Exposé Online banner

Michael Padilla — Atmospheres (Ambient Works Vol. 1)
(Fruits de Mer strange fish seven, 2015, Picture Disc+CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2016-01-10

Atmospheres (Ambient Works Vol. 1) Cover art

Front man for the US neo-psych band The Soft Bombs, Michael Padilla, stretches his musical muscles by recording a full album of ambient music. This music is so out of character for Fruits de Mer that Keith Jones elected to release it on their experimental sub-label Strange Fish. To add to the experimental aspect of the music, Keith also decided that it was time to issue their first picture disc. Fully recognizing the sonic limitations of a picture disc and the expected criticism from vinyl junkies, they are including a CD with the four tracks (one is an extended version of the vinyl track) plus a bonus track. Michael’s compositional approach on this solo album was to learn from the master Brian Eno and his ground breaking Discreet Music. Michael used only a sampler and a loop pedal to create constantly shifting and morphing soundscapes. Each track was spontaneously composed and performed in his studio on May 26, 2014, December 29, 2014, December 30, 2014, January 10, 2015, and January 12, 2105. The promo only contains the four tracks on the LP, so that is where I will focus my attention. Side A opens with “Northern Lights.” I have never seen the Northern Lights, but the constantly shifting and floating nature of the music is the sonic equivalent of the aurora. Though there is some uniformity of the music, the constant shifting maintains your interest throughout the track. The second track is “Crossing East.” This is a slow electronic piece that reminds me of Fred Becker’s Inner, Stellar and some of Roedelius’ ambient works. This is ambient electronic music, but nothing like Tangerine Dream. There are no pentatonic sequences or Hollywood soundtrack riffs. Side B opens with “Ecstagony,” and a dark drone intro similar to early Tangerine Dream. Think of Alpha Centauri, Zeit, or Atem. However, over its 15 minutes the drifting chords tend to brighten a bit and the music approaches Inner, Stellar again. The closing track is the three-minute “The Waiting.” This dark ambient track is in the bass register that eventually is overlaid by a bass melody line. The CD version contains an extended version of “Crossing East” and the bonus track “Dark Matter.” Quite a departure for FdM and an impressive album package. The uniqueness of this release is sure to make Atmospheres an instant collector’s item!


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Michael Padilla

Latest news

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ken Field - Under the Skin – We all know saxophonist Field from his many years with Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, and of late, his Revolutionary Snake Ensemble also. His solo albums tend to be lesser known, perhaps because they are...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues