Sound Impression: Night Songs by Awakened Souls

Humans have been using music to help themselves find peace and slumber at night for millennia. In that quest the vast majority of us rely on recordings made by others, but in the case of the husband and wife duo James and Cynthia Bernard known as Awakened Souls, they took it upon themselves to make one of their own. Like many during the spring of 2021, they were in search of restful nights to help them through days of schooling kids from home and balancing work and life while coping with a life-changing pandemic and Night Songs is a collection of six anodyne ambient soundscapes capable of quieting the most restless mind.

We have always sought out records to aid in calming our minds at night, helping us drift away. ‘Night Songs’ is our own version of a sleepy evening record, exploring slowly evolving loop-based ambient primarily using bass guitar and vocal textures. The tracks which ultimately made it on the album helped us relax enough to go to a place where thoughts fade.

With its serene ambient textures and ethereal vocals, Night Songs is like a weighted blanket for the mind. Between their considerable studio skills and empathetic sensibilities, the Bernards have tenderly crafted a set of songs capable of seeping past the barriers of language to resonate in the deepest of liminal spaces.

Night Songs is available digitally and in a limited clear vinyl LP edition (200 copies) from Past Inside the Present. Metallic silver and 160 gram label press vinyl editions were also released but were both sold out at the time this review was published. The album was mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri and features artwork & design by Cynthia Bernard.