Steve Gibbs – Adrift

Post-classical composer Steve Gibbs’s debut solo EP, Adrift, is an ethereal piece of work which gorgeously brings together piano and strings with ambient electronic textures. Released in 2014, this solemn five-track EP sounds positively cinematic. It is not difficult to understand why Gibbs’ work has been used in movies and ad campaigns. The general lack of prominent melody throughout the album makes it perfect as soundtrack music as well as, of course, being ideal listening material when in a reflective and open mood.

The opening track ‘Adrift’ begins with an ambient soundscape that is astral and recalls Brian Eno’s Apollo in its expansiveness. The sounds of reversed guitars steadily filter into the mix. Soon there enters the muffled sound of piano chords which light up this tapestry of sound. We are certainly ‘adrift’ now: there is a sense of hanging in the ether to this track which sets the atmosphere for the rest of the EP. This sense of intedeterminacy is not a troubling one, but a feeling of liberation from constraints, a cool and calm lack of focus which is perfect for this sombre time of year. Softly dancing, arpeggio-like treble piano figurations come in out of this abstraction and are given warmth and depth by the prominent, swelling baseline.

Aeuria ‘Birth’ EP (City By Night)

Canada based ambient artist and producer Aeuria has been quietly creating tremors and atmospheric sub-bass undulations for just over a year now, and ‘Birth’, his five track debut EP released on City By Night records is a great clemency, a lesson in subtly and cold allure.

Opening track ‘Essence’ swells with the sound of heavy rain, setting a cold temperament before soft piano chords provide depth and meagre warmth. Bijou, the female vocalist has an ethereal appeal and is reminiscent of Iceland’s Mum or possibly Sigur Ros. This is highly visual music, and the use of natural sounds (field recordings and foley sounds of chattering birds, heavy rain and footsteps on stone) invariably creates images of expansive lakes, boreal forests and adversarial weather.