Release Date: April 15, 2022
Label: Spotted Peccary
When I interviewed (included here) David Helping to discuss IN, I knew I would have to wait for the vinyl to arrive. That was over three months ago. The wait was long, but worth it to hear this release in glorious vinyl. After talking with David, I knew this would be a fantastic listening experience.
IN was filled with ambient and chill textures transcending time and space.
I absorbed each track as something new and fresh musically as I made my way through the two LPs. The LPs come housed in gatefold sleeves with all the track listings and credits. Also included was a sheet with the names of the contributors and David’s tribute to each one.
Side A starts with “Waves Dream of Breaking,” and it serves as a grand opener to set the tone. This beautiful and exciting mixture of color and sound was just the beginning but a great start that filled a listener with anticipation for what could be next.
“This Burning Sky” includes wordless chant-like vocals from Nidhi Bhatmuley. It gave the track a world flavor while maintaining its core ambient foundation. “Only What’s Been Taken” is dreamy, layered synths with an interesting backbeat that transitions to a quieter interlude and then back again. Side A closes out.
Side B begins with “Here All Along” which features some nice rhythms, and you find yourself relaxing on a smooth wave of sounds. “Still As Stone” has tinkling bells with echoing notes from the keys layered upon soft synths. Perhaps the mesmerizing effect would make you as still as the track title would indicate. The side closes with “The Bliss You’ve Always Carried” featuring Benjy Wertheimer on the Esraj, a stringed Indian instrument. It looks similar to a sitar but sounds entirely different. It gives the track a uniqueness that others do not have. It runs for 8:01 minutes, allowing the instrument to provide you with a taste of its capabilities and different ranges of sound, which is then enhanced by synths, ambient guitar, and other instruments. Side B closes out.
Side C opens with “Slipping” featuring Miriam Stockley’s wordless vocalizations. This one also runs for 8:01 minutes. It is silky smooth from start to finish with Miriam’s addition. “The Cold Distance Between” could indicate many things; however, the one thing it accomplishes is hypnotic spacey sounds with a sense of drama bubbling underneath. “You Already Are” features Matthew Schoening’s electric cello. A flair for the classical is arrived at with his instrument while adding a feeling of warmth. Side C closes.
Side D begins with my favorite track, “Bending Towards the Night.” It clocks in at 8:21 and resembles a prog rock magnum opus. Eclectic sounds abound and delight straight through every second. It has a purposeful pace bringing me back to the thought that time has no relevance in the space of this music. The track continues to build with color, light, and frequencies that engage the listener. It takes the concept of the day and bends you towards the night.
The track reminded me fondly of Tangerine Dream (a reference I often make if the music is good enough within this genre). The built-for- soundtrack-music and energy come with “In Waves of Fire.” The curtain closes on this ambient chill journey with “I Too Am Coming Home.” The track has elegance and beauty reserved for prolific instrumental music. In addition, the angelic vocals of Miriam Stockley accompany the music, making an appropriate ending to a marvelous listen.
You will be totally IN the music once you start listening. It will capture your consciousness and revitalize your spirit. The outstanding musicianship and production values make this one of the best recordings I have heard on vinyl this year.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
July 18, 2022