Speaking of his solo project Lyrae, Swedish musician Ola Sandberg said ”I’m trying to make music that I, myself, can get lost in…I want to make audible rooms rather than songs and let the listener be more of a visitor with the choice to move around freely.” I would argue that concept is common ground to each of the beautifully crafted and deeply introspective albums comprising this sonic journey which also includes works by Glacis, anthéne, and r beny.
Lyrae – Vakuum [1631 Recordings]
While most albums on 1631 Recordings land squarely in modern classical territory, the label does offer some fine drone oriented works and Vakuum is a worthy addition to that canon. The astronomical references in the track titles hint at the expansiveness of its imaginative and immersive sounds and the music is saturated in the opaque aura of mysterious beauty that seems to be in DNA of Scandinavian ambient music, but each of these six exquisite tracks remain grounded in raw emotion and a soothing abundance of sonic ephemera. Deceptively complex and exceptionally beautiful, Vakuum is a wonderful place to get lost in.
Glacis – The World Is A Little Lonelier Without You [Facture]
Glacis is a music project guided by Euan Alexander Millar-McMeeken and a small group of collaborators which varies album to album. His latest effort is a particularly personal one, offered in memory of his father Sandy who passed away in 2011 and as an attempt to navigate his own grief and find solace. Euan’s primary collaborator on this record is Ed Hamilton (Dead Light) and features moving contributions by Christoph Berg on several of the tracks. Piano, violin, gossamer drones, and warm washes of guitar are all delicately poised between melancholy and tenderness. The sense of loss here is palpable, but ultimately the light of healing seeps by the gentle final coda. A truly lovely record.
anthéne – Black Carbon [Assembly Field]
The third solo outing by Brad Deschamps (also of North Atlantic Drift)as anthéne entitled Black Carbon is a particularly subdued and meditative one, a shimmering efflorescence of quiescent guitar & synth drones that slow down time as they patiently unfold while floating in the ether. The sounds have a lovely sheen and fine veneer of glistening texture like a field of untrodden snow. For a slightly more divergent listening experience, I also recommend his split album Sleep Patterns which features a long form piece M. Mucci co-released by Polar Seas Recordings and Tall House Recording Co.
r beny – full blossom of the evening
The sounds of Bay Area musician Austin Cairns under the moniker of r beny are created with analog and hardware synthesizers, but the inspiration he cites for his latest recording is “nature and emotion”. I admit to being somewhat ill-informed on the topic of modular synths, but to the musical lay-person they certainly present a very mechanized and scientific image. The idea of mastering them to create something deeply personal and natural would appear to be paradoxical. Full blossom of the evening presents a persuasive argument to the contrary. Cairns finds the soul in the machine as he masters the wires and dials to create nine mesmerizing pieces with a genuine emotional core from the meditative title track to the majestic peaks of tracks like “three north faces” and “blue kings”. A fascinating listen.