Ambient artist debuts are inherently low-key affairs and while they are often the antithesis of the burn from the first note ethos of pop music, they can in their own quiet way grab the attention of the discerning listener right from the off and create an instant sense that the journey they are about to undertake is being guided by steady hands. That is the sense I got from the first waves of sound and texture that rippled forth from Eve, by multidisciplinary artist Sam Ashton under the alias of Fortresses.
Comprising three gently undulating drones made with a Mellotron iPhone app from manipulated guitar, synth lines, and field recordings, the album traces the arc of a day not by marking time itself but through the “less immediate means” of portraying the shifting patterns of light, shadow, temperature, and color as it unfolds. The inspiration for its making arose from Ashton’s own walks around London, where he is based, and the breezes the rush through its streets and gardens are woven into his beautifully drawn melodic progressions.
‘Eve’ formed slowly during a self-reflective and transformative period in my life. The songs stand as a personal document of the time they were made and the rituals that gave shape to them—watching the seasons change from my studio window, letting the colors and qualities of light inspire the compositions; and long walks in East London’s natural and urban areas where I would listen to rough edits of the tracks and record open-air sounds that blended well with the music.
Short enough to not overstay its welcome, but long enough to carry one deep into an autumnal mood, Eve is both an assured and reassuring debut from an artist I, for one, look forward to hearing more from.
Eve is now available as a digital release from Dragon’s Eye Recordings. The album was mastered by Taylor Deupree and features cover art by Sam Ashton.