We live in an age when– I’ll stop right there, because I hate when people claim a clean break of continuity with the past. “We live in a technological age,” “These days we’re busier than ever,” and so on. It’s lazy thinking. There’s always the past present with us; it’s never a clean rupture, and the past always continues. This is true, ironically, almost nowhere as strongly as in creative expression. Music fits within a given conversation — a conversation about aesthetic, about society, about identity, about the way things should be.
In “Springworlds” we see the confluence of a few historic and contemporary streams in ambient electronic music. The primacy of texture and atmospherics lay out a shoegazey sonic landscape. This landscape is laid bare at the outset and likewise outlasts the rest of the track at the end. A soft irregular beat peeks in its head meekly, backed by a dubbed vocal track of indistinguishable lyrics, to assure us this isn’t a typical ambient track. As listeners we’re even not entirely surprised to tease out some gravity-building techniques from post-rock (RIP). Near the midway point a more pronounced rhythm emerges, and feels like a retrospective on a long meaningful experience already clouding over with the blue haze of memory.
Inventions is the collaboration between Matthew Cooper of Eluvium and Mark T. Smith of Explosions in the Sky. Springworlds certainly calms and pacifies more like the former, but develops and has the momentum — however glacial — of the latter. Both of them became notable in their respective times because they are/were proficient at capturing the best of that musical moment. For EitS it was figuring out what was in store for post-post-rock and for Eluvium it was showing us a clear view of a hybrid ambient and contemporary classical tapestry. Neither of the influences overwhelms the other in Springworlds, as the collaboration appears remarkably even-handed.
On Springworlds, Inventions suggest a bright future for the integration of such disparate genres. Wait– it’s not that the future is hopeful (although it certainly is), it’s that the genre itself looks to favor sprightly, edifying timbres, at least for the time being. There’s still a place for harrowing disintegration (and I’ll continue to review those tracks, as a gift for you!), but the genre will likely as a whole encourage salubrity rather than dark introspection.
Head over to iTunes and grab your copy of “Springworlds” here.