Ambient music is hit and miss most of the time, not every band can pull it off. There are many fantastic ambient groups who manage to create incredible music, such as Stars of the Lid and Lustmord. Those two groups manage to use vast soundscapes with minimal use of instruments to their advantage; creating mentally affecting works of art. Then, there are other groups who attempt to use ambiance as a time-filler, or they simply toy around with sound effects on a computer, creating annoying, or useless, music. Rooftop Access is not one of these bands, instead they would fall into the emotionally affecting category that Stars of the Lid finds itself in. Reals and Dreamity is not a waste of time, it is not too simple or overdone, it is not trying to be something it is not. It is simply beautiful.
Though this may be an ambient album, it is not void of instruments. Every single track upon this release contains some sort of instrumental presence, whether it be guitars, drums, or both. These instruments are not overly present however, they simply aid to the build up of ambient swells. They merely accent the various tones and prove to occupy the listener. Without them, the album would be rather dull and boring. However, due to their presence, Reals and Dreamity becomes engaging and enchanting. The instruments are not at all predictable either, at times they are loud and have a massive presence, at others they are very silent and simply add some meat to an otherwise purely atmospheric track. There are moments when the guitars become extremely distorted and loud and the drums pound heavily, the album would no longer be considered ambient for a brief few minutes. These unexpected times of chaos throw any preconceived ideas of this album out the door. It could be easily assumed by the listener, upon hearing the first few minutes of this LP, that Reals and Dreamity is nothing more than one big soundscape. This assumption is only proved wrong as moments of instrumental fury break the silence. It becomes its own, it is not a clone of an ambient album, it is an extremely unique listen for this very reason. Simply put, it is unpredictable, all the time, every time.
This beautiful album is not the average ambient experience for various other reasons. Audio samples do make occasional appearances upon this release. In the intro track,"Jeff Graff" a man speaks throughout the entirety of the song. He falls in the background of the noise, for the most part, but the various topics of his speech remain clear as sentences break through the lush sound. What he speaks of only makes the music deeper, somehow his pep-talk like speech only creates a more haunting feel to the song. Vocals are also not unheard of on this album, which is quite a surprise in a predominantly ambient LP. A young woman's voice is heard singing for a brief minute or so within one of the tracks. Though this vocal section may prove to be a short lived, it is certainly not a pointless moment. Her vocals are spot on, singing in a beautiful tone that meld in with the shoegaze reminiscent guitar and drum patterns that are present within the background. It is a very tasteful moment, and perhaps the stand out of the entire work, if there is a stand out among the eight incredible tracks.
Rooftop Access is not an average ambient band. They do not merely craft one, droning, tone for the entirety of a track. Instead, they combine many different sounds, and at times even genres, to create inspiring works of atmospheric art. At the core of the album, however, lies an ambiance that is never forgotten or lost. There is always that subtle, soothing, soundscape. Not one thing about this release detracts from it, it is a work of art, one that should not be missed. Even if the listener is not fond of minimalistic or ambient music, it is still well worth the listen, as this release is a striking surprise. It may be primarily composed of atmospherics, but it relies on many different genres for its accents. Reals and Dreamity is extraordinarily unique.
"Every singly" (2nd paragraph)
should be single
then in that same sentence you use "upon" - i really think on is the better word there, upon sounds very forced
"the album would no long be considered"
"These unexpected times of chaos throw any preconceived ideas of this album out the door."
I see what you're trying to say here, I just think you could use another sentence or two saying exactly why/how these notions are dispelled and perhaps even mention what exactly the ideas are haha
"Vocals are also not unheard of upon this album"
again, "on" is probably a better word choice.
Also, there was some serious repetition of the words "album" and "ambient" which kind of threw off the writing a bit...just something I noticed that's worth watching out for next time.
Sorry for all the constructive criticism, this is a very nice piece of writing it just has a few snares and shortcomings. Other than those though, great review and I will most certainly be checking this out
Thanks for the advice, I might edit it up when I have time.
It's funny, because the areas that there are mistakes are the ones I edited heavily after I finished the review, I obviously didn't proofread those parts haha.
But thanks, and you should definitely do so, it's great.
"This album is MASSIVE.
soooo good, but it's length/ambition might weigh it down a little bit.
Either way, fantastic rec and I am most certainly enjoying this as a background soundscape to writing this paper right now."
It definitely is, there are such huge swells that sometimes it's actually extremely loud haha, I love the thing. Well, I've had it, and listened to it, for a good 4 months now, and it hasn't lost a bit of its original appeal. So, hopefully it won't lose appeal to you.
stars of the lid and lustmord dont sound similar at all, idk why you are using those two bands as staples of comparison
"Though this may be an ambient album, it is not void of instruments."
"Then, there are other groups who attempt to use ambiance as a time-filler, or they simply toy around with sound effects on a computer, creating annoying, or useless, music. Rooftop Access is not one of these bands, instead they would fall into the emotionally affecting category that Stars of the Lid finds itself in."
"Rooftop Access is not an average ambient band. They do not merely craft one, droning, tone for the entirety of a track."