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7 out of 10
"Music expresses feeling and thought, without language; it was below and before speech, and it is above and beyond all words" - Robert G. Ingersoll
There are many different reasons why people choose to listen to music and to attempt to ruminate on them here would be both daft and futile. However when discussing ambient, instrumental drones the smorgasbord of possibilities is infinitesimally narrowed, but narrowed enough so I may say, with a quivering degree of confidence, that whilst evoking emotion through drama, bliss, crescendos and calm, music of this genre is also designed for inspiring thought. Instead of seeking shelter from half-wit lyricisms rattled off at a mini-gun rate, this nurtures and encourages a steady flow of thoughts to drift from tangent to tangent, occasionally tacking back like a Norfolk Punt against the current.
It is unusual for ambient, almost cinematic, sounds such as is on display from Danish 'sound artist' & composer P Jorgensen, to be so rigidly split into separately defined tracks, or for the tracks to be so short. The purpose of this is quite clear however - instead of showcasing this as one long ambling, direction-less track, Jorgensen wants to draw attention to the specific movements that writhe and rotate like discarded ice cream flushed down a glugging sink.
To starts with the type of forlorn chord that might be found in the works of Philip Glass or Fabio Orsi, this is soon joined by a faint rumbling and growing hiss as At a Loss moves into Blossom which in turn pinches it's skirt into a modest curtsy as the first of the Variations trilogy rolls in.
Whilst the first half of To is certainly a darker affair than the back five tracks, it is a darkness that inhabits corners or that peeks out from under the stairs. A darkness only by comparison to light. For this to have a maximised effect on the listener, perhaps it would have proved more rewarding to enter that all encompassing dank, the kind of absent light you can feel as it weighs heavy on your shoulders and legs. The type where it doesn't matter if your eyes are open or if they are closed, where it is not just climbing up your calves and dripping onto your head but busting and probing it's way out of your veins, sinews, bones.. No, out of your very being. Perhaps then the gradual slide up into blinking bright white would have felt like a journey rather than a short flirtation with a bulb-less room.
1. Giuoco Piano
2. At a Loss (Interlude)
4. Variation I
6. Variation II
7. Solbakken 2006.06.25 3:50am
9. Variation III
10. B-25 Mitchell