Boomkat Product Review:
Gloriously free spirited ambient jazz scapes from electronic artist Photay, joined by a phalanx of players - mainly the master Carlos Niño, but also new age ambient legend Iasos, Mikaela Davis, Mia Doi Todd, and Randal Fisher, who lend the lushest vibrancy
Elementally themed around flowing water, ‘An Offering’ carves its path to your heart with a finely tempered gush of emotive energies. Synth, sax, harp, keys, percussion and voice cascade unimpeded by grids or meters with mesmerising fluidity from the field recordings of its prelude to the infinite oceanic space and spoken word of Iasos on ‘E X I S T E N C E’, with the creative symbiosis of Photay and Niño’s constant presence guiding affairs from the blissed Alice Coltrane-esque ‘C U R R E N T’, prickled with Mikaela’s harp, thru their crystalline subterranean caverns of ‘C H A N G E’ and ‘E X I S T’, to more airborne clouds of iridescent synth and keys in ‘M O S A I C’, and the temple stroking sublime of ‘H O N O R’.
“The sounds they gathered into an intentional, meditative whole, were made together and apart, and sourced from all over. The two producers made connections between new music and recordings they already had: Shornstein found hours of tape featuring solo playing by Upstate New York harpist Mikaela Davis, which became a central adornment on multiple tracks. Niño sent Shornstein a quartet improvisation he made with tenor saxophonist Aaron Shaw, keyboardist Diego Gaeta and synth-guitarist Nate Mercereau, which became the basis of “Honor.” They brought in trusted partners. The atmospheric blowing of LA-based tenor saxophonist Randal Fisher is a focal point throughout, at times processed by Photay’s machines. Photay’s trombone player Nathaneal Ranson, and Niño’s long-standing LA-based collaborator, vocalist Mia Doi Todd, float in-and-out of the mix. When Niño makes a record, another original “new age” legend, Iasos, is bound to be around, and his strong summation on “Existence” are the only words An Offering submits. The healing energy of Peterskill, a short rocky State Park waterway that ebbs through New York’s Ulster County (and across from Shornstein’s home — “a real environmental inspiration”), flows throughout. “Creating with no constructs,” is how Shornstein describes the process of bringing these elements together. “It was just a feeling, which maybe is what music or creating should always be.”