The Dark Aether Project - In the Media
The Dark Aether Project - In the Media

"...jazz-inflected, often minimalistic...foreboding soundscapes...classy ...offers mature musicianship without pretentiousness"
- John Collinge - Progression (US)

"..intense and blistering lead work...amazing loops and shimmering textures that are at once haunting and dreamlike...worthy of attention."
- Peter Thelen - Expose (US)

" impressively performed foray into progressive music."
- Music Monthly (US)

"This is a rare example of a rock band whose extended solos are a strong point."
- Mark Jenkins - The Washington Post (US)

"...delivers what the demanding progressive rock fan wants: a unique and original product, dexterity, a sharp musical flair and the ability to play with the listener's emotions."
- Cyclone Magazine (Quebec)

"I'm blown away. This is - forgive my colloquialism - some serious shit. absolutely fabulous album."
- Larry Nai - Progression - (US)


  • The Gentle Art of Firewalking

    • Music Monthly (Vol. 19, No. 2):
      Another Maryland based band is the Dark Aether Project, an ever-mutating musical entity founded by touch-style guitarist Adam Levin in 1997... In October the band settled into Levin's home studio in Severn, MD to record their third CD, The Gentle Art Of Firewalking. It's an impressive album that pulls on influences such as King Crimson, Pink Floyd and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Joining Levin on the eight song disc (four are vocals, and four are instrumentals) are Allen Brunelle (drums/keyboards/ background vocals), Jennifer Huff (vocals), John McCloskey (guitars), and Marty Salerra [sp: "Saletta"] (keyboards, stick), making The Gentle Art Of Firewalking an impressively performed foray into progressive music.

    • ProgressiveWorld
      Click here for the review

    • Prog Archives
      Click here for the review

    • Traverses (France)
      Click here for the review

      Click here for the review

  • Feed the Silence

    • Progression: The Journal of Progressive Music - Issue 31:
      The Dark Aether Project: Feed The Silence (CD, 51:57); Dark Aether DAP2.
      It took about eight minutes before I was convinced that Dark Aether Project was onto something with their second disc, but convinced I remained. They open with what sounds like a sample from an old atomic-bomb scare documentary, out of which comes a heavy wave of wind. A Floyd-ish keyboard figure emerges, then leaves as, even more in the Pink, guitarists Adam Levin and Yaman Aksu play a wonderfully spacey duet, one flanged, the other more pointed, sustained. Aksu switches to Hammond organ, Brian Griffin kicks in with nicely restrained drumming, and by this time I'm blown away. This is - forgive my colloquialism - some serious shit.
      "Nightmare" has Levin dragging a Warr 8 String Touch Guitar loop across a "Not Fade Away" riff variant, in a lumbering dance groove that supports strong melodies, and a compelling vocal line sung by Ray Weston, ex of Echolyn. "Stages" cites Three of a Perfect Pair-era Crimson, but takes the influence into some interestingly different areas over its near nine-minute length. The band's ability to balance written material with kick-ass jamming fervor is very apparent in this piece. Warr loops are back on "Building the Worm" as Levin provides some beautiful space for he and fellow Warr Touch player Markus Reuter to land on, circle each other in a pas-de-deux of wild serenity, and end with a touch that'll take your breath away.
      Convinced yet? Weston's voice gets a marvelous showcase on the title track, with imaginitive vocal writing, and some hair-raising, Jim Morrison-like screams. Feed the Silence also shows the band to be very adept at developing long-form compositions, with a harmonic distinctiveness and sensitivity to mood that recalls the late-1960s West Coast band Love.
      A nine-minute, live bonus-track, "Out of the Dark/Dark Aether" (I love a band with a theme song) opens in outer space, wah-wah'd, fuzzed out, and all but strained through a Leslie. Around three and a half minutes, there's a tantalizing hint of a move into tempo, but drummer Brian Griffin delays gratification for a while, finally ushering in a huge bass figure around which the loops bob and weave. The performance ends just as it began, Aksu and Levin sparring, circling, throwing flames of electricity at each other. The tune also shows that these guys can reproduce their studio genius with satisfying accuracy onstage.
      Dark Aether Project hits a lot of progressive rock pleasure points with Feed the Silence, but make no mistake: this is not another derivative band with little new to say. They are there, Bud, and this is an absolutely fabulous album. Go for it. - Larry Nai

    • The Washington Post - Friday, Jun 25th 1999:
      Essentially an instrumental trio, the Dark Aether Project draws on the style of latter-day King Crimson, especially in the percussive playing of guitarists Yaman Aksu and Adam Levin. The latter uses a Warr Touch guitar-bass, an eight-string instrument that requires no picking, so he can play separate parts with alternate hands. Ray Weston adds vocals to two of the six tracks on the Maryland group's "Feed the Silence," but even those are designed principally to showcase Levin, Aksu and drummer Brian Griffin.
      There's plenty of room to do that, since the average length of these compositions is almost nine minutes. The music is most engaging at its most Crimson-like, notably the chiming, cyclical "Stages." Elsewhere, the band shows a weakness for bombast, from the sci-fi-soundtrack overture of "Building the Worm" to the rock-operatic balladry of the title track, which suggests Yes fronted by Roger Daltrey. This is a rare example of a rock band whose extended solos are a strong point. - Mark Jenkins

  • The Dark Aether Project

    • Expose - Issue 15, July 1998:
      Dark is right, but not in a conventional sense. This trio of stick, guitars and drums plays a very direct and oft-times sparse music that seems to be vaguely under the influence of eighties King Crimson. DAP guitarist Yaman Aksu either plays it straight with no effects, or craftily treated for some intense and blistering lead work. Stick player Adam Levin does a commendable job at the high end adding texture to the sound, and at the bottom end providing contour and dimension to the rhythmic patterns with drummer Brian Griffin. In addition, Levin creates some amazing loops and shimmering textures that are at once haunting and dreamlike as on "Heavens Descent". Guest vocalist Jason Wilson (Emerald Tiers) joins the project on three of the discs seven tracks, and breaks up the otherwise intense block of instrumental material in a good way that makes it overall more accessible. There is some uncredited sax and trumpet work (samples maybe) that punctuates several of the tunes, but otherwise it's just the trio. "Bitter Harvest", the final vocal tune, opens with some nice acoustic work by Yaman, later augmented by some intense electric textural development. The closer is an unlisted eleven minute track consisting of three or four loosely structured improvs spliced together, nothing stellar mind you, but not a bad way to end the album either. In all this is a solid first effort, worthy of attention. - Peter Thelen

    • The Washington Post - Friday, July 3rd 1998
      Click here to read a joint review of Anekdoten's Live CD and The Dark Aether Project's debut CD.

    • Progression: The Journal of Progressive Music - Volume II, Number 26:
      The Dark Aether Project: The Dark Aether Project (CD, 43:00); independent release DAP1.
      This Baltimore-area trio - Adam Levin, stick/loops; Yaman Aksu, guitar; and Brian Griffin, percussion - appears to draw inspiration from the Robert Fripp/King Crimson/Guitar Craft tradition in this seven-track debut. The overall tone is jazz-inflected, often minimalistic progressive, altered by two foreboding soundscape cuts: the title track and "Heaven's Descent."
      Emerald Tiers vocalist Jason Wilson guests on "Out of My Head," "In Memory Of..." and "Bitter Harvest," while uncredited trumpet and sax players add color. Highlights to these ears include the exotic, ethnically tinged guitar solo on "Zenne" and the surprisingly uplifting lyrical message of "In Memory Of...," an ode to perseverence.
      This album has a classy, homemade feel that offers mature musicianship without pretentiousness. A good first outing. - John Collinge

    • CFLX 99.5 FM Quebec's Delire Musical Monthly Report - March 1998:
      "THE DARK AETHER PROJECT vient de lancer son premier CD, autoproduit. Un trio formé à la fin de 1997 par Adam Levin (stick), le groupe a rapidement évolué et présente un mélange de psychédélique, de progressif et de soundscapes. Les compositions varient des envolées crimsoniennes aux improvisations avec boucles rappelant certains soundscapes. Jason Wilson (de Emerald Tiers) chante sur quelques pièces."
      Roughly translated: "THE DARK AETHER PROJECT has just launched its first self-produced CD. A trio formed at the end of 1997 by Adam Levin (stick), the group evolved quickly and presents a mixture of psychedelic, progressive and soundscapes. The compositions vary with flights of crimson-ish improvisations with loops pointing out some soundscapes. Jason Wilson (of Emerald Tiers) sings on some pieces."


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