Beyond the Purple Sun
2019 / Jim Ottaway
Review by Kathy Parsons
In the works for 8 1/2 years, Jim Ottaway’s Beyond the Purple Sun is a sonic journey to the far reaches of the universe. Ottaway’s thirteenth international release follows his multiple award-winning Deep Space Blue (2017), which was named Best Ambient Album by Zone Music Reporter and was nominated for their Album of the Year award. It also received a Silver Medal in the Global Music Awards (ambient) and was nominated for Best Electronic Album by One World Music. His 2018 release, Yesterday Passing was nominated by ZMR as Best Electronic Album. In addition to releasing almost thirty albums, Ottaway is a Australian composer, producer and studio performer of original instrumental music covering many genres including space ambient, electronic, dance, new age, relaxation and music for film and television.
The seven tracks on Beyond the Purple Sun were recorded, mixed and mastered by Ottaway and all are live improvised studio recordings with minimal overdubbing. The sound quality of the album is incredible and the ambient music evokes visual images in mostly shades of deep blues, blacks and purples with occasional flashes of light. The music also gives the feeling of traveling through vast open space with a steady propulsion on some tracks and slow, free-floating movement on others. The album is a fascinating listening experience that will undoubtedly earn Ottaway a new set of awards for 2019!
Beyond the Purple Sun begins with “Celestial Rainbows,” a new arrangement of a piece that has appeared on previous albums under the names “MFF2-Scene 28” and “Rainbow Bridge.” Slow and majestic, it suggests hurtling through space, likely in a vehicle of some sort, taking in the magical sights and sounds of deep space. “Lavender Moons” takes us even deeper into space where we see the shimmering beauty of the lavender moons. This piece moves very slowly, giving us time to observe and study these mysterious orbs. The eerie “Dark Spaces” doesn’t feel like a good place to be with its odd sounds and scary atmosphere. “Birth of a Violet Quasar” and “Space Lightning” are aural expressions of what it could be like to experience these outer-space phenomena first-hand. “Secrets of the Hidden Stars” takes us to a magical place few humans have ever visited, allowing us to fully observe and begin to learn things most have only wondered about while looking up at the sky from Earth. The closing track is the 10-minute title track which is more rhythmic and melodic than any of the other tracks. It is still very definitely ambient and “spacey,” but it is also much lighter and more playful. It is also my favorite track on the album.
Beyond the Purple Sun is quite an amazing listening experience that will sound different each time you listen to it. Jim Ottaway is a master of this style of music (and several other genres!). It is available from Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby and Google Play, among others.
April 25, 2019