ForrestFangWolfMigrationForrest Fang released his latest album, Animism, on June 19 back in 2012.  That album represented an entrancing blend of instrumental work resulting in an ambient set that was as beautiful as anything he has undertaken in the past.  The music of Forrest Fang is rich, with a fair amount of released albums that include several early sets released on his own Ominous thud label.  Since those early albums, Fang, a Chinese-American instrumentalis, and composer, has graduated to other labels such as the NYC-based Projekt Records (who released Animism).

His formative years produced a wealth of enchanting music, such as can can be found on the subject of this review, The Wolf At The Ruins (1989), and Migration (1986).  On these two, you’ll discover (or return to) the sounds of hypnotic percussion, space electronica, and a beautiful array of combined instrumentation.

Migration followed two previous works, also released on his personal label.  It was followed by The Wolf At The Ruins.  Both ambient releases merged electronics with traditional instrumentation to create engaging hybrids of music.  Listening to both albums, you’ll get the immediate effect of remembering the specific electronic and ambient styles of the late 80s, often popularized by the emerging – and sometimes confusing – “new-age” label.  Over time, that applied  label softened to Smooth Jazz, still confusing as such labels tend to throw off people wanting to migrate to (or experiment with) the kind of brilliance that makes up a work like Forrest Fang would create.

Projekt Records have created a 2CD Limited Edition of these two ambient works.  With only 300 produced, it’s important to remember that one) these two albums have been out of print for a long twenty years, and two) they hold up magnificently well for a dated sound.  And just because the sounds remind you of a time past, does not meant that the music found on these two albums has become irrelevant.  On the contrary.  The re-emergence of The Wolf At The Ruins, and Migration, especially in such a limited run, serves to remind us that ambient music, when done well, as these two albums are, can be rewarding from both a collector’s standpoint (ambient collectors are a maniacal and intense bunch), and from an immersion point.

Exclusive to these two reissued titles are several bonus tracks for each album that were recorded from the sessions but not included on the released albums.

Revisiting the aural magic on these two albums was a warm and enveloping experience for me just as, I’m sure it can be for you.  If you’re an ambient fan, you can’t go wrong with these reasonably price, newly remastered gems.

Release Date: August 7, 2013
Label: Projekt Records
Availability: CD, DD

–Matt Rowe

By MARowe