S P I R A L   J O U R N E Y
 
Spiral Journey

Audio Samples

Tracks
Blue Planet
Wings
Windflowers
Night Skies
Hale-Bopp
Spiral Journey
Early Summer
The Path
Crossing The Line
New Millennia
 
Total Time

 

6:26
3:06
5:20
2:41
7:49
6:47
5:01
7:42
6:11
3:00
 
54:03

 

Commentary:

"Spiral Journey" was inspired through contemplations on evolutionary journeys by a visionary instrumental composer. At atomic and universal levels, all life forms are on a cyclic journey, separate and individual, but united and interactive.  Released in 1998.

The album focuses primarily on journeys as a theme, though it is a journey in itself, beginning with "Blue Planet" (Earth) and finishing with "New Millennia". The first five selections are slow paced and establish a delicate yet intricately textured ambient soundscape. Soon, the organic contrast of drums is added so that the overall dynamic feel evolves and energy level increases, heightened by electric and acoustic guitars on "Crossing The Line". The instrumentation is hand-crafted by the artist using state-of-the-art sound design for a fantastic blend of orchestration and rhythms.

"Spiral Journey - makes for awesome headphone listening and is well suited for late night mental reverie. Spacious and intricately composed, the music bears up under repeated play." -- PJ Birosik, Syndicated

Click here to read more about Spiral Journey.


Spiral Journey Reviews

  • The Instrumental Weekly
  • Book Reader Magazine
  • Klem Magazine
  • Wind and Wire Magazine
  • Alternative Music Press
  • PJ Birosik
  • Review by Fred Puhan
  • Radio Station Comments
  • Spiral Journey


    The Instrumental Weekly Reviews
    of Contemporary Instrumental Music by JimmyD

    Spiralling Into The Heavens

    Artist: Jim Pietkivitch
    Album: Spiral Journey
    Label: Electrofine
    Released: 1998
    Reviewed: Wednesday, January 16th, 2002

    Let me get the inevitable comparison to Tangerine Dream out of the way right now. Some of the most fantastic space music has come from the Dream, and Jim Pietkivitch continues that tradition with his 1999 release Spiral Journey. This is easily some of the finest space music I've heard in awhile.

    The album opens with "Blue Planet", and features synth and sequencer to brilliant effect. This is a very polished piece, and really gives a good indication of what's to come. "Wings", one of the shorter cuts on the album, is a bit more laid-back and spacy, but still has that TD flavor that's hard to dislike. "Hale-Bopp" seems to be a favorite amongst critics, with its obvious sense of space and darkness, and an idea of the never-ending voyage of a comet through the cosmos.

    Spiral Journey's title track is a bit more sinister and foreboding than anything on the album up to this point, and shows off Jim's darker compositional side. "Crossing the Line" may cross the line for listeners hoping for nothing but deep space music, but I enjoyed the combination of percussion and spacy synth that makes it one of the album's highlights. The album closes on a dramatic and appropriate note with "New Millennia", and once again, I must make a comparison to some of Tangerine Dream's more robust soundscapes.

    I found it very easy to like this recording...it has a very high production value, and it's obvious that Jim loves what he does. With space music, I think it's easy for an artist to get lost in a miasma of technology and the like, but I found Spiral Journey to have a very warm and friendly feel to it. This album is smooth, spacy, and about as good as space music can get. Don't miss out on this one.

    This review can also be found at: The Instrumental Weekly Website.


    Review from "The Book Reader Magazine"
    Spring/Summer 1999
    Spiral Journey By Jim Pietkivitch

    Electrofine Music, CD. Contemporary instrumental possibilities with inventive melodies, driving rhythms. With synthesizer and special effects, but acoustic touches that unite this breezy album. The title evokes the circular sweeps of planetary bodies in rotation. But a throaty swell of bass and tribal beat recalls the beginning of time. Suggests the familiar tempo of the universe, even at the atomic level. A salute to Hale- Bopp is musically related, with a subterranean bass opening and shimmering tinkles that suggest distant stars out there burnished aspen leaves here. In the midst, someone whistling gently in the distance? A celestial breeze wheezes past, around, returns. A gentle cyclone, a spiral journey through space. "All life forms are on a cyclic journey, separate and individual, but united and interactive." This is global, too, earth- wise. Windflowers and The Path use percussive rhythms and oriental melody lines to hint of musical signals other than "western," to move the mind charging, pounding, across broad deserts. Pietkivitch occasionally begins to resolve a composition, then pauses, reprises a melody with new harmonic partners, builds to a smashing finish. A blast back to reality: hard rock percussion at the open of Crossing the Line to spice this journey through ethereal possibilities. With the sniff of a wind storm, Pietkivitch closes this album with a "full orchestra" from his bag of tricks in a salute to The New Millennia. It caps 10 tracks that he intended to explore "new sound designs and melodic structures that would stimulate the imagination." Job done. Expansive. Inventive. Opens the mind to fresh stellar possibilities.


    CD-Review for KLEM Magazine, The Netherlands
    by Bert Strolenberg

    Jim Pietkivitch - Spiral Journey
    (Electrofine Music EM-JRP01; 1998)

    "Spiral Journey" is the 2nd self-released CD of the sympathetic, Colorado-based American musician Jim Pietkivitch. The CD-cover looks very nice and invites the listener on an imaginary trip into the huge galaxy which surrounds us earthlings. The CD-cover goes very well with the featured music on the album: here we get a good portion of great sounding progressive symphonic-orientated spacemusic which absolutely tickles the ear for over 50 minutes. Jim uses a lot of beautiful and keenly layered soundscapes, inventive sequencer lines and electronic drums (the drumbreaks somewhat remind me of those used in the music of Ron Boots), and some slide-guitar. Taken from the title-track in the middle of the album, the music on "Spiral Journey" takes off even better as more "speed" seems to enter into this very original sounding electronic music. All cumulates in the up-tempo & semi-Rock/Gandalf-like track "Crossing the Line", which features a challenging battle of synths and e-guitarsolo's The album serenely concludes with the intimate, outfading track "New Millennia". In addition the album breathes a lot of low bass-lines, which gives the music an extra overall touch. Next to this, this adventurous sounding album is very nicely produced and mixed by Jim himself, offering a brilliant sound quality throughout. All in all, "Spiral Journey" is the perfect choice for those looking for both challenging and engaging electronic spacemusic with bright symphonic touches, and is highly recommended throughout.


    Review 1998 Wind and Wire Magazine
    by Bill Binkelman

    Mapping the Frontier of Electronic and Acoustic Music

    Spiral Journey is a winner, pure and simple. From the opening track, "Blue Planet", which is a combination of synth washes and Tangerine Dream sequencer work, the CD is a great blend of various EM genres as well as space music and even some progressive rock elements. Diversity-thy name is Pietkivitch. As I said, the first cut reminds me, at least a little, of Tangerine Dream from the Risky Business soundtrack era, especially the thumpy sequenced bass line. The second song, "Wings", presents more of a floaty style of EM - a little spacy but still very much in the TD ballpark. It has a lovely melodic sense to it - warm an extremely accessible. Ditto the warmth for "Windflowers" even though it is less a floating style of music, and has a slightly introspective feel to it. A huge highlight of the album for me was "Hale-Bopp." It's well done space music, with a nice blend of EM and space music, as it weaves its way through the cosmos, much like a comet does. In contrast, the darker shadings of the title track, while not exactly dark ambient, are certainly more mysterious and even menacing than what has come before. After the brief ambient opening, strong rhythmic elements enter the song amidst rising and falling synth chords (again bringing to mind Tangerine Dream). This song really starts to cook after awhile. The juxtapostion between this and "Hale-Bopp" are an example of one of the strong points of the CD; Jim has the ability to juggle disparate elements and execute them all to a high degree of proficiency. The progressive rock sound comes out to play in "Crossing the Line" with some blistering electric guitar by guest Matt DePasqua and in-your-face drums. This cut may seem out of place, depending on your personal frame of reference. Tangerine Dream fans know about the coexistence that can occur between synths and lead guitar lines. Fans of pure space music may scurry for cover when the guitar and drums come shrieking and thundering in. It's a matter of taste, after all. From the nice cover graphics to the highly polished music inside, Spiral Journey is a discovery for this reviewer. While I have read elsewhere about the "retro" sound of the synths on this release, all I heard was some primo tunes. Maybe I don't know my different synth generations. But I never miss a good album when I hears it! And this is one of these.


    Alternative Music Press
    Spiral Journey Review
    by Ben Kettlewell

    This is an album that brings back all the classic sounds and atmospheres of mid-eighties synth music, back when sequencers were analog, and MIDI was an idea in Tom Oberheim's mind. Jim has done a splendid job on the ten compositions recorded here. If you are a fan of Space Music, relaxation music or simply music of soaring and uplifting qualities, then I could recommend no finer album than this. Jim Pietkivitch's second and most accomplished CD to date has been described by some as the finest work of its kind. When it catches you in the mood it's easy to hear why. The music spans the chasm between gossamer beauty and symphonic spirituality. Had the opener 'Blue Planet' appeared as a long lost Vangelis work it would be hailed as one of his greatest ever pieces. In every nuance there is a meaning. 'Wings' is a subliminal outing of hitherto unimaginable beauty. 'Windflowers' is the sort of material which sends a shiver down the spine. Hale-Bopp develops from silken threads into the awe inspiring vistas. It is futile to try and further describe the sheer elegance and underlying power of this album. It all sounds so effortlessly brilliant, but so very few can achieve what Jim has created here. It's a masterpiece of cosmic proportions.

    This review is also found under Alternative Music Press "Ambient & Electronic Reviews" page.


    PJ Birosik, Syndicated

    Inspired through contemplations on evolutionary Journeys by a visionary instrumental composer. At atomic and universal levels, all life forms are on a cyclic journey, separate and individual, but united & interactive. "Like Tangerine Dream, Steve Roach and other great spacemusic explorers, Jim infuses original sound textures with many warm, organic elements that harmonize and bring to life a deep and wonderful musical theme. This is an album for dreams, for reverie, for open ears awaiting a great adventure."


    Music for a New Age
    by independent and online music reviewer
    Fred Puhan

    Spiral Journey is an impressive album from electronic keyboardist Jim Pietkivitch. Unlike many musicians, Pietkivitch suffers not from "sophomore slump" as this is his second album. While I hate to draw comparisons, I feel compelled to state at the outset that I hear significant Tangerine Dream influences on this CD; there are familiar synth loops, samples, swells, washes and and effects to suit the most ardent fans of electronic music.

    The album dives in from the start. "Blue Planet" is an electronic salute to the mothership, planet Earth, with a spritely back beat keeping up the tempo while grand chording is combined with electronic "footsteps," up and down the keyboard. "Wings" mellows out the mood with floating, sweeping elegance. A calming, peaceful piece. "Windflowers" builds layer upon layer, starting with a catchy, playful musical loop that continues to grow and evolve as new layers are added, and the piece develops an intricacy and depth that echo the song's simple beginnings but emanate its maturity. This is probably my favorite piece on the album.

    "Night Skies" evokes the image of peering into vast nebulae, as cosmic flares and atmospheric affects play kaleidoscopic games across one's vision. This piece would be at home with Mychael Danna's "Skys" series. "Hale-Bopp," so named after the comet, is both muted and majestic at the same time. I never realized crescendos could be so underplayed! Once into the heart of the piece, Pietkivitch graces each note with languid care and loving attention; it is apparent that there are no "throw-away" notes used as filler. The comet's path is traced, both approaching and departing, as notes drift almost unnoticed, into the ether. At nearly eight minutes, it's quite a ride. Maybe this is what is meant by "hitching oneself to a star." "Spiral Journey," the title piece, continues the outer space theme, with electronic rhythm tracks providing an insistent, driving, yet undemanding beat as background to the synths. This track, above all, has the earmarks of the best of Tangerine Dream: recognizable patterns, but with an improvisational complexity to spice things up. If you can listen to this piece without tapping your feet, you're halfway into your grave already!

    "Early Summer" returns the listener to a sense of calm and "everything is all right with the world." The calm is soon transmogrified into a high-energy, life-restoring whirl, ablaze with rhythm, which then again switches gears into a pool of beguiling serenity. One can sense the turmoil which exists just below the surface. The fitting sound of a summer shower ends this song. "The Path" begins with solemn drumming and the thrum of low-key bass, gradually building into blend of instrumental effects: strummed, blown, beaten, plucked and bowed -- all per- formed electronically, of course.

    Every time I hear the intro lines to "Crossing The Line," I picture in my mind the image of Edgar and Jerome Froese; that this is Pietkivitch's way of paying homage to the influence of Tangerine Dream leaves me no doubt. Again, the energy level in this piece is high, but not so much as to elevate one's blood pressure. Soaring guitar-style riffs make their presence felt with abundance. The album concludes with "New Millennia," a piece full of promise and certainty. One can hear waves washing ashore as the anthem-like piece seems to ask, "Y2K Problem? What problem?" As the music fades, one emerges as if cleansed by it, ready to face the new dawn, the new millenium.

    Not only does the album contain a number of standout pieces, it works in its totality as well. It's hard to say that this is a "theme" album, but even the cover artwork, with its star-studded sky image and the "swash-like" lettering work to convey to the listener that this is a complete work. Yes, each tune stands on its own, but to me, one real joy with albums such as this, is that they are a pleasure to listen to from start to finish. Jim Pietkivitch has accomplished quite a feat in "Spiral Journey." I look forward to hearing more.

    I just saw this album on the racks in Tower Records. Congratulations Jim, you've hit the big time! And this is well-deserved, as Spiral Journey is as good an album as any I've heard recently.


    Radio Station Comments:

    "WVKR" - Scott Raymond and Doug McCorkle

    "I was pleasantly surprised this week to get Spiral Journey. It's really good!" -- Scott Raymond

    "I just listened to Spiral Journey by Jim Pietkivitch tonight. Excellent! I liked your Spiral Journey so much that it was a featured CD this week! Excellent effort by Jim - great electronic music." -- Doug McCorkle


    "FUN Radio" - Marius-Christian Burcea, Bucharest, Romania

    "Your albums remind me about the golden age of electronic music pioneers. Your releases takes spacemusic and electronic visions of the innovators a step further, while boldly exploring new directions. "Twilight Dreams" and "Spiral Journey" will have obtain a significant airplay in my show. Please, keep me in touch with your new albums".


    "KOHM" - Jo Hayes

    "I really enjoyed Spiral Journey. I don't normally get into things that are that ambient, but Jim Pietkivitch is really good!"


    "WUMR" - Clay Yeager

    "Spiral Journey is real good! Sounds like Tangerine Dream."


    "WOJB" - Nicky Kellar

    "I love Spiral Journey!"


    "KRBD" - Dave Kiffer

    "Thanks for the great CD, Spiral Journey!"


    "WADK" - Lee Wendell

    "Spiral Journey is absolutely beautiful!"


    Email your comments and questions to:   info@electrofine.com