February 02/17/23, 2023
Weathering the Storm is the highly-anticipated third collaboration by electronic ambient veteran Craig Padilla and guitar virtuoso Marvin Allen, on Spotted Peccary Music (SPM). Like their two prior releases, Toward the Horizon and Strange Gravity, this latest project - the third of a trilogy - sees Padilla and Allen building a dreamlike and dramatic electronic music landscape that only they could create together. Fans of Tangerine Dream, YES, and Klaus Schulze will find plenty of new sounds to love. Weathering the Storm is out now; listen or buy at https://orcd.co/weathering-the-storm, on SpottedPeccary.com and on Bandcamp at https://padilla-allen.bandcamp.com/.

The two deeply committed composers of this album say that this is an homage to krautrock, which is a historic term endowed by British music critics in the 1970s, trying to understand the powerful but very strange electronic music created by some German artists who were discovering their own sound. They needed to find a new sound that served as an alternative to the relentless American Hits pop sound that was always overwhelming their radios, day and night, everywhere across the land, nothing but American pop. And thus krautrock was born.

The bands resulting from this amazing time might include Ash Ra Tempel, Tangerine Dream, Yes, ELP, Utopia, Can, Faust, Neu, Cluster, Klaus Schulze, and so many more, and there has always been plenty to talk about. Usually the discussion is over who is too commercial, or what songs are actual classics, and what is pure. The krautrock sound is truly unique, with long meditative electronic vibrations that really do seem to come from another planet. There is an extraterrestrial form to the constantly developing styles of electronic music, and my guess is that the unwritten big rule is that nothing requires conforming to any formulas except maybe the notion of a musical journey through strange electronica with plenty of subtle references to traditional classical or instrumental folk music. After all these years, we all still like dramatic musical stories, or maybe just soaring wordlessly as the sequencers lead the way, considering time and space, stars, planets, cells, atoms, souls, and how everything has a consequence for simply being here. They say that we are connected beyond ourselves. These musical performances were in massive 1970's stadium scale concerts, where there were vibrating young people from wall to wall. We still are always one with Time and Space, and connecting with a tradition of contemplative sound experience whose roots are ancient and diverse. This always makes for a jolly proper interstellar good time.

Padilla reflects on the creation of Weathering the Storm:

“In 2019, Keith Jones at Fruits de Mer Records (UK) had commissioned me and Marvin to contribute a track to a limited edition double LP compilation album that was dedicated to the Kosmiche Music of pre-1975. We were excited about the idea to create new music that was rooted in the past and immediately began making music.

"Marvin and I used very little studio trickery and went "old school" with the first few songs that we recorded; The 19+ minute track "The Prodigal Sun" is an homage to pre-'75 Berlin-school / Krautrock music. Marvin played some rhythm guitar in the style of the opening track of Edgar Froese's "Macula Transfer" album ("Chug chug chug chug") to complement the main sequence, and overdubbed some lead guitar. I used an organ sound and my analog modular synth, and some old-school effects, much like the musicians of that time would have used. We sent a bare bones mix to Keith, but he opted not to use this song.

"We had recorded another tribute to early krautrock/kosmiche music titled "Weathering the Storm" (now the title track of the new album). I played a mellotron sound and analog synthesizers while Marvin played some melodies on an electric guitar and plucked a 12-string acoustic guitar in sync with synthesizer sequencer patterns, creating an organically hypnotic effect in the music. (Keith chose this song for the limited edition bonus CD for "Head in the Clouds.")

"The creative wave continued, and we recorded an atmospheric song titled "Aquatic" which was meant to be a tribute to Edgar Froese's 1974 title track to the album Aqua. This song contains sounds of the rain and thunder that Marvin recorded during a night that we had our first ever tornado warning in our area! The tornado never completely formed, but the overhead cloud funnel and the winds and rain made for a truly unique weather event! Marvin said "I like to use found sounds and I didn't want to let this opportunity to record the storm pass me by." This storm system yielded great results for the audio. (And various images of this storm were submitted to Daniel Pipitone for his consideration to use for the cover art.) We recorded our tribute to Aqua by using recorded rain, reverse piano, organ, and bubbly/chirpy synth sounds. Like the end of "Aqua" (the song), "Aquatic" finally ends with some trippy sounds to close out the piece. The roaring engines of big trucks passing by on a wet road reminds me of the jets flying by on the third track of Froese's "Aqua" album, "NGC 891." (This song was chosen for the Fruits de Mer compilation double LP album "Head in the Clouds.")

"At this point, I had gone back to listen to "The Prodigal Sun," and felt that it should be updated with more modern sounds and percussion, which Marvin agreed would be appropriate. Once we had finished this song, we knew that we had enough music for half an album. Once again, the waves of inspiration hit us to move forward with our more modernized abilities while still being inspired by the electronic music of pre-1975.

"And then suddenly, the pandemic gave us a new perspective on how we were going to finish the album.

"The track 'Sunflowers in the Wind' was commissioned by Chuck van Zyl for a special "pandemic edition" of Star's End Radio which featured new music by artists who were staying busy during that time. Marvin had written the original melody and recorded the guitar track in my studio. With all of the turmoil happening, I had forgotten about it until he reminded me to check it out again. I was so impressed by its beauty; I jumped at the chance to add synths to it. Marvin says, "It's dedicated to Paula Franke (a foreign exchange student from Germany who was staying with the Padilla family) and her "sisters" Melodee and Harmonee Padilla. For me, the title symbolizes these young ladies. Although the winds of this turbulent time blow around them, their roots will help them to stand strong. In the end, when the wind subsides, they will still be reaching upwards towards the sun and continue to grow."

"The rest of the album came to fruition during the pandemic, which we feel assisted us in the way that we concluded the album. We knew that this was going to be more than an homage to the early 70's sound. It is music that honors life. With the collaborative assistance from graphic artist Daniel Pipitone, it's another soundtrack album for the continuing story of the "Umbrella Girl" who represents all of us looking for our own way of existence in this complex world."

The trilogy continues… The winds blow, the beast calls, the forces gather, and from there things go deep, "The Prodigal Sun" (18:54), at an epic (almost) 19 minutes, the title has lots of references, including the Sun-Son ionic duality, which gives another set of layers to the mix. Note that this is the longest track on the album, almost nineteen minutes. The journey of course is epic, starting from the deepest mysteries of outer space, and then you notice that there is a new beat, and there is another array of layers of the expressive guitar. There is space activity that continues to discover new ideas, building across the frightening vertiginous depths and dodging the presence of gigantic flying objects overhead. "A Matter of Time Part 1" (3:02) might be a story of chronological reinterpretations. Also, since this is Part 1, there must be more. What I hear is a twelve string guitar reaching into swirling electronica and leading up to a dramatic meltdown or sustained explosion, the distances are almost lost while the details keep things interesting. "Aquatic" (7:44) has more natural elements and some interesting sounds woven into the mix, at times heavy rainfall blending with signals from Atlantis, so dark and deep and full. I think that I hear the majestic space beetles calling from the maelstrom. Evidenced by the strange times and weather we are now living through, the heavy rainfall themes might have a more terrifying effect than ever before, a potent reminder of experiencing any flood or water cataclysm.

During the time when they were recording their tribute to Edgar Froese's 1974 title track to the album Aqua, Marvin and Craig both received urgent EBS text messages for a tornado warning, and watched the funnel cloud forming, and then getting lost in the beauty of it before realizing the smart thing to do. Seek shelter? Craig calmly replies, “Marvin had the wherewithal to take his recording equipment out and capture the weather sounds.” The tornado never completely formed, but the overhead cloud funnel and the winds and rain yielded a truly unique track.

The song "Sunflowers in the Wind" (4:37) sounds like a bright sunny sky, fine guitar notes enter the crystal silence, feeding on their echoes and slowly propelling the movement into what becomes a virtual synthesized tornado, as the title track, "Weathering the Storm" (10:12), begins and continues cautiously. You know that something big is going to happen, a building sense of some kind of dangerous natural phenomenon that is ultimately clarifying. Do I hear the sweet lamentations of mermaids? I hear mythological rumblings of thunder, through multiple breezes of mist, a beautiful spectral environment which flows among dramatic effects and silvered iridescent floating shadows, continued with the twelve-string guitar soaring through space together with the varied sweeps, at times unbelievably mind blowing. The next track brings a superb hypnotic sequential movement, an acoustic guitar in deep space, "A Matter of Time part 2" (1:46).

For many centuries, outer space, with its infinite number of galaxies, stars, moons and planets, has been an inspiration to the arts. "Onwards and Upwards" (8:59) reaches into a strange and vast territory. Imagine that the reverberation is an instrument. You can feel the power and wonder abound, guitar and drone abide, now enter the piano. Now bring on a new pulse. Life is good. The final track on this aural odyssey is titled "Liquid Heaven part 2" (5:55), I hear evidence of a link between the sequential spheres, and imagine that we are riding on subtle nuances and sequenced progressions, until we might be eventually stirring in the dream of the crystal shadows, which dance as angels pass by on a delicate crystalline structure, circular and catchy, a pure jewel of the dream crown. To me, listening constantly, the feeling is blissful, floating out there encircled by magnificent howling synths which move in the sky and fill the air, this is a long atmospheric episode.

The borders of conceivable electronic music have just been re-extended yet deeper into uncharted territory, with Weathering the Storm, the slow strata are all in contrast with the rhythm of strange metallic and spectral winds. Find your bliss in the rhythm and the celestial harmonies of each phenomenal journey with early psychedelia and unparalleled use of sequencers, revisiting the 1970's electronic technology into that old place where there is no up or down, there is only near and far, a series of explorations of distant territories, and winning combinations of burning electric guitar craft with icy synthetics.

The album premiered two weeks ago on Star's End Radio hosted by Chuck Van Zyl, who also reviewed the album, noting, "With each passing piece we become exposed to different intensities of mood and variations in tone. From bright motion-filled sonic landscapes and blissed-out plush textures, to overcast hollows of twilight realms, Padilla and Allen guide us safely through their well-crafted thought zones. Moving between the soothing, the unsettling, and the fiery, Weathering the Storm coaxes raindrops of melodic narrative from storm clouds of harmonic drama – playing out as a thousand beautiful dreams burn softly within."

The album is not only a trilogy in sonic stylings, but also in visual storytelling; all three of Padilla and Allen’s collaborations feature the iconic Umbrella Girl on the cover. Theories abound, but one might say she represents all of us looking for our own way of existence amidst the chaos of the world. She is an open-minded seeker, and these soundscapes are her explorations. The artists will discuss the concept alongside Daniel Pipitone, Spotted Peccary's creative design chief, on an upcoming podcast episode of Tones and Drones.

All music on Weathering the Storm was composed, performed and produced by Craig Padilla (synthesizers, sequencers, and drum programming) and Marvin Allen (guitars and homemade Theremin); it was recorded and mixed by Craig Padilla.

Mastered by Ben Cox, the album is available as a physical CD with creative design by Daniel Pipitone, and, as 24-BIT Audiophile, CD Quality Lossless Download, and MP3 streaming formats that can be found at https://orcd.co/weathering-the-storm. CD formats are available at Amazon, SpottedPeccary.com, and https://ambientelectronic.bandcamp.com/

Spotted Peccary Music will live stream Weathering the Storm throughout the day of release on its 24-7-365 streaming and live chat channel SPMLive: https://linktr.ee/ambientelectronic.tv

For artist interviews, reviews, or promotional requests, please contact Beth Ann Hilton at beth(at)spottedpeccary(dot)com.

1 The Prodigal Sun 18:55
2 A Matter of Time Part 1 3:03
3 Aquatic 7:45
4 Sunflowers in the Wind 4:37
5 Weathering the Storm 10:12
6 A Matter of Time Part 2 1:46
7 Onwards and Upwards 8:59
8 Liquid Heaven Part 2 5:56

About the Artists:
With more than 40 releases over the course of his prolific career, Craig Padilla has proven to be a driving force in the current electronic music scene. Never letting technology overcome the humanity in his compositions, he creates electronic music that is rooted in tradition while still sounding new, interesting and fresh. Craig has always endeavored to create engaging musical landscapes as experiences to be treasured and played indefinitely.

Marvin Allen is a northern California based multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, performer, and music educator. As an accomplished musician, he has lent his talents to numerous jingles, recording sessions, and short film soundtracks for many years. He also co-founded the Shasta Blues Society and continues to mentor many talented youth. https://spottedpeccary.com/artists/craig-padilla-and-marvin-allen/

Portland-based Spotted Peccary Music is North America’s finest independent record label with a focus on deep, vast and introspective soundscapes. For over three decades, the artists of Spotted Peccary have been on a mission to develop, produce, publish and release ultra-high-quality, deep-listening experiences that engage the listener and exceed expectations. Every release is carefully prepared in a variety of high quality formats from MP3 to high-res studio masters. Explore more than 165 titles and 45 artists released over 37 years of excellence at www.SpottedPeccary.com and www.AmbientElectronic.com.

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0RUIIas98bKd2qpu4ITrlu?si=tUyzGkdbSsySkXAsQ2Ftwg
Smartlink to various platforms: https://orcd.co/weathering-the-storm
Spotted Peccary Album Page: https://spottedpeccary.com/shop/weathering-the-storm/
Bandcamp: https://ambientelectronic.bandcamp.com/