That was a few days ago and since then I have been strolling through albums, emails, EP's and whatnot. The drive is back. The fun is back. The feeling of wonder is back. I couldn't be happier. Not just for me but also for labels like Sound In Silence and their amazing stable of artists. For a few years now, Sound In Silence has been sending me gem after gem after gem. I have a whole box of these beautifully handcrafted albums and here is one more for the collection. A new star in the Sound In Silence universe, although the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Alex Steward, based in Leicestershire has been around for a decade or so
The new album is titled 'This Earth To Another'. It contains eight tracks which could all be described as classic ambient music, here and there with elements from post rock and shoegaze. Opener 'Altered Fragments' breathes a similar air as Eluvium, Stars Of The Lid or Tim Hecker. As I mentioned earlier: classic ambient. But then there is track two, one of the extremely few pieces of music that seem to affect my cat. The track contains an odd percussion instrument. Every time I play this one, Lina looks up at the speakers in disbelief. The percussion also returns in 'Harvest (Slow)' where it turns the track into a blend of post rock and dark jazz.
Using a wide array of electric and acoustic instruments, including electric guitar melodies, acoustic arpeggios, layers, glacial drones, unusual beats and subtle electronics, Umber has created a varied and narrative album that never lets its listeners down. One moment you're floating on dreamy soundscapes, the next you find yourself in a gritty jazz club in early twenty century New Orleans. Fact remains, this is an adventurous piece of work, one which many ambient aficionados will appreciate.