Review Summary: From the land of steel and sun come ambient joy for everyone
Simplicity, more often than not, is the best answer. Russell W
seems to have realised this early on, and with Blue Moons And Happy Accidents, releases a beautifully fragile soundscape to get lost in. Near perfection achieved in a saturated genre rife with over-experimentation and ironic posturing.
Experimental music is fundamentally driven by the artist's needs, rather than listeners'. Feeling a need to create their own work that personifies them, it's a highly emotional form of composure and creation. No matter how ironic or quirky an artist is, there still is an element of truth in the themes and emotions they explore and cannot help but relate to listeners. Those artists who balance their experimentation with a knowledge that there will be listeners who they'll be [hopefully] engaging, reap the benefits of the work all the more sweetly. Russell W is one of these artists. Using restraint in structural and textural exploration, he achieves an album who's feel is balanced, cohesive, and enjoyable to listen to.
Dynamicism is the name of the game on Blue Moons And Happy Accidents. With Each track being subtly independent of the other you never feel the drag that some albums have when you get towards the end. There is cohesiveness, yes, but it's more slight in nature. Tracks have different feels and moods, which is often something lacking in electronica/ambient releases. Boyd Rice this is not. Brokencyde this is not. Happily. Lack of formalised vocals often can be disconcerting to the listener who notices their absence, but with the inclusion of samples, the listener feels more engaged.
A stand out track on the album is Puddle Lane. This track, the shortest on the album at a mere 1:23, is an acoustic guitar driven song that repeats a simple two-bar phrase while background samples build in intensity to create a snapshot of a sunny afternoon in song form. Microexperimentation at its finest that paves the way for Act Your Age, a definite highlight on the album. Act Your Age's alternating dynamics, dub-meets-freejazz drumming over a synthy guitar work, creates an uplifting mood of contentment and play, echoing the title of the track.
Electronica has come of age.