Review Summary: A peaceful journey inspired by South African landscapes…
The Swedish psybient/trance composer Solar Fields has become one of the most easily recognizable artists in the genre due to the constant high quality output released as well as multiple appearances on several soundtracks or compilations over the years. The moment I read Magnus Birgersson recorded most of Ourdom
in South Africa in a rather pastoral environment (a wooden house on a coastline), I expected it to be a mostly ambient affair. It is indeed a relaxed record, however, the man focused on dynamics too, so we're treated to another trademark sonic roller coaster.
In my opinion, Ourdom
shares an optimistic vibe, always shape shifting from expansive tracks to contemplative drones. The opening trio, ‘Burning View’, ‘Shifting Nature’ & ‘Into the Sun’ are nice mood setters, the former gradually growing with pulsating synths and airy pads, which beautifully transition to the piano-led ‘Shifting Nature’. I wish Solar Fields developed this ditty more, because the chords are really touching. Nevertheless, ‘Into the Sun’ settles onto a smooth, progressive pattern that finally bursts as the lovely ‘Forgiveness’. This highlight creates a lush atmosphere, as if you’re somewhere out in a vivid open field on a sunny day. The warm notes and deep bass sound exquisite together, borrowing a post-rock-esque formula. Then, we’re reminded this is still a psytrance LP, as ‘Mountain King’ unfolds from dreamy drones into an after midnight party. The sequencers gently take over, whereas the steady beats sustain the entire foundation. As a result, everything sounds really positive and fun. Magnus offers us a short detour through the subdued ‘Wave Cascade’, before launching into another mid-tempo rager, ‘Moving Lines’. Those who enjoyed Random Friday
will find these upbeat tracks just as cool and liberating.
Nevertheless, the focus isn’t on club-ready themes this time, as the second half of the album features another suite that is slightly more meditative overall. Birgersson steadily builds again with cuts like ‘Joshua’s Shop’ or ‘Parallel Universe’. The former is rather a lounge number, using chimes and bells alongside piano leads to create a chill vibe, until the huge synths take over. ‘Parallel Universe’, on the other hand, is a slow burner that unveils its grooves only halfway through. These darker moments give way to ‘The Daylight Carrier’, which boasts some more psybient goodies Solar Fields expertly creates. This slightly shy approach, throwing a few expansive chords followed by a retreat into brooding progressions makes things interesting, yet sometimes you just want everything to explode into a big party. At the end, ‘Siren Song of Glass’ puts us to sleep with its droning howls and background bass. In a way, it feels a bit rushed, since it’s a sudden conclusion to a 20-minute build up. It’s like you’re ready for another round, only to be told the bar’s closing now.
winds up as a truly enjoyable record, even though it lacks a punchier climax. If Solar Fields had added some more of Random Friday
influences (at least one more raver at the end to top the journey), there would have been a bigger pay off. This is my only complaint regarding this LP, and arguably a subjective one. Otherwise, the production is crystalline, the drones are soothing, while the transitions are really carefully done.