Ambient aficionados may remember this release published as part of a 20-minute EP-CD series released by Amplexus back in 1994. Later on in 1997 it was included on the Projekt cd “Amplexus: Collected Works” from the 1995 Ltd Series” along with the music from Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana from the same label series. The original release of “The Path Not Taken” actually consists of four parts all recorded in 1993/1994, and is made available now eventually by the artist.
The title “The Path Not Taken” is a play on the title of the poem “The Road Not Taken” by American poet Robert Frost, and came to the composer’s mind during a hike through Muir Woods just north of San Francisco. Muir Woods is a protected grove of giant Redwood Trees, and Thom often went there to hike among its many paths and trails. Robert Frost wrote the poem in part for an indecisive friend, with the suggestion being that if one must choose between two roads, neither is better than the other because the outcome of either cannot be foreseen. His friend thereafter chose to join the US Army and was killed a year later in World War II. Thom Brennan’s meaning is not so deep, as it simply came to mind when he had to choose a path from several through Muir Woods and wondered what lay down the path he did not take.
“Part 1” was one of several versions of the main track which is Part 4. “Parts 2” and “Part 3” were tracks recorded around the same time with the composer’s intention of possibly using them to complete a cd-length version of his own at some point (which hereby turns out to be a couple of decades later). “Part 4” is the full, original 29-minute version of what was released on the mini-cd by Amplexus back in 1994. The track was edited by Steve Roach at the time to 19 minutes to make it fit on the previously mentioned Amplexus’ series of CD-EPs.
What should be considered one long musical journey, Thom’s airy, gentle unfolding soundscapes (accompanied by minimalist sequences and rhythms occasionally) is a joy to immerse into as it remains evocative of place.
In this respect it’s important to remember what Steve Roach once taught Thom about the quality of sound, the silence behind it and the importance to the overall music. The silence between notes or the musician behind the field of music is equally important, something definitely showing on “The Path Not Taken”.
You can see what reviews I have done of this artist on the Thom Brennan artist page