Terra Ambient — Wanderlust
(Spotted Peccary Lotuspike LSM 15, 2009, CD)
by K. Leimer, Published 2010-07-01
“Ambient” gets thrown around quite a lot, and both understanding of the term and of the genre seem to have finally and completely dissipated into catch-all meaninglessness... an ambivalent definition which seems to frankly suit this work. Wanderlust s about 30 years late, a collection of seven pieces that are purported to be more “personal” than other pieces of music by Terra Ambient. How this is objectively demonstrated remains to be seen, or heard. There is a faux ethnicity to the loopy percussion, an overreliance on big shiny major chords – a “Chariots of Fire” tonal, heroic gigantism – very preset sounding solina-synthetic strings and, of course, electric guitars culminating in a sonic sterility that probably translates to “radio ready” or something. While in some instances these elements can result in a startling authenticity, Wanderlust is mostly just pastiche: an unset aspic of subjective impulses that gloss extant forms in ways that are often painful to witness. Each track is comprised of some rhythmic element dressed in sheets of harmonically respectful layers. The resultant monotony proves to be non-hypnotic. Not much attention is paid to timbral subtlety, resulting in a nearly forensic soundstage. Again, this technique can lead to some wonderful discoveries, but here we reach auditory equivalence with surimi: whitefish pulped, washed and rinsed into a flavorless paste.
Related artist(s): Terra Ambient (Jeff Kowal)
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