Clive Wright Press

A Selection of Press Reviews of

Albums featuring Clive Wright

Clive Wright: Taqsim to Antlia

On August 13, 2010 at the The Integratron, a large wooden dome built in the 1950s and located in Landers, California, Clive Wright performed a “live ambient guitar improvisation” while the Southern California Desert Video Astronomer team used deep space telescopes to project live images onto the structure's domed surface. At this Perseid Meteor Shower party, Wright used guitars, guitar synth, and oud to spontaneously respond to the live display of stars, galaxies, and deep space imagery and generate an ethereal, starry-eyed score newly documented on the seventy-seven-minute Taqsim To Antlia. His playing has been captured since 2008 in three collaborations with Harold Budd (A Song for Lost Blossoms, Candylion, and Little Windows), but Wright flies solo in the new release, even if the gear deployed allows him to create rich, expansive washes of sound against which his liquid guitar improvisations are heard.

The two-minute title track immediately establishes the material's otherwordly character, as Wright's limpid guitar lines resonate against a shimmering backdrop, before seguing without interruption into “Plateau of Mendas” where Wright solos at length amidst cathedral-esque washes and choir-like intonations. The sound is gauzy and the mood largely peaceful, as little hint of galaxial cataclysm is intimated by the album's six pieces. At times, Taqsim To Antlia suggests kinship with Fripp and Eno's No Pussyfooting and Evening Star and the solo “churchscape” recordings Fripp issued during the past two decades, among them At the End of Time, A Blessing Of Tears, and The Gates of Paradise, especially during those passages when Wright's electric guitar comes into sharper focus (“Vulpecula,” for example) and when its sound, as it does during “Cassiopias Necklace,” resembles Fripp's so closely. As pleasurable as it is to hear Wright playing in this context, Taqsim To Antlia might have benefited from some judicious editing, as its seventy-seven minutes start to seem like too much of a good thing at around the fifty-minute mark. Experiencing the project as a DVD presentation might have made a difference in that regard, as the visual display of the projected images would have helped counter any weariness that would set in on purely listening grounds. An abbreviated version of the release also would translate nicely into a vinyl format, with the CD's first four pieces lending themselves to a natural split across a twelve-inch's sides. Despite such reservations, there's no denying the beauty of Wright's playing and the loveliness of the penultimate piece, “Sine Nomine,” to cite one representative example.

January 2011


PGE 1   2  3   4  5  6  7  8  9  10

Clive Wright
TAQSIM TO ANTILA- (DARLA)- I'm a big fan of instrumental music, but I am also aware of its limitations. One of the biggest criticisms is that it sounds same-y, or sounds like some dude pressing "hold" on a keyboard with delay, and calling this little revolutionary act "art." While there are certain truths to be found in that, when one finds an artist who really knows their stuff, one clings on to them. One such fellow is Clive Wright, a musician who in recent years has become known from a series of collaborations with master composer HAROLD BUDD. Taqsim to Antila is an album taken from a live performance held in the Mojave desert, with visuals presented by a local astronautical organization. The results, however, are stupendous. While it'd be great to see this live, I am most content, as the album contains six songs, with five that go well over the ten minute mark. But what more can I say about such music? I can't, really. Taqsim to Antila's gentle, simple music has proven to be one of the most beautiful, most restful albums of 2010. It is a gentle swim in the calm cerebral waters of the mind and it is no insult to its greatness for me to say that I cannot listen to the entire album without falling asleep. A quiet masterpiece, this. JOSEPH KYLE 2010.


‘ One of the most beautiful, most restful albums of 2010, a quite masterpiece’

Clive Wright, Taqsim to Antlia
review by dave heaton

I don’t know why, but the wisps of guitar that begin Taqsim to Antlia bring outer space to mind even if you don’t know that Clive Wright made the music as the accompaniment to a meteor shower party, with images from deep-space telescopes projected live. It’s not stereotypical science-fiction music, per se, but the gentle, probing instrumental music does feel related to music used in the past to represent space. That relation gives the pieces a historical and emotional resonance, instead of making them feel overly familiar or tired.
This music could never sound tired. It’s the quiet energy pulsing through Wright’s patient playing. It sounds like he’s watching the sky, playing what it makes him feel. Basically that is what’s happening, Wright using the sounds he can coax from his instrument to reflect his impressions of space, of how images and ideas of space resonate within us. It is internal music in a way, classic ambient music to sink into an individual space, but also made public. It’s a soundtrack to a party, after all, one where the trips we’re all taking within our brains and bodies are made explicit, writ large against, and with, the galaxies.

(CD from
     Perhaps best known for his ambient work with Harold Budd, Clive Wright is one of the finest exponents of ambient guitar, something that is demonstrated to perfection on this album, a glistening deep-space exploration of sound that is best heard with no distractions and ,quite possibly, a flickering candle.
    Recorded live at The Integration, a wooden dome situated in the desert of southern California, the improvisations were accompanied by projections of the Perseid Meteor shower (courtesy of a local astronomer team) as well as the night sky itself. Reacting to the images all around him, Wright manipulates his guitar through a variety of effects, creating a breathtaking musical interpretation of the moment,  both slow and sparkling with sudden rushes of energy that are, presumably, sonic metaphors for the meteors themselves.
    Over six long tracks, each named after stars/constellations,  the guitar shimmers beautifully, a gentle ripple of sound that floats gently away, to be replaced by more of the same and ever widening pool of sound that is relaxing and spacious.
   Managing to retain interest over an hour whilst still holding the atmosphere of calm is no mean feat, yet Wright pulls it off easily, his playing always tasteful and controlled without falling into New Age tedium. No doubt this would be even better with the visuals as well, but closing your eyes and drifting away is a highly recommended alternative. (Simon Lewis)

Rivers Home 2
Sleeps In Oysters
Towards Green

Clive Wright: Spoke 
Desert Sky Music
Spoke is about a complete a recorded portrait as one might hope to have of Clive Wright, who has in recent years has seen his profile rise through a number of collaborations with Harold Budd. One might describe Wright as an ‘ambient guitarist,' even if doing so threatens to pigeonhole him a little bit; the label isn't misdirected, however, as his discography includes a number of Live Ambient recordings, the most recent being Deluge issued on his own California-based Desert Sky Music label. In contrast to such singularly focused work, the seventy-minute Spoke covers many bases in mixing vocal with instrumental pieces and songs with moodscapes and meditations.
“A Message of Gravity” opens the album with a mournful, Eastern-styled dirge featuring Wright's own supplicating vocals and distinctive electric guitar sound, whose tone is equally fluid and lyrical. That Eastern feel re-emerges during “Babylon Karari” and “Red & Green” where Wright brings oud and hand drums into the fold (there's even an electric guitar solo in the former that's, dare I say it, Santana-esque). Some tracks exude a beatific, celestial character of the type often associated with New Age (“Veritas In Adventus”) while others are more dreamily trip-hop in style (“You Should Know,” featuring vocalist Mariietta Rebekka, and “Mes Yeux Vitreux”). A few are straight-up showcases for Wright's always satisfying electric guitar playing (“11.11.11,” “Dune Matrix”), and Budd sits in on “Timeless,” though not with his readily identifiable piano but with other keyboards that could as easily be taken for Wright's playing, not Budd's.
Perhaps the album's best moment is one of its most unassuming: “Blue Star,” a lovely instrumental ballad that finds Wright weaving multiple guitar parts of contrasting timbre into a memorably peaceful serenade; Wright's electric guitar sound is sometimes similar to Robert Fripp's, and never more is that evident than during this piece. Though overlong (arriving near album's end, the ten-minute title track is about twice longer than necessary), Spoke nevertheless offers an excellent overview of Wright's music and would make for an especially good introduction to someone new to his work.
May 2012