Universe
Numina is the music project name by Denver-based ambient artist Jesse Sola. Numina’s prolific discography includes releases on Hypnos Recordings, Gestalt Art Forms, Dark Duck, Vendetta Music, and self-released CD-Rs on the Numinamusic label. Recording since the mid-90s, Sola’s music is often akin to taking a sonic travel within the mind. Covering a lot of mucial territory ranging from old school dark-ambient songs to deep spacey ambient textures. Numina has also been featured on the syndicated radio program Hearts of Space, and featured in several independent film scores.
Review of Shift to the Ghost by Alan Lockett:
”Interesting what a bit of non-musical research can do to maximize interpretivity of musical meaning and explain an artist’s sound. Basic etymological digging to illumine Numina as plural of the Latin numen meaning divine majesty. Further archaeology to reveal the numinous coined by German theologian Rudolf Otto, as that which is wholly other leading variously to belief in deities, the supernatural, the sacred, the holy, and the transcendent. Numina’s conceptual universe thus mapped, Hypnos blurb handily trails the title’s ambit as the life and death of the physical self. Quick switch in research strategy: the general info section on a musician’s MySpace page is an interesting gauge, especially where influences are concerned. Some opt for reticence, as if putting their music above possible connection with anyone else. Others, though, will quite happily reel off a long-as-your-arm list. Numina cites Steve Roach, vidnaObmana, Robert Rich, Lycia, Raison D’etre, Michael Brook, Delerium, Enigma, Dead Can Dance, The Unquiet Void, Cocteau Twins, The Orb, and This Mortal Coil. Revealing, as well as being refreshingly honest, it suggests Jesse Sola wouldn’t mind admitting that Numina bears imprints of the signature sounds of others. And indeed, were you to extrapolate from this list (factoring in beatlessness), you’d likely arrive at the sound of Shift to the Ghost. Essentially a long-form continuous piece, it bears seven track markers enabling perception of stages of navigation through the work and the distinct moods cycled through. Numina music is a blend of synthesized ambient and classic spacemusic, its drones river-deep rather than abyssal, at times somber and mournful (‘spiral Reminders.), even Goth-like (“Light Travelling”), at others majestic and seeking to surge towards the light (the finale “the Hostless Ghost”.). The whole is imbued with a palpable caché of those earlier mentioned mystical metaphysical elements. The prevailing sonic dynamic of breathing, oozing, slow flow adumbrates a drift-zone familiar to ambient-space aficionados from mid-period vidnaObmana. Synthetic architectures, for example, have resonances of that artist’s .90s Extreme (Echoing Delight) and Projekt (Crossing the Trail) releases. Magisterial opener “Secret Souls” also bears more than passing resemblance to Roach’s .Begin Where I End. (the final track on Artifacts). While Ghost is not sufficiently distinguished for that elevated company, and signals no great development from previous releases Eye of the Nautilus and Sanctuary of Dreams, it is decidely the most eloquent statement of Numina’s spiritual space manifesto yet.”
Review of Shift to the Ghost by Phil Derby:
”Jesse Sola’s latest release under the Numina name brings us another class assortment of deep dark dreamy ambience. Dedicated to the concept of death and passage into the afterlife, the music swirls about, alternating between dark and light, though often the former. Throughout there is a sense of mystery. ‘secret Souls. starts with a long slow fade, virtually imperceptible for the first minute or so. Dark pads ebb and flow as vaguely female choir sounds emanate from the mix here and there. Each track segues seamlessly into the next. Gurgling water sounds announce the arrival of track two, ‘through the Unseen Barrier,. which has a brighter, shimmering timbre to it. Some gentle sequencing even makes a surprise albeit welcome appearance, probably my favorite on the disc. The cleverly titled ‘spiral Reminders. aptly has a circular sound, with an interesting interplay between two primary tones, one higher and one lower. .Arrival to Nowhere. is another where the name matches the mood quite well, a formless floater. On the other hand, .Light Traveling. is perhaps the darkest sounding. It also has a highly pronounced panning effect from left to right throughout the entire piece. Two more lengthy sonic sojourns close out the ethereal journey.”
Review of Shift to the Ghost by Matt Howarth of Sonic Curiosity:
This release from 2006 features 70 minutes of eerie tuneage. Numina is Jesse Sola. Pensive tonalities rise to insinuate a portentous presence into a brooding darkness. It’s a tenuous presence, however; one that exhibits little animation, watching with unseen eyes and subtly influencing its immediate environs. Sighing electronic textures undulate with luxurious determination. Ethereal waves seep across the firmament, occluding silence with a translucent demeanor. A liquid undercurrent aids this vaporous resonance. Buried in the atmospheric flow are hints of violins and drawn cellos, so deeply immersed that they could well be illusionary sounds. Also lurking in the mix are traces of more demonstrative electronics, but pulsations actually surface to calmly dominate the ambience and generate a savory tension. An eerie mien permeates these songs, but there’s nothing ominous or threatening about these sonic ghosts. They are congenial spirits, conveying wisdom and introspection to the listener. Sola’s predilection for seasoning his pure ambience with softly churning activity imbues this music with a seductive quality. The compositions maintain a resolute dedication to a borderland between minimalism and density, producing tuneage that glimmers with implications as it seethes with gossamer vitality. Harmonic passages are tinged with evocative substance.”
Numina, Shift to the Ghost, review by Hypnogogue
In crafting a sonic narrative of the journey from life to afterlife, Numina has created a listening experience that is utterly immersive, a set of pieces that pull you in so deeply that trying to find adequate words for them once you’ve surfaced is difficult. This is signature Numina, moving as slowly as sleeping breath, elegant layers laid thickly upon layers with a certain and graceful hand. Sound textures course across the skin and into the spirit, coaxing the listener with warmth, beauty and imagery. This is the sound of the soul departing, and the sense of the journey itself. Rhythms rise only where they.re needed, as in the dramatic push of ‘through the Unseen Barrier.. Shift… is heavy with well-realized aural scenery and emotive tones that fully suit Numina’s intent. The slightly serrated drift of .Arrival to Nowhere. points up the disk’s embrace of dark awe, and .Light Travelling. celebrates the upward release from being with some intriguing sonic turbulence. Who knew crossing over felt this good? There’s a distinct sense of the sacred here in hushed hymnal tones and choral whispers. There is the pull of coerced introspection, and a pure, overarching beauty. There’s not a moment on this disk that isn’t eminently listenable, down to the final quiet exhalations of the gorgeous closer, ‘the Hostless Ghost.. And that’s why Shift to the Ghost is another Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD from Numina.
Numina, Shift to the Ghost, review by Morpheus Music
STYLE: Smooth, luminous, mostly beatless ambience. The music here is frequently of silken softness, gently heaving beds of tone, welling drones and velvet textures. The CD opens very gradually, the music drifting in like mists from the ocean, undulating rhythms unfolding into easy motion. The surface is warm, consonant, harmonious, yet somewhere just beneath, the darkness holds uncertainty, a touch of coldness that might unfurl and envelop everything. As the album progresses various musical devices allow the sound to surround the listener with different environmental effect – liquid motion and burbling sonic bubbles suggest submergence, sequential patterns propel the listener through the soundscape, ethereal air movement and spiralling wispy vapours evoke enveloping weightless swirls. The density of the sound thickens in places to a heavy mass where lighter threads swell and glide within the pitching gloom – an almost choral tone lending a sense of dramatic mystery – before falling away once more into a thinner airy vastness. The final tracks are incredibly restful; serene meandering washes of tone as soft as sighs and delicate strings touched with a melancholy beauty establishing a blissful environment that eventually ebbs wistfully away back into the silence that opened the album.
ARTWORK: This CD arrives in an attractive jewelcase package – colours rich and saturated. The imagery is made up of a series of rippled amber abstractions that either fold into curving planes or stretch into endless pools. The front cover holds its image within broad borders of black – a mushroom-like curling form, wrinkled like weathered skin – the hint of a foetal face hidden among the folds. This image is repeated on the reverse, larger, no border – tracks and their times overlaid. Within the imagery appears more akin to a liquid surface seen from below. Text here provides credits, thanks and contact details for both artist and label.
OVERALL: Released in 2006 Shift To The Ghost is the third album from Numina released via Hypnos Recordings. Made up of seven evolving compositions, each unique and having its own distinct character, the album nevertheless runs seamlessly as one long-form continuous piece. The concept behind the music is to do with the life and death of the physical self – but of course, music of this nature is sufficiently open for the listener to let that mean what he will. Perhaps the most powerful impression conveyed is through the pervasive serenity and enduring peace of the latter pieces – this eternal possibility is welcoming and familiar. Jesse Sola manages to create a synthetic depth that in places rivals the richness of orchestral music, multiple layers and multifarious underlying detail, at times almost imperceptible, making for an engrossing listening experience. Building upon the powerful foundation laid down with Eye Of The Nautilus Shift To The Ghost further establishes Numina’s creative individuality as one to watch.
Numina, Shift to the Ghost, review by Bert Strolenberg of Sonic Immersion
With “Shift to the Ghost”, Numina, aka Jesse Sola, brings us a one long form piece of carefully shaped and sculptured ambient music, which is subdivided in seven tracks.
Free form, slow morphing, nicely layered space textures set out for a deep ambient exploration, which cocoons the listener like a warm blanket. On only a few passages, some distinct sequencing and rhythms show up, but for the most part, the haunting music roams in reflection and in the deep end of things. “Light Travelling” even has a highly uplifting effect as the choir sounds fade in.
This is very well crafted and produced ambient/space music which pulls you inside a subconscious level, making your mind journey on and on.
“Shift to the Ghost” certainly is very fine piece of work, especially fans of Steve Roach will love it.
Review by Matt Howarth at Sonic Curiosity, October 2005
NUMINA: Eye of the Nautilus (CD on Hypnos Recordings)
This release from 2005 features 74 minutes of delicate ambience.
Numina is Jesse Sola. Joining him on one track is New Zealand synthesist Rudy Adrian.
Extremely soft soundscapes that evoke clear skies and limitless expanses. Airy tones unfurl with steadfast ease, establishing placid drones that possess a subtle ring to their sound. Synthetic textures are generated, then made flexible so as to bend and weave through an atmospheric medium.
The music’s calm is quite infectious, creating ethereal bonds between the soundscapes and the audience, unifying them until they are synonymous.
Percussives are employed in a few tracks to ascribe lazy rhythms that remain delightfully unobtrusive. Fuzzy e-perc is mixed in with these natural tempos, giving the beats an unearthly quality. Shunning tribal influences, these rhythms convey a thoroughly modern demeanor not unlike a nocturnal film sequence wandering through a deserted urban setting.
While most ambient music is designed to point the audience toward introspection, this music craftily urges the listeners’ focus outwards, bring them more in tune with the universe at large.
There’s a definite majesty to this music, a quiet elegance that is surprisingly more demonstrative than the elements that comprise the lilting tuneage. Excellent application of less to simulate more.
Review of Eye of the Nautilus by Morpheus Music
STYLE: Liquid soft, shadowy ambience with a scattering of murmured percussion. Drifting, rolling sheets of tone unfold like slow-motion waves as Numina paints onto an infinite ocean of darkness with tidal washes of coloured light. On the few tracks where a beat swells up, the percussion is gentle, deep, reverberating, almost tribal in places with shakers and low booms – agitating yet never breaking the surface. Chordal patterns on Eye of the Nautilus are quite harmonious but the pace always falls far short of breaking out of floating ambience and into clear melody. In places clock-like bells and metallic chimes, as if of all sizes, swung by the wind are interspersed with plucked notes all spiralling in meandering eddies with a common direction.
MOOD: Lustrous layers and beds of ambience, elegant and graceful in perpetual motion where nothing is hurried and submersion is absolute. This sort of subtle music always creates beautiful visions of nature for me – suspended, unfolding, revolving. Vaporous pads suggest the heavenly, ethereal where darkness is a welcome feature, a backdrop for colour and texture. At times Eye of the Nautilus sounds plaintive, wistful, almost solemn – but never depressive, the shadows are evocative and expansive not a path into obscurity.
ARTWORK: Monochrome and classy – nestled within a generous black border the spiral of a nautilus shell twists inward onto a human eye. The greys of the front cover photomontage are rich with texture that reveals fresh depths at each viewing distance. A larger version of the same image fills the back cover overlaid with a track-listing and times for each piece. Inside the monochrome approach is maintained with images enlarged into increasing abstraction. The inner booklet spreads the nautilus eye across both panels, with one side featuring credits, thanks and contact details.
OVERALL: Numina (Jesse Sola) cites Steve Roach, Robert Rich and vidnaObmana among his influences and this can be heard in the consistently smooth shadowy clouds of synthetic sound on Eye of the Nautilus. If anything Numina has a sleeker feel – where sonic sheets and veils come in diaphanous layers, moving like the transparent, soft-edged shadows of clouds among lush drones and dense synthetic mists.
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM: Ambience for those happy to have a beat in a few places – restful and flowing. If you enjoy Thom Brennan’s style of writing, Numina will likely suit your tastes. If you like shadows and darkness that is at the same time welcoming and absorbing – give Eye of the Nautilus a good listen.
Review of Eye of the Nautilus By SJS fromSynth Music Direct
CD / 9 tracks / 73:57 mins,
I have to confess that until this landed on my doormat the other day, I was not familiar with this guy’s work. Otherwise known as Jesse Sola, this is his second release is on the American Hypnos label, home to some of the finest EM musicians in the US and beyond. Furthermore any CD that name checks both Steve Roach and Paul Ellis in the credits has got to be worth a listen in my book.
It starts so quietly, that even with headphones on, you wonder if that really is music you can hear, and then slowly but surely, wonderful synth sounds fill your head and it is an excellent starter to a CD that I have listened to a great deal over the last few days. The opening piece is called Drift Catalyst, and at nearly eight minutes long it is really atmospheric.
Secrets From The Flame also starts in a similar low-key fashion, before a very church like synth comes to the fore. The track features a guest appearance by the New Zealand ambient musician Rudy Adrian and I imagine that is him on percussion, which I have to admit is a tad too dominant for my tastes.
The Thirteenth Moon is next and at 5:30 the shortest piece. Initially it just ebbs and flows. However at the three-minute mark it then gets all “heavy” and the tone becomes much darker. The last forty seconds you can barely hear at all. Interesting.
The fourth track is New lands Approach, which at first appears to be a similar minimalist soundscape, reminding me of Steve Roach circa Mystic Chords. Then a rhythm starts up, and a very infectious one it is too! This is great stuff. Other “sounds” appear and still that rhythm carries on all before it, and as I write this, my feet are tapping away . the best one so far.
Next up is The Nautilus Chamber. This is another moody and rather meditative track, sounding just great on my headphones. I liked the sense of contrast with the proceeding piece.
Stranger still is “Sundrown”. if those are guitars right at the start, then I will eat my woolly hat. You then hear clanging sounds, resembling empty water pipes being hit and it becomes all very nightmarish and dissonant. The percussion gets occasionally louder, and by some distance this one of the weirdest pieces of music I’ve heard all year.
”Frozen Halo” likes up to up to its excellent title . a fantastically atmospheric piece . best listened to in the dark . those drones are scary! Hypnotic Shores is completely different again, synths swirling around a repetitive beat, and if that seems samey, nothing could be further the truth. This is another great track, which again lives up to its title.
Last and not least is “Return To The Crystal Temple”, the longest track on the CD. Bell like sounds get us underway on what I think is a guitar. The synths then kick in and it sort of meanders on to a conclusion. Another interesting track and again I have to say that it is best listened to in the dark.
I was very impressed by the variety of the EM and the quality of the production. This is far from being standard ambient stuff, and there is something here for most people’s tastes. If 80 odd minutes of drones isn’t quite your cup of tea, but you want to try something interesting and challenging you could do worse than buy this. Now if you’ll excuse me, I am off to listen to the fourth track again! (SJS)
Review of Inside the Hollow Realm by Rik Maclean at The Ambient Ping
A quiet windy beginning is replaced by gentle waves. And gradually, as you become accustomed to your surroundings, you find yourself “Inside the Hollow Realm”. A new collaboration by Jesse Sola of Numina and Brett Smith of Caul, “Inside the Hollow Realm” is an inspired pairing that effectively blends the skills and talents of both artists in such a way as to create something new.
Split into three sections of four tracks each, “Collapse of the Spiral Spire”, “The Molten Void” and “A Distant Past Fades”, the disc has a conceptual flavor to it, a sense of history within. Images take form in the your mind’s eye and then pass from conciousness, leaving only a vague memory of their existence.
The first segment “Collapse of the Spiral Spire” opens with “The Wind Speaks”, where minimalism and atmosphere slowly give way to strong percussive forms. “Night Sky Descends” passes through the senses like ravens in the dark night sky. “The Gathering” is filled with the sound of electric current feedback through arcane radio systems which bleed into a progressively building drum pattern, bringing to mind a circle, a community. Inspired. Segment two, “The Molten Void”, opens with the same sort of growth from silence, a metallic ringing filling the space. Treated guitar, or is it something else building in the darkness? You can never really tell, images get distorted here and it becomes difficult to trust our senses to describe what we see. “Serpent Sounds” rolls with sleek tones, thin high sounds that weave around you like, well, serpents. “A Brief Reprieve” fills the space with wide open pads, a patch of light in the otherwise dark depths. The reprieve is all too short though, soon to be replaced by the lava like drones of “Molten Flow”.
The last segment “A Distant Past Fades” begins with the twinkling starlit patterns of “Aphasia”, beautiful, striking, dreamlike. “The Seer” is a study in slowly shifting tones, a sense of mystery, secrets. “Withdrawn” builds in intensity, pads woven through the soundfield like delicate spiderwebs reflecting the light. And then it closes with “The Memories Blend”, a summation of all that we’ve heard, a sense of completion that slowly wraps around itself until it gradually fades. A true delight.
In the past I’ve made no secret of my appreciation for Jesse Sola’s work and I continue to be amazed at his ability to create music that touches me so deeply. With this collaboration his music is perfectly complimented and built upon by Brett Smith and made even more beautiful as a result. I strongly recommend this release to all of you and I eagerly look forward to future collaborations between the two of them.
Review of “Inside the Hollow Realm” by Don Hill:
Often times when really talented artists attempt to collaborate on a project, egos get in the way, and the music suffers for it. Inside the Hollow Realm is not marred by any such problem. Jesse Sola (Numina) and Brett Smith (Caul) weave these soundscapes like they’ve been writing together for years, each bringing to the table no more than what is needed for each piece.
”Night Sky Darkens” is a prime example of this complimentary writing at its simplest. While Smith creates a bed of synth voices, establishing a somber tone, Sola adds filter sweeps and delayed sounds that bring a more “live” and improvised feel to the piece.
Simply put, Inside the Hollow Realm is a masterpiece, rich in reverent pageantry. At times, one could envision it being used as the background for a meditative worship service.
For more info, check out either http://www.caul.org/ or http://www.numinamusic.com/
Review of Inside the Hollow Realm by Bert Strolenberg
The first impression I got from this collaborative recording is that it seems to move in some of the same beautiful realms which made Numina’s solo-album “Sanctuary of Dreams” stand out.
On the other hand, at times it also breathes a more clouded, darker, and foreboding nature which must be the signature of Caul, aka Brett Smith, as I recall Numina’s sound to be more ethereal. Next comes the addition of some nice rhythmic elements, which add a good vibe to this type of spacious music.
The aural world of this rather deep tapping record is one of constant unfolding and change as the listening time progresses. The second section starts rather disquieting and restless, as it enters the strange, uneasy world of music I know from the Foundry label.
“Inside the Hollow Realm” is not an easy record, but one for those who cherish the dark shades of twilight.
Review of Sanctuary of Dreams by Dave Law of New Electronic Frontiers
Numina / Sanctuary of Dreams- There is so much `ambient’ music out there that just sounds like all the rest. This album however is head and shoulders above those being highly descriptive and individual. I suppose the easy references would be the likes of Steve Roach, Robert Rich and Michael Stearns and to my mind this album stands up very well against those artists’ very best works- if not eclipses them”
Review of Sanctuary of Dreams by Brian Bienowski
NUMINA Sanctuary of Dreams Hypnos (2004):
Jesse Sola prolifically plumbs the depths of dark, opaque ambience recording under the Numina moniker. This Denver, Colorado artist is coming to greater prominence with each release as his skill and talent are honed more deeply. Numina’s latest, and first for Hypnos, Sanctuary of Dreams, is perhaps his most mature and fully-realized ambient work so far. Touching only lightly upon the dark and claustrophobic terrains of past work, Sola chooses instead to infuse his latest music with a more dynamic range of sounds, all reverent and melancholy in tone–like a sad dream.
The world of Sanctuary of Dreams is a darkened one; the Sanctuary itself offering the only solace within a largely ambivalent and chaotic environ. The music here is infused with sadness and regret, as if one finds an uneasy catharsis through dreaming and escape. Fans of VidnaObmana’s breathing synth work on Ending Mirage will find a familiar terrain in Sanctuary’s… first track “Awaken Within a Deeper Realm.” There’s a gothic mood here, as if one is within a dreamed sunken cathedral as softly pulsing synth textures and lightly symphonic tones create interlocking lines of sound in the mind’s eye. “Lost on Silica Ridge” combines some of the nicely rendered electronic percussives of Numina’s recent collaboration with Ixohoxi alongside church organ and Obmana synth clouds. “Elements of Time” darkens the mood with processed shakers and claustrophobically manipulated belltones. “In Loneliness, the Landscape Fades” is also deeply reminiscent of VidnaObmana, bordering on pastiche. Synth tones glide lightly like a fogged valley–Sola’s synthwork is never static, making an ever-shifting tonescape that seems self-satisfied with its own melancholy mien. “Beneath the Silver Surface” is far more interesting–a subtle and mysterious elixir of strange wooden noises, resonant, lancing synth effects and piano textures. Eventually, a wonderful gonging bell brings us back to gothic zones; a fantastic, dramatic effect. There is indeed a lot going on here underneath the surface–Sola seems stronger on tracks that operate in darker territories. To illustrate this point, the next track, “Thrown Into Oblivion,” treads darkly with chorals and stratospheric synth drones spiraling together ever-downward. A lovely moment. Also impressive is “Fractured Eyes” which artfully manages to digest the VidnaObmana influence by combining it with strange, echoed, synth-waveforms. “Dream Recognition (Silhouette of the Past)” is perhaps the highlight of the disc–a soft Bill Nelson-esque dronescape that vibrates and cascades prettily, punctuated by echoed synth-piano notes chiming distantly. Memorable work, well suited to the repeat button. Next is “Lucid Ascension” featuring the vocalizations of Tara VanFlower (from goth-pop group Lycia). It’s another pretty track, the vocals adding to the charm immensely–for those who tend to dream about ethereal undersea beauties: you’ve just found your soundtrack. Finally, “The Waking Breath” clearly ends the dream with a dismissal of the opalescent soundscaping of earlier tracks. Perhaps I’m “reading” too much into this, but a drone track like this after such a romantic and wistful album can only signal a return to the daily grind of activity most mundane. That said, this is a fine, lengthy track–one in a style I’d like to hear more of from Numina–understated, droning, environmental.
Sanctuary of Dreams marks an intriguing high-point in Numina’s development as an ambient practitioner. Certainly, we find no artistic vanguard here, as Sola traverses oft-visited sonic landscapes. In fact, Sola’s influences tend to take the driver’s seat on the first half of the album. The second half, however, is uniquely Sola’s own. What we find in total is a satisfying album of well-rendered sonic dream impressions that often achieves more than the sum of its parts. It’s almost as though, during the course of the tracks, the Numina-style made itself evident to the artist–this is an imagined impression, since the tracks are not arranged chronologically. I’m duly impressed with Numina’s Hypnos debut–it signals that Sola’s best work is ahead of him. Sanctuary of Dreams seems likely to be regarded as an artistic turning point for Numina’s brand of memorably melancholy ambience.
Review of Live at the Inner Sanctum by Phil Berby/Electroambient Space
(Self released CDR, 2003) 8 tracks, 66.23 mins
Jesse Sola is Numina, serving up cool minimal ambience with dark overtones. This live recording from May 31, 2003 in Denver is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish, taking the listener on a journey outward toward imaginary cosmic worlds, or perhaps inward for deep reflection and mental stimulation. Like Prince of a few years ago, tracks are named only by symbols, not words. Track one coasts along on synth pads and other ethereal voices, with a churning undercurrent of organic textures. Flowing seamlessly into track two a quieter passage ensues, continuing with a low drone but adding some brighter space sounds as well. Within each track progression is gradual and patient. Part three adds low rumbles that pass for drums; the synth sounds get a bit thicker yet slightly more distant. The tone is dramatic, perhaps even ominous, but too pleasing to be truly haunting. Part four is delicate, imparting a feeling of floating and drifting as it shimmers. Track five asserts itself with a tribal tone, an unexpected and worthwhile diversion. The timbre of the beat is unique, an odd hybrid between tribal and techno. The sixth movement is fairly static but no less engaging with its simple yet elegant sonic palette. The music breathes in deeper, becoming more expansive toward the end of the piece. A deep resonant beat enters for the seventh track, a good impression of Steve Roach whether intentional or not. This track shows great balance and depth. The eighth and final piece finishes on a lighter note, swirling about for 15 minutes of flight either in deep space or a deep cavern, depending on the imagery you choose, with a few more tribal beats near the end. Highly recommended.
Review of Solace by Ambientrance:
Who better to offer Solace than Jesse Sola? They’re right next to each other in the dictionary after all; as Numina, Jesse sends sweet sonic gaseous into the space between your ears. Good old ambient floatations!
Too pretty to be too eerie, through a little of that quality also looms in the darkly glowing abstractions which softly expand and simmer through Luminous Form (Recalescence) (8:08). Sparklier When the Stars Fall is bespeckled with trickling tonal shards, dropping into a warmly thrumming nightsky.
The Visitor In Dreams is another layered droner which achieves a near-spookiness amid the full-blown loveliness of its hauntingly lush nocturnal drifts. The muted chaos of battered metals slowly penetrates the swirling glowstreams of Touching The Stem.
Sounding like a paen to Steve Roach’s Structures From Silence-era material, Unaware of Dark Matter spews light, glinting trails through an amorphously boiling fogbank or tranquility. Subaquatic textures and phantasmal synthchoruses arise from Neverwhere (5:27); that especially fluid immersion prcedes finale Magnetic Aurora and its plaintive ray-crossed spaciousness.
As shapeless, lovely and tangible as a cloud, the sounds of Solace ring with Numina’s thoughtfully applied touches. Subtly stunning ambience gets an impressed A- for 54+ minutes of free-flowing comfort.
Evolving Visions review by Bert Strolenberg for KLEM Magazine
Evolving Visions is one of the adventurous audio-excursions on CD-R which ambient composer Jesse Sola has put together, and the listener isn’t disappointed at all. Imagine you take a dive into an ocean filled with vast, encompassing ambientsoundworlds. The view with touches of Eno or Budd is endless as you float along with long-stretched, almost non-rhythmic spacetextures that endure over 70 minutes. Numina’s music breaths a sense of timelessness as it travels through darker and lighter territories which embrace the listener in various ways, culminating in my personal favorite “Further Entwined,” a real jewel within itself. Evolving Visions almost ends with a beautiful vocal-piece “Pearl”, introducing the elegant voice of Tara Vanflower. This CD fits really well next to Exuviae, Jeff Pearce and even Vir Unis. Highly recommended !
Evolving Visions & Sanctum Sanctorum by Jim Breholts
Numina, nee Jesse Sola, released two of the best CD’s of 2001 – “Evolving Visions” and “Sanctum Sanctorum.” He has his next CD almost ready. It is titled “Sanctuary of Dreams” and it smokes!
The two discs from 2001 are very atmospheric and minimalist. This CD has those qualities and a little more. Jesse layers his walls of sound so that the soundscape is evolving and fading continuously. The effect is reminiscent of a Frippertronics loop. The possibilities become endless. Those layers have a sequenced timbre to them, though they are not sequences. That timbre gives the CD some extra oomph!
So the disc kicks in and takes focused listeners to their private sanctuaries. Within those havens, deep listeners find the healing power of self-help and support. That, too, is an endless journey and a constant loop so the metaphor continues. Jesse has very quickly established himself as a candidate for ambient greatness! This disc locks it! Reviewed by Jim Brenholts, author of “Tracks Across the Universe: A Chronology of Ambient and Electronic Music”
Evolving Visions Review by Matt Borghi, June 2001
The man, and artiste behind Numina Jesse Sola has created yet another Ambient/ Space/ atmospheric master work with Evolving Visions. He did some fantastic work previously on Dreamsleep and then outdid that a short time later with Recluse, but with Evolving Visions Numina has exceeded and quite possibly outdone all of his prior work. Evolving Visions consists of some very beautiful yet ghoulishly dark timbres; it unfolds ever so slowly giving a little bit up and then taking away just as slowly and subtly. As a lot of Ambient recordings as of late this one has a very clinical Hypnos-esque sound to it, a coldness, a placid and engaging sound that brings the listener into to an icy depth only be taken down deeper into the abyss by guest vocalist Tara Vanflower’s echoey vocalizing. Tara’s singing really fits in the ending; it’s a sort of climax, as Tara sings the last track segues into unresolved harmonic chording and dark atmospherics. The final track fades out to nothingness. Numina has created a fantastic and unsettling recording that, to me, does the same thing that Claude Debussy’s piano works did to me so long ago, they grabbed me and refused to let. It^Òs also important to mention that Evolving Visions is one of the first Ambient recordings that I’ve heard where tension and release is effectively used in the harmonic fabric, thus creating a new compositional direction for Ambient et al. Fantastic recording!
Evolving Visions Review by Tara VanFlower
First of all, obviously some may see me as being a bit partial considering my involvment with this release, but trust me, I’m perfectly able to be honest and am not receiving any money for this release….’so don’t think I’m scamming you to buy it to line my pockets in any way. This release is one of the best ambient releases I’ve ever heard. Jesse’s music always takes me to some otherworldy and poetic place. From beginning to end it makes you feel like you’re floating way off in space watching galaxies spin and grow hovering in star dust hiding from everyone and everything on some distant planet. I love the deep pulsing tones and the angelic tides of sound that swirl all around you. It sounds like a sea of deep green space. Like you have your ears submerged in water looking up into endless oceans of stars and universe. I can’t say enough about this cd. I’m extremely proud Jesse asked me to contribute vocals, and am blessed by how he used them. It makes me proud to be a part of this and I hope he asks me to do more. If you like Steve Roach you should have this cd.
Review of Starfarer’s Tales Vol. I by Stephen Philips of Dark Duck Records
Prior to this point I was completely unfamiliar with the artist that records under the name IXOHOXI. But after hearing this CD, and being familiar with Numina’s work, I’m definitely interested in hearing more. Titled “Starfarer’s Tales ~ Vol. 1″ this CD is at times spacey and at other times, it’s right down to earth. “Terraformers” blends ambience with slightly tribal and slightly electronic grooves in a very smooth almost translucent way. Neither takes center stage as each plays off each other quite nicely. “Orbiting The Holont” moves into more ambience with muted grooves. Slightly experimental but stark and smooth in such a way that it leaves me speechless to describe it. “Shaman of Tahir” moves even deeper into the stark and very chilled ambiences. The grooves are gone and replaced by sinister and haunting melodies. Finally “Cloudland” brings it back down to earth with cool dark ambience mixed with some naturalist samples. Very nice closeout to this outstanding CD, and based on the title, I’m assuming there will be a Vol. 2 which will be a welcome sight.
Starfarer’s Tales Vol. I review by Sonic Immersion
This is the first collaboration between these two distinguished American ambient composers, both known for their remarkable soundscape music.
They now joined forces which have led to this album (which has Poul Anderson sf-novel “Starfarers” as core inspiration) that won’t disappoint any fan of long-drifting textural music.
Each of the four lengthy tracks is able to take you on a journey through time and space, offering an almost immediate dreamy, hypnotic atmosphere after the play-button has been touched.
The opening track “Terraformers” reminded me a little of the excellent ambient-stuff which Vidna Obmana & Steve Roach have done years ago, as it carries the same strong impact of static rhythms, beats and vast space textures surrounding it.
A furthermore hypnotic feel starts shimmering on the horizon as soon as the second track “Orbiting the Holont” floats off.
The third track “Shaman of Tahir” shows some tiny signs of foreboding through the shimmering layers of sound, but the closing track “Cloudland” takes you gently away on another extensive drift of overwhelming atmospheres leading into the distant unknown…
All in all,”Starfarer’s Tales Vol 1″ is a very strong effort, which really makes me look out for the forthcoming Vol. 2.
Dreamsleep Review by Tara VanFlower
This review was recently submitted by Tara VanFlower:
The name of the first project is Numina and is the vision of Jesse Sola. The music is dark ambient…..ethereal…’dreamy…’swirley…..very nice to just sit and melt to. It’s very “other worldly” in feel…..like hovering above silver clouds and vast green velvet fields…..floating ribbons on black water…..incense swirling and twining…….One of my favorite tracks is “gush” which sounds like some sort of space oddessy and “beyond infinity” which is soft and angelic and like stars twinkling….or like watching a bird fly effortlessly over fields…ocean…mountain.’some of it sort of reminds me of The Unquiet Void…..’some Lycia ( Stark Corner era instrumentals )…’some Steve Roach….’some Nova Sphere……but very unique and of itself. it’s very atmospheric and sedate….’slow and intimate……………
Review of Sanctum Sanctorum by Jim Breholts
Ironically, Numina, nee Jesse Sola, released “Sanctum Sanctorum” right after Constance Demby released “Sanctum Sanctuorum.” Both CD’s have similar quality, depth, feeling and reverence. The musical similarities begin and end with the electronics. Jesse takes a more atmospheric approach. He creates massive walls of sequenced ambience. His reverence comes from a deep sense of awe. Jesse seems to be praising God by expressing child-like wonder at His deeds and compassion. I reviewed this CD shortly after the retaliatory strikes in the Middle East began. I had deep feelings of sadness and tension. This CD took me back to my relationship with God and I allowed myself to pray. The juxtaposition of the music and the images on TV was stark. I turned off the TV for 10 minutes and I prayed and meditated. I came back to reality. I received the serenity to accept the events, the courage to change my attitude and the wisdom to recognize the need to do both. Thank you, Jesse, for being there at the right time!
Recluse song review by Erick Sheid:
hello to all space ambient ethereal fans….lovers of dark deep soothing and neo-romantic drone music.
It is erick of the space ghost band,translucia.
Jesse Sola, of Numina, kindly sent me a copy of his 3″ cd of Recluse. It contains two songs, “Recluse” and “Amber Essence”
This review is for anyone into beautiful ambient music, Jesse, to me is one of the newer ambient musicians who makes music for the soul…..his work is quiet and etherealingly chaotic, deep and dark….full of contemplation and honest reflection. Wide drones that could fill up the sky….’this music can be listened to in headphones or loud speakers…
Numina’s music pulls you in slowly. leaving one to ask can I face myself and my thoughts…can i feel?
the first song “Recluse” fades up slow…and just drifts…ebbing in a swirling-like flow….’deep notes….and spacious effects….
”amber essence” starts off with a drone beat..like being in a cave….full of red clay and dark echoey spirits… yet there is a hole in this cave of the sky and you can see for millions of miles into it….vast…wide open…forever and timeless….
This music is good for being alone or with a lover…outside….inside..candles….or the night time sky…
I took a walk out in the winter here and listened to it…on top of a roof overlooking snow silvered snowflakes and pillow snow patches….
I look forward in hearing Jesse’s new album, “Evolving Visions”, and hope to hear him in hearts of space and the such….
any fan of vidna obmana, alio die, robert rich will agree…
Erick – Traslucia
Review of Sony Loops – Numina I: Emotional Peak Sounds Cinema
Explore familiar themes in the music of contemporary visual imagery with this gorgeous and entirely captivating group of cinematic music construction elements. With the Emotional Peak Sounds for Cinema collection, Numina synthesist/composer Jesse Sola delivers startlingly pure sounds that reference common emotions and cinematic events with the kind of flair that will make your listeners feel as if they’re having a completely new experience. This construction kit contains a range of flexible, useful elements including beats, beds, melodies, and effects that share an obvious, universal appeal. The Emotional Peak Sounds for Cinema library will empower and encourage you to craft layers of sound in ACID® software that have an uncanny ability to place listeners in precisely the sonic environments of your choice, from sparkling and serene, to harsh and ominous . and all points in between.