“And then, the mountains moved” - an EP that captivates and uplifts with a refreshingly harmonious bellow; one that threatens to tear the world away and leave you lost in contemplation. With an ethereal tranquility that appears to pulsate in time with the landscape it claims to represent, natural, classical and contemporary inspiration becomes apparent, with juxtaposing genres complimenting each other magnificently. James Joshua Otto achieves high levels of quality through his expression of skill; a great sense of depth and drama become immediately apparent and set the precedent from the opening of the first track “One step enough” - a gentle introduction which foreshadows the excellence yet to be discovered.
Designer and musician Mike Lemmon gave birth to his brainchild Neue about three years in the past. Earlier this year, he released an album named ‘Structure’ under the banner of this project. The 33 minute album features ambient soundscapes, drones, haunting beats and warm melodies in layers placed upon layers.
Structure commences with ‘Dawn’, which sets the mood for the album starting with the benign sounds of flowing water and chirping of birds. The track introduces a warm piano melody which prepares the listener for what is coming next in this introspective musical journey. As the intro track fades out, electronic percussion beats are introduced with ‘Into the Distance’. In a funky atmosphere set by this track, the listener knows that they’ve taken off on a soul-stirring journey and as the groovy bass discharges, it serves as fuel for imagination and visualization. With the second track ending into a distance, the journey suddenly takes a haunted route with high tempo beats, a cutthroat bass and high pitched notes with expansive reverberation.
‘Underground’ leaves the listener floating into free space where ‘Illusion’ sets in to subtly calm the listener with futuristic yet traditional sound textures that also bring the musical journey to a diminutive hiatus.
The album continues with modulated sounds, soft synth and a beat that reminds the listener of Nine Inch Nails but the integration of a melancholic piano melody pushes the album towards a sad yet optimistic course while a white-noise throughout ‘Vital’ exterminates negativity. A rhythm of flange and phaser dominates ‘Runaway’ with layers of warm sound textures, a dirty greasy bass and war drums to electrify the listener’s experience. ‘Emerge’ is a synchronization of drones, robotic sounds, noise clipping and comforting textures that uses reversed notes and echoes through the Amazon. ‘Eternal Machine’ uses enthralling low frequencies that vibrate the atmosphere and pulsate the listener in a continuum of timeless and perpetually textured sounds to conclude the journey with a climax.
The ambient sound textures throughout Structure remind one of Bass Communion, SigurRos and Helios and the album is meant to be listened in the predefined order to comprehend its original context. It significantly differs from the debut album ‘The Planets’ and Neue has definitely hit new heights of experimentation.
Written by Ali H