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March 03/24/23, 2023
The moon has no light of its own, it shines by the reflected sunlight from the sun. I imagine a night sky with all of the stars appearing, seen from your favorite garden. The whole album A Walk in the Shadow Garden, by Rudy Adrian, takes place in deep twilight. What I hear is a light and elegant style of instrumental electronic music, within a dark, atmospheric examination of mysterious hidden places and nocturnal meditation. Clearly immensity is encouraged, with the use of polyphony and the increasing importance of keyboards with physical musical instruments such as the flute and guitar within relaxing and peaceful ambient electronic soundscapes, this brings about a more abstract and stylized view of nature. A Walk in the Shadow Garden seems to imitate the essence of nature, and to serve as an atmosphere for meditation.

Beneath the comfortless cold moon showing only the most essential aspects of nature, the title track, "A Walk in the Shadow Garden" (5:10) introduces this tour of imaginary horticultural night sounds. "Clouds Over Fields" (6:07) takes place at a high altitude, soaring sustained tones over an abundant perennial grassland approaching resplendent old trees. "Dawn Redwood" (3:54) perpetuates the sense of mystery, slowly transforming the perfect darkness into what happens before daylight. "Hemlock Grove" (4:59) has a shimmering glowing feeling, perhaps with chimes, flutes, and other air sounds.

Moss adds a sense of calm, age, and stillness, "Of Mosses and Liverworts" (6:05) presents percussive metallic taps, glowing slow tones. Maples are renowned for their autumn leaf color, usually have easily recognizable leaves and distinctive winged fruits, shaped to spin as they fall. "Maple Glen" (7:46) brings a sense of cosmic quiet, one might hear the rare night insects purr under their shelter, building presences. The quiet is consistently complete. "Rising Mist" (6:18) brings together the electronics with a piano, careful, deep limitless slow; nature is a distant choir. The light does not penetrate "Dark Waters" (6:31), one gets a sense of floating in darkness.

"Perchance to Dream" (8:56) is a phrase from the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy spoken by Shakespeare's Hamlet, this track gives a sense of slowly building wonderment unfolding as details emerge, new textures blossom and are sustained through glowing layers which provide only glimpses into the swirling clouds. "Beechwood" (1:29) might be a very short sound poem, flutes glow and reverberate, the Night Garden turns and retreats into the night sky. "Conversations with a Gardener" (7:26) brings philosophical reflections, each wordless conversation is very subtle, and there are some familiar textures that emerge returning from earlier in this journey.

A walk through a garden is a treat many of us may find mentally and physically restorative. And it doesn’t have to be your own garden - it could just as easily be a public park or a reserve of vegetation growing beside a highway or river. The shading boughs of trees during summer and paths between planted shrubs and flowers are quite different to the surroundings that most of us encounter at work or in our homes.
Rudy is hoping this album will evoke for the listener the feelings of exploring a garden, be it planted or wild.

He says, "The music is designed to be peaceful and restoring, and was created in a way to not draw attention to itself. Hence there are no vocals, no strongly discernible melody or rhythm, and indeed, the sounds themselves are designed and mixed to not stand out. Instead, the audio is to be simply a quiet and calm accompaniment for the listener as they rest, read, meditate or sleep.

"Much of the music on this album is inspired by my imaginations of a garden landscape. A long time ago I discovered it’s no good to take a keyboard out INTO a garden and try to be inspired, or even to compose while looking out at a view. The scenery tends to make the music sound better than it really is, and as a result, my musical judgment becomes compromised. Instead - just as many writers of prose and poetry also find - a blank wall is probably the best view while creating. This means that whatever is being created HAS to stand up by itself.

"I do get some inspiration from my growing collection of large-format books of photographs or paintings of New Zealand landscapes. In particular, a book by photographer John Johns called The Forest World of New Zealand, with its remarkable collection of photographs, is one I’ve been regularly drawn to nearly my whole life.

"When I’m creating music, the work tends to fall into three very distinct categories - firstly there’s the synthesizing of sounds - I’m often trying to create new sounds or tweaking existing ones. Then secondly, is the many hours I spend improvising with these sounds and trying to come up with a new idea on how to use them in a piece of music. Lastly is actually putting together a new music track, often trying to layer the sounds together in a satisfying way."

The garden is a shadowy and colorful environment and the music is about calming things down. The natural world continues to be a common thread in Rudy Adrian’s music through the exploration of sonic landscapes, where melody and rhythm play a secondary role to the tones and textures created by synthesizers, wood flutes and the human voice. Music and nature have always gone hand in hand for Rudy Adrian. He first started making electronic music while studying Forestry Science at the University of Canterbury, and in the following years at the University of Otago while completing a degree in Botany.

Currently, he details his nature walks on an impressive Instagram account at

1 A Walk in the Shadow Garden 5:10
2 Clouds Over Fields 6:07
3 Dawn Redwood 3:54
4 Hemlock Grove 4:59
5 Of Mosses and Liverworts 6:05
6 Maple Glen 7:46
7 Rising Mist 6:18
8 Dark Waters 6:31
9 Perchance to Dream 8:56
10 Beechwood 1:29
11 Conversations with a Gardener 7:26