Nigel Stanford is the kind of musician that has a deep sense of how precise and well-adjusted things have to be in order to produce an efficient music track. And Solar Echoes, his latest Trance-Ambient album, is a clear-cut demonstration of his attention to detail.
I discovered Nigel Stanford's work through his well-known music video Cymatics. The principles are simple: most of the instruments used are cymatics experiments, in other words devices meant to show visually sound waves. Here's the video :
Even if you set aside the music, the visuals are stunning. From the simple Chladni plate and speaker dish to the most impressive Ruben's tube and Tesla Coils and the weird hose pipe effect, the video is outstanding by itself. But the music is also very good, or should I say engineered to be very good.
Don't try too hard, you won't be able to find an emotional side to Nigel Standford music. The lack of singing is obviously amongst the causes, as well as an absence of tension in the melody. This music clearly has no soul to speak of, and yet it manages to make you feel something.
Because it is so well-rounded, so easy-flowing, at the border of predictability, that it struck a chord very deep inside me: this music is right. And although the music itself isn't very moving by design, it's not meant to be danced on, for example, the realization that it was so well crafted did resonate with me. I did recognize and appreciate de same painstaking attention to details that you can witness in the various videos and articles about the making of Cymatics.
One of the details that struck me the most about filming this music video is that Nigel Stanford made sure that the flaming Ruben's tube would follow the music even recorded at twice the normal speed and played as a slow-motion sequence. The other one that I wanted to mention is that Nigel Standford admitted he composed the track Cymatics after the idea of creating a music video out of cymatics experiments came. All the tones have been set to produce the most efficient visual effects, then combined to form a full-length song.
If you want to read more about the making of this music video, you can read the director Shahir Daud's take on Cymatics or the more technical standpoint of the cinematographer Timur Civan.
Meanwhile, you can listen to Solar Echoes on Spotify or better yet, buy the Cymatics single or the album on Nigel Standford's website, if not for the music, at least for the effort and the intelligence behind all of Nigel Standford's work.