Result: my wife is now packing the bags and I'm here writing about this cold, eerie and mesmerizing album. I guess things don't always go as planned but I don't mind. 'Splitting Oak' is an inspiring album, Sitka's second after 'Spirit Lake' which was released in 2016. I have been following him shortly after, curious about the evolution of Sitka and I must say, I was not expecting this.
The album contains four tracks, or one track split into four parts. In these, Sitka follows the much loved drone ambient tradition. With minimal layers of guitar-scapes, seemingly shivering through the speakers, Sitka creates calm, soothing ambient textures, be it somewhat gritty and harsh at times. In that aspect, it seems like Ben has been inspired by N. (Hellmut Neidhardt), who also wanders on the rougher side of the ambient spectrum.
Parts 1 and 2 are quite similar in structure and atmosphere. Part 3 is a short, repetitive ambient loop, opening for the brilliant closer, a long track and my favorite on this album. Here, I do sense some influences from our good friend Stratosphere, also both in structure and in atmosphere. Perhaps this is the evolution I was expecting, more than the other three tracks. Yet, besides these obvious influences (I can probably name some more), Sitka is slowly creating his own sound.
Yes, Sitka is evolving, getting more and more acquainted with his gear and that's a good thing. That means that soon Ben will hopefully perform on a regular basis and who knows, maybe influence other youngsters to pick up the guitar. I definitely love this album, not only because it's an excellent drone-ambient release but also because I love to see people enjoying their own musical progress. Be like Ben :-)