Sometimes things I haven't thought or read about and things I haven't seen for months, years, decades even, suddenly return several days in a row. Just last night, I was talking to my wife about 'Dryococelus Australis (tree lobster)', a gigantic insect, found on Ball's Pyramid (a remnant of an ancient volcano). They lived on a different island before and nowhere else. Yet, after a ship crashed ashore, rats were able to escape the ship and feast on the stick insects. So the insects died out. Not long ago, the creepers were rediscovered on Ball's Pyramid, which is strange because they can't swim or fly.
Today, I received an email from Ruhe, asking me to review his latest album. When doing research, I found an article on these insects, the exact same article I was talking about last night. But there's even more. Earlier today, I received an email from Eilean Records, containing the link to the album I'm trying to review. I requested the link because somehow I missed it earlier. Shortly after however, Ruhe himself also sent me a link and a request to review the album. Somehow I know I had to write this thing today...
'This album is for all who yearn for rest' writes Ruhe on the Eilean bandcamp page. Another coincidence? I've been looking for a bit of rest after some brutal albums I've been working on today. Coincidence or not, this American composer delivered exactly that, rest. This is another one of those brilliant Eilean albums, minimal, atmospheric and immersive, reaching perfection but deliberately avoiding it. In seven fragile, mostly instrumental, songs, Ruhe takes the listener on a strange but soothing trip.
I would categorize Ruhe somewhere between Olafur Arnalds, Biosphere and Tim Hecker. On one hand these tracks are gentle pieces of modern classical inspired ambient, mainly driving on piano and soundscapes. Yet, there's also this chilly atmosphere, caused by tiny imperfections and a very minimal approach. It certainly is Winter music, perfectly suited for a nice evening around an open fire with some hot cocoa or glühwein or gin. Here and there some vocals are used, sounding equally fragile as the music. That too is quite odd because fragility isn't very common in male vocals.
Like many of his collegues, Ruhe will find the way to my speakers a lot from now on. Last year, I often walked through snowy landscapes, listening to Olafur Arnalds on my headphones. This year, undoubtedly, Ruhe will take that place. Music like this makes me long for winter, long for ice and snow, for complete absence of other sounds than these and the ones nature puts in the mix. So, needless to say that this comes highly recommended for all the modern classical and ambient afficionados out there. This is your soundtrack for the upcoming season... (I only hope you don't encounter those scary stick insects...)