With this, his long awaited second album, Maitreya returns to explore more earthly terrain. From the percolating warmth of sinter, to the bleak expanse of lumen, discover the beautiful new sound of Maitreya.
What people are saying
"The first album from Maitreya, From The Mothership, was released back in 1999, and helped establishing Yeovil-based ambient label Council Of Nine. Hailed as an impressive debut, and a rather successful record for a genre often too hermetically locked out of the wider electronic equation, this first album contributed to Maitreya’s mastermind Simon Lomax gaining respect amongst those who were lucky enough to experience his work.
Four years in the making, Telluric Waves is Simon Lomax’s second exploratory effort into deep ambient soundscapes. In just under an hour, this album takes the listener on an amazing journey through luxurious landscapes and waves of sounds as the eight compositions on offer appear almost static, evolving imperceptibly, evoking the way ice forms and melts, crystal after crystal. Yet, under the monolithic exterior of this album rest myriads of sensorial elements stimulating auditory perceptors almost continuously. The impressive sonic structures, although minimal in form, with rare vaporous melodies forming only to dissolve almost instantly, flourishes with microscopic sparks of colours all the way through.
With Telluric Waves, Lomax takes his soundscapes to a more earthy level as he swaps deep space for oceanic splendours, with only muffled echoes of life occasionally crossing the field, most notably on We Are Linked, to establish some form of connection between Lomax’s cocooned world and reality. The album opens with the seismic Night Vision, the only track here to be built around electro-magnetic pulses over which warm crystalline waves develop, providing a stunning backdrop for a gentle piano to linger for a while.
As the album progresses, Lomax retreats into the weightless atmospherics he explored with his first album, yet taking them to more sumptuous levels. The hypnotic Sinter, Half-light or Telluric Waves show the man constantly altering his soundcapes, feeding on highly processed found sounds to produce ever-changing structures, repeatedly avoiding the pitfalls of a difficult genre. Telluric Waves requires undivided attention to fully appreciate its many layers and constant shifts, and therefore is in many ways a difficult record. Yet, thanks to Simon Lomax impressive control and clever use of sounds, it rapidly becomes fascinating and reveals itself as an immense step forward."
Milk Factory review
"I'd not heard UK artist (and Council of Nine label "co-head") Simon Lomax's debut recording as Maitreya: From the Mothership. The press materials regarding Maitreya's new release, Telluric Waves state this is the "beautiful, new sound of Maitreya." I'm no expert in "new" sound, but I can unreservedly write that Telluric Waves certainly is beautiful.
We begin with "Night Vision", which opens with heartbeat deep bass pulses and synth lines that cascade in washes of warm sound. There is a distance to the sound here, as if we are watching the warmth of a far off star as it continuously radiates. Eventually a plaintive piano, often tampered with electronically, recalls Harold Budd's piano decaying in deep space. Momentarily, the track ceases into quiet but fades back to the previous elements in a surprising and breathtaking use of silence.
"Subterranian" is a quieter affair, with an increased focus on synthetic drones and slowly phasing textures. The mood here is icy, rather like the sonic equivalent of aurora borealis. Midway through, the track recedes to silence (as with track one), and returns just like the tides--certainly intentional, given the album title.
"Sinter" begins with rustling, as if of earthy feathers, which melds with psychedelic synth vibrations recalling Biosphere's seminal Substrata material. If these are waves of earth, surely this is the sonic movement of glaciers or tectonic plates beneath the surface of the planet.
"Sinter" transitions directly into "Altocumulus" which begins with radio transmissions and disembodied voices. Gorgeous synth washes permeate these transmissions creating a disorienting effect, (though it is particularly pleasant disorientation). Perhaps our Telluric Waves are of the Earth, but it is an Earth viewed from the atmosphere by alien eyes, attempting to interpret signals that are unintelligible to off-worlders.
"Half-light" contains Scanner-like transmissions mixed with more icy synth textures. The cloud masses cover the sky; as depth perception is lost while we view the obscured heavens. The track deepens into Thomas Köner deep-bass rumble.
"Lumen" is altogether brighter, featuring the deep washes as before but this time with synth chimes reverberating. This is pure bliss out, as we watch the sky pass overhead (perhaps from our isolated home's front porch?) and lose all sense of time as the sun slowly glides over the ecliptic. A highlight.
"We Are Linked" is pure ambient drift with textured drones, manipulated vocalizations, and unrecognizable sonic detritus. The influence of Biosphere is particularly evident here, though Maitreya does ambient chill-out with the best of them. This track remains progressive over its length, rather than keeping with one static element as is often the tendency of many ambient practitioners.
Finally, my favorite track, "Telluric Waves" contains the best new ambient has to offer. Gorgeous, at once chilly and warm, synth textures lull you into reverie like sun in eyes on freezing cold days. Here are the waves of Earth as we lie and witness, in our slow and ephemeral ways, the motions of our planet. Extremely beautiful synth hushes the track to silence. The waves return (as waves always do), sometimes punctuated by unusual synth textures. This is the sound of life blooming and fading over and over into forever. Indeed, I could easily listen to this particular track for an album's length.
Maitreya's Telluric Waves is a memorable experience that would assuredly appeal to both ambient purists and fans of newer electronic styles equally.
The sonics sound surprisingly natural though they appear to be wholly synthetic. Biosphere fans should especially take note of this release, as it features all of the strengths of albums like Substrata without the album filler that clutters many newer ambient releases. In fact, each track is progressive from beginning to end, signaling an artist unwilling to dwell on long spaces of ambience just to fill a CD's length.
It took three years for the second Maitreya album to appear and it shows. Telluric Waves is a finely detailed and impressively executed work of modern chilled textures; trippy, entrancing, and consistently interesting."
"Maitreya's (a.k.a Simon Lomax) second album sees the theme move from space and aliens - From the Mothership was his first album - back down to Earth.
At first I thought that "telluric" was a made-up word for the album; however, curiosity prompted me to check only to discover that it is actually a word and pertains to the Earth.
The word "waves" in the title of this album is no mere intellectual reference, on every one of the eight tracks there are waves of sound flowing in and out of the soundscape. After a while this can have a slightly disorienting effect, leaving the listener feeling like he's been mentally moved about on a sea of sonic impressions. Like many ambient albums, there's a journey element to Telluric Waves; these explorations take us from underground in "subterranean" and up into the clouds with"altocumulus".
A heaviness pervades the album. It's not dark in the sense of being overtly unsettling or eerie, despite there being aspects of life to be heard it sometimes it made me imagine the Earth in an earlier time of its history when life was just starting to evolve. Though musically different, it reminded me of the way Steve Roach's On This Planet evokes primeval feelings and connections to the Earth.
Paradoxically, there's also a kind of warmth (maybe analogue synths and/or heavily processed sounds are used) to many of the sounds, particularly the washes that keep breaking over the soundscape.
Sonic waves are often coupled with effects to bring out a particular atmospheric feeling. For instance, in "Subterranean", cascading sounds like dripping are heard, as are distant snatches of sound which could be voices or something more sinister lurking in the darkness.
Voice samples of various kinds can be heard throughout the album, and usually they are distant and ghostly as in "altocumulus" and "half-light" - as though life is seen only from afar or glimpsed through a static garbled radio signal.
Apparently this album took nearly four years to create. That's a long time, but ambient fans will surely find that it's been worth waiting for. It's one to be really savoured and revisited to discover sounds you may not have noticed on previous listens."
Dene Bebbington / Wind & Wire
"It took Simon Lomax a.k.a. Maitreya four years to present us with this, his second album, but I must confess that the end result more than makes up for that. The sound of Maitreya has matured, pushing the boundaries in a most surprising way.
The quiet "Night Vision" starts, floats off with softly drifting textures, an occasional piano and an occasional heavy beat. It perfectly leads us into track 2 and 3, which offer more atmospheric and swirling soundscapes to be discovered.
"Altocumulus" ventures into a bit more "active" realms with its strange vocal samples and sounds of radio transmissions, before dronescapes and translucent synth washes fill the air in "Half-light". The lovely expanse of "Lumen" is a return to the dreamy, ethereal worlds of tracks 1-3. The overall shimmering textures in "Are we linked" are sometimes interrupted by a few female voices, before the title track leaves us in harmony, a slow drift into the future….
Although this disc apparently explores more earthly terrain, according to the press sheet, my feeling is that it stands out as an overall grand space journey with chill-out elements. This is no sedative music however. It does demand active listening.
‘Telluric Waves’ is a great record of outstanding audio and production quality which needs several spins before it reveals its true nature and beauty…"
Bert Strolenberg / SonicImmersion.org
released February 5, 2003