On his second album “Mirage at the Crossroads”, Sacramento-based composer Biff Johnson has decided to follow a bit of a new musical direction for his ambient music, as the outcome of debut album “Reading the Bones” almost sounded like a tribute to the desert music of fellow-musician Steve Roach. According to the press sheet, “Mirage at the Crossroads” explores the esoteric side of the audio imagery genre.
Well, the music fits in the tribal organic and more darker-oriented ambient style, but has some groovy currents running through the nine tracks, while (according to the composer) musically also being somewhat more aggressive and intense compared to the first album.
In addition, it again received the spatial sonic treatment of Mr Roach, but the latter now also joined Biff on two tracks on electronics, harmonicas and dreamloops. The mesmerizing spherics of “Dawn Prey” are a beauty on its own, while some profound minimalism surfaces on “Lighthouse in the Firmament”, turning to strong tribal ethnical atmospheres on “Urban Ritual”.
The two collaborative pieces with Steve Roach are other highlights, featuring nice evolving spheric sound paintings with immersive depth. One can simply feel the energy smoothly flow underneath these ambient atmospherics.
All in all, “Mirage at the Crossroads” makes another nice addition to the catalogue of sonic companions for the exploration of wide and expansive spaces and barren, remote landscapes in the Sierra Nevada region.