Robert Scott Thompson: Frozen Light

Nearly seventy time-suspending minutes of glacial ambient mood music from Robert Scott Thompson packaged in four long-form pieces. Envisioned as an exercise in environmental “sonic tinting,” Frozen Light perpetuates the ambient dictum that a genre work should be both engaging enough to warrant and sustain attention while also be capable of blending subliminally into the background. The recording opens with “Drone Chroma 2 ~ Azure,” fourteen minutes of tinkling meander, atmospheric electric piano colourations, and distant female vocalizing. “Drone Chroma 3 ~ Magenta” follows with soft string synthesizer playing and percussive accents whose tinny quality suggests the inner strings of a piano being plucked. A sound much like the soft snore of a lion sleeping persists throughout “Drone Chroma 4 ~ Gold” while tiny harp-like droplets and glassy tones extend across the track's fourteen-minute running time. Recasting the sonic palette in a slightly different direction, softly shimmering cascades of electric guitar tones drift through the tranquil expanses of “Drone Chroma 1 ~ Violet” alongside tinkling percussion which adds sparkle to the piece's otherwise cool streams.

Admittedly Frozen Light doesn't add anything significantly new to the ambient genre—it's very much in the tradition established by Brian Eno decades ago now—but it does offer as good a starting point as any to those wanting a good introduction to the style, and Thompson's work as always exudes polish and refinement.

December 2008