The really cool thing with ambient music is that its properties are self contemplating, usually spurring one’s own motivation to look into their inner self’s; one that is an analytical process in efforts to uproot deeper emotions and understandings. It is also like a drug where each person’s experience will be different, whether it’s your first time using or your 50th time. And this is what ambient music is really all about – to abate the barriers of what we like to call our wall; our shield or fake face that protects us. But when it is us, I and the music only, there is no need to fear the exposure that we may at one time face in one way or another; whether it be good or bad. Why not take a self analysis of what you are emotionally capable of right now? Then what better source is there than a dense, all powerful tractor-crane that has the ability to uproot your tightest roots. With that, I present artist Jake Hollis’s
“Introspective”; a casting over-glow of passionate, deeply rooted aneurysms that probe and delve into the pinnacles of our psyche. Now of course the level of assimilation that you may experience will be personal so I can only share with you, mine, while enforcing factual occurrences that can’t be ignored.
This LP is structured with 4 tracks with the first two being just over 10 minutes in length, the third being 22 minutes, and the final track being just over 5 minutes. It must be fully understood that ambient music needs to be approached as if it were a movie where your uninvited attention is necessary in grasping the storyline and essence. It’s your chance to unwind and open up and we all have our times during the day when we are most mellow, even if you are a hard thrasher or metaler. This is the time you want to engage in this listen because any casual listen will bestow, but it will not be enough to encapsulate. And encapsulation is what we want, especially since this drug has the power to take you on a trip if you allow it.
The music is more like a symphony with only a few select instruments. You know, the type of symphonies that are really mellow and emotional, rather than sporadic. The phrasings are very drone-like but I’m referring to the classical tag because if you were to speed this up it would probably sound like a Bach piece or the bass strings of a symphony in some instances, but not in its entirety. The beginning track, during the first 2 minutes or so, “Yes” gives a preview of what textures will be used throughout the LP; being some chime sounds, wind splurging, synthy to piano-like notes, and interlacings. This opening engagement of everything on display is nice because it tends to open up your mind just before the prying begins. It’s kind of like a valiant heathen who flashes his large teeth and strength at an attempt of intimidation to get his opponents juices flowing for a well fitting challenge; respectfully of course.
After the brief opening display “Introspective” gets to work. With the use of highly delayed and reverb effects the slight touch of just a few notes rings into an aquarium of density. The atmosphere is now saturated with feeling and well composed interchanges, although from this point, slight they are. The recurring reciprocations are subtle yet very complex; complex to the degree where any hints of improvisation are out the window. Although lengthy in appearance, when you have fun with this time seems to pass by much quicker than you thought, and the well thought out passages are very calming, but focused. This is especially apparent when track “Maybe” comes in where we are invited to what seems to be the sounds of reverb laced shower room where a man’s voice seems to come in and out with sounds of coughs or groans. Showering, for me, is a place where I relax and think about my day and my inner feelings so the sentimentality of the feel is close at home with me. There are constant musical textures that blend in perfectly with the showering sounds. From this point I always tend to get very visual and imaginative and I can’t help but picture what it would feel like to be immortal without any care in the world, but hey that’s just me. And I must say that “Maybe” is my favorite track as I feel it opens me up the most.
I really like how the ambience favors bass and treble extremes where the bass tones resonate very well within the dense reverb and higher treble octaves. The rest of the album doesn’t have any more natural sound skits like shower water which makes me kind of miss those feelings; which is a minor drawback for me. Some booming-droning thunder would have fit nicely over the final track “I Guess” in my opinion but nonetheless everything is cohesive and this is a fine effort. Once the album slowly fades out you find yourself coming back to reality.
This ambient journey is very satisfying and an excellent LP released by Jake Hollis
. He has the potential to do so much more damage in the future with the integration of more dynamic extremes and will have a successful discography if he stays passionate about delving into the inner core, the obvious direction that “Introspective” attempts to create. Any fan of drone-ambience should definitely give this a shot as there is much to be absorbed here.