My Logo

Reviews of Jim Ottaway's Music

Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: When Eternity Touches Time

Sleepy layers surround the opening of Parallel Worlds. What was announced like an ambient title immediately turns into an undulating rhythm with streamers molded in lines of bass sequences which run everywhere in a rhythmic canvas that only EM can offer. The hundred steps of the sequencer are full of organic tones while far from the decor, fluty mists remind us of the meditative signature of the Australian musician. And before the 2 minutes mark, the synth sculpts this harmonic line that we will whistle a few days later, asking ourselves where this tune comes from. Parallel Worlds adopts its evolution which explodes its minimalist rhythm for the ardor of an electronic rock propelled by captivating percussions. This is how Parallel Worlds is done and so are the 11 other titles of WHEN ETERNITY TOUCHES TIME. What an album from Jim Ottaway my friends! Percussive effects, sound effects linked to an organic fauna and / or to psybient and highly contagious synth solos are elements that polish the progression of the 12 tracks of this album which literally saw off my legs as its conception is without flaws.

Let's jump right away to this choir of distorted murmurs which gives a sibylline ambience to the opening of Second Sight. A spiral of muffled footsteps, rising and falling through the mists of these inaudible murmurs, structures an ambient rhythm to which is grafted tinkles and keyboard pads from which short lines arpeggios thirsty of melody are escaping. This structure is like a mortuary carousel that percussions end up guiding towards a catchy rhythm where hides this satyr and his bewitching flute. Clouds Hide the Sun follows with a ballad à la Tangerine Dream style. The rhythm is slightly catchy, with a good mesh of the sequencer and percussions where weird noises lurk which arouse curiosity and which will give new impulses, more stroboscopic, to a structure which constantly reflects on its future. Our curiosity well aroused, we will not notice until later the synth which is beautiful with an intuitive harmonic line from which beautiful solos emerge. Playing with Fire gives itself a cosmic impetus and is inspired by the harmonious vision of Clouds Hide the Sun to make its rhythm beat and make its synth sing. Arched on a line of bass sequences which oscillate briskly with the metallic clapping of percussions and of hands, the rhythm is an extension of the Berlin School in sober dance music mode. The synth throws cosmic sound effects and bits of melodies linked to a master line that coos with the innocence of an alien song. And like each track on this album, the last third of the rhythm takes advantage of the percussions to be as dominant as the synthesized melodies. Except that here, it's more of a guitar and its sober solos which gives a more rock touch to Playing with Fire. It's besides a guitar-synth which weaves the melancholic landmarks of Diamonds in the Rain, a good slow ballad with a music which sticks to the spirit of its title.

These are delicate arpeggios that ring at the opening of No In-Betweens. The approach is meditative with these harmonious solos that roll with braids while placing pads here and there. Suspended in our ears and between two ideas, No In-Betweens finally borrows a down-tempo, deserved for the very good bass line, in an ambient Electronica model. The only ambient title of WHEN ETERNITY TOUCHES TIME, Perpetual Epiphany is an ode to serenity. The synth guides a melodious vision which seems to be blown away by emotions and especially animated by rhythmic accessories well hidden in the decor. Accessories which quietly follow a curve drawn in a form of crescendo which won't reach the emotivity of a bolero but which will overflow the ambiences of the title towards another form of ambient Electronica. Engulfed by very good arrangements, The Skies the Limit is supported by a buzzing bass line and percussions with catchy clicks in order to blow its nice melody which has an essence of the Middle East. Between Truth and Dreams piques our curiosity with the sounds of electric shocks dancing the cha-cha in front of a Tangerine Dream kind of rock, Exit era, embarks us on the train of the sweet melodies of WHEN ETERNITY TOUCHES TIME. An earworm is to be expected in this very electronic title! The title-track takes us to very New Age / Easy Listening territories with a beautiful melodious vision, almost angelic, sets on a constantly moving structure. Echo effects and percussive clicks add to the charms already well stigmatized in this melody as endearing as catchy. Isolated Realms establishes a rhythm which trots in a path set with percussive elements which will redirect its rhythmic axis. Like in Clouds Hide the Sun we are obsessed with this fauna of percussive elements that we forget these hard-hitting solos that Jim Ottaway weaves throughout his last album which ends with Eternal Changelessness, a cross between the New Age style of the title-track and the beautiful ballads of Tangerine Dream, Melrose era.

Let's say from the outset that WHEN ETERNITY TOUCHES TIME is a splendid album that literally took me by surprise. There is not a second too long in these 76 minutes sewn in creativity and ingenuity. Each title is of purpose for very nice melodies easy to assimilate on which is attached in parallel an interesting sound fauna rich of inventiveness. And as each title is progressing in this setting, the synth releases wonderful melodious lines and brilliant, poignant solos which remind us how good is EM. Melodious and complex! It is possible in this album of which each title becomes a box of surprises for the ears. Hat Jim! ****½

Sylvain Lupari
Synth & Sequences
(Canada)

July 2020


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: When Eternity Touches Time

As he often does, award-winning Australian electronic musician, composer and producer Jim Ottaway has created an album that does not fit neatly into any one category or genre (yea!!!). When Eternity Touches Time is a collection of twelve original electronic pieces that touch on eternity and the heavenly realms. Dedicated to the memory of Ottaway’s closest friend, Fr Reg Mills (1932-2019), the music covers many sub-genres of electronica including Berlin school, melodic electronic, ambient and even a dance-tinged track. Ottaway also creates music for films and television, and his recorded music has a very colorful and visual quality that goes beyond most ambient and space music. Ottaway hopes that listeners will experience all of the possible joys of eternity through the different sub-genres of music on this album. He recorded the tracks between August 2015 and April 2020 and then mixed and mastered them in the spring of 2020. The title was inspired by a quote from C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters: “Live in the present, because the present is the point at which time touches eternity.”

When Eternity Touches Time begins with “Parallel Worlds,” a piece that starts out with a space music feeling before its driving, energetic rhythms kick in. Layers of a wide variety of sounds make this an upbeat opener. “Second Sight” is a bit more mysterious, with a quick rhythm and electronic sounds that range from smooth voices to metallic percussion, and much more. “Clouds Hide The Sun” had a very limited release as “Secrets Of The Zodiac” in 2017. This version has additional layers of instrumentation and has also been remixed. One of my favorite tracks, it expresses a sense of adventure and of moving forward (to me, anyway!). The title of “Diamonds In The Rain” presents a very vivid image to enhance the melancholy sound of the music and its hauntingly beautiful melodic phrases. “Perpetual Epiphany” is another favorite. It begins with an organ sound that could be coming from a church. A quiet rhythm stays in the background, building energy until it becomes a driving force and gradually moves closer to the forefront. The interplay of these very different styles makes it a fascinating piece from the first note to the last. The title track has a buoyant melody that overflows with joyous energy. This one will keep your toes tapping! “Isolated Realms” - also a favorite - is another study in contrasts, with an infectious, driving rhythm propelling a melody that would be quite subdued on its own - I love it! “Eternal Changelessness,” the 10+ minute closing track, has the drama and power of the music for the ending credits of an emotional film. Deeply affecting, poignant, and very beautiful, it is an intense and stirring close to a truly exceptional album.

When Eternity Touches Time is available from Amazon and iTunes/Apple Music as well as many streaming sites such as Spotify and Bandcamp. Don’t miss it!

Kathy Parsons
Mainly Piano
(USA)

July 2020


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: When Eternity Touches Time

Jim Ottaway’s stylish music has been in my life for some years now and many of his albums grace my hallowed musical database, now I can add another to my electronic playlist of choice it is entitled When Eternity Touches Time. This vibrant new offering has a whole new energy about its construction and I love it!

The power play of the opener is terrific and called Parallel Worlds and reminds me in style of AD music’s Ashok Prema (Electric Eyes of Man).

This exciting new offering contains variances of electronic genius and textured intelligence; an example for me would be the temperate offering of Second Sight, a piece that seems to hover with a sultry intent, and a backdrop that is literally holding back and building anticipation along the way.

There is something about this album that contains a real freshness of approach and a freedom of expression, the rhythmic tones of Clouds Hide The Sun is a perfect example of that statement, the keyboards and synths here are creative in mood building, and offer a lush layer of musical creativity.

After only listening to a quarter of this album I realised that I was probably listening to the best work yet from Ottaway, this is EM at its very best and tracks like Playing With Fire prove that point. The artists muse is in full creation mode here, with essences of some incredibly smooth synths and mixed with a crafted sequential progression.

Diamonds in the Rain is another fine mood filled opus that has a grand sense of the cinematic about its presentation; one could sense the Jean-Michel Jarre force within the weave of this beautiful song. This would make one very good single, the melody is deeply memorable, the tempo and construction doubly so and yes one of my personal favourites off the release.

At the half way marker we come across a tentative little number entitled No In-Between. A clever offering this and one placed in the perfect position on the album, it is as if we are crossing from one energy to another, a delicate and mysterious piece that seems to float around you in a whole new realm of ambience.

As we tip-toe into the latter half of the release we come across an almost angelic offering entitled Perpetual Epiphany. There was a wonderful resonance about this piece that I adored; the performance was bathed in a more mystical tone, rather than one of a mysterious nature; the synth and keyboard work here in this composition contains one of the finest examples of build and progression you will find in this genre.

The Skies the Limit is up next and this positive and vibrant offering is a truly exciting and powerful arrangement, one that I simply got utterly lost in whilst listening to Ottaway on his synths. This is classic EM and another superb offering that I was completely blown away with, and at times one that reminded of electronic musician Geigertek.

I regarded this next piece with total respect, the work here manifested by Ottaway was thoughtful and purposeful in its approach, and the synths used to create a wonderful sense of art on the composition Between Truth and Dreams were delectable. The tempo within this piece is utterly addictive and the little nuances contained within truly crafted.

Now for that moment when we walk hand in hand with the title track of the album, that blank canvas that is an opportunity to give us eager listeners an true overview of the entire concept, and of course called, When Eternity Touches Time. There is a wonderful pictorial lightness to this arrangement that I loved. I also sensed a well of emotion here that was so strong in the performance that it moved me to tears, what a title track indeed, a masterful opus of truth and love, a heart on the sleeve moment.

Our penultimate piece is entitled Isolated Realms, Ottaway picks up the pace here and raises the energy in another wonderfully rhythmic arrangement, this is one of those offerings that is hard to resist, and its percussive bass is a delectable and tantalizing offering, an almost funky at times.

So we are at that final dimensional rift, but before we cross over and back into our realm of reality, we have one more gift from the author of this fabulous new album, it is called Eternal Changelessness. Once more thanks to Ottaway’s stylish genius of performance I drifted away to this almost ethereal opus of brilliance, for me it was a wonderful 12 minutes plus of heaven.

When Eternity Touches Time by Jim Ottaway in my view, and I hope Jim doesn’t mind me saying this, is his best work so far, I am going to rave about this offering to everyone I can for a long while to come, it is packed with well written arranged and composed compositions, it weaves a narrative beautifully throughout the album, and even more so Jim Ottaway has in my view made the genre of electronic music vastly more accessible in 2020, thanks to the release of this amazing new collection of brilliant songs.

Steve Sheppard
One World Music Radio
(Cyprus/UK)

July 2020


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: When Eternity Touches Time

Having produced a clutch of outstanding cosmic synth music albums over the last few years, in a sense, Ottaway returns to his roots, or possibly even the roots before his roots.......for this album could be subtitled “12 Rhythmic Histories of Electronic Music”.

Ensuring that melody is key for most of the tracks, our Australian synth maestro has produced a dozen of the things, all with a variety of synth, sequencer and electro-percussive rhythms at the heart of every piece, and, most importantly for the overall enjoyment of this album, every one different.

For the first 6 minute track, “Parallel Worlds”, he walks a simple line, with solid sequencers, a core melody and assorted melodic backdrops, as you focus on the rhythm, but feel that there's a magic to what's on top, all the same, sort of “Berlin School” minus the intensity. Conversely, the 5 and a half minute “Second Sight” is an altogether slower, more atmospheric affair, starting with drifting synths, hints of tune, and slow undulating rhythms. Then things become louder, as backdrop sequencers are kept restrained, more solid synth rhythms are added, the melody bounces along at the heart of the animal and there's even a kind of choral line that gives it an almost TD feel. The rhythms are then cast in the background as a new, lead synth melody chimes in and the whole piece hardens up with beefy rhythms underneath, new spiralling lead synths on top and the marching might rises up and changes shape.

“Clouds Hide The Sun” shuffles along on primarily electro-percussive rhythms and the atmosphere on this is electrifying for such a relatively restrained track, while the 7 minute “Playing With Fire” rolls along with a solidly light purpose in terms of the rhythms, and with its high register repeated melody line, hearkens back to the slower parts of Edgar Froese's “Ages” album, even to the point of the way it builds dynamics and layers, rising up to a quite glorious end point, exactly the way Froese would have done it, even with a guitar-sounding synth wailing away at the end.

“Diamonds In The Rain” has a bit of a Dyson-esque quality to it, while the rhythmic content of “No In-Between” has a Roedelius quality to it, only more obviously “trad synth”, with its melodies and drifts, sort of “Cluster go Berlin”, to all intents and purposes.

I just love the near 7 minute “Perpetual Epiphany” as it starts all cosmic, then a stuttering sequencer rhythm comes in way down below and there's a repeated synth line on top that drifts away before a new stuttering mid-range rhythm gallops in and the line keep repeating to quite angelic degree over the encroaching rhythmic might. More sequencers appear, the lead synth changes shape slightly, and the tension rises as do the sequencers, layer upon layer working in perfect harmony as it builds slowly but never explodes, and just a gem of a track.

A couple of fine tracks follow, one more in the lines of the more modern exponents of the whole Germanic thing, but then you come to the 6 minute title track which is just gorgeous – absolutely beautiful and definitely my favourite track on the album. The cosmic synths, the melodies, the rhythms, all come together in spellbinding harmony and there's a real heartfelt wonder to the track, one that I could listen to all day. It reminds me of something else that I love but I can't figure for the life of me, what that is – maybe you'll know.......

The 7 minute “Isolated Realms” is the “quirkiest” track on the album as the rhythms stumble over each other at first and the melodies kinda bounce along in the background then all of a sudden, this high register lead synth line comes out of nowhere, and, for me, sounds out of place for what's going on below, but then you realise, that's the whole point and somehow it works, especially as he then adds more electro-percussive beats and a solid percussive undercurrent as it all starts to join in the middle ground and, although a tale of two halves, manages to keep you hooked, nevertheless. I didn't think he'd be able to leave his cosmic magic behind altogether, and the 10 minute “Eternal Changelessness” that closes the album, is a prime example as his spacey and spacious synth layers, cosmic melodies and drifting currents all flow serenely along as layers ebb and flow. The sparest of rhythms from lone synths down below, propels it along slowly and you do get the feeling of mid-late '70's T Dream out of it, only a bit sparser.

Overall, then, it's another great album from Australia's leading electronic synth musician – g'day, to you.

Andy Gee
Inkeys
(Scotland)

July 2020


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Beyond the Purple Sun

Beyond the Purple Sun is Australian music composer and synthesist Jim Ottaway’s 2019 conceptual sequel of sorts to his 2017 album Deep Space Blue. It’s also his chronological follow-up to 2018's Yesterday Passing, a comparatively more upbeat and contemporarily melodic album that was nicely nestled in between the two deep space listening excursions.

Although Ottaway has been releasing music for several years now, his earlier works were initially only available in his native Australia, until he later re-released them on the global market. Eventually, his landmark space-ambient album Southern Cross hit the scene in 2016, which quickly earned him notable praise and airplay in the Western Hemisphere. Later that same year, he released the more digitally dynamic and retrofuturistic Timeless e-Motion, my personal favorite Ottaway album to date.

Comprised of seven compositions, his 13th international release features music that was recorded from 2010 to early 2019, thereby echoing many hallmarks of his other space-ambient works released over that time-period.

As another imaginative sonic voyage to the limits of the known universe, Beyond the Purple Sun further expounds on the artist’s impressions and explorations of magnificent cosmic panoramas. Possessing intriguing song titles such as “Celestial Rainbows”, “Lavender Moons” and “Birth Of A Violet Quasar” – all of which deliver as much beauty and intrigue as they seemingly promise – the music herein often paints images of ultraviolet-illuminated celestial objects and plasma energies lighting up a black expanse. Imparting feelings of floating and weightlessness, ethereal intonations tantalizingly call from afar like intercosmic transmissions of incorporeal voices; while prismatic icy shimmers and crystallized modulations intermittently rain upon undulating drones and gurgling signal sounds throughout. Finally arriving at the hypnotizing title piece, “Beyond the Purple Sun”, a steadily forward movement is illustrated by the sustained vintage rhythm of pulsating sequencer patterns.

Continuing to impress and expound with each recording, Jim Ottaway has become one of today’s preeminent composers of ambient sci-fi and space music. Thoroughly immersive and transportive, Beyond the Purple Sun is definitive deep space listening for lovers of astronomical mysteries!

Candice Michelle
Journeyscapes
(USA)

April 2020


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Beautiful Desolation

When tragedy strikes, we all turn to something tangible we love, enjoy and know will bring solace to a weeping heart. For Jim Ottaway it is his music, his expression and his beloved time spent creating, stepping out of everyday life to create a time-scape of sound that travels and takes with it, the voyager.

On the death of much beloved friend and mentor Father Reg Mills in 2019, his world redefined, as it does with the endings and beginning of life. To this end, Beautiful Desolation portrays the intense sadness, the eventual acceptance and healing which only time has the ability to begin to mend.

Two tracks make up the soundscape, raw, beautiful and full of deep expression. Although Jim Ottaway refers to this as dark and deep, it is far from that, although without a doubt it contains the very basis of all these emotions.

The first section, Apocalyptic Signs, is spacey, intangible, clean, clear and simply asks to be accepted as it is, whereas the second part, Beautiful Desolation, begins with an almost ghostly summoning of the bells, reminding one of the ancient mariners and their superstitions; the deep sea mists, the eerie nature of the sea at dead calm, the ghostly stillness of the shroud like sheets as they hang lifeless, the timber creaking and groaning in the stillness of the mists.

Created to define the journey of the soul to the other world, the otherworld of many things, of the leaving, the journey and eventual destination unknown to us all, this soundscape, as does life’s journey, contains many things and interestingly, could be considered as a work that redefines the ‘boundaries of electronica’; a style of music which could almost be classed as non-emotional in what can often considered as a clean, precise construction of sound.

Beautiful Desolation is dark and infinitely intriguing without a doubt, and in so many ways is perhaps Ottaway at his finest. Pure, stripped back and without and predefined targets, the music or sound should you prefer, simply flows, allowing the emotions to be brought forth, examined and eventually replaced with a glimmer of acceptance, healing and light.

Janet Mawdesley
Blue Wolf Reviews
(Perth, Australia)

January 2020


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Beyond the Purple Sun

Having listened to this latest composition from Jim Ottaway at least five times to date, there is only one conclusion to be reached: This is the perfect excuse for giving yourself permission to do absolutely nothing for at least one hour, as you absorb the tonal majesty and travel to places never imagined, places hidden deep within, when you join the voyage to Beyond the Purple Sun.

The journey is one only you can take, as you choose the places and visions created on each section of the voyage, passing through subtle and almost eerie Celestial Rainbows, then marvelling at the perfection of Lavender Moons.

Dark Spaces do appear from time to time, spaces full of spectral sound creating an otherworldly foreboding full of intriguing, ghostly voices reaching outward, leading to the Birth of a Violet Quasar: a massive and celestial objects which has a star like image and beauty, which is thought to contain massive black holes that may or could be considered as a stage in the evolution of some galaxies. Stupendous!

Space Lightening would accompany the birth of such a magnificent and powerful celestial object; spooky, in an extramundane experience that is almost sinister in its feel. As with all things, the darker moments draw to a close once the Secrets of the Hidden Stars are revealed in all their glorious perfection; soft, gentle, hidden gems full of splendour and excellence.

This is a voyage that does not draw to a close, as eventually you go Beyond the Purple Sun in a gentle and timeless manner, floating free, relaxed and in perfect harmony with the soft, downy comfort surrounding you, as you free fall through space, to return whenever you choose.

Spacemusic as this style of electronica is known, is a genre that has no boundaries, no limitation and no set scripting; it is simply the place where the dreams, emotions and desires of the composer are allowed to flow-free, no encumbrances, no final destination. Beyond the Purple Sun as an album is simply that, free-flowing and perfect in tone and excellence.

Jim Ottaway is an absolute master of his craft, producing an ambient album of consistently beautiful pieces in Beyond The Purple Sun making this mediative, peaceful work a fitting addition to his Spacemusic suite of works as well as presenting his 13th International release.

Janet Mawdesley
Blue Wolf Reviews
(Perth, Australia)

May 2019


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Beyond the Purple Sun

Jim Ottaway is an experienced electronic music composer from Australia who has won awards with his music. He masters various styles in electronic music: from film music and rhythmic to ambient, soundscape and space. Beyond The Purple Sun, his thirteenth album, is for the most part in the latter category. He has worked on the album for about nine years. All seven pieces were recorded improvised in the studio, without too many overdubs. The strings in the opening song Celestial Rainbows take me back to the early ambient records of the grandmaster in this area, Steve Roach, and that is a compliment for Jim. He knows how to make an interesting and intriguing pallet of sounds come over us. Lavender Moons is a wonderful example of this. This piece is great for a documentary about space. His titles are well found because Dark Spaces, for example, is indeed quite dark. In Birth Of A Violet Quasar we hear a very calm sequence. Space Lightning, with sparse percussion sounds, is a bit more experimental in nature. Personally I like this piece a bit less. The atmospheric Secrets Of The Hidden Stars makes a lot of good. The highlight of the album is Beyond The Purple Sun. Central to this is a soft sequencer line over which, over time, another line is laid over and a piece of the Berlin School is deployed. This is well done: the music from Ottaway is one of the best I've heard in this area off late. Jim’s music can be found on Bandcamp.

Paul Rijkens
Dutch progressive rockmagazine iO Pages (p.33)
(The Netherlands)
Translation from Dutch to English thanks to Paul Rijkens

May 2019


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Beyond the Purple Sun

A versatile musician-composer, Jim Ottaway is as much comfortable composing deeply ambient music than an EM whose structures are animated by beautiful movements of sequencers. The closing title, "Beyond the Purple Sun" is a very good example. Winner Australian Awards, as well as the Zone Music Reporter Awards of last year where he won the prize for the best ambient album for Deep Space Blue, the Australian musician and synthesist offers a 27th opus and a 7th in his series ambient -cosmic. Following the corridors of Deep Space Blue, BEYOND THE PURPLE SUN offers a collection of 7 titles with very different sonic perfumes that he had improvised in his studio between 2010 and the end of 2017. Hence this feeling of disparity between the 7 titles. The finish was thrown in February of this year with slight adjustments and some overdubs. The result is a halftone album if one seeks form pure mediation music. Otherwise, it's an album of cosmic ambiances carved in impressive panoramas where some pearls nestle as well as titles of disturbing moods.

A muffled shadow and quavering tones open the territories of "Celestial Rainbows". From then on, a wide layer of pastel color assails our senses with a slight hint of ocher. These layers drift like a lost ship in space-time. We see a conductor gather these sound waves to sculpt them into lunar orchestrations. We hear jingles and other stars mourn the silence of the gestures while a thin lost voice joins the cosmic violins. An intensity clings to this ambient-cosmic and ambiospherical movement which undeniably transports us to the door of an enchanting universe, if tones and cosmic arrangements are part of the elements that charm us. The strength of the Australian musician is to draw cosmic panoramas with such precision that we drift with his music. "Lavender Moons" is a good example with these multiple interstellar tinkles and these sound dilations that forge pulsations lost in their notions of beating. Cosmic effects and astral waves shrouded in visions of Tomita accompany this title without rhythmic life but lives from its synth layers whose colors and graceful movement are fluid as these screenshots in an ocean where so many multicolored creatures are dancing. But we are in cosmos and the synth is proving creativity by scattering lines, whose floating harmonies remind us of these Tangerine Dream's trumpet tones, and drifting pads scattering some wandering chants sung by astral mermaids. "Dark Spaces" has atmospheres that portray the dimension of its title. Effects explode here and there, while synth lines of synth collide and scratch the colors of their tones. The soundscape breathes of these sound masses full of mini explosions and of suspicious voices which try to push us back to the borders of the impossible. A bit like these sirens in Ulysses' journeys!

"Space Lightning" is a bit like that, but with more aggressivity in its cosmic effects, in its sound effects. Strange songs emerge between the rest of the din, as well as long filaments of reverberation. We do not sleep there! "Birth of a Violet Quasar" is a beautiful cosmic road where interstellar winds are like whispers that communicate with the clink of stars. A slight movement of the sequencer inspires an ambient rhythm that turns in a loop, even developing an evanescent harmonic vision. Here again, a cosmic choir murmurs serenity if one wants to dive into a meditative phase. A good ambient-cosmic title rich of its lines and poetic hums. "Secrets of the Hidden Stars" ties dynamic impulses to its moods. The winds, the moiré effects of the reverbs and the Alan Parsons arrangements add layer by layer to turbulences that are tamer than in "Dark Spaces" and "Space Lightning". The long title-track closes an album ambivalent in its structures and its visions with a pretty good sound wave that makes radiate the few seconds of its introduction. Video game effects adorn an introduction which pushes with a nice dangling of the sequencer and its Berlin School upward ambient rhythm. Threads of twinkling arpeggios follow a spherical fluttering path in an intense structure that, I hope, could be the omen of Jim Ottaway's next album. It's too strong for BEYOND THE PURPLE SUN which is a good album whose divergent elements throughout its 57 minutes get to be its strength. At the end, I had a nice hour of discovery on Jim Ottaway's BEYOND THE PURPLE SUN!

Sylvain Lupari
Synth & Sequences
(Canada)

May 2019


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Beyond the Purple Sun

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.

Kathy Parsons
Mainly Piano
(USA)

April 2019


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Beyond the Purple Sun

Because Jim Ottaway has spent so much time in an imaginary realm, we wonder how he is able to navigate through the real one? He operates in the large format of Spacemusic, so as to evoke expansive, epic ideas and subjects - time, history, the body, and existential concerns of the self. The CD Beyond the Purple Sun (57'14") features seven tracks of beautifully drifting and transporting music - both restful to the intellect and comforting to the spirit. Harmonious and soft, each work is a singular flowing thought asking us to tune into the quieter frequencies. But being meditative does not mean Beyond the Purple Sun has to be vague. Its permeating atmosphere of stillness also conveys a unique ambiance of limitless emptiness. Yet it also conjures a few realizations from negative space and the idea of nothingness - as a reminder of the beginning of everything. These unpeopled spaces push the listener further toward the center of this aural universe. Twilight swaths of color hover just beneath a misty aura surrounding long electronic notes. Tones vibrate, arise and recede, but do not travel along a linear plane. As synth voices blur one into the other, forming sonic colors of striking beauty, Beyond the Purple Sun leads your thoughts to stillness and reverie. In overcoming the limitations of contemporary music, Ottaway tries his dreamy ideas. He has found that talking to dreams, and in this field one's dreams may become real, is better than chasing them - and so we find that the force of his realizations comes from the truths we already know.

Chuck van Zyl
Star's End
(USA)

April 2019


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Beyond the Purple Sun

There are few musicians who can take you to the edge of infinity and beyond, one of the few is Australian space supremo Jim Ottaway, whose brand of electronic space styled music, literally paints the sectors of the galactic emporium as we listen.

The opening offering sees us breaking free of our space port and manoeuvring into a high orbit of our home world, as we prepare to break free and enter deep space at a slow, but determined speed. Ottaway on Celestial Rainbows perfectly illustrates for us the beauty of space and its vast realms with some sublime synth work that draws into view for us the miracle of the universe.

The mastery of Ottaway’s modus operandi, is that each track is live and improvised, that talent is a rare gift and on the track Lavender Moons we can hear that methodology in full flow, the stylish construction using synths and keyboards gifts us a stunning sight of twin lavender moons to marvel at.

A completely different colour and texture of dimension now greets our eyes as we drop from warp, the ominous deep and mysterious region of the galaxy that is known to but a few wary travellers as the Dark Spaces. Ottaway’s musical database tell us that this region has barely been mapped and the tones of the performance are ones that warn, there is more here than the eye could ever see. Here lies a powerful and atmospheric offering, one that crackles and rumbles with the intent of a black hole manifesting itself, these swirling synths are absolutely perfect for drawing a musical narrative of a final frontier, perhaps the borderlands of space and time itself!

Now one must bear in mind that the artist has had these compositions in his grip for nearly 10 years now, as they were recorded from 2009 to 2019, but space music is timeless and the production quality on each and every track is faultless.

As we approach the half way buoy, our space beacon tells us we have the opportunity to witness the Birth of a Violet Quasar. This long form offering allows us the room and time to explore this expansive opus. There can be no doubt that this piece is genius, I have listened several times now and I am still in awe of its arrangement. The pulsating motif in the first few minutes could well be the actual birth of the quasar, as the feminine divide finally expels the quasar from her galactic belly; the peace that follows is simply sublime. Ottaway on this track has truly excelled, and I am right there on the bridge of our ship watching this occurrence happen.

We explore the deeper regions of what we are told are the Badlands of space, bright flashes in this region of the sector are picked up on our scanners and even via our view screen, as we watch Space Lightning. Jim Ottaway beautifully narrates this galactic area brilliantly with some simply incredible synth work; his textures are matched with some startling effects, ones that add a layer of tension to the whole composition.

Our mission to explore, record, witness and enjoy the mechanics of space is nearly complete, we must prepare to make the jump to hyperspace, but before we do so, we manoeuvre slowly to port to watch the Secrets of the Hidden Stars reveal themselves to us. One by one, with a twinkling of the eye, stars are born and then disappear; as if in a micro second, life and death have been in a simultaneous and symbiotic partnership. This is portrayed to me with such skill and aplomb; the talents of Ottaway and his composure gift us a piece that is the ultimate arrangement of excellent synth work, and a harmonious rhythmic performance that is sheer class to listen to.

We end our voyage now with the title track Beyond the Purple Sun, this is the blank canvas that the artist will paint for us the over view of the concept of his entire work, this lush and colourful pastiche is a marvel to behold and at times one feels a little energy of a David Wright composition here, the pulsating onward musical movement mixed with sublime eddying synths, manifest the perfect composition to dock our musical space ship with.

Beyond The Purple Sun in my view is one of the best albums I have heard from Ottaway, it’s a tapestry of splendid arrangements are all weaved together in an absolutely beautifully produced collection of quite brilliant compositions. If you’re a fan of electronic space music, you would be remiss in not snagging a copy of this for your collection; it is a true masterpiece of just how good this style of music can be, from an artist who clearly knows his own musical soul.

Steve Sheppard
One World Music Radio
(Cyprus/UK)

April 2019


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Beyond the Purple Sun

I must say that I am really liking the new album from Jim Ottaway called Beyond the Purple Sun. Beyond is filled with drifting ambient music that creates a sonic landscape that lends itself to a journey among the stars. The music at times is as dark as the space that we are journeying through but there is a comfort in the ebb & flow of Jim's compositions that doesn't leave you alone in the darkness but rather joins you as you move deeper into space. Jim is a consummate artist and each of his releases explores more of that talent that seems to flow endlessly from artists of his caliber. You will find the music to be rich and expertly recorded. This is one of those albums that you might want to seek out when it's released on April 12 and begin your own journey with Beyond the Purple Sun as your guide. I'm sure you'll be happy that you did.

Michael Foster
Ambient Visions Facebook
(USA)

April 2019


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Yesterday Passing

I have to take my hat off to any electronic music creator who can produce an album where melody is king, where simplicity is key, where mood is everything and where each of the 15 tracks are between 3 and 6 minutes long – and manage to make me so hooked on it, that I end up listening to the whole thing.

Yet that is exactly what Mr Ottaway has done here.

Every track is a delight – just long enough to develop, just short enough to avoid being twee or repetitive. There are three slower tracks in the middle of the album that tend to take the sweetness slightly too far, but overall, as long as things are flowing along merrily, this is a less atmospheric Jean-Philippe Rykiel-esque at one end, and a much less bombastic Vangelis at the other.

Simple as that, really......

Andy Gee
Inkeys
(Dundee, Scotland)

March 2019


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Deep Space Blue

I've been following the musical career of this Australian electronic creator, for some years now, and it is my pleasure to say that this is the finest thing he's ever created, an album of primarily cosmic music of such range, depth and warmth, that it ranks up there with the finest exponents of the genre.

Across 6 tracks between 6 and 16 minutes long, the sheer depth of the layers, the range of the tones, the unending space of the laters of cosmic synths, the warmth of the drones, the hints of deep bass rhythms, the gloriously satisfying cosmic textures, the classic use of mellotron-like choirs – all this and so much more – spreads into infinity like few others, engaging your attention and proving to be a cosmic music fan's delight, from start to finish.

There's an ocean of layers and textures, right across the sonic range, with a majesty that rises up before you, yet with all the reaching out into the vast unknowns of deep space at its core. Occasional melodic passages creep out of the darkness, but even these are spiritually spine-tingling, while at the root of it all deep, booming bass textures carry the music on a flow that is as powerful as it is calming. Only on the final 16 minute closer, does the music go well past the known universe, into a musical cosmos that's eerie, dark, spacey and utterly transfixing, as the starkness and yet still compelling musical creations, slowly unfold as you drift through the heavens and out into the unknown.

All in all, this is stunning stuff and every electronic music lover's home should have one.

Andy Gee
Inkeys
(Dundee, Scotland)

March 2019


The Sound of Syndae

JIM OTTAWAY: 'Mystery Without Clues' from the compilation CD... The Sound of Syndae

I have just discovered the world of Jim Ottaway that I find his participation in the project with "Mystery Without Clues". The music breathes the meaning of its title with a very extraterrestrial atmosphere. The ambient rhythm is set on a mesh of percussions sequenced in mode electronic tom-tom and where the stars whisper the melody of Golden Plain. It's a nice title which refines its approach in a beautiful tonal decoration with a more animated vision but which is nevertheless stifled in a web of cosmic ambiances.

Sylvain Lupari
Synths & Sequences
(Joliette, Quebec, Canada)

September 2018


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Yesterday Passing

I must admit I have been in a reflective mood lately, perhaps it’s my age, I have got to that point of my life when I realise that I am now the oldest member of the family, and I have many memories to look back over, times good, sad, happy and not so good, life really I guess, but reflection is also a part of healing and in a way that’s the voyage we are undertaking today.

Jim Ottaway is well known for his excellence in the electronic music field and here the artist takes a journey through his own memories and allows us to travel with him along the way. We start with a very emotional beginning indeed, one called Distant Friend. This is so very deep and poignant that its performance is both meaningful and a little melancholy at times. The symphonic electronic nature of this composition though, is both grand and very moving to listen to.

In my past my father had a fondness for electronic music as well, and loved the styles of both Vangelis and Jean Michael Jarre, on Lightning Strikes Twice, we have a little of that past energy as well. The energy of this piece is lighter and flows with the essence of an early spring river, the piece seems to simply lift the spirits and remind one of a day when things didn’t seem so complicated.

A Moment In Time (A Song For Joseph) is up next, here you will find a composition that has a somewhat delicate layer of sensitivity manifested into its construction. Again Ottaway brings such a sense of emotion into the offering, it is quite beautiful to behold. The charming nature of this piece is one that for me has a lush sense of warmth; one can almost hear the keyboards singing the melody throughout the ages.

As we moved forever onward through these passages of time and tone, we come across my favourite from the album and one that took me back to the great days of Vangelis himself, it’s called Back In Time, and I went with it, right back to a glorious album of its day called Albedo 0.39, one that holds special memories for me. I was so impressed with the synth and keyboard work on this piece that I featured it on one of my shows on OWMR, and more than likely will do so again.

Time holds no prisoners and keeps marching onward, allowing us to be the constant participant of our musings, and within this next piece called The Jewel, we find reflection personified within a sublime performance. The light drums pads serve as a constant narrator for a composition of great quality and colour. The keyboards here are filled with such a beautiful artistic flair, that when added to the light symphonic nature of the piece, it creates a dimension of memory filled music all of its own.

That oh so glorious moment is here, it is the title track, Yesterday Passing, the headline composition that shines like a beacon of light across the whole of the project. Ottaway in manifesting this particular piece, has in fact created an anthem of sorts, one with a melody that will be constant in the mind during the day. This is one of those pieces that you will find yourself either humming or whistling, without even realising why. There is a very gentle but certain build within the offering too, one that makes it extremely appealing to the musical senses.

At the half way marker we come across a really powerful composition called New Suns Are Rising. Ottaway finds himself on more familiar territory here with that defined EM feel and lush production. This is one very classy offering, and at times reminds me of UK EM legend David Wright with its energies, construction and performance.

The Day Our World Changed is an incredible powerful title and one that we will have all sampled at some stage in our lives. This gentle and very smooth performance on keyboards manifests a piece that recognises a moment in time, and that fixed point now has its soundtrack with this offering. The light percussive connection here adds a clever layer of sound to an already brilliant opus of memory.

As we move deeper into the release we come across a track that says it all in its title, it is called Captured Memories (Doug’s Song). For some reason this reminds me of time spent with a friend of mine who is no longer here on this world, but the fun we had while he was, still floats past from time to time in my mind. The energy of this piece and its happiness, contains certain similar memories as well, I feel that here we have a piece that was really lovingly created by the artist, from a memory so powerfully poignant.

The more sombre composition entitled What Darkness Hides is now upon us, that same Jarre/Vangelis sound is still there, but the feeling here is deeper and more pronounced, and the keyboards of Ottaway almost seem to open up an attic of reflections that have not seen the light of day for ages. The performance from Ottaway here is delightful; there is a wonderful fluency about his performance that drifts along on the very horizon of time itself.

Simplicity is the header of our next composition and one can see why it has been called so. The keyboards and the performance here create something so simple and easy on the ears and once more the artist has cleverly manifested another melody that will hook you in and have you whistling all day long. One could also perhaps say that there may be a slight Celtic motif here too.

We have come a long way through this realm with Jim Ottaway and now something quite charming opens up before us called Angel’s Song. There is a lightness here that when added to the overall crafted performance on synths and keyboards, manifests something that exudes hope and an easy layer of happiness for us all to enjoy.

So we have arrived at the penultimate offering of the album, well technically so, as following this there is a bonus track. So, let’s have some Fun Times. With a real 80’s feel we have a track here packed with a real party feel to it. At times this reminds me a little of a mixture and a rather unusual one, of Jarre and Level 42, perhaps the synth pop with a little light jazzy funk feel brings me to that conclusion, whatever the case, one cannot help but love this very different, but very addictive composition of Ottaway’s.

Jim Ottaway has also provided us with a bonus track called Another Christmas Eve. I mean how do you have an album of many memories, without a musical reflective thought on Christmas, well you don’t, and here it is, one of those moments when perhaps all was as it should be and that warmth of love could be shared and offered to all in attendance, a quite beautiful way to end the album too.

Yesterday Passing will no doubt surprise many Ottaway fans, his departure from electronic ambience and EM power and intention, has given his fans and the listeners something personal to now place in their collections. Ottaway has worn his heart on his musical sleeve with this cathartic journey and has gracefully shone a truly radiant light over a compilation of reflective compositions whilst doing so.

Yesterday Passing will take you hand in hand down memory lane and allow you, with such a reverential love and attention, to be able enjoy each moment of musical contemplative bliss and leave you smiling in a meditative expression of reflective thought, once the journey has ended.

Steve Sheppard
One World Music Radio
(Cyprus/UK)

June 2018


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Yesterday Passing

Award winning musician Jim Ottaway released his latest album Yesterday Passing in May to great acclaim. This work presents a more relaxed and gentle aspect of electronic music ranging across the e-music spectrum featuring a little chill, some orchestral compositions, one in particular Distant Friends which introduces the album. Tucked away are a variety of refreshing sounds and mixes, sombre, reflective, joyful and celebratory.

Created between the years of 2004 and 2018 the music spans a lifetime of memories, experiences and family gatherings: happy times and the sad, joyful occasions and the challenging, all of which when looking back comes to the mind as times less complex, more relaxed, almost simplistic, far more structured and enjoyable.

Each of the tracks on the 14 track album, with Another Christmas Eve being the bonus track to complete the 14 pieces, showcases a very different aspect of Ottaway’s talent, as well as the ability of electronic music to present a wide range of not just ambient and relaxing music, but music that has a far wider appeal.

A Moment in Time (Song for Joseph) is reflective of fond memories as it has a delicate beat, a dainty rhythm and could be considered as filled with happiness and sunshine. A contemporary piece is New Suns Are Rising which comes in with a spacy, measured rhythm that is catchy, intriguing and definitely different.

A captivating little song is What Darkness Hides; it teases the ear, almost bouncing along to its own rhythm, with shades and shapes hidden within the depths, just as the many shades of the night are there to be discovered, unfolded and accepted.

The final track, Fun Times is a catchy little number reminiscent of the disco beat with a rather intriguing vibe as once again, it appears to have been created of its own violation and is out to do its very own ‘thing’; something very easily able to be related too as one looks back in reflection.

Rounding out a very perceptive album is the final, final track Another Christmas Eve, which once again is an enchanting piece with a fine thread of tantalising ‘Christmas’ familiarity woven throughout.

Ottaway considers with this album that he is ‘out of his comfort zone’ but whatever has created the drive to give birth to this more reflective style, the change is as delightful as it is refreshing. Yesterday Passing is an album which each time it is enjoyed a fresh aspect of this intriguing style becomes apparent, creating another layer to the music which keeps it endlessly enjoyable.

At the recently held 14th annual Zone Music Reporter Awards in New Orleans, Ottaway was awarded “Best Ambient Album of 2017” for Deep Space Blue (which was also nominated for “2017 Album of the Year”) and “Best Electronic Album of 2017” for Timeless e-Motion by ZMR; Deep Space Blue also received the silver medal in the Ambient category from Global Music Awards.

Janet Mawdesley
Blue Wolf Reviews
(Perth, Australia)

June 2018


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Yesterday Passing

Close on the heels of winning two major Zone Music Reporter Awards this year, Australian composer/ multi-instrumentalist Jim Ottaway returns with Yesterday Passing, a collection of fourteen original electronic pieces that capture thoughts and emotions of his past, memories of family and friends, and the simplicity of older times. Ottaway was awarded “Best Ambient Album of 2017” for Deep Space Blue (which was also nominated for “2017 Album of the Year”) and “Best Electronic Album of 2017” for Timeless e-Motion by ZMR; Deep Space Blue also received the silver medal in the Ambient category from Global Music Awards.

Yesterday Passing is Ottaway’s twelfth international release and his twenty-fifth album since 2004. The music on this album doesn’t often fit in the ambient category and shows a different side of Ottaway’s music. Electronic instrumentation with strong melodies and catchy rhythms drive the album, which is not only beautiful, but is thoroughly enjoyable from the first note to the last. More than once, I’ve been reminded of some of Ray Lynch’s most memorable music, although I’m not making a comparison. Ottaway excels in a variety of genres of music and often composes for film and television.

Yesterday Passing begins with “Distant Friend,” a very dark and almost mournful piece that moves slowly with symphonic strings, voices (no lyrics), electronic instrumentation and effects, and powerful accents in the deep bass range. “Big” and cinematic, it’s a very strong start! “Lightning Strikes Twice” is much lighter and is one of the tracks that reminds me a bit of Lynch. The bittersweet melody is transported by a strong rhythm that keeps it moving forward. I love this one! “A Moment In Time (Song for Joseph)” has a gently swirling motion propelled by a strong beat that dances on air. “Back In Time” has what could be called a “classic” new age sound with electronic instrumentation, lots of reverb, and a slow toe-tapping beat. The title track has a simple, direct melody that feels nostalgic, but not overly sentimental. It’s a beautiful piece with a melody strong enough to support lyrics that tell a story of your own choosing. The title for “The Day Our World Changed” could signal a dark day, but this piece is definitely not about a devastating event. The melody has a warm poignance that isn’t quite carefree, but is close. “What Darkness Hides” is another favorite. It has some “spacey” atmospheric sounds as well as a relaxed, peaceful melody that soothes as it enchants. “Simplicity” is a real charmer! The melody has a guitar/keyboard sound that is light and innocent over gentle instrumentation and a hypnotic rhythm. “Fun Times” is intoxicating! Jazz and funk elements over a driving beat create a party atmosphere that makes it impossible to sit still (I’m dancing in my chair here!) - also a favorite! The last piece is a bonus track called “Another Christmas Eve,” which was originally composed in 2004. This one is sentimental and feels kind of lonely - a beautiful piece that includes a passage from Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”.

Yesterday Passing is very likely to be on my Favorites list for 2018! It’s a great album from start to finish and I very highly recommend it! It’s available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.

Kathy Parsons
Mainly Piano
(USA)

June 2018


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Deep Space Blue

Ambient music carved in soundscapes of Eden's oases or in the fabulous intergalactic beauties, “Deep Space Blue” received rave reviews when it was released in August 2017. A worthy successor to Southern Cross, which got him the Award for best cosmic music album in Australia, Jim Ottaway's 2nd opus in 2017 is a tasty mix of Steve Roach, Kevin Braheny and Edgar Froese, of which the title-track, in a very dominant celestial vision. The album is once again available on real CD and carefully wrapped in a 4-panel digipack artwork, designed by him, becoming the tenth album from the Queensland's musician in Australia to be offered on the international market.

Soft, "Astral Voices" settles between our ears with multi layers of synth, some with a slight effect of buzzing, where thin lines of a seraphic goddess voices get mix to the murmurs of an astral choir. The sounds from a fauna of a cosmic oasis sparkle discreetly behind this veil of voice that is tied to orchestrations as slow as the wings of an eagle drifting against the winds. There is also a nice effect of acuity and intensity in these astral murmurs. "In Search of the Lost Star" derives as much as our thoughts in a slow structure, driven by different levels of lunar orchestrations' intensities. The envelope of the scenery is very cosmic with sound effects that are quite Jarre, Oxygene and Equinoxe, in this title that also adds layers of voices to the orchestrations that twist like a giant snake carrying a morphic virus. The synth cries at 2 or 3 places with rather sensitive laments coming from a wind or a brass instrument that glides easily under the epidermis. A Steve Roach rhythm structure, including organic sequences, feed the cosmic vision of "39.5 Light-Years (TRAPPIST-1)". A monastic choir, one even hears bells ringing in an astral desert, lives through spectral winds or songs which sweep its sonic horizons and conferring a tiny sensation of despair. It's a very monastic like approach. "Stars of Ice" embraces a New Age approach, like Ray Lynch, with a series of ringing chimes that dance and tinkle among nice flute songs. There are good currents of intensity in this music of ambiences, more esoteric than cosmic, though the two go well together in this burst of synth lines and of their adjacent effects that over-size a sound canvas as much layered as in "Astral Voices". The title track is simply sublime! A rhythmic structure oscillates peacefully in a storm of astral winds where the dust of stars whistles us between the ears. The flow is cosmic and the effects come from another planet. Here as everywhere in “Deep Space Blue”, the pile of fog and misty orchestrations adds an emotional degree that meets its zenith with splendid and musical synth pads in the colors of Edgar Froese in 2nd part. I hear the moods and the vapors of synth with the perfumes of celestial trumpets from the Age album through the 11 minutes of this delicious "Deep Space Blue". "Interplanetary Panspermia" drags us beyond the cosmic horizons with an approach that requires a greater openness since the sonic core is composed of buzzing and resonant material. In fact, it's a very contemplative, meditative title with these lines that stretch their charisma as if they radiated the illusions of giant gongs sanitized by a very ethereal vision. Let's say that I better enjoy this peaceful journey without transcendental light after 3 to 4 plays. But in the end, I ended up appreciating this illusion of aridity where yet hides a very subtle sonic moisture.

A new face in our soundscape, even though he has been active in Australia for almost 25 years, Jim Ottaway definitely deserves a stop and we take the time to discover his music. At least with his 2 albums in 2017; "Timeless e-Motion" and this “Deep Space Blue” which is a nice trip into another kind of ambient music. A more cosmic music with good cosmic orchestrations and a way to build roads to paths that we already know and that take a different dimension here.

Sylvain Lupari
Synth & Sequences
(Canada)

September 2018


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Deep Space Blue

Spacemusic doesn’t get any more "authentic" than Jim Ottaway's Deep Space Blue, a slice off of the genre's classic scene if there ever was one. I know it is a source of constant debate of what differentiates ambient from spacemusic, other than if the album's artwork or song titles more or less lays it out there in plant sight for the world to see. Well, this album does that, but some albums that "look" like spacemusic do not sound anything like it. Ottaway, though, doesn’t just sound like spacemusic; he virtually defines it on these six tracks (ranging from 5:54 to 16:21 in duration). The list of instrumentation and equipment used in the recording of Deep Space Blue (in the liner notes) is impressive and lengthy. While I do not always know the equipment listed as to what it does, I do recognize how skillfully Ottaway uses it to craft some amazing deep spacescapes, so evocative at times that if I close my eyes, I can imagine sitting in front of a massive window on the observation deck of a starship, watching the cosmos as I travel the backwaters of the Milky Way.

Describing spacemusic (and ambient as well) in concrete terms is more problematic than, say, new age or jazz, but that's why us reviewers get paid the big bucks (haha). The opening "Astral Voices" does evoke, somewhat, the sound of voices on the solar wind, as the main keyboard flows serenely with all manner of interesting sonic textures in the background. The track reminds me of the outstanding album Lagoon by Nik Tyndal, released on Hearts of Space Records "back in the day." In fact, Tyndal would be a good comparison throughout the album (or at least at times) due to both musicians taking a somewhat similar approach to crafting their music. "In Search of the Lost Star" opens with a forlorn synth horn echoing into the distance, a plaintive call out to the darkness, but soon transitions to something darker and more haunting with layers of synth pads and a burbling echo-ish effect. Like all of Deep Space Blue, the music is incredibly imagistic and evocative. Ottaway is dialed in when it comes to painting sonic portraits that ooze a strong sense of cinematic starscapes conjured in one's mind. The title track doesn't have a "blues" feel to it, even if one would cast it in a spacemusic shadow, if you will. Synth bass pulses at the outset merge into Berlin-esque touches, with swirling pads and chattering effects. On this track, I flashed on the late Michael Garrison's work at times, owing to the steady pulse of those bass beats in the background, although Garrison always tilted toward music more bouncy and warm. The mood here is a blend of the energy from the beats and a mysterious feeling of, if not unease, at least of the unknown. There is also a palpable sense of urgency underneath it all. "Stars of Ice" features, as one might expect, the twinkling of chimes but it's a cold, darkish tune nonetheless—no new age nicety here. Things "warm" up a bit as the piece unwinds, but bass drones and textures return to counteract what sounds like a wafting flute line.

Admittedly, I don't review spacemusic and ambient music as much as I used to, but not because there isn’t a lot of high quality music in those genres being recorded. It's more time-consuming to review and that is what has cut into my productivity in that regard. However, when I hear music as special as Jim Ottaway's Deep Space Blue, I am reminded why spacemusic was the first "new age" genre that I truly fell in love with. Yes, I discovered Windham Hill and Narada before hearing my first Hearts of Space radio broadcast, but after that eventful night when I first heard Stephen Hill’s voice, I couldn’t get enough of the genre. Ottaway has taken me back to my roots, so to speak, even while he has transported me out beyond the Orion nebula. Bless him for that.

Bill Binkelman
Zone Music Reporter
(USA)

March 2018


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Deep Space Blue

Powerful, deep and majestic this latest release from award winning Australian composer Jim Ottaway takes you to places only ever imagined, places that are deep within and without, often without meaning, space or place, subliminal, like the tendrils of dream felt but not always remembers.

Space before the endless timelessness arrives, deep blue, the colour of the ocean at depths unseen; the soft but gentle song of the bird, sitting, reflecting, gently swaying with the endless motion that is the world turning ever so gently on its axis; each emotion, each feeling can be discovered, felt, experienced in the introductory track Austral Voices, a suburb introduction to what can be considered as a truly subliminal album.

In Search of the Lost Star is almost incredibly difficult to put into words as it is a piece which needs to felt, to be heard, to appreciate the many carefully constructed levels. Think or consider simply floating, no time, space, place yet again, a gentle reverberation, the softly discordant melodies of the horn introduced to change the vibration; simply beautiful.

39.5 Light Years (TRAPPIST – 1) shifts the focus in a mellow and delicate manner with the introduction of the human voice, but still with the overlay of the gentle, floating ambience created in the previous pieces. As it is 10:42 long it is a piece which could easily be singled out for a slightly different style of meditation as it tends to almost have a slightly discordant feel.

The gentle tinkling of small bells or wind chimes reminiscent of Vangelis introduces Stars of Ice adding a haunting simplicity to entice, woo and to enjoy.

The title track listed at number 5 is Deep Space Blue, entwining what the human ear considers is a journey trough the uncharted regions of space, mysterious, intriguing and infinitely powerful. Secrets hiding and hidden within the endless nature of the void, the intergalactic space.

The final piece Interplanetary Panspermia is based upon the theory that 'meteoroids, asteroids, comets, planetoids, and also by spacecraft in the form of unintended contamination by microorganisms' which is a very profound manner in which to end this endlessly beautiful album.

Perhaps Ottaway is, through the medium of music, attempting to get a message out there that all things may not be as they seem; that in our mindless rush to conquer space, we are destroying what we do not understand.

Each of the five pieces on the album simply segues effortlessly, creating the impression that it is one long and very beautiful piece designed specifically for deep meditation; it would be the perfect vehicle to be used to encourage deep, healing meditation but should time not allow, simply having it floating in the background brings with it soothing and relaxing benefits.

Janet Mawdesley
Blue Wolf Reviews
(Perth, Australia)

November 2017


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Deep Space Blue

Australian soundscaper Jim Ottaway, based in Gold Coast, Queensland, owns a quite extensive discography counting over 25 albums, all self-released on a CD or CDr formats since 2004, when he debuted with "First Light" album. During 2017 Jim Ottaway has released two albums, "Timeless e-Motion", which is out since January 1st and "Deep Space Blue" with the street date August 1st. Jim Ottaway's most recent album, carved between May 2014 and June 2017, comes in a catchy glossy 4-panel digipak designed by the artist himself, precisely exposing the focus on the fascinatingly ambiguous vastness of the cosmos. It immediately triggers the deep immersion, nice job, Jim!!!

6-minute opening piece, "Astral Voices", magnifies the listener transportation with euphoniously expansive and sonorously embracing female choir-like drones coupled with warmly nuanced blankets, scrupulously permeated by outlying gossamery cyber-biotic clatters. Gracefully immense intro!!! Artificial fanfares announce "In Search Of The Lost Star", before delving into unfathomably enigmatic echoed glimmers crossed with soothingly infinite, yet titillatingly high-pitched meridians and gently cascading drone murmurs. Rousing brass calls resurrect once more, while translucently intangible chinks are guarding above. Another masterfully engulfing composition! The next track, nearly 11 minutes long "39.5 Light-Years (Trappist-1)", spotlights on the ultra-cool red dwarf star, which is located, as entitled, 39.5 light-years from the Sun. Thrillingly oracular immenseness unlocks its gates with monochromatic choir stratums amalgamated with remote cybernetic signals and auxiliary chiming traceries. Distant sequences inconspicuously arise along with further glimpses of male chant traverses and tenebrously obfuscated bells. As much intoxicatingly audacious as its title, bravo, Jim!!! On "Stars of Ice" an array of diaphanously ear-tickling tinkles persistently sinuate, amplify and commingle with billows of vigorous vertexes, clandestinely observed and juxtaposed by mesmerizingly oscillating mirages infused by frog-like undercurrents. For pure aural bliss reinforced by several ear-bending eruptions it's highly recommended to wear your headphones! The title piece, "Deep Space Blue" clocking over 11-minute mark, shifts into more rhythmic terrains, coalescing vaguely galloping bass patterns with relentlessly invading high-tech helixes and additionally ascending epic vistas. Gauzy clinks percolate here and there. "Interplanetary Panspermia", at 16:21 the longest track on the album, deals with the hypothesis that life on Earth may have originated through the "seeds" of life, which exist all over the Universe. A quite weird domains are entered, where static, hallucinogenic drone layer is constantly contrasted with pervading vibrations, nebulous rumbles, oddly twisted fragments and piercingly buzzing pinnacles. Although piece like this might drive me nuts at times, surprisingly it fits quite well the extraterrestrial theme even if more dissonantly experimental.

I think "Deep Space Blue" CD is an exquisitely triumphant album and a high quality accomplished product by Jim Ottaway, where the aural and visual parts coexist in absolute equilibrium and everything is augmented by top-notch presentation. The album meticulously reveals some of the most intriguing enigmas of spellbindingly adventurous cosmic realms and since this is my first encounter with Jim Ottaway's space odysseys, I really look forward to explore more by this crafted Aussie. Nearly 60 minutes long "Deep Space Blue" is a real treat offering a fully rewarding listening experience to each avid deep space connoisseur!!!

Richard Gurtler
(Bratislava, Slovakia)

October 2017


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Deep Space Blue

Deep Space Blue is the latest album from Jim Ottaway, an electronic music composer based in Gold Coast, Australia. Having released several albums in the ambient, space and electronica genres, Deep Space Blue is a classic ambient-space recording much in the style of Jim’s early 2016 album, Southern Cross, with the two albums being separated by a late 2016 release of dynamic electronic music called Timeless e-Motion. By the time that album was released, I sensed that Jim was well on his way to achieving much greater recognition among the electronic-space music scene and my instincts were proven right; he has since received notable airplay in the U.S. on terrestrial radio programs such as Star’s End, Echoes and Hearts of Space. On Deep Space Blue (which is comprised of six compositions spanning an hour in total), Jim crafts and shapes his illustrious cosmic soundscapes using a plethora of top-notch electronic musical equipment to achieve a highly dimensional and realistic-seeming sonic experience.

Opening the album is the nebulous “Astral Voices” – a drifty and subtly melodic composition characterized by shimmering soundwaves and ethereal vocal intonations. “In Search of the Lost Star” follows next – a contemplative and immersive piece comprised of undulating textures and a free-floating semblance that seemingly carries the listener throughout space in slow-motion. Spanning at over eleven minutes, “39.5 Light Years (Trappist -1)” effectively conveys a notion of traversing unfathomable distances across the cosmos – its underlying rhythmic current highlighting synthesized vocal tones and creaking sound effects evoking the cold vastness of space. Imbued with a touch of Kevin Braheny’s classic Galaxies album, “Stars of Ice” is the perfect piece for winter stargazing – its glistening icicles and foreboding drones seemingly conjuring images of an ice palace located somewhere in the abode of an alien world. The title track, “Deep Space Blue”, is a comparatively more digitally dynamic piece that conveys a feeling of interstellar space-travel and zipping through wormholes. Concluding the album is the nearly 16 ½ minute long “Interplanetary Panspermia” – a darkly retro-futuristic piece of resonating deep space signals and spooky sci-fi effects that effectively convey an extraterrestrial presence.

A mesmerizing cosmic voyage from beginning to end, Deep Space Blue is definitive ambient-space music that plays out like the perfect soundtrack to a sci-fi movie or astronomy documentary. Certain to appeal to listeners who enjoy the many classic space music works by artists such as Jonn Serrie and Kevin Braheny, this fantastic album marks another “stellar” win for Jim Ottaway!

Candice Michelle
Journeyscapes
(USA)

October 2017


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Deep Space Blue

The tale of an astral traveller can be told here, one who floats with the winds of tone and tide, to become one with the sonic nature of sublime electronic music. That opportunity is here right now for us all, a chance to step aboard Starship Ottaway, and plunge into a space deep and blue, with the artist.

That rather elaborate opening statement signifies just how much this album means to me, Jim Ottaway is an Australian electronic musician, who over the years has taken massive strides in this industry and genre, and now must be recognised as one of its modern day leaders. He has been imperious in the world 100 charts with hits like Invisible Vortex, Timeless e Motion and Southern Cross, and here he is again with a more floaty electronic ambient collection of compositions entitled Deep Space Blue.

The opening offering is called Astral Voices; this heavenly arrangement pulls us into a mysterious dimension of sight and sound. There is a deep sense of something wondrous just out of view here, the keyboards and synths of Ottaway manifest a truly vast oasis of musical genius, and I for one would find it easy to get lost in Astral Voices.

In Search of the Lost Star is a totally different composition, the start is almost like a trumpet call to arms, perhaps a reveille of a long distant place once thought to be lost in space and time? One thing is for sure, the music of Jim Ottaway allows the imagination to flow beautifully with his subtle use of keyboards. This is indeed a piece that conveys a slow scan of the immediate systems for a sign of a point of light that seems to have passed away in the midst’s of an interplanetary event. There is a real element of mournfulness about this piece, perhaps even a drone of sadness too, the construction of this arrangement is stunning.

At the midway segment of our flight through music, we come across a composition called 39.5 Light- Years (Trappist 1). There is a certain element of Jonn Serrie here, the slow build up and creation, the master brush strokes of a genius at work, this is one arrangement that you will have to listen carefully, and dedicate a moment not to be disturbed. This long form track has a floaty essence about its overall construction, but also contains lighter elements of classic EM as well, and the swirling nature of this track at almost the half way point, reminds me of Kevin Kendle’s Light from Orion album, and quite simply is one of those pieces that you will find impossible to pull away from it is so addictive.

As we now traverse into the latter half of the release we arrive at the next doorway, once opened it will reveal an opus of well over seven minutes called Stars of Ice. The style and use of synths here has produced a wonderful coldness about the piece that literally forms crystalline shards of music within our minds as it plays. Ottaway’s performance here is quite frankly, amazing, he seems to have created space, perhaps room for us all, to explore this region of space, but holding back on the keyboards, as if allowing our minds to take the track in the direction we wish it to go, and all the while his hands are firmly on the musical tiller.

As we reach the penultimate track, we find to our pleasure the title header Deep Space Blue. As such you have well over eleven minutes to strap yourself in and enjoy the ride, this is truly something special. Ottaway has quite breathtakingly manifested a moment of take off into the blue horizon of the night sky, and the tension and build is simply fantastic. His performance as composer and keyboardist here will live forever, this is simply outstanding and the hallmark of a musician who has really found his musical soul, the repeating base motif, the swirling keyboards, all create a truly magical track of great musical significance.

Our last space dock is a deep and resonating Interplanetary Panspermia and at well over 16 minutes, it’s easily the longest arrangement of the album. The movement and energy of the last track seems to have left the void and we are now in a part of space that is uncharted. The sounds employed here by the artist is akin to a ship scanning for life on the many worlds surveyed, but as of yet finding nothing but lifeless hulks of molten rock. Now it’s useful living where I do, because most earth languages are based on Greek, and Panspermia comes from the Greek (Pan, meaning all and Sperma meaning Seed), I for one completely believe in life on other worlds and in other regions of space, it’s only logical, after all we are here. Jim Ottaway has thus produced a superb long form opus of grandeur that should be the back drop for any movie that features the search for alien life within it.

Deep Space Blue has taken Ottaway back to a deeper side of his musical personality and as such he has created something profound and arcane for us all to dive deep into. Jim Ottaway is a musician of great class and distinction and this album will only emphasise just how far he has come in the industry, and Deep Space Blue is like that beacon of light we can go to, when we need to escape from the mundane realities of life.

Steve Sheppard
One World Music Radio
(Cyprus/UK)

September 2017


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Deep Space Blue

Deep Space Blue is an electronic ambient/space music release from award-winning Australian composer and synthesist Jim Ottaway. The creator of at least twenty-five albums of original music in a variety of genres as well as music for films and television, Ottaway’s resume’ is long and very impressive; Deep Space Blue is his eleventh international release. The inspiration for Ottaway's music stems from his love of nature and his spiritual connection to the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia. The music on this album has a very organic feeling and features a variety of (electronic) musical instruments as well as atmospheric sounds. Not surprisingly, the music conveys feelings of vast darkness and of effortless floating through space and time. The six tracks range from just under six minutes to about 16 1/2 minutes, so there are very few breaks in the music. The tracks were recorded over a three-year period, and Ottaway also did the mixing, mastering, graphics and album design.

The album begins with “Astral Voices,” a hauntingly beautiful piece that includes ethereal female voices (no lyrics). Even though the voices are soothing, there is a feeling of isolation and perhaps of being lost in the darkness. “In Search Of The Lost Star” starts out with a brief horn solo before becoming more ambient. The horn repeats its melody later in the piece, maintaining a humanistic element. Very relaxed and peaceful, this track suggests journeying through space at a leisurely speed and enjoying the ride. “39.5 Light Years (Trappist-1)” refers to “a dwarf star that is slightly larger but much more massive than the planet Jupiter, located 39.5 light-years from the Sun in The Constellation Aquarius” (quoted from the liner notes of the CD). Voices and chimes contribute to the mysterious quality of the music as well as the feelings of a very dark, chilly vastness. “Stars of Ice” makes effective use of glass wind chimes to simulate the magical sparkle of ice as beams of light dance off of it. Deep rumbling bass sounds are a fascinating contrast to the light, almost brittle chimes. The title track is a bit more rhythmic with a somewhat faster tempo, making it feel brighter and more purposeful. Instead of drifting freely in space, it feels like there is more of a goal or destination. The deep bass vibrations continue and the horn returns, perhaps heralding a triumph of sorts. The last track is the longest and titled “Interplanetary Panspermia,” which is “the hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by meteoroids, asteroids, comets, planetoids and also by spacecraft in the form of unintended contamination by microorganisms” (quoted from the liner notes). Moving slowly through space, many of the sounds we hear express that all is not well in the universe. There is an uneasy peace, but some things are out of place, out of balance. This is, of course, my interpretation.

If you like space and ambient music that is wonderfully-engineered with amazing depth and sound quality, be sure to check out Deep Space Blue! It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby.

Kathy Parsons
Mainly Piano
(USA)

September 2017


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Deep Space Blue

As far as I’m familiar with his catalogue, "Deep Space Music" is the first true cosmic release with lots of freeform soundscapes from Australian synthesist Jim Ottaway.

Opener "Astral Voices" takes off with smooth ethereal textures, the following tracks propelling the listener into weightless expanse and toward the outer reaches of deep space with rather non-melodic synth pads. The flowing outcome would definitely benefit from more content and direction as it now remains rather superficial to my taste. The title track is a bit more spiced with a groovy pulse in the background while the final track "Interplanetary Planspermia" dives into and journeys through dense clouds of mystery but still fails to fascinate.

The recording’s atmosphere and used sounds simply don’t grab nor convince me that much as a long time space music aficionado. I’d say you check it out the music first before a definite purchase.

Bert Strolenberg
Sonic Immersion
(The Netherlands)

September 2017


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Timeless e-Motion

Another new artist on the Blog, Jim Ottaway has a long track record. A renowned musician in Australia who has been touching all styles since he made First Light in 2004, Jim Ottaway has accumulated nominations for the Australia Music Awards with no less than 17 nominations since 2010. “Timeless e-Motion” is already a 22nd album for the one who won the prize of the best ambient music in 2016 with the album Southern Cross. But this “Timeless e-Motion” is not an ambient album, apart from a few titles, for the one whose influences vary between Tangerine Dream, it's heard on this album, and Code Indigo, it's also heard, while going through opposites as big as Vangelis and Radio Massacre International. Built on 13 tracks all very well composed, “Timeless e-Motion” is offered in CD manufactured with a top-nickel production and in downloadable option. It's a big 65 minutes of music which is drinking at all the streams of EM.

A rise of cosmic effects awakens "Sequence of Life". Between crispy tones and more usual ones, the sequences flutter in an undulating mass and the percussions stage a rhythm in opposition with a more rock approach. The ambiences are adorned of electronic chirpings and of clapping percussions effects that will be used extensively on this album. The harmonious approach is built on loops of harmonies with bipolar hues. The structure makes me think a lot of David Wright. The title-track shows that Jim Ottaway is very comfortable in a good Berlin School vibe, kind of Software, with undulating and hypnotic loops which are rolling in a minimalist vision. The structure is more in the cosmic genre with echo effects in these loops that end up weaving a fairly esoteric undulating rhythm where these clapping percussions get grafted. The synth throws semi-strident vocal fragments as well as these cosmic mists that fill a lunar decor loaded by multiple effects, both vocals and cosmic. I like "Skies Rain Down"! Its rhythm is unraveling with a sovereign slowness propelled by slamming percussions and whose resonances cling to a breakthrough of percussions that don't succeed to take off an exhilarating rhythmic pattern. The synth pads put down effects of fogs and voices while a guitar, and its morphic solos, adds a hopping rock zest inspired by Code Indigo. A little more muscular, with a throbbing and undulating pace rhythm and rattlings of percussions, "Reality's Edge" exploits the guitar a little bit more with good harmonic jets, which flirt in loops, and pieces of poignant solos on a rhythm dominated by the multiple slamming of percussions. The final will tackle you down! "Blurred Vision" offers a dynamic rhythm driven by two lines of sequences, including a more harmonic, and a line of bass pulsations. The synth throws effects that sing like reflections on the water, while the rhythm gains in force with the addition of percussion. "Game Over" brings us to a more Dance Music approach with good Berlin School elements. We are not far from the good music of Stefan Erbe!

Like several other titles on “Timeless e-Motion”, it's with amazement that we follow the evolution of "Behind Closed Eyes". Its introduction is agitated by a pond of sequences fluttering with vigor. A layer of voice covers this stationary excitement. A line of sequences throbs while staying in an immobile embryo before it takes off in a more exciting structure where is added an astonishing rhyme that flirts between Mike Oldfield, Enigma and Edgar Froese. We enter the New Age phase of this album with titles like "Desperate Measures" which proposes a structure evolving in the same vision but in a harmonious cocoon much more New Age. Some good New Age with a clear influence of Edgar Froese. "Towards the Unknown" is another good electronic rock adorned of floating cosmic effects, an Elven voice and an increasingly New Age envelope. A title with an aboriginal dance approach simply attractive in its more experimental envelope, "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained" offers a good down-tempo full of sequences and percussions in dance mode. The sequences are genius with their different colors, including a succulent organic and another with Didgeridoo tones, which structure a rhythmic broth from which evaporate beautiful things from a synth as creative as the sequencer. Harmonious synth lines, strobe effects, mists of cosmic fog and good synth effects in search of a harmony line. In short, the creative pool of "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained" is of an incredible sound depth. "Evolutionary Phase" evolves towards a good electronic rock with a hue of organic dialogue in some sequences. Speaking of sequences, they are as seductive as they are very versatile. A bit like in some good Chris Franke's ideas. "Cosmic Shift" comes to the conclusion of this surprising, it's the case to say it, album of Jim Ottaway with a more floating, a more cosmic approach, whereas "Timeless e-Motion (Radio Edit)" ends the 65 minutes of this album with a version edited for radios of the title-track.

Although disconcerted by the New Age segment of “Timeless e-Motion”, this first ID card from Jim Ottaway offers a good diversity that should seduce you without difficulty. You can find everything here. And everything is done with a professionalism that matches David Wright's albums. There is a little something indefinable that stems from the Australian musician's vision, making his music even more seductive. Is it the Down-Under effect? Possible! But no matter, we are dealing with a musician and a composer whose talent is heard throughout “Timeless e-Motion”. Even in its more New Age segment.

Sylvain Lupari
Synth & Sequences
(Canada)

September 2018


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Timeless e-Motion

The nth album from the synth musician from the other side of the world, and it’s a 12-tracker with a difference, in that he plays a seriously varied set of tracks that are like a world of synth music in one album – you get tracks that are what many would call “Berlin School” with sequencers a-plenty, a few tracks that drift in the way the classic American cosmic music masters ply their wares, tracks that are built as much around tunes as rhythms in a kind of watered down John Michael Jar style, but the whole thing connected by melody – the guy is never very far from melody throughout most of the album. The percussive rhythms tend to be of the early simplicity of the electronic drum variety, so that they sound more crisp than solid, but the sequencer work is strong if not exactly up to TD standards. The textures used are generally rather fine and there’s a kind of magic in the compositions which, to be fair, while sounding fairly tame a lot of the time, nevertheless weave some quite beautiful spells in a musical wonderland that’s more romance than burning passion. What is arguably its greatest strength, although some might say its weakness, is that it stays true to its style, is quite clearly the work of one man and his synths and never stands still while at the same time not ever breaking any new ground. It’s not going to blow you away, but, a bit like your favourite pet, it will curl up on your lap and deliver a warm fuzzy glow to your life when you need that kind of attention.

Andy Gee
Gee Force Music
(Scotland, UK)

March 2017


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Timeless e-Motion

Jim Ottaway is an Australia-based electronic music composer with an impressive catalog of recordings that range from ambient-space to chill-out electronica. While his latest album, Timeless e-Motion, combines stylistic characteristics of both, it’s also a bit different from anything Jim has previously recorded. Namely, he employs greater elements of classic electronic space music in the vein of Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre, all while infusing his compositions with a wholly up-to-date and modern feel via his vast arsenal of electronic music equipment and gear. Comprised of thirteen tracks spanning sixty-five minuets, the album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Jim between the years of 2013 and 2016.

“Sequence of Life” opens with a dynamic and rhythmic arrangement of sequencers and pulsing effects. A fantastic introduction, it conveys a feeling of moving through space and time. Following next is the hauntingly beautiful “Timeless e-Motion”, which gently paces along on a dreamily floating, liquid-like current. Easily my favorite piece on the album, hazy tones, scattering chimes and vocal-like washes are carried along by a hypnotic bassline and rhythmic pulse, which gradually evolves into a subtle chill beat. Digital bleeps and signals echo throughout, as if emanating from somewhere deep in the galaxy. At just over eight minutes in length, this piece could easily drift on forever, perhaps while one endlessly tries to solve the infinite mysteries of our vast and largely unknowable universe. Varying between the more dynamic, travelling pace of the first track and the floating ambience of the title track, the compositions always seem to move in a linear, forward motion. Each employs a varied degree of digital sequencing, synthesized vocals, spacey signals and pulsating electronic rhythms. The seventh track, “Behind Close Eyes”, is another especially notable and mesmerizing piece, which effectively brings to mind that of being in virtual reality or dreamlike simulation. Despite these distinctive sci-fi motifs, the compositions herein convey human warmth and a conscious presence throughout, as if musically illustrating a narrative of the cosmos and how it relates to life here on earth. Another favorite is the twelfth track, “Cosmic Shift”, a classic ambient-space number characterized by ethereal chords, sparkling chimes and a wondrous sense of mystery, as one can easily imagine numerous constellations of twinkling stars against a stark midnight sky. Aptly concluding the album is “Timeless e-Motion (radio edit)”, which clocks in at just over five minutes, lending itself as a sort of reprise of the title track to wrap-up this fantastical cosmic journey.

Jim Ottaway’s previous album, Southern Cross, was one of my favorite recordings of 2016 and this one is surely destined to become another. In fact, Timeless e-Motion may very well be the best output from this amazingly talented artist thus far, unquestionably solidifying Jim’s place as a distinctive and innovative electronic music composer. Fusing ambient, modern electronica and classic space music, I can detect several decades of musical influences here, as Jim masterfully carves out his own sound and style that he has both developed and gradually improved on over the years. Lending itself to an emotive sci-fi quality, the music of Timeless e-Motion conveys a mesmerizing notion of having entered some futuristic parallel dream-world that’s dominated by themes of hyperspace, wormholes and time-travel. Likewise permeated by an ever-present and intangible mystery throughout, this album is both an interstellar and inner voyage that’s absolutely not to be missed!

Candice Michelle
Journeyscapes
(USA)

January 2017


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Timeless e-Motion

It’s back to his roots for Aussie musician Jim Ottaway as he ends a successful 2016 with a power play of an album that has us deep within his EM weave, creating a pulsating end to a fantastic year for him.

Starting with the electronically sublime Sequence of Life, Ottaway brings a David Wright style to your eager musical ears dear reader. This throbbing rhythmic opus is the perfect opener for the album.

Flowing with grace and speed we move calmly to the title track, Timeless e- Motion, the moment to be proud is upon the artist, and he should be, this is one of the finest slices of EM have heard for many a year. A speculative start builds and progresses with all the experience of a master musician, which of course Ottaway is. To get that rank, you not only have to feel your music, you have to BE your music, something Ottaway does with ease. This is eight plus minutes of electronic bliss, is smooth, paced and classy.

The sultry and swirling Skies Rain Down is superb, from the very beginning the mood is set, and one can feel those strong sullen storm clouds hovering with intent above our heads, waiting to open up. The anticipation built into this composition by Ottaway’s synths is off the scale, one can literally taste the tension.

I have stood on Reality’s Edge and survived, while that’s a story for another day, this music would have been the perfect soundtrack for my Twilight Zone moment! Ottaway has really created something mysterious, yet incredibly powerful here; this razors edge of a piece is ready to explode, but cleverly contains itself, whilst picking up energy and momentum along the way.

I adored landing in sequence heaven, on this our fifth track entitled Blurred Vision. Perhaps Jim has invented his own brand of EM here, can we say Aussie School? The tempo is balanced to perfection, and the lightness on the keys creates a multi-layered effect for us the listener, there are some delightful patterns to enjoy here.

Game Over, I love saying that in triumph, and here is the musical backdrop for my power play. This is a real trance filled moment of electronica that is deep, heavy and perhaps could even be used in a future Fast and Furious movie; this is a composition that has great movement and intent and delivered perfectly by the artist.

As we skip into the second half of the album Timeless e-Motion by Jim Ottaway, we come across a piece called Behind Closed Eyes. A fascinating title and an even more fascinating construction, we have an ambient back drop with some very tight sequences within, and a paced keyboard that manifests a third dimension of musical reality, this is truly artistic and very well performed. The speed I am writing at is even amazing me, the addictive pace and tempo of the music is so compelling, I even have to stop myself, and remember to breathe. So I am somewhat relieved to have a moment to gather myself again on the piece Desperate Measures, even so you can still feel the energy in the background, building like the engine of a train, the fine paced percussion delivers an almost chill out moment of bliss.

The title sometimes says it all; on Towards the Unknown you have that very scenario. A soft and careful synth leads us by the hand into a world of vast areas of space as of yet uncharted musically. If you’re a musician and want to use drum pads in your music, but need to make sure you get the balance right, then you need to go no further than listening to this track, the added female vocalisations were a touch of class to include too.

Always time for something a little different and on Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained, we have just that. For some reason whilst listening to this I found myself wandering mentally around the Tate Modern in London, it is music that allows you to add your own interpretation to the tones given, and perhaps for me, this is a little slice of surrealism that fitted the bill nicely and as Jim says, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained!

We move deeper into the labyrinths of the album now with Evolutionary Phase. The pulsating beat leads us into a piece that seems to create itself as it goes. I found this track compelling to listen to, as I was eager with every note played to see where the artist would take me next, a completely intriguing composition indeed.

Our last official arrangement is called Cosmic Shift and here Ottaway gives us a glimpse through the curtains at his musical galaxy, through a composition that has a real essence of Kevin Kendle and Jonn Serrie about it. The beautiful floaty style here is the perfect way to leave the listener. Although that’s not strictly true, as he also gifts us a radio edit of the title track Timeless e-Motion to take with us as well, a musical present that we will be more than eager to have.

Timeless e-Motion I think is Ottaway’s best so far, there is a power and intent here that is completely undeniable, the performance is confident and the production sublime, all in all I think when 2016 is done and dusted, Ottaway will look back on a fantastic year musically for him, and at its apex will sit this album, which is one of the best synth based EM albums I have heard for a long, long while. If you’re a fan of electronic styled music, this is a must have release, don’t even hesitate, just get it now!

Steve Sheppard
One World Music Radio
(Cyprus/UK)

January 2017


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Timeless e-Motion

The title of this album wants to reflect the 'almost' endless motion of life along some of the emotions that we experience as we go through life's journey. As such, Down Under-based composer Mr Ottaway came up with a quite energizing, rhythmic-oriented but not too busy outcome featuring various sub-genres of electronic music including electronic rock, Berlin School and ambient.

The 12 accessible pieces, of which "Sequence of Life" and "Evolutionary Phase" have quite a Robert Schroeder vibe to it, will please those fond of mellow-melodic and groovy EM, incorporating elements from the general-melodic electronics from the British Isles and Germany. An exception though is "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" turning out bare, too synthetic and (compared to the other tracks) sounding too much out of the box. The final track "Cosmic Shift" is also different but nice as it features pure, rather ethereal ambient textures in the style of Jim’s previous album "Southern Cross".

Bert Strolenberg
Sonic Immersion
(The Netherlands)

January 2017


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Southern Cross

Jim Ottaway takes his inspiration for Southern Cross from the night sky view from his Gold Coast Hinterland, Australia, home. In trying to capture its beauty, he lays out an hour’s worth of pad-driven spacemusic, slow moving and broad in scope. While the album does not chart new stellar territory, it does a great job of describing these heavenly vistas while giving us an immersive journey. To some degree, this is a set-it-and-forget-it work, one that’s going to go about its business in quieting the space and setting you adrift whether you’re paying attention or not. When you do decide to tune in closely, however, you’re treated to well-woven layers of sound and effect, with a great deal of attention given to the use of small background sounds. One of the things I appreciate most about Southern Cross is that Ottaway doesn’t give in to going down the obvious spacemusic path. You know the one, where we start quietly, thrown in a roar of metaphorical engine noise, ramp up the tempo, and then shift it back down. It’s not here, and that’s good. Instead, we get deep, telescopic stargazing, the churn and drift of nebular clouds. The five main tracks, representing the points of the cross, Alpha through Epsilon, flow together well, with only slight pauses marking the move to each new track. I have tended to get so lost in the music here that it seemed like Ottaway had laid them out without actual end points. (Although I do find the ending of “Delta Crucis” to be a bit rough.) Alpha, Gamma, and Epsilon each spool out slowly across just over fourteen minutes, with Beta and Delta acting as brief waypoints of eight and a half and five an half minutes, respectively. By the time you’ve visited “Alpha Crucis” and “Beta Crucis,” you’ve been in almost half an hour’s worth of seamless drift. “Beta…” in particular comes in slow and amorphous, the refracting and shifting of stellar dust. Ottaway puts a slight warble into some of the tones here, a nice ear-catching bit of texture. “Gamma Crucis” brings a shift in feel, with Ottaway playing with ringing metallic sounds and, overall, a darker sensibility. Tremolo chords feel like ripples in the fabric of space, and long, low pads chart their course through the background. Toward the end, Ottaway shifts into territory that almost loses me. He goes a little science fiction-y with various bloops and swoops of the knob-twisting analog type. They’re fine, and it can be argued that they come at a point where we could theoretically use a shift in tone—for me it’s just almost too much. To his credit, if you listen closely, these sounds exist in small blurbs throughout the piece, and come to the forefront later. “Delta Crucis” carries the darker tone. At just over five minutes, I’m not sure it adds that much to the flow; the other pieces feel more like full expressions and explorations. The main voyage concludes with the very deep “Epsilon Crucis,” a track that merits its own repeat play. Close your eyes and let 14 minutes of very light pads just flow across you. Bright tones highlight a slowly developing melody, and the sense is just a blissful, coasting float accented with starshine. The album closes with “Southern Cross (Timeless Motion),” and in a nice choice by Ottaway, we’re given a subtle, constant drum pulse meting out a steady rhythm over more rich pad work. It acts like a nice “welcome back” after your long, deep trek out to the stars.

Southern Cross was my introduction to Jim Ottaway’s music. His catalog goes back to 2004. With this album, however, my interest is definitely piqued to hear more of his work. His spacey vistas are descriptive without being overdone or obvious. The album plays well at low volume, and offers a lot of interest in a deep listen. Take your own voyage out to the Southern Cross soon.

John Shanahan
Hypnagogue
(USA)

December 2016


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Southern Cross

We adored Invisible Vortex here at One World Music Radio and so did you, the album reached number 1 and is much loved by fans and presenters alike, so it is with glee that I get a chance to review the latest work from the artist called Southern Cross.

I have been listening to a lot of space based music lately, my dear friend Kevin Kendle has so many wonderful albums out and is at last taking his deep skies series on the road, but he wasn’t that artist that I likened this album to when I first listened to it. Southern Cross, starts with such a mellow floating state of ambience it really reminded me of Jonn Serrie. Alpha Crucis is superb, it’s one of those tracks you could listen to for hours, the sheer ambience and sensitivity used here by the artist is beyond sublime.

There are many electronic music artists around these days, but you will have to go a long way to match Jim Ottaway, his touch and delicacy on the keyboards is so creative, but so masterful. Take a listen to Beta Crucis, the atmospheric layers and utter quality of this composition is simply gorgeous, the sequences are subtle and very sweet.

One really feels a part of the whole universe through this album; you can feel a sense of merging with the oneness, especially on this track called Gamma Crucis, which is near on 15 minutes of space themed bliss. This music isn’t the long form drone you may have come to expect from the more dark realms of the ambient music genre, it’s neither positive nor negative, it just, is. Space exists in a realm of zero emotions, and somehow Jim Ottaway, through his immense skill as a musician and as a man who clearly feels his music, has manifested something here so exact and real, but so very encapsulating. There is a superb segment at just over 9 minutes, when the whole arrangement almost goes ethereal and rather haunting, listen out for that.

The shortest piece of the album at just over 5 minutes is called Delta Crucis, this entire album is dedicated to each of the stars in the Southern Cross and the constellation itself, and Ottaway has created something so ancient here in doing so. This piece has a real radiating energy of vastness about it, its essence musically, has slightly more power than the other tracks, perhaps this is the youngest of the stars, and Ottaway’s performance on synths and keyboards here almost creates a level of latent vibrancy within this creation.

Dear reader and listener, when you arrive at Epsilon Crucis, you will have arrived at my favourite track from the album. This does remind me of the work of space maestro Kendle and contains that certain warmth and organic feel too. Ottaway in my opinion has produced just over 14 minutes of music; you will simply never want to return home from. Whilst listening to this piece I was almost drawn into a galactic meditational energy and like the previously aforementioned artist, Jim Ottaway has hit right into the heart of this region of space and in my view delivered perfect composition, one that at times I felt deeply moved by.

We now leave the album with a round up and if you like, a musical over view of the constellation the Southern Cross we can add (Timeless Motion) and we can enjoy a bass that gives us a real universal heartbeat, this track almost seems primeval and through this outer worldly offering we can also feel the life force of the indigenous peoples of our planet. This is truly an exceptional way to leave what is a superb album.

Jim Ottaway mused in his liner notes and I quote “I have tried to capture the beauty and mystique of the Southern Cross in this album” Well Jim, I can tell you that you did more than try, you have manifested in my opinion your best album so far and honoured the elders, ancestors and ancients in the process. Jim Ottaway HAS brought into being THE official galactic soundtrack for this region of space and has illustrated that perfectly. Jim Ottaway is a true genius of the electronic space genre, his music is timeless and a total testament to the honesty, dedication and love that he puts into his work, you really have to get this one.

Steve Sheppard
One World Music Radio
(Cyprus/UK)

June 2016


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Southern Cross

Jim's music is a peaceful drift that surrounds you and envelops you with an unhurried relaxing ebb and flow of synths that is very soothing and very comforting. It is apparent that Jim is well versed in coaxing just the right sounds out of his equipment and then crafting that sound into the marvelous soundscapes that you will hear on Southern Cross. Southern Cross is Jim's latest effort and is aptly named after the asterism the Southern Cross in the constellation of Crux which is visible in the Southern Hemisphere.

The individual songs on this album are named after the stars that comprise the Southern Cross and the album closes out with a track simply called Southern Cross. (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, and Southern Cross) Gazing into the night sky and observing the familiar patterns in the sky gives you a feeling of wonder or simply one of reverence for what you are looking at. The vastness of space and the beauty that such a pattern as the Southern Cross represents obviously struck Jim with an urge to try and musically capture that image that has left its mark on so many hearts who have stood staring up at the night sky. What comes to mind was the line from the movie Contact where Ellie's father told her small moves as she was searching the ham radio dial for other operators to talk to. Jim's album Southern Cross makes good use of this philosophy with the music he has recorded for this release.

The slow waves of sound that Jim uses to sonically paint these stars along with the darker feel that the music evokes is perfect for capturing the velvet blackness of space with these small pinpricks of starlight shining so brightly against the darkness. Jim has blended some interesting sound effects into the music itself that made me think of the old sci-fi movies that used sounds similar to those to give you an impression of otherworldliness and that is exactly what they do here in Jim's music. They make you think of someplace that isn't here on earth. It triggers these memories in the listener and it enhances the experience of the music by shifting your mind to a point not of this planet and of course that is exactly what you want to have happen when you are listening to music about a constellation in the sky.

Jim has expertly woven these elements together in these 6 spacey tracks of music and maintains this feeling of being elsewhere throughout the entire recording. The music is very even from track to track so that nothing disturbs the listener's journey out into the darkness of space with each song melding very nicely into the next. To me that is an important decision that an artist makes when recording an album like this which is how do I blend the songs on this album so that my individual songs each have their own identity but on the album as a whole the journey will be seamless from beginning to end. Jim has done a great job on Southern Cross because he has created a journey that carries you along on the slow cosmic wave that drifts among the stars for the duration of the album.

With six songs that have a running time of 1 hour and 9 minutes this excursion allows a listener to deeply immerse themselves in the darkness of space with some outstanding music as their companion. Jim Ottaway shows that he is a talented composer and musician as he creates the perfect soundscape to go star gazing with. It would be a great to take this out with you on your portable player and simply use it as the backdrop for your natural sky planetarium as you lie under the stars and think about our insignificance compared with the endlessness of the space that lies above us. Although by the time that you reach the track Epsilon the music has taken on a lighter touch and seems to have modulated to a slightly warmer tone perhaps denoting that even space can seem inviting and nurturing as you grow accustomed to your surroundings. It leaves you feeling good about the journey and happy that you took the time to explore the space which you can see from where you are realizing that the insignificance that we feel when we first started looking into space turns into acceptance that we are an integral part of the cosmos no matter how small we might feel in the grand scheme of things.

Perhaps Epsilon being the last star in the Southern Cross that we have journeyed to in this song that it is more a song of completion and being pleased that we made the journey of discovery to begin with. Perhaps it illustrates that trips like this no matter how daunting at the beginning are worth the effort when our destination is finally achieved. And maybe at that point you realize that many more such trips will occur in your lifetime and that all of them hold the potential of self-discovery and of finding your place in this vast universe filled with wonders like the Southern Cross multiplied to infinity.

Southern Cross is Jim's 24th album and it is easy to see that his many years of experience with synths and working with his music during the creating, recording, mixing and mastering has given Jim a great understanding of how to achieve such a wonderful range of moods with his music and it is easy to see on Southern Cross that he has taken all of this experience, understanding and emotion and poured it into this latest release. I look at the last song on this album as a time to journey back home and celebrate the trip that has just been made. You will hear the closest thing to a beat on this song as there is a pulse that lightly punctuates the synths that have been your constant companion during the previous parts of this excursion. The sounds of a piano offer you a further reason to come back down to earth as the soundscape begins to take on a more terrestrial feel as the album winds down from the journey you have just been on.

While I was unfamiliar with Jim's music before I received this album I must admit that it was a pleasant discovery to find such an accomplished musician that I had not heard of before. Only goes to show that the talent that surrounds us in this world is vast and requires us as listeners to be vigilant and keep exploring and searching to make sure that we don't miss a talent like Jim's who was new to me even though he had released 24 previous albums. You'll want to look for Southern Cross and get your own copy so that you can take many journeys into the night sky with Jim's music as your companion. And remember just because the album is called Southern Cross doesn't mean you can't use it to look at other constellations no matter where you may find yourself when your eyes turn skyward. Enjoy!

Michael Foster
Ambient Visions
(USA)

June 2016


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Southern Cross

Jim Ottaway expresses his creativity by connecting things: the night sky, synthesizer technology, a positive musical standpoint... Using the concept of The Cosmos to search his own inner depths, Ottaway understands that something singular may spark multiple themes. With his eyes on the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere he gives us Southern Cross (69'39"), a gorgeous album of six atmospheric mood pieces. It is a captivating, often glorious listening experience. Fully and effectively imagined, these works each open a warm and beautiful space, then move slowly through it - taking time to take in its surroundings. Reminding us of a realm much larger than ourselves, Ottaway's hope is for the listener to come away from this spacey aural encounter with a better connection to The Universe. Music and sounds drift in from nowhere, establish themselves, and then fade away without warning. As if in some amazing, converging, coincidence of sounds, we are pushed towards the center of this sonic universe. Synthetic textures meld together to form compositions which feel transcendent, yet tethered to The Earth. Throughout Southern Cross harmony and timbre mutually reinforce each other. Faint chimes cast above luminescent chords provide a slow contemplative pace, while reverberant strings shift from dark keys to light. The experience is quiet and beautiful. Most times consoling, but occasionally questioning, Southern Cross is a subtle journey into beautiful musical and interstellar planes. The grandeur of consonant harmonies is grounded in the detailed and imaginative electronic modulations just beneath the aural glow surrounding each track. The result is beautifully flowing and transporting music - contemplative for the mind, while warming to the heart. This frontier will never close - so long as artists like Jim Ottaway are out there working, exploring and expanding the Spacemusic genre at such an advanced level.

Chuck van Zyl
Star's End
(USA)

May 2016


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Southern Cross

Jim Ottaway is a composer, producer and studio performer residing at the Gold Coast hinterland of Queensland, Australia who has released 23 independent albums in his homeland.

The concept album "Southern Cross", his ninth international release, is a work containing six lengthy compositions of cosmic ambient music made between May 2013 and February 2016. From the start one enters a harmonic and soft breathing space of flowing textural farscapes inspired by the constellation of Crux which features the Southern Cross. From the third track on, some mysticism starts to penetrate the drifting soundscapes that remain tranquil, freeform and imaginative while softening and turning even dreamier on the last two compositions.

"Southern Cross" is interesting space music from Down Under which I feel could be even deeper and more spaced-out (but maybe I’m a bit spoiled by the quality works of Hollan Holmes, Havdis, Altus or Serrie).

Bert Strolenberg
Sonic Immersion
(The Netherlands)

April 2016


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Southern Cross

"Southern Cross" is the follow-up to electronic music composer Jim Ottaway’s highly energetic "Invisible Vortex" album. Named for a distinctive constellation in the Southern Hemisphere, "Southern Cross" is Jim’s first intrinsically ambient-space album since "Liquid Moon", which was originally released in Australia in 2011, and later internationally in 2014. Comprised of six tracks spanning seventy minutes total, the album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Jim, as well as lovingly dedicated to the memory of his mother Madge who passed away in 2015.

"Alpha Crucis" opens the album with a rumbling vibration, followed by expansive chords and a rainstick-type sound, which frequently returns throughout the compositions. Imparting an immediate sense of deep space exploration, it’s fourteen minutes and twenty seconds of pure atmospheric bliss. Alluringly arcane, this mood is carried into "Beta Crucis", where swirling chimes mimic a galaxy filled with twinkling stars. Moving into the darkest piece, "Gamma Crucis", linear time seems to dissolve and physical distance is no longer a barrier to the furthest reaches of space. This especially noteworthy piece is permeated by a wonderfully eerie creepiness that’s filled with the sounds of deep drones, ghostly voices, alien signals and glowing pulsars. More traces of light shine through the vast darkness on "Delta Crucis", as if drifting among a meteor shower – before giving way to "Epsilon Crucis", the album’s warmest, most ethereal composition. Closing out the album is the phenomenal "Southern Cross (Timeless Motion)", with its rhythmic pulse beaming like a quasar amidst swirling chimes and a melodious drone, before dissipating into a sea of stardust.

Sitting at the meeting point of both pure ambient and classic space music, "Southern Cross" is easily Jim’s most groundbreaking album to date. I frequently had to remind myself that the many otherworldly sounds herein were actually coming from a recording studio and not some distant location of the galaxy, thanks to the impressive array of state-of-the-art recording equipment and software detailed in the liner notes. An especially rewarding headphone experience, "Southern Cross" is a must-have album for both fans of ambient-space music and astronomy enthusiasts!

Candice Michelle
Journeyscapes
(USA)

April 2016


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Invisible Vortex

Jim Ottaway is an electronic music composer from Australia, whose album "Invisible Vortex" was created using an impressive array of electronic music gear and equipment, including several different keyboards and synthesizers. Dedicated in part to the memory of Tangerine Dream founder, Edgar Froese (1944-2015), notable influences of musical styles spanning several decades are evident, in particular, 80s-era European electronic music, 90s-era trance-techno, modern electronica, chill-out and a touch of progressive rock.

The highly energetic "Come Dance with Me" opens the album with a trance-techno dance-floor beat, digital bleeps and scratchy sounds, as the listener embarks on an interstellar voyage through space and time. "Alien Cries" follows next, which is characterized by a pronounced bassline and an electronic rock rhythm. Finally giving way to what is perhaps the album’s pinnacle, is a track called "Takin' the Time". Featuring Rick Fenn of the 70s-era British rock group 10cc on guitar, this incredible piece evokes the wonders of the universe, with its intergalactic, otherworldly tone, which is conveyed by swirling chimes, voice-like effects, and a potent driving rhythm. Right from the opening sequencers on "Just Another Dream", which is a lighter trance-techno track, I could detect the nod to Tangerine Dream; perhaps not surprising, since the piece is a glowing tribute to the band’s soundtracks for "Risky Business", "Thief" and "Sorcerer". "Call for Peace" is another favorite, a slower piece led by a pronounced staccato down-beat and alternating hazy, distorted effects. A bonus 'Chill Out Mix' of the same tune closes out the album, clocking in at a full eleven minutes and twenty seconds. This slower-paced alternate version is equably carried along by a muffled breakbeat, until it eventually drifts away into oblivion.

Jim Ottaway has done a stellar job of connecting the past with the future on "Invisible Vortex", by combining the sensibilities of both vintage and modern electronic music. The compositions herein explore the limitless bounds of space and time, sending the listener soaring above the stratosphere and cruising into the cosmos. The highly outgoing, dynamic and active nature of this album makes for a thoroughly rewarding sonic adventure, which will certainly appeal to electronic music enthusiasts who enjoy aural concepts exploring science fiction and retro-futuristic worlds.

Candice Michelle
Journeyscapes
(USA)

April 2016


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Invisible Vortex

Energetic-rhythmic synth music is what’s on the menu on Jim Ottaway’s "Invisible Vortex", revealing the other musical side of this synthesist from Down Under. It’s an album full of song-based, up-beat and sometimes even dancy compositions revealing a commercial and contemporary sound.

The album offers totally different stuff compared to Mr Ottaway’s ambient-space endeavours, speaking to the listener in an upfront, strong technology-flavoured voice. One of the pieces is a new version of the piece "Takin' the Time" featuring the guitar work of 10CC’s Rick Fenn, while "Just Another Dream" is meant as a tribute to the Tangerine Dream’s OST’s "Risky Business", "Thief" and "Sorcerer".

I don’t feel much connection to this type of music, but "Invisible Vortex" will tick some boxes for those preferring modern and vibrant instrumental electronics.

Bert Strolenberg
Sonic Immersion
(The Netherlands)

2016


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Reflections

Another album - another world. This time he chooses one of deceptively effortless simplicity, where the vast depths of spacey synths are topped with easy flowing melodies played on a variety of synths and keys, all really heartwarming and easy to digest. Many of these tracks are also provided with a rhythmic base. But, cleverly for such an album, Ottaway has kept the rhythms in line with the spirit, feel and languid qualities of the tracks, so much so that the electronic, electro-percussive and sequenced rhythms are always deceptively lightweight, in keeping with the oceans of melodies that pour from every track, long and short.

For such an easy listening album, it's actually remarkably cohesive, the way it slides and glides into your consciousness, a mark of a composer who's feeling it rather than faking it, in other words, producing commercial, flowing synth music from the heart rather than attempting to provide something that's commercial but sounds like it's been done by numbers. The eleven minute 'Seashore Sunrise' is one of the best tracks as it also has that vast depth of cosmic bliss so prevalent on previous Ottaway space synth excursions.

For all its ease, the tracks are varied so that, while the feel is maintained throughout, the sounds are many and varied, and you rarely feel that you are hearing the same sonic combination twice, even though cohesion runs through the album's compositions like blood through your veins. Overall, it's exceedingly pleasant, easy on the ear, music for any occasion that's languid and relaxed, and the perfect late-night accompaniment to unwinding from a hard and tiring day.

Andy Garibaldi
Dead Earnest
(Dundee, Scotland, UK)

November 2010


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Centauri

In my late hours when I'm at the keyboard, not reviewing, but doing everything else that you do on a computer late at night that doesn't have an x-certificate attached to it, this has become the album of choice - the "late night" album of blissful, cosmic instrumental synthesizer music that you can just put on the player and let it drift. Now this may make you think it's bland or faceless or simply background music - far from it! Any of those would annoy you, make you want to reach for the "stop" button and try something else. No - this has a depth to it, a structure, a direction, and, even for cosmic synth music, a real feel of warmth behind it, without it conforming to the sweet and sugary end of the genre epitomised by Serrie and the like, or the weird and wonderful end of the genre as practised by the DiN label roster.

Inspired by the cosmos - no surprises there - it remains a multi-textured drift through space where everything moves all the time and nothing stays in one place for too long, and that's what makes it work - throughout the album's 7 tracks, from 6 to 12 minutes long, you're taken on a voyage among the stars that's a positive pleasure and, while it's not something you'll go away remembering on a compositional level, you do go away and remember that the album was the perfect calming influence from the rigours of modern day living without ever being bland or boring or challenging - and you can't say fairer than that. As a cosmic synth album goes, this has got what it takes.

Andy Garibaldi
Dead Earnest
(Dundee, Scotland, UK)

November 2009


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Firestorm

Latest album from the synth guy from 'down under' and it essentially sees him departing from what you've come to regard as a more space music approach, as a new instrumental album is chock-full of eleven tracks where the main focus is on melody, light rhythms and musical simplicity. Throughout an album that has tracks ranging from five to just under nine minutes long, you'll hear synth music that is easy on the ear and highly enjoyable by virtue of the atmospheres that the musician still manages to create, his love of space synth music coming into play as he ensures that, however simple the melodies and rhythms are, there is always a textural flow, a subtle undercurrent and somehow a warming glow that shines along the way.

It would be unfair to single out any track in particular as they all follow a very similar path. There are times in your musical listening life when you want something to listen to that's just going to flow over you, something on which you don't need to devote 100% concentration, and yet music that you want as something much more than mere 'background music', something with melody and a bit of muscle that will keep you engaged and yet not lose your interest, and this is that very album.

Andy Garibaldi
Dead Earnest
(Dundee, Scotland, UK)

2008


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Orion

After a number of predominantly spacey synth music CD's, this new album is... well, errrr... a spacey synth music CD. So, bearing in mind there's tons of these things around and that, these days, I'm only reviewing the ones that really move me, what is it about this one that achieves its aim? Well, for a start, evident right from the opening track, he's finally got the right mix of depth of texture allied to a warm, rich soundscape and, most importantly, an ever shifting pattern of flowing layers of cosmic bliss, all delivered with a deeply felt sense of emotion, something that many such sound-sculpting efforts, fail to provide. Seven and half minutes glide by in a heartbeat, and at no time are you looking down at the floor or staring up at the ceiling wondering when things will develop.

Thematically, if you could call it that, the next six and half minute track, continues in this vein, as it feels like one fourteen minute piece that's opened up before you. The near ten minute 'Stellar Wind' adds an almost early Tangerine Dream styled bubbling synth undercurrent, something that in the early seventies would have developed into a sequencer rhythm but here in Ottaway's hands, remains the foundation for some gorgeous cosmic explorations, all performed slowly but always evolving and never standing still. It's truly got what many call an "analogue warmth" to it, but one that seems to stand above many others in its field. Just a tad short of fourteen minutes, 'Frozen Star' continues in this vein, seriously atmospheric, seriously cosmic, but now with more what you'd call "leading" soundscapes upfront, which imply melody but don't actually provide it, again something that stops it being a boring piece of wandering aimlessness on the one hand, or overtly twee and frightful, on the other.

With four further tracks on the album between seven and ten minutes apiece, all mining this rich seam of cosmic bliss, it's consistent, it delivers what it promises, it's a worthy addition to any space synth music collection, it's great to listen to when you just want to chill out to something atmospheric or have on as background while you're writing your next novel or planning the bathroom. In short, recommended!

Andy Garibaldi
Dead Earnest
(Dundee, Scotland, UK)

2008


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Eclipse

The one word that really sums up this album once you've played it is 'magical'. In synth music terms - for it is an instrumental synths/keys dominated album - it's quite lightweight and easy going, but that's not to belie its decided sense of structure, purpose, direction and strength. The opener, 'Longing For Home', sets things off with a steady rolling electro-percussive rhythm as the waves of synths spread out and assorted melodic layers flow and bounce down below, the whole thing never standing still, and sounding quite mesmerising as late eighties Tangerine Dream-esque lead synths take hold and fly.

'New Voyage' starts with sampled Gregorian Chant to provide that timeless quality as a lone synth emerges and hangs in cosmic suspense before swoop echo, a sequencer beat starts to roll, synths shimmer and the piece starts its journey, initially quite airy and light, despite the bass depth of the distant sequencer, as the leads pass by and unfurl. Slowly it builds, eventually leading to a more solid electro-percussive undercurrent while the lead and textural synths largely stay within their already chosen sea of dynamics and melody. 'The Search' is more sprightly, altogether stronger, more strident and more in keeping with a teutonic tradition from the late '80's/early '90's, as melodies, lurching rhythms and ever increasing layers provide the human emotion to keep the whole thing sizzling, even though its pace is quite sedate, even though the rhythms themselves are quite solid.

The near fourteen minute title track is a thing of beauty with initial melody lines and sprawling synth surrounds mixing with cosmic bliss and upfront lead synths to provide a slowly expanding sea of synth melodies and harmonies. Eventually, a rhythm begins and the track takes on the strength of the crisp and echoed slow percussive cracks and crashes. Albeit with very slowly added textures and melodies, this pattern continues in spellbinding fashion right to the end of the track. The near 9 minute 'Curiosity' is a real anthem of a track, slowly blossoming out into this canyon-sized slice of synth-laden beauty, with strong hints of early eighties Tangerine Dream flowing through its veins as it slowly sprawls its heady way across everything it touches. The album ends on 11 minutes of 'Sequential Meditation' as layers of string synths rise up in a fogbank of electronics, the sparkling rhythms dancing all around as the strong and strident synth-percussive rhythm enters and starts to take the whole instrumental into altogether other areas.

Overall, as I said, quite magical, nothing too testing, but then again, nothing too obvious - and it works too!

Andy Garibaldi
Dead Earnest
(Dundee, Scotland, UK)

2007


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Aurora

Debut album from new Australian synthesist which opens with a two and a half minute track that is absolutely spellbinding as layers of flowing, floating synths create this magical expanse and immediately your attention is drawn to it as it slowly fades and you wonder what's around the corner. String synths herald the warm sounding, analogue arrival of the nine minute 'Fortune' as the warm sounding, stretched out melodies rise slowly in majestic fashion, all quite beautiful, cosmic and blissfully symphonic, a space music track that is, once again, absolutely magical but infused with slowly flowing melodic content, more Serrie/ Braheny-esque than the more amorphous compositions of someone such as Roach. From here it's onto the near thirteen minute 'Aurora Borealis' where a new universe of space and cosmic synth layers are built up, and here, as the album builds and strengthens, so you find a deep river of cosmic bass synth giving extra depth to the soaring magic that is the flowing synth layers which occupy the glorious full-sounding musical landscape, cosmic electronic music that really holds your attention, as the layers change and develop.

The five minute 'Light of Day' floats along on a layer of string-like synths with deep bass undercurrents as the majestic sounding lead synths flow slowly along to open another wide-eyed universe of sonic delight. The 3 lengthy and one short tracks that follow all occupy different elements of this expansive sea of space and cosmic synths music, the whole thing strong, purposeful and superbly played, produced and arranged, to make this one of the best examples of warm, flowing, analogue-sounding cosmic synth music to come along in ages.

Andy Garibaldi
Dead Earnest
(Dundee, Scotland, UK)

November 2007


Please click on the album cover to view album details and purchasing options.

JIM OTTAWAY: Aurora

A sixty-eight minute space synth album, with tracks from just under three to over fourteen minutes long. It starts in cosmic bliss territory, with the nine and a half minute 'Fortune', as classic a slice of sweetly flowing space synths as you'll find, the combination of strings at one end, bass at the other and the expansive synth flow in between, adding up to a beautiful example of floating, drifting space music. The near thirteen minute 'Aurora Borealis' is still space music, with plenty of layers of synth textures, flowing and floating, but here there is an underlying pulsing to the deeper soundscapes that run underneath the main body of the music, while on top there is more melodic variation as the richly textured synth flow, cascades and soars, slowly but surely, as a world of electronic soundscapes unfolds, in this case, altogether darker in mood and more varied in approach.

The five minute 'Light of Day' is a slowly symphonic example of cosmic bliss with strings, delicate tinkling synth ripples and a core of deeply flowing space synths that drift in layers, taking you off to another plane. 'Desert Shadows' is a nine minute composition that could quite easily have fitted in with anything on the legendary 'Western Spaces' album that Steve Roach and friends recorded way back, with its deep cosmic undercurrents, and, again, slowly melodic soundscapes that drift and flow but never stay in one place, always changing shape as the consistency of the deeper flow is maintained.

Three further tracks, two of them quite lengthy, continue the cosmic/space music approach to the same success level as before, serving to make this a 100% cosmic synths music album into which you can travel and become completely caught up in its spell and charm, and as albums in this territory go, it's extremely gorgeous stuff.

Andy Garibaldi
Dead Earnest
(Dundee, Scotland, UK)

April 2006

© Jim Ottaway 2014-2020