Ἀρέθουσα, 11 February 2020


isol­a­tion, intro­spec­tion, relax­a­tion

ambi­ent, folk, drone, acous­tic, vocal, field record­ings, early music, spir­itual

Beau­ti­ful ritual ambi­ent from the Aural Hyp­nox fam­ily. As always, I’d say. Ark­tau Eos put out a very subtle work with Erē­mos in 2018. Clas­sic synths, melodic per­cus­sions, field record­ings. Order here: https://​www​.aur​al​hyp​nox​-shop​.com/​r​e​l​e​a​s​e​s​/​2​0​-​a​r​k​t​a​u​-​e​o​s​-​e​r​e​m​o​s​-​c​d​.​h​tml

Tak­ing time for myself with two gems from Chi­hei Hatakeyama’s oeuvre. Both works are extens­ive, min­imal, deep, and supremely calm­ing.

You’re still in it (2016, Con­stel­la­tion Tatsu)

Jour­ney to the End of August (2018, Hid­den Vibes)

We expec­ted mel­an­cholic black metal, got mel­an­cholic acous­tic gui­tar instru­ment­als instead. It’s a clas­sic switch for a black metal band to make, but I enjoy it when done well, and DEAFEST most cer­tainly do it well. Relax­ing, con­tem­plat­ive, subtle. Tape out through Tri­droid.

Eco­v­il­lage’s Arrived (2020, Dron­arivm) is lush new age ambi­ent music for the new­est age where the prom­ise of sal­va­tion seems fur­ther away to the young gen­er­a­tions than ever.

A shim­mer­ing thing, and another one, and another one. An arti­fi­cial garden—aren’t they all?—filled to the brim with famil­iar-sound­ing beau­ties. It’s so full it almost feels aggress­ive.

It over­shoots its mark, but in that pro­cess makes me real­ise that this place, this bloated garden, truly is as good as any. Any place can be your place of relax­a­tion and recen­ter­ing if the cir­cum­stances and the con­nec­tions in our brains and the stars align some­how. And so it hits the tar­get full on any­way. That too is a beau­ti­ful thing.

Gor­geous, gor­geous. Lake Mary & the Ranch Fam­ily Band start off Sun Dogs (2019, Full Spec­trum) with the warmest instru­mental alt-coun­try, and they don’t let off from there. Fur­ther along the album we also find calm acous­tics, and the whole thing ends in an intense gui­tar romp.

I was temp­ted to call the sound on this album the “quint­es­sen­tial” Full Spec­trum Records sound, but that would not be fair towards the label’s actual diversity. How­ever, I will say that this is the best place to find that par­tic­u­lar sound, even if there’s much more to it than that.

A bit older but on repeat: Rashida Prime’s Dam­aged Inter­face is a flaw­less piece of ambi­ent, com­bin­ing calm sci-fi-esque atmo­spheres with moments of dynamic synth intens­ity. We can’t get enough of this. (2016, Blud Honey / Cyber Dream)

Rhucle focuses on min­im­al­ism here: water, birds, soft synths, even tones. Time flows by before you know it, reveal­ing a gentle per­fec­tion­ism of sound. Pho­to­syn­thesis is out on Patient Sounds on cas­sette and digital.

Sangam, Music for Sleep, Rhucle, and No Death unite on a delicious/nutritious four way ambi­ent split. Min­imal, bright, and per­fectly calm. Divine, if the con­text is right. Many thanks and bless­ings exten­ded. Out on Alien Gar­age.

ᔕᙡᓮᙢ ᔕᗢᘎᒪᔕ’ debut album ??????? is the abso­lute finest new agey vapor­pop you’ll hear in quite a while. Gentle beats, vaguely ‘ori­ental’ melod­ies, and the sweetest haze over everything.

And through it all a glimpse of genu­ine wor­ship. Allow your­self to be soothed by the God­dess. She takes many forms. ??????? is out through Busi­ness Cas­ual and as a digital VR exper­i­ence called Sac­red Siren on itch​.io: jamesont​.itch​.io/​s​a​c​r​e​d​-​s​i​ren.