Life is full of sound and fury. Especially these days. Every now and then, you need to unplug, power down and recharge the old batteries. Here are a couple of recent ambient releases that will help you do just that. Dim the lights, get out the good headphones, check them out below — and don’t forget to click the Buy button.
Alpha Chrome Yayo
A true artist isn’t afraid to challenge his listeners. Or himself. Unsurprisingly, the prolific Belfast electronica composer, eternal cinephile and Friend of Tinnitist who calls himself Alpha Chrome Yayo does both with his latest EP Komorebi. Reining in his usual cheeky flamboyance and retro-kitsch whimsy, ACY delivers a quietly beautiful quintet of contemplative instrumentals laced with haunting melodies and soothing, sophisticated soundscapery. It’s the perfect soundtrack to your sensory deprivation tank — or some quality couch time if you’re not up for the whole Dr. Edward Jessup experience. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Komorebi – a Japanese word referring to the phenomenon of sunbeams filtering through trees, the interplay of light and leaves. Influenced by Terje Rypdal, Vangelis, David Shire, Ryo Fukui and countless other musicians, this upcoming EP is a mostly ambient, experimental release – a search for serenity, a dive into the unperceived. Expect celestial, explorative synths, piano-led macabre jazz and ancient alchemical influence with medieval instrumentation.”
Creativity is not a destination. It is a journey. And the Edmonton artist who currently records under the handle Plains Apparition has apparently been on a lengthy creative trek, recording different genres of music under different alter-egos over the year. (I’m not sure whether he wants me to reveal his real name, so I’ll leave it at that; if you want more info on him, you can sleuth him out online the same way I did.) But whatever route he took to get where he is, it was clearly the right one. One listen to the subliminal wonders of Encrypt is all you need to understand that. Even better: His second album in as many years returns the favour by taking you on a journey of your own with its fusion of gracefully drifting melodies, cloudlike synth pillows, mournful ambience and the occasional ghostly vocal. Based on the song titles, the overall ambience and the one-line description below, it’s a sombre, solitary voyage. But it’s one well worth making. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “A project to externalise feelings of loss and the gradual acceptance of the grieving process.”