Review Summary: Nightly images, desolate pictures and lonely settings compose this independent album as an excuse of Barrett's curiosity on ambient music An ambience is defined as an atmosphere, or a surrounding influence: a tint. My intention is to produce original pieces ostensibly (but not exclusively) for particular times and situations with a view to building up a small but versatile catalogue of environmental music suited to a wide variety of moods and atmospheres.
Close analysis to a subject of study leads inevitably to two things: Finding errors in its core, whether stupidly hidden by those who created it, or finding inherent beauty not ever found under a small scope.
There’s never a need to inspect closely a matter of study because it’s never worth it. Approximations, on the other hand, aid vastly in terms of time, money and overall resources.
What’s the object, after this brief introduction, of inspecting Nicholas Barrett’s last effort to the marrow of the bone? The answer is simple, yet inconclusive: The minimalism injected to Observing the moon
requires listening to every single second, every single bit rate change in order to find elements that could have been overlooked under other situations, name it anger, name it frustration; name it calm, name it internal peace: there are a number of factors that can or cannot change a personal perception on such a minimal ground.
Under that scope, the album may seem frustratingly quiet for the untrained ear. And for a regular ear too. The vibe is so light and under-toned it’s difficult to pinpoint errors in execution. Even more so, the album recurs to ambient sounds and other electronic elements instead of casual rock or otherwise musical instruments, besides a minimal but cute use of guitar and keyboards in select moments.
The tracks contained in the album may seem a bit long for most audiences, although if compared to releases by popular bands in this posting board and review site, it’s actually in the mediocre spectrum of song lengths. While some are just based in a solitary, tangling pictures (Origins
,Forever in Dreams
), while others feature a more diverse feeling all over the song (L’univers dans des no mains
). By diverse it’s implied that the tone is mutating through the piece. In the case of Forever in Dreams
, for instance, there’s a constant pace throughout the playtime, only changed by a different instrumentation, but still in a down-toned playing.
The ambient is well built in many moments, but in others it’s just a bugging noise that isn’t precisely to create an ambient, and just an artistic masturbation carrying its “I-am-deep-listen-to-me” flag. For that reason, some parts (in the quieter sections) scream at full lung capacity for fills, anything that makes it stand above the last moment, and in others another scream for diversity: It feels as if it were constituted in its entirety by wind blowing, which is a nice effect but doesn’t make an album, even if layered as different sounds but from the same source.
This album is not amazing, nor bad in the end. For instance, take Brian Eno
´s Ambient 1:Music for Airports
. If you are familiar with this release, as a listener it’s easier to confront what’s going on in each record. What’s the difference then, if they are both based in… minimalism? Well, the key to a personal incline towards Eno, beside experience, has to be the use of fills. Fills are what makes an ambient album. As mentioned prior to this paragraph, Origins
never progresses, never fills in with something that doesn’t destroy the lonesome territory risen from the get-go, but makes the whole picture a lot bleaker, while as is, just shows a blank canvas with an excellent background but no planes, no textures, no nothing. In other parts of the observation there’s a slightly better exposition of textures, but as a complete piece it bails a lot.
But in the end stands as a SOLID
album by a growing performer. Actually more like jello.