iphi
Sentiment Scrapyard


3.5
great

Review

by hug rap's painful goodbye STAFF
February 14th, 2024 | 15 replies


Release Date: 12/22/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Promising proof-of-concept for ambient trance XtaC

As a semi-committed defender of trance music's most overblown, synapse-melting tastefulness-eschewing excesses, I find the ambient side of things to be a trickier sell. The ambient trance I've enjoyed has largely done away with the genre's infamous rave euphoria, either hearkening back to the expanse and mystique of its New Age roots (Dream Dolphin, James Ferraro), or else finding fresh footing within dubby grooves (Solar Fields, Carbon Based Lifeforms, and the rest of the psybient pantheon). On the other hand, I've been happy to leave any tranquilly-minded attempts at renegotiating trance's ecstatic qualities in the hands of Traumprinz (and aliases), or else atmo-breakbeat crossovers such as DJ Close Your Eyes to Find Me or the great Doss; beyond that, it's all too easy to write off any marriage of ecstasy-trance with blissout-trance as an unenviable juggling act between two appeals that rarely sit naturally alongside one another.

Or perhaps not? Over its strongest handful of songs, iphi's latest release Sentiment Scrapyard gives me pause for thought, begging the question of whether beatless trance has to be seen as a compromise of energy levels or listening spaces to begin with. Opener "Starting Point" and the following pair of "Baby" and "Aid" start out as bleak reveries, only for floods of sawtooth pads and slicing semiquavers to burst through, hang suspended, and gradually subside to make room for the next impact: rather than spur the track in question on to greater momentum, they spotlight iphi's rather austere take on ambience as a stable constant at either side of their parabola.

As with the rest of the album, these songs are completely devoid of percussion (save for the occasional standalone hit on "Baby" and an unobtrusive hi-hat metronome on "Aid"), emphasising the distance between moments of gratification rather than providing a steady purchase through stability of a beat. This music is infectious – the vocal hook on "Baby" underscores this almost to a fault! – yet its minimal palette emphasises such abrupt changes of dynamics that the listener will likely detect the feeling of clinging to each r u s h as though by their fingertips. The classic trance elements here sound as unapologetically lurid as they would on a full-tilt Goa odyssey, but iphi's deconstruction gives them a liminal quality that invites close inspection and intrigue without necessarily demanding any extra patience.

It's an interesting and potentially original effect that gives the opening salvo staying power well beyond the sum of its parts, but outside of the shimmer-heavy bonus track "Romance", the remaining tracks shy away from recreating it, focusing instead on a considerably less engaging take on pure ambience. "Cold Hands" is the sole exception here, an ambient pop showstopper replete with a doey vocal performance that might as well have come straight from a lacuna in any given Gidge or Burial smoulderer. It's one of many moments where iphi teases obvious potential without entirely stepping into it: this take on this vocal styling coupled with the opening run's limbo-operation on basic trance vocabulary have great prospective mileage, but their representation on Sentiment Scrapyard is cursory enough that they scan as little more than a blueprint. Should we stay tuned for more? My interest, at least, is piqued.




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user ratings (5)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
February 14th 2024


60163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank u NORMA for a second pair of eyes // this very short album is not quite all there yet imo, but the premise for these opening is exciting and engaging and I'm open to any recs in the same vein

Purpl3Spartan
February 14th 2024


8445 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

will probably check nice writeup

mindleviticus
February 15th 2024


10484 Comments


cool review will check johnathan

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
February 15th 2024


5423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

iphiphiphiphiphiphi

normaloctagon
Contributing Reviewer
February 15th 2024


3950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice one Johnny, really enjoyed this

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
February 15th 2024


60163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

iphanking you! < 3

myri14
February 15th 2024


114 Comments


Going to check this out,I really like 4/4 electronic that takes the kick out. Thanks for the review!

Koris
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2024


21096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It ain't a Johnny writeup without a Dream Dolphin mention 🐬🐬🐬



Nice review, I'll check this one out over the weekend

Purpl3Spartan
February 16th 2024


8445 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice vibes

mindleviticus
February 16th 2024


10484 Comments


This is decent didn't really grab me or anything

Gyromania
February 16th 2024


36986 Comments


agreed trance is a kind of shit subgenre

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2024


60163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

not sure anyone's suggesting that (or that this pocket of trance is representative of what you imagine you're talking about)

Koris
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2024


21096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ok yeah, this was nice! Really relaxing and chilled out

Pikazilla
February 17th 2024


29698 Comments


is this endorsed by apple

Koris
Staff Reviewer
February 20th 2024


21096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No, but it's endorsed by me



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