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Various – In The Deep Drift You Will Find the Most Serene of Lullabies (American Dream Records)

In certain circles ambient music is a dirty word. When I was growing up ambient music was equated to ravers who needed to chill out for a bit before getting back on it. Or people, mostly men, who had goatees, wore berets, and had a slightly unhealthy obsession with The Orb, Orbital and A Guy Called Adam. Since my youth ambient music has evolved to be something far more interesting. A quick look on Bandcamp will yield a slew of releases that are far more interesting and exciting than some moody synths underpinning some field recordings.

(This can’t be right, but it is) American Dream Records has put out its first compilation album. The wonderfully titled In the Deep Drift You Will Find the Most Serene of Lullabies. This 14-track album is their take on ambient. Given the label’s rich history with experimental music In the Deep Drift You Will Find the Most Serene of Lullabies has more in common with Basil Kirchin than party goers who need to calm down for a bit.

The album opens with Walt McClements‘ ‘Factory Bath’. A deep, almost Eastern sounding, drone slowly emanates from the speakers. It gently builds. Static motifs appear and reappear. Under this something majestic swells. Grows. Becomes larger than we could have hoped for. Pacewise it’s all low key. McClements takes his time and doesn’t rush the euphoric rush. Next up is Patrick Shiroshi’s ‘Waiting for Friends at Tokyo Station’. This has more of a field recording vibe. The sound of a busy station. PA announcements. People’s chatting and feet moving about give a dynamic sense of movement, and tension, that all stations have. These two tracks set up the album perfectly. They tell us that the music will be serene but engaging. This won’t be a passive listening experience. You need to pay attention to what’s going on to get the most from it. Reading this back I feel slightly embarrassed as this is fundamental to getting the most out of the majority of music, but when listening to In the Deep Drift You Will Find the Most Serene of Lullabies it’s important to remember it. One track that this is true for is ‘Ashes’. Martha Skye Murphy’s terse ‘Ashes’ is one of the standout moments. Over subtle tones Murphy delivers an almost whispered vocal performance that conjures up images of re-birth. Funeral pyres being broken up and mixed into the earth to help create fertile soil. It’s one of the most striking pieces of music Murphy has released thus far in her career. Daniel Wyche’s ‘Walrus and Muskrat Meet to Discuss the Day’s Events’ has a Ry Cooder feel to it. Romantic guitar, the sound of what could be rain and feet walking up and down a hallway really come together to create something cinematic and memorable in a way that few ambient pieces of music are.

In The Deep Drift You Will Find the Most Serene of Lullabies is a glorious album. It is filled with captivating melodies. Inventive ideas and ideas of space seldom seen outside of westerns and space opera. While writing this review I am not at home. Out of the window there is a different view. Instead of houses I can see miles of fields. The largest building is a barn. All I can really see is the horizon and sky. Looking out at this vista while playing ‘Ghost Fluorescence’ or ‘Cryotherapy’ I get something from the music I haven’t before. Its grander. Stretching. Far reaching. It merges with the landscape, and my imagination, and becomes something else. The music has now fused with this place, and I cannot separate the two. At the same time, had I been at home and gone for a walk around the park, or town, In the Deep Drift You Will Find the Most Serene of Lullabies would also have melded itself with my environment and enriched it. What all this means is that this is an album that lends itself to whatever environment you are in. It enhances it with rich melodies and abstract tones. It allows you to escape your 9-to-5 whilst elevating enforced breaks from it. This is an album you need in your life. You’ll thank American Dream Records for it later.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.