Artist: Andy Backhouse
Title: Exits & Epiphanies
Label: Focused Silence
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
Fantastic that we’re all here again tonight, isn’t it? Just such a nice feeling in the air, a rhythm in the pulse of the night, a certain intangible whatever doing something or nothing at all across our highly impressionable sensory fields. Seems a strange night, then, to be writing a review like this, about Exits & Epiphanies; a somber, ambient album of introspection that we’re probably incapable of experiencing in the appropriate mode. But, that’s okay! I think. Is it okay with you? Yeah, it’s an easy-going night. ^_^
Getting right to it, the first piece here is titled ‘Before’. It is very quiet at first, growing slowly, feeling like a spinning, blissful atmosphere of love. I love the self-description for this album by the artist, of the “turbulent emotion” that went into it, with the passing of a loved one. There is absolutely a rawness. The frequencies gesture a bit more wildly than with many other ambient works I’ve listened to. Didgeridoodles on a kaleidoscopic breeze. Loving melancholic strings are submerged beneath a low tide against white sand. You could fly a kite in the airs of this music. There is, at times, a friction, like too much joy and yearning spilling up from a subconscious place, an emotive evaporation causing clouds in the mind, with occasional tears of rain. As the music lowers itself it becomes very sweet, but no less torrid. There is something heavenly in the higher frequencies, like a kind of golden white light. It’s like a single pitch or voice, sustained, conveying love fiercely, in a very Gregorian way. Now, there is a swollen darkness, an inky indigo swirling in. Layers seem to fall like curtains, before rising again. It’s like trying to focusing your eyes on a blurry image, sometimes.
The second, and final piece, is called ‘After’. Gentle quietness gradually gives way to serenity. A difficult mood seems to arrive on the wind, and there is a definite melancholia. The choiresque soundscape feels pensive, but reaching. It is like icy fingers against skin. A winter in woods, a frozen lake, all speaking of sorrow and also of love. The subtle melody, like air pushed through a horn from up on a hill, are extremely heartfelt, and I find them beautiful. The textures lull you into and out of cognizance of your surroundings. I often found myself staring out into space, in contemplation. A brightness of sound emerges, like an abstraction of light, or prism of love. With it, all sounds begin to swell up in the mix, before fading finally back away into nothing.
Now that all has been said, I present to thee, this wondrous gift: a link to the album we’ve just spoken about! I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. Until next time… have a great night, readers!