In July of 2010, we were privileged to be part of an intimate electronic music gathering held in Kansas City in the USA. Called the 2010 Kansas City Regional Electro-Music Festival, this event attracted ambient and electronic artists from all around the United States, who met for a few brief days to share music and art, collaboration and camaraderie.
Amongst the live performances, demos, and lectures put on by the various participants, two ambient artists who had never played together before presented a multi-hour ambient performance of great depth and beauty. Shane Morris and Dan Minoza were those two artists, and this beautiful album, entitled The Ritual Space, is a gorgeous excerpt from that singular live concert.
Only the fact that we were in the audience during this performance makes it easy for us to accept that this recording is live, uncut, and improvised in real time with no overdubs or edits by two artists who had never before made a single note of music together. What you hear in this recording is exactly what the audience heard that day. Indeed, the music of this album calls to the listener in a way that few ambient pieces can, inviting the hearer to fully participate and immerse themselves in the sonic space that the artists have so lovingly crafted. Our belief is that this recording would stand tall amongst nearly any collection of studio pieces, but as a live performance we are simply blown away.
So many facets of this music deserve comment, but we will point out just a few of the highlights that we found so irresistible. Firstly, we found Dan's use of the extended-range Warr guitar to be revelatory. He plays the instrument with a remarkably deft and gentle touch, and his processing of the sounds carried us softly as if on a cloud. Shane's tasteful keyboard work complemented Dan's guitar masterfully, but we particularly enjoyed his use of percussion and bowed gong to create otherworldly sound textures. Shane is a multi-instrumentalist in the truest sense of the word, and it was quite inspiring to see his performance in the flesh. Finally, we must add that during their performance, a light thunderstorm developed right over the performance venue. Snug and warm inside, the audience was treated to both the exquisite music of this talented duo as well as the music of nature falling upon the roof of the indoor venue. We cannot imagine a more apt setting for such magnificent music, an experience we will treasure always.
So it is our profound honor to present to you The Ritual Space, the live concert by Dan Minoza and Shane Morris. We hope to hear much more from these two masters of the ambient form again in the future.