'The edges of everything'

In the Ambientrance top 10 CDs of 2000. A classic album of post-club chillout, mainly beatless, ambient music. Using soundscape recordings and layers of harmonies.

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FARFIELD. Beginning To Freeze. Emusic.com Release.

In the complex world of ambient music, only the serious listener takes any notice of these unusual textures. This is despite the fact that many have heard an abundance of this style. Advertisements and background scores for holiday and educational programmes are riddled with excerpts and so perhaps people should take more than a brief passing interest. Any thoughts of consigning albums such as this one to the musical dustbin of history are indeed behind the times. The eleven tracks all have a great feel and some are very majestic in their outlook including the stunning title track and opener. I adore Red Isotopes, with its icy persona and ultimate desolation providing some of the most evocative music you're likely to hear this side of the millennium. In contrast Narcotic Shade is much more up-tempo with a beat and a very haunting melody line. Beginning To Melt lasts for less than a couple of min. and so doesn't fall into the assumed category of long drawn out laborious pieces and has a guitar feel to it. Neon is pure brilliance with great bass notations, perfect understated piano playing and sympathetic percussion - I could so easily just listen to this one track. The 11 tracks were written between 1994 and 2001 and most have not been previously released. The only exceptions are a couple of tracks for compilations. I have difficulty in accepting that most of his music has been hidden away from public view as though the standard is not high enough. If this is his worst, then his best must be exceptional. I have already mentioned the title track, which is stunning and so is the rest of the album. Order it now. (Brooky)
It is only available on CDR through the website www.ambientmusic.co.uk/freeze.html or to Emusic.com subscribers.

Above review from Modern Dance Magazine, June 2002


Farfield, the project of Glastonbury-born Dr. Nick Webb, is rapidly gaining a reputation in Britain for his darkly minimalist ambient music, which combines the strangest and most unlikely of sounds, with location recordings made on a DAT recorder that he takes with him everywhere. Make no mistake, this is immensely clever stuff. "Dust And Glass" is the second Farfield album, and an eerie and moody collection of twilit soundscapes it certainly is. Its' strength lies in its' sheer ingenuity and uniqueness, and in the wonderful clarity of the component sounds which make up each piece. There's a scattering of percussion here and there, but generally the compositions consist of beautiful chords which float in and out, from wonderfully simple piano and deeply atmospheric synthesiser sounds. The flow and ebb of these compositions is very natural and organic. Of course the ever-present samples and DAT recordings are an intrinsic part of the music. Three of the tracks on this album feature recordings made on Glastonbury Tor on millennium night. You will also hear footsteps, gurgling water in Wellhouse Lane, the pages of a book being turned, and of seven hot-air balloons flaring over Dr. Webbs' head. The very uniqueness of the Farfield sound makes comparison to other peoples' music very difficult. Think of Future Sound Of Londons' "Lifeforms", or some of The Orbs' soundscape outings, but there's a far greater breadth and width to the Farfield compositions, and for this the talented Dr. Webb should be applauded. Having studied acoustics he has a real understanding and mastery of sound, which combined with his significant compositional expertise, has produced one of the most original albums I have heard for some time. "Dust And Glass" and also Farfields' debut album "The Edges Of Everything" can be purchased from www.ambientmusic.co.uk

Above review published in 'Avalon' Magazine, Feb/March 2002

FARFIELD. The edges of everything. FARCD01.

The Edges of Everything is a deep and dark soundscape from Farfield, nee Nick Webb. He uses all manner of electronics to mold and manipulate this set. The atmospheric ambience is dense. The eerie samples take it over the edge. This disc is hard to describe and easy to like. The synth riffs are catchy; the samples are interesting; the orchestral passages are dreamy. But the emotional response is somewhere out in left field. there is a response. It is just not overt. The darkness is not scary. The orchestration is not pastoral. The soundscape is not ambiguous. It is ambivalent. This is a masterful sound design. Nick has created a soundscape that goes both ways. That is a rare response!

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts, author of "Tracks Across the Universe: A Chronology of Ambient and Electronic Music" January 2002.

FARFIELD. Dust and Glass. FARCD03.

Nick Webb records under the pseudonym Farfield. "Dust and Glass," his second release, is a true minimalist gem! This is dark experimental minimalism in the Hypnos vein. There are no subtleties here. It is scary ambience, worthy of any Halloween sound design. Nick gathered some strange and exotic - even erotic - samples from around the U.K. (He even has a recording of seven hot air balloon burners. Wow!) The samples form the base of the soundscape. Nick layers his synths and drones on top of the samples. He also layers the samples on top of the synths and drones. The wall of sound is constantly building itself and collapsing into itself. It is reminiscent of a Frippertronics loop. But this is an original artistic triumph! There are similarities to many, derivatives of none. The experimental and manipulated sounds top the project. Nick has not had much, if any, exposure in the U.S.A. This CD promises to change that.

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts, author of "Tracks Across the Universe: A Chronology of Ambient and Electronic Music" November 2001

FARFIELD. Dust And Glass. FARCD03

The second album by Nick on his own label and it continues the themes set by his previous release in that the ambient music has a very personal nature to it. The opening track Sun Across My Eyes is a little similar to the early work by Scanner in which conversations are included on a sparse soundscape with the rhythmic appearance of a little known piano chord. It's all very eerie as the mood changes to one of isolationism in which great sadness is inflected, until a light beat is introduced and the mood changes once again. The next track consists of a beautiful ambient score and angelic voices all placed near a distorted crackling fire with static. It could sound horrendous, but it is just another glorious illustration of his talent. The fifth track features the sounds of the forest and realistic dog barks that are utterly convincing before the purposeful and relatively sparse double bass add weight to the proceedings. The feeling is one of being detached yet strangely held within his musical grip. The inventiveness of Balloon Phase is pure genius. The watery sounds combined with pleasant crowd noise imparts a gentleness on Wheelhouse Lane which is one of the three of the tracks that are associated with Glastonbury at the beginning of this millennium. The rather short finale leaves the listener wanting more. I hope this CD is not overlooked, as the music is both fascinating and well produced.

Review by 'Modern Dance' magazine, May 2001

"Nick Webb, who records as FARFIELD, has released his second album, Dust and Glass which both continues on from and expands the themes and musical motifs of his debut album, 'The edges of everything'. This CD proves beyond a doubt that Webb stands near or at the top of the current heap of artists who delve into the less-traveled waters of collage collage, found sounds, and musique concrete."

"The more I listened to this album, the more I was lured into what seemed to be its web of sinister deceit and vague foreboding. The first song, 'Sun Across My Eyes' brings the voyeuristic element to center stage as we eavesdrop on what sounds like a rather, shall we say, suggestive-sounding phone call between two women (who I think are Norwegian or Swedish). The same lines are looped over a number of times against a backdrop of vague rumblings, strangely tuned piano, and an irregular heartbeat-like pulsing. This is heady stuff and it wasnıt until at least the fifth playing that I 'warmed' to it, if that can be said of a recording that frequently elicits the feeling that one is hiding in a closet somewhere. Later on, the music on this cut combines snare/high-hat beats with those plunky piano notes and this whooshing sound that, in some ways, reminds me of a spirit passing right through me. Creepy? Oh yeah! But positively fascinating after a while; almost addictive, in fact."

"...the musical side of the album is unique and even startling enough that only with foreground listening can one appreciate what went into the making of this CD. On the title cut, for instance, the 'booming' and echoes in the background are counterpointed against what could be the sound of some wild beast grinding its prey's bones to dust. Disturbing? Yeah, you might say that. But also captivating in a strange way as well."

"Any one cut on Dust and Glass could stand as a fine piece of ambient noir (emphasis on the noir) and some cuts (such as the all too brief closer, 'Miles Away') are literally beautiful in a dark and shadowy way."

"In the end, what the album reminded me of was an art gallery exhibit I saw several years ago. The exhibit was a recreation of a section of an old hotel, consisting of a dark hallway and about eight doors. As one approached each door (triggering a microswitch in the floor) one could hear noises and/or conversations from within the rooms - a radio broadcast, two people talking, someone moving around the room. The exhibit was dimly lit and even the air was purposely stale and 'old' The overall effect was eerie but incredibly compelling. It was hard to leave. In some ways, Dust and Glass is like that exhibit. Itıs a bold and daring attempt by an artist who truly walks to the beat of a different drummer."

Quotes from Wind and Wire review, May 2001


As the sun begins to emerge after a usual 6 month winter, how about a relaxing dreamy, ambient soundtrack to sit and sunbathe to? Or perhaps the early hours of the morning would be better, who knows? This is music to chill, relax, meditate and levitate in the lotus position above your hemp yoga mat to. It is put together with a great deal of assured musicality. With Resonance and Dust and Glass, musical layers are added using electronic and natural sounds. Beats are sparse and delicate, while strings, phasing sweeps and chamber-echoed samples underpin the tune’s cerebral soothing mood. Originator, Nick Webb has used music sound-scape recordings made around the UK. Flood water and distant cries, recorded during the Millennium celebrations on and around Glastonbury Tor, can be heard in Ascent and Wellhouse Lane. The muted cries and bongo playing have a slightly eerie yet uplifting feel to them. In Balloon Phase he samples the sound of 7 hot air balloon burners that are mutated to great effect. Leap is my favourite. Luscious strings and gentle base move over what initially sounds like static. Or is it tree branches swaying in the wind, their sound waves being tampered with? The sound of wind pushing against a window? I don’t really want to know. This is music to be enjoyed and marvelled over for its ambiguities and not broken down into its constituent parts. So sit back - no lie back - close your eyes and relax to Farfield.

Review from Student-world magazine, entertainment section


True ambiences reflected in nine tracks on a beautifully blissed out chill-scape are the simple description of this album. Before we progress any further, let me say that this is not one of those long, meandering sets that refuses to develop. I was soon drawn into these mesmerising instrumentals and found myself paying much more attention than normal for this type of music. It's not all electronic based as instruments such as piano is used on the title track. The opening piece 'Exploding Snowdunes' sets the tone with its gentle oscillations that ebb and flow between the speakers, or headphones if you prefer more personal listening. On 'Last Calls', a sampled double bass is sparsely used to provide a more haunting effect. The finale, 'RealTime (and Counting)' is a lush orchestrated piece that contains plenty of musical depth. There is so much more to be found here than one of those relaxation tapes as the direction has greater purpose and that's only one of the reasons why I shall revisit this CD frequently.

Review by Modern Dance magazine, published in December 2000

Strange, alluring sounds are emanating from the U.K.... from Glastonbury to be more precise... from farfield's Nick Webb to actually pinpoint the source of these lovely sonic enigmas. Simultaneously relax and explore 'the edges of everything', a sublime merger of airy abstraction and hushed tonality. Great stuff! Light tones and softly gritty textures drift through 'exploding snowdunes' which seem to be a hive of continual organic activity. Faintly rippling beatpatterns are adrift on a smoothly morphing plane of synth haze, twinkling notes and general hushed atmospherics, all of which is beautifully 'reflected in your LEFT eye'. More intriguingly slurred soundscapes emerge'from the depths' (1:45); slow beats and ephemeral swirls receive just a bit of human prescence before fading away. A whispered question ("are YOU there?") repeatedly slips between piano and bass meanderings which are surrounded by a chilly spacefloe. Quiet locational sounds add an unidentifiable but immediate sense of place to 'stealing Fire' (7:34); faraway tones hover and spacious piano notes resonate more closely as deep symphonics seep downward. Sweet synthstrings spread through 'realTime (and counting.....)', performing slow-motion aerial acrobatics before fading out. 43 minutes passes all too quickly when surrounded by farfield's entrancing blend of musicality and ambiance. Gorgeously understated instrumental presences are merged with the subdued textures and half-heard entities which float in from 'the edges of everything'. A rightfully earned 9-2 of appreciation for opening my ears to some new ambient variations from a previously unheard source.

Review by Ambientrance magazine. September 2000.

"This is the first ambient album I've heard in a long time that seems to return to something of the simplicity of Brian Eno's Another Green World and Discrete Music. It is a CD to put on in the early hours of the morning when the world is quiet and still; its quality of gentle insistence invariably gets you focusing inside the texture to tease out the progress of a particular sound or instrument."

"Alongside sampled instruments and synthetic sounds the sonic preoccupations are disembodied voices from shortwave radio and the kind of noises and atmospherics of the natural world that play serious games with conventional perceptions of the aural landscape, much in the same way that Trevor Wishart achieves brilliantly in the Vox series. In this category the outstanding tracks are 'walking through...' and particularly 'stealing fire'. The latter places the listener in a virtual forest of wind and the creaking of trees. Beside these excellent and beautiful sounds sythesiser textures burb and bleep, a solo piano utters a plaintive refrain and dark toned strings (on a visit from Goreki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs*) wander into the mix."

"Oddly disturbing, annoyingly memorable!"

Excerpts from a review by Nigel Morgan, in Diffusion magazine, March 2000.

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Customer Comments:

" I received my CDs on Monday and thought you might like some feedback. Well, congratulations for everything! The top-quality website (found by a search in Ask Jeeves for "ambient"), the prompt delivery, the sensibly priced material and, oh yeah, the excellent ambient music. I'm still listening to Dust and Glass and the Cyscape CD but I am already impressed."

Comment from Paul Kelly, UK customer, July 2001

"FARFIELD provides rapid personal service on top of exhibiting exceptional talent and the ability to take away the world's cares through his music. The subtleties of each tune provide an endless source of inspiration. Hopefully he'll have more of his music available shortly, I can't wait!"

Comment from Dr Chris Lindsell, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA (September 2000).


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