anthéne: Orchid
Sound In Silence

Moshimoss & Stabilo: FIIElI
Sound In Silence

Toronto-based multi-instrumentalist Brad Deschamps typically issues his Anthéne material on his own Polar Seas Recordings label, but, in the case of Orchid, Polar Seas' loss is clearly Sound In Silence's gain. It's not, however, Deschamps' first appearance on the Athens-based imprint, as Monuments, his release with Mike Abercrombie under the North Atlantic Drift name, appeared in 2013. Regardless, the forty-minute Orchid, whose seven soundscapes he recorded at home using electric guitar, samples, effects pedals, and synthesizers, is a disarmingly beautiful collection that's if not the most perfectly realized set of solo ambient material Deschamps has released to date must certainly rank up there.

Transporting meditations such as “Reflected Light,” “Flora,” and “The Laughing Heart” shimmer with a kind of glacial, ethereal beauty. Ornamented with atmospheric starbursts and vocal exhalations, the title track unspools in a controlled slow-burn, “Frozen Path” exudes a serene calm, and “Trace” murmurs softly. Long trails of flickering ambient light flow through Deschamps' plaintive settings, with crystalline guitar textures and synthetic washes adding to the music's lustre. Without being pretentious or overwrought, these incredibly nuanced productions somehow manage to be both majestic and understated. In a field crowded with producers, Deschamps stands out as an exceptionally gifted ambient practitioner, and certainly a recording of the high calibre of Orchid does nothing but enhance that reputation. Adding to its appeal is Sound In Silence's presentation, which as usual houses the release's disc within a cardboard envelope crowned with an affixed photo-printed cover image.

Also available in a 150-copy, hand-numbered edition, the twenty-four-minute mini-album FIIElI features two tracks apiece from Moshimoss (Yamanashi-based Kosuke Anamizu) and Stabilo (Hiroshima resident Yasutica Horibe). Fans of Dynamophone, U-Cover, and Nothings66 might already be familiar with the producers' work; if not, suffice it so say their four settings locate themselves firmly within the field of laptop-produced ambient soundscaping also associated with the Kitchen. label and artists such as FJORDNE and FourColor.

Moshimoss opens the set with the texturally rich mood-setter “FIIElI(2011),” a peaceful, five-minute reverie awash in field recordings, processed piano tinklings, subtle electronic colourations, and dense atmospheres. As layered is Stabilo's becalmed “Haust,” which, much like “FIIElI(2011),” lowers the listener's heart rate with an entrancing, slow-motion sound portrait packed with the sounds of nature and elongated chords, after which heavily treated vocals spiral vertiginously through Moshimoss's “3pm(2011),” in so doing giving the material's church-like ambiance an angelic character. Of the four pieces, “Diablo” is the most animated, even if the rising surge with which it's propelled is still as adorned with textural detail as the other three. In Stabilo's outro, organ-like tones and swirling winds are gradually joined by chords whose shimmer radiates like electricity emanating from power lines.

June 2017