From Lloyd Barde and the Heartbeats catalogue of Backroads Distributors, 1999 Fall Supplement:
ROBERT CARTY "The Mystic Choice"
If you are not aware of this prolific space music artist, you're in for a real treat. Robert's home-made CDs include self-penned artwork and CD-R recordings. With over thirty releases to choose from, we have selected an even dozen for starters, highlighted by this collection which was put together by Carty's biggest radio programming fan, Eric Mystic. A CD-only sampler with a choice selection of the finest and most mystical, romantic and inspiring Carty pieces, this is a great discovery for space music fans and a long overdue red carpet intro from Backroads. At times visionary, dreamy, primal or floaty, Carty plays pure, heartfelt electronic pieces that range from the inclusion of ethnic drum machine sounds and samples of East Indian music to deep-ambient, earth-space music. He freely uses synthesizers, Tibetan bells, samplers, voice tones and more in creating his mysterious, emotional, and contemplative music, often with some unusual sound effects. "Mystic Choice" has tracks from many of his other albums (these pieces date from 1992, 1996 and 1997), and runs for 64 minutes. It includes several of Carty's best tracks, perfectly sequenced for maximum enjoyment. He echoes some of the best space music artists in his work-- Stearns, Parsons, Roach, Serrie, etc., yet all with his own unique touch. Now is the time, and this is a great place to start with an artist who seemingly can do no wrong.
-- Lloyd Barde, Lloyd Barde, 1999
ROBERT CARTY "Natural Wonder" (Independent Release) - CD - 1993
[From DREAMS WORD 19, Fall/Winter '95, page 18:]
This CD is a real knockout for space music fans. The timbres and
textures are fascinating and all 10 compositions on the album are first
rate. Very few young musicians have put in enough actual time and
practice as composers to be able to deal effectively with the demands of
a genre where there are no catchy lyrics or repeating choruses to fall
back on. So, when a composer of Carty's talents turns his attention to
the spacey far reaches of synth music, the result is refreshingly
substantial. The album is divided up into vignettes which when put
together form an absorbing cohesive work of great depth. As quality
space music, the mood and dynamic level are consistent from one end to
the other. If you're into the subtleties of direct digital recording,
there are lots of crisp details to grab your attention. Anyone who
prefers albums such as Steve Roach's STRUCTURES FROM SILENCE or SOMA and
David Parsons' YATRA or DORJE LING, will surely fall in love with this
one. Highly Recommended.
-- Ben Kettlewell
ROBERT CARTY "Natural Wonder"
(Robert Carty) -- CD -- 1992
This self-released 10-track 59:39 CD features some of the most beautiful
and mesmerizing space music I have ever heard. The majestic timbres
recall Phil Manzanera's PRIMITIVE GUITARS and Brian Eno's MUSIC FOR
AIRPORTS. The razor-sharp clarity and feeling of direct connection (or
tapping in) to another realm brings to mind Trans-Millenia Consort.
More familiar earmarks are Mark Dwane's washes and chord progressions,
Richard Burmer's melodicism and stateliness, Jonn Serrie's spacey,
languid rhythms, and the ambiences and melodies of Eno's APOLLO. The
key influences seem to be Dwane and Serrie, but whereas both of these
artists have produced their share of clunkers, this disk is virtually
faultless. Like Chris Franke's PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY, this music might
initially strike one as New Age, but a handful of listenings will purge
that notion from your mind. Unlike the Franke album, Carty does not
serve up tunes but conducts excursions to other worlds and planes of
consciousness. This, admittedly, is a tired metaphor when used to
describe space music, but it really applies, here. If you like any of
the musicians which this CD evokes, you owe it to yourself to get it.
Available from Robert Carty himself, it would be a bargain at twice the price. European
E-music fans with a taste for American synthesists might well attain
nirvana with this auspicious release. Others will merely be stupefied.
-- Steven Feldman, June 10, 1995
ROBERT CARTY "Skyhearts" (independent release) - CD- 1994
Running at just under an hour, this disc features Carty on synths,
sampler, native plains flutes, shaker, & voice. On Skyhearts, Carty
creates an inspirational collection of bold, atmospheric works. The
pieces have an underlying Native American influence, but Carty's synths
carve out a more expansive ensemble sound. He artfully merges cultural
influences with new perspectives on composition. These are well composed
ambient pieces, with great attention to tonal quality. Carty is one of those rare artists who carefully leaves space for the music to breathe and expand. As a composer, he chooses his timbres well.
The album is a varied and evocative collection of influences and moods.
Carty searches a confrontation with the sound. Through his experiences,
he creates a constellation of sonic structures. Anyone into artists like
Stearns, Braheny, Rich, or Vidna Obmana, should really enjoy this
-- Ben Kettlewell
ROBERT CARTY, SkyHearts (self-released, 1994)
Robert Carty's 1994 recording, Sky Hearts, is a soothing collection of space music, with some additional subtle nature sound effects and an occasional mild dose of Native American instrumentation, rhythms and tonalities. The end result is a CD that mesmerized and soothed my jangled nerves when I played it at work. Even when the songs are a bit uptempo (like the opener, "Sungreeting," which mixes what sounds like a gathered flock of birds chirping in unison with a softly-pulsing bass line and sweeping synth washes), there is an overall vibe of peace and calm.
"Sky touching" is even more peaceful as slow patient keyboard washes open the piece, lending a spaciousness to the music that brings a cloudless sky to mind. The assorted keyboards are meticulously blended to flow into one another or intermix like the best metals to produce an alloy that is strong and beautiful. When an eagle cries out in the middle of this song, it fits so perfectly that it's almost eerie.
Other cuts on this excellent album include "Visions," with deep space drifting synths and dramatic ambient keyboard washes, "Spirits Flow," a song which sound like a cut from EM pioneer Larry Fast at times, and "Deeply Urging" which blends the sound of water lapping against the shore with oh-so patient sustained synth chords that are like shimmering reflections on the water's surface. Later in the song, a wooden flute adds a layer of earthy spirituality that plays surprisingly well with the underlying synths. In fact, the occasional wooden flutes on the album sometimes remind me of Coyote Oldman (yes, they're that good sometimes).
One of my favorite songs is the second to last number, "This Evening Calm," which adds a chorus of nocturnal creatures (crickets, et al.) to a plaintive wooden flute and graceful synth washes in an evocative tone poem heralding the arrival of the night. In all honesty, the only (very) small misstep on this near flawless album is the inclusion (in the last song) of some Native American chanting; but it is short and, truthfully, my objections are more from the standpoint that it seems out of place than that the chanting is poorly done (it is actually quite good).
Unless you are appalled by the addition of wooden (i.e. Native American) flutes and/or nature sound effects to space music (and the former, i.e. flutes, only occurs on some cuts), SkyHearts would make a solid and enjoyable addition to your collection. It is a sometimes haunting yet always soothing set of songs that show Robert Carty's considerable talent. This is a CD I should not have passed over a few years ago. Consider this a signal flare from me to you - don't make my mistake and miss this one. It's a winner!
Review by Bill Binkelman,
Wind and Wire magazine publisher
ROBERT CARTY Gaia Interludes (Deep Sky Music, 1999)
Robert Carty's Gaia Interludes is a wonderful excursion into blissful serene music. Aided by the judicious (and plentiful) use of a variety of nature sounds (something I am particularly fond of), Robert's music creates a world of peace and beauty that I immersed myself in from the very first listen. On some songs, I would rank this CD alongside of the classic New Green Clear Blue from the late Dan Hartman (high praise from me, I can tell you!). This comparison is appropriate because the music itself on the CD prominently features a synth piano along with subtle floating synth washes and chords underneath it (the same instrumentation that Dan Hartman used). (The similarity is pronounced on "Interlude 5" with it's reverbed synth and piano - something that Dan Hartman offered on the song "The Swan"). But where New Green Clear Blue is minimal and introspective, Gaia Interludes is more overtly melodic and enchanting. Either way, though, both are winners.
The nature sounds vary from cut to cut, beginning with birdsong and a babbling brook on "Interlude 1" (no song titles, just numbers) and continuing through crickets, thunder, rain, and other well-recorded and atmospheric environmental sound effects. The combination of the music and the sounds produces a delightful soundscape. The music floats in the air, sometimes hovering, sometimes born on a gentle breeze, but always speaking of relaxation and a deep-seated love of nature.
Gaia Interludes is not really ambient music, in the sense that it is best enjoyed with direct listening (in my opinion), although I also think that playing it in the background would do wonders for some people's stress levels (it sure works for me at my day job). While not as "healing" as, say for example, Liquid Mind, it is also more overtly musical than work of Chuck Wild (plus, of course, Chuck never uses nature sounds on his CDS). This recording is like a more "spacy" Kevin Kendle (again, high praise coming from me). I especially like how Robert utilizes a subtle variety of synths, weaving in and out of the synth piano - sometimes dominating the melody line, sometimes cruising underneath it.
In fact, I like this CD so much that I can even forgive what sounds like some whale song on "Interlude 3." I am not fond of whale song, but Robert's is muted, sparse, and actually fits the accompanying music so well I wasn't sure that was what I was hearing (maybe I'm even wrong about it!).
The biggest crime in the world would be if readers of this review dismiss Gaia Interludes as being too "new agey" from my description. Nothing could be further from the truth, in my opinion, although I happen to enjoy a lot of new age music so the statement does not carry the stigma for me that it does for others anyway. In fact, besides the other comparisons I have mentioned, I also was reminded (at times) of vintage Kevin Braheny or even Jonn Serrie (except Jonn never used piano-like instrumentation). When Robert brings in those lush synth strings or higher-toned keyboards (sounding a little like Braheny's trademark textures from his classic The Way Home), I am swept away by the sheer beauty of this recording.
I could detail the music more, but truthfully, I love the whole CD so much that this review would sound like I was gushing (as if I'm not already). Listening to this music is almost as good as a trip up north to a cabin in the woods. So, put this recording in the player, burn some pine incense, light a hurricane lamp, and sit in your favorite wooden rocker as the setting sun casts its late evening shadows. Gaia Interludes belongs in your collection if you ever yearn for a recording of grace and serenity or if you enjoy a near-perfect marriage of electronic music with nature sound effects. Within those parameters, it doesn't (get) any better than this. Gaia Interludes is easily one of the best recordings of its kind ever done. Hyperbole? Not from where I sit - here in my wooden rocker, of course!
Review by Bill Binkelman
Wind and Wire
"I have to say that robert carty is impressing me more and more as one of the true masters of space ambience"
--Palancar aka Darrell Burgan, musician/composer and founder of stillstream.fm, Feb. 2017
Recommendations by Others
Glenn Deardorff, another electronic musician of great talent, gives us this list of his favorite recommended Carty CDs. Glenn notes that "the man doesn't have any *bad* CDs, but my own personal tastes run toward the somber and spacey, rather than the bouncy or drum-tracky, and this list reflects that." (1999)
1. Cloud Pull
3. Plateaus of Ether
6. Cleansing Fire
7. Deep Spirit
8. Earth Voice
9. High Meditations
11. Inward Glimpse
13. Silent Dreams
14. The Living
15. Golden Desert (unreleased and unavailable from Robert due to recording glitches)
17. Moving Spaces
18. Nagual Heart