Common Ground is a new project founded in spring 2013 after Gary Johnson and Bill Olien (aka Resonant Drift) approached electronic space music synthesist Hollan Holmes to collaborate. From there they spend nearly a year and a half putting together two dozen or so musical song concepts.
This proved an interesting and fun way to work for all involved, especially for Hollan. Each musician would record a basic song idea, post the file and the others would load it up and add to it, trading progress and new tracks back and forth, building on one another’s initial ideas until there was a body of work from which they could choose favorites and assemble a full length album. More importantly, the blend of their distinct styles (Resonant Drift’s work tends to be more drone-based including processed guitar, field recordings and live percussion, while Hollan’s sonic art leans toward Berlin School sequences and a more melodic, song-like feel) led to a cohesive, solid outcome on this same-titled release.
The 60-minutes of captivating ambient music, for which Robert Rich handled the full mastering, is a most pleasing blend of airy atmospherics with tasty guitar-licks along a bit of high-tech, futurism and minimalism thrown in sideways. From the nine pieces “The Apollo Frequency”, “Tempest Rising” and “Long Voyage Home”, all lush cosmic symphonies of uplifting and mesmerizing textures, are my favorites next to the evocative opener “Many Voices” and smooth closing piece “The Ties that Bind”.
All in all, this debut is a great start, already making me curious to forthcoming albums of these accomplished musicians.