In the past decade or so Powers has recorded a wide variety of genres under an array of monikers, including indie, lo-fi, ambient, post rock, slowcore, 8-bit and dubstep. Yet for this album, SineRider seems to reach back to the basics, with tape loops, piano melodies and synth drones.
From the very beginning, this album takes you back to the birth of ambient, when Brian Eno unleashed his soundscapes and paths over airports and in films. 'Farmland' & 'Sea Level' are minimal pieces of music, driving on meandering synths and gently looping melodies. On 'Glimmer' the melodic aspect of the album expands into playful piano tunes only to fade out in Klaus Schulze inspired sound sculptures like 'Aomori'.
In several aspect, 'Four Years Away' is a classic ambient album, one that probably can stand the test of time. Twelve tracks long, each one narrating a short story on its own, this album is soothing and inspiring. 'Crimson', one of my favorites, nudges towards dark jazz, combined with what feels like looped field recordings. Halfway through title track 'Four Years Away' and thus halfway through the album, I'm absolutely sure that this gem is worth its money, and then there are six more tracks to come.
For those six, I'm not going into a track by track description, mostly since they're based on similar principles and the others: calm, minimalist music which will definitely sooth your soul. Perhaps the dark and gritty 'Sparrows' is an exception because of the atmosphere but everything else here is high quality old school ambient music (so is 'Sparrows' by the way, just darker). So my advice is this: treat yourself to this ambient gem, you won't regret it. In fact, you might need it after the noisy and obtrusive New Year's Eve tomorrow...