Monday, January 13, 2014

review: '=' by ylowknfe

I've recently found an amazing new release on Bandcamp that warrants an intensive listening. '=' by YLOWKNFE is to me, a breath of fresh air among all of the things that I've been watching come through the new ambient artist queue on Bandcamp, and the moment I heard the first song I was completely drawn in by rich harmonic soundscapes. According to Ylownkfe, his interest lies in creating music for films and documentaries and these releases serve as a springboard to this venture at some point. The problem all of this is that, with music this good, I would even forget to concentrate on the film and use more of my brain power to take in this incredible music.

The opening and closing tracks are, to me, very much highlights in setting up and closing '='. These tracks are post-rock in nature (very much in the vein of Hammock). Even after the opening track, things continue to escalate into the realm of subliminal beauty. Whereas most ambient is pretty much one level of volume for a track, the third track (Overseer) is breathing and pulsing with such colorful dynamic contrast that it took me by surprise. Upon hearing this tune, I was well aware that Ylowknfe was capable of building themes with a sensitivity to contrast, color, mood, and depth that seems to be missing from so many artists these days. So many others could learn a lot (myself included) about developing effective soundscapes by not only using harmonic change but dynamic change as well. Talk about an informative eye-opener!

Like I stated on the album review on Bandcamp, to me, effective ambient has to consider 3 things. First, one must be able to sleep to it (did that). Second, it must sit effectively as background music that is not distracting (check). And third, one needs to engage in the listening actively to hear moving themes and harmonic diversity. Yup, this has it covered. I can see a few mixes are in order to capture some vibe off of '='. 

Check out more of Ylowknfe on his BANDCAMP page. Thank me later. 


b said...

Checking this out, thanks man.

Southern Depot said...

Interesting stuff. Thanks for the tip!