MYSTERY SEA 09 | Heath Yonaites | [Abyssal Plain]


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- "I approached Abyssal Plain as an homage to the ocean.
The massiveness of it, the periodic fluctuations of waves, the layers and depth.
the audio high end static and glitches are wholly intentional. in my mind, they represent the mist off waves, the saline particles bouncing, granules suspended in the fluids and so on.
The deep drones are the currents; the gradual rise and sudden falls of volume and sound are the waves.
It'll be violent at times, cacophonous and challenging, logical but chaotic, smooth and harsh.
The ocean is not a mirror but a living organism that can rage and consume, yet also provide and nurture. It is, after all, the lifeblood of our planet and our existence. I hope to convey the breadth of all this, in a way.
Think of it as an experimental soundscape not unlike a classical composer, a modern tone poem, full of ups and downs. Instead, just blurred and abstract like the sea."

- Heath Yonaites, July 2003.


Heath Yonaites is primarily a US visual artist with an amazing eye for the acutest details... this unusual eye has contaminated his approach of sound, and guided his shaping of lifelike visionary worlds which he is so skillful at sharing with us...
After 3 private releases & extraordinary journeys ("Where", "Uncertainty & Incompleteness" & "The Seed Project"
, a collaborative effort involving K.M. Krebs) and another CD reissue on TRIUMVIRATE ("Rim Of The Sun"), he submits here his own declension of the MS theme, a rather energetic, uncompromising & inventive exercise based on the de+reconstruction of short chosen fragments of oceanic field recordings ...
Certainly his most daring & exploratory work to date...

"Abyssal Plain" is a vast roaring sea lit with the scintillations of myriads of golden stars & sputtering foam... an expanse of wild shores & furious waves... a primordial fluid mass bubbling with granular emissions & dolphin ghostly "talk"...
What we hear is intense, seeping... a huge boiling reservoir of life...
brewing strange scoria, albeit striving for a certain ideal of purity...

"Abyssal Plain" is a meeting with the unique breath of the Ocean itself & deep inner elemental streams... a cleansing & invigorating tool...


01. WILLIWAW [whistling psalms to the taffrail] > listen !
02. SURF [a gun cometh to bear]
03. CABBELING [warming the bell]
04. SOLITON [speek the mizen] >
listen !




Modern day Renaissance man (supreme sound sculptor, painter and digital artist extraordinaire, teller of unique fables;
check out for verification and mind-expansion) Heath Yonaites’ Abyssal Plain is a masterful,
earthbound follow-up to his cosmic tour de force from 2002, Rim Of The Sun.
What makes his work so wonderfully vital is that he does not adhere to the clichés of…any genre;
genre is inconsequential to Yonaites, what with eclectic audio displays such as The Seed Project
(with K M Krebs), Where, and the upcoming (in the works) double-disc, The Ship Of Theseus, completely defying genre,
moving well beyond anything this listener has heard before.
A work like Abyssal Plain might be characterized as ‘dark ambient’, but it does not lock into the well-worn (and ultimately boring)
motifs of that genre. It is dark (or, at least, dusky), but as with Rim… fantastical elements abound, the currency of imagination here not counterfeit, not derived from the patented guidelines of Dark Ambient 101.
Yonaites is an innovator, his ideals and fearlessness at exploring said ideals, unwavering.
The core sound sources for Abyssal Plain’s manipulations are “three 3 minute field recordings of Pacific Ocean surf…
one 3 minute field recording of a Lake Michigan harbor.”
The four tracks and 56-minutes that unfold from these sources are of phenomenal depth and whimsical daring.
He does not simply stretch and mold the sounds into droning seascapes—he twists, dives in and sinks to the ocean floor,
before rising to shimmer on the sun-dappled surface,bending sounds in inconceivable ways!“Williwaw (Whistling Psalms To The Taffrail)” opens as if adrift, tapping textures sounding like splintered atmospheric flotsam upon re-entry (back from the trip to the rim of the sun?!), prismatic like shards of stained glass. But then, as the shards congeal, a mysterious life seems to rise from within.
The turbulence that follows melds the ocean with a more scraping, electronic quality.
Moody, soft-edged bubbles bob on the suddenly calm surface
(abrupt transitions are not foreign to Yonaites’ work, though surprisingly they never hinder the fluid flow),
before more sounds scour, scratch and blip (like aquatic crickets), while wind caresses the glassy surface as the track ends.
Yes, there is a lot going on, and yet, every sound has its own space.
A mysterious melody introduces “Surf (A Gun Cometh To Bear)” overtaken by speaker rattling tides and general chaos,
and yet, a tinny drone threaded beneath holds things together,
reminder of something musical at the periphery, amidst the rhythmic, static splashing that follows.
Tension simmers—maybe that’s the sound of underwater volcanoes coming to life--before the melody that began
the track wanders back into focus.
Cabbeling (Warming The Bell)” sounds like it is enveloped within the ocean—underwater--the sense of pressure pushing
at the sides only alleviated by the synth-like droning tonality draped over it, like tarp on a pool, but much vaster in scope.
And yet a sense of loneliness, of floating above the oppressive embrace of the ocean in a lifeboat amidst nothing but water,
water, everywhere, is prevalent, dotted with illusive,
jittery sounds that could only be witnessed by one so far from land; of unknown birds that streak across twilight skies,
their uncommon voices painting the oncoming eve in capricious sonic shadings. The tides seem to mimic the breath of the ocean itself…
And then, amidst the strangeness that has unfolded, the ultimate in peculiarity arises as clipped, clattering noises open the portal for truly unique…otherworldly vocalizations!?!
Hiccupping, subdued bleats, squirming, elastic nuances, throaty and unreal and alien, yes, alien,
as if we are eavesdropping on a conversation amongst extraterrestrial beings (and whose to say that, out here, the middle of nowhere and
floating, other beings don’t regularly cavort?), before shifting to an almost spiritual sequence,
whistles and whispers to the heavens, to homes far away, and then, waves at dawn,
the new morning sun harshly coloring the proceedings in stark tones that jarringly glimmer,
rising to overwhelm everything with its blinding presence as reflected on the slate blue sea.
Soliton (Speek The Mizen)” continues with the otherworldly ambience, as tentacles lash from below at the sun-stricken skin of the ocean.
Crustacean clacking abounds, synths drone uncertainly, clouds crowd into the sky, darkness descends.More sounds filter through the Yonaites' encyclopedic imagination: echoes sounding like unseen subterranean traffic (out here--how can that be?), of bristles scrubbing sunken ships, of quivering creatures that shimmy and retreat…
pensive tones…a different alien vocal quality— is this the language of something from the outer limits,
or something from the unexplored deeps of our very own Earth?
There’s more, shifting again, a heartbeat gleaned, and haunting, ghostly essences derived (perhaps) from one of the sunken ships,
water-bound spirits,trapped for eternity in a liquid limbo.
Open your ears to an original; open your mind to the possibilities!
Highly recommended above whatever you were thinking of buying… and most everything else.
I stand in awe of everything I have heard (seen, read) from Mr. Yonaites (and wait until you hear the incomparably audacious sounds of the disc hinted at above!!!)!


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