Parnassus, named either for a sacred Greek mountain or for an investment firm, is a mysterious, Pittsburgh-based ambient/drone artist.
Parnassus recently released two albums whose outward aesthetics could not be more different. Adorning the cover of Fragmentations is a drab photo of a radiator sitting alone in a carpeted corner, while Mad features what looks like an elaborate Renaissance painting, complete with nudity, dramatic poses, and a camel. Both albums, however, feature rich, extended instrumental compositions that draw from ambient, classical, and even prog influences. Mad‘s “Bloomsbury Gathering” reminded me of material from Brian Eno’s landmark Ambient 1: Music for Airports, with its layers upon layers of angelic, choral vocals ringing out into surrounding silence. The accompanying artwork may have enhanced the effect, but listening to this song felt like a religious experience of sorts. Hallelujah for Parnassus. And for radiators and Renaissance art.
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