Ambient music is a wide and disparate stream. Approached properly, it can influence mood, induce reflections and in the best cases, lead to meditative states that are conducive to spiritual awakenings and personal epiphanies. More often, the sound is more suggestive of Dalston art students pressing “demo” on a synthesiser and screaming impotently into a Mogwai boxset, forever.
Hailing from Poland, a country with a certain penchant for the bleak it its many forms come Echoes of Yul with second full-length “Cold World”. It is a work that sits somewhere between these two extremes, offering on the one had a rich, expansive soundscape full of deep textures and full tones but alternatively frustrating just at the point where full transcendent climax seems to be so close.
The situation is helped greatly by the modest track lengths. One of the worst features of this particular niche is the quantity over quality dictum that usually leads to 20 minute repetitions of the same musical phrasing and by keeping things succinct, Echos of Yul maintain interest and keep the attention long enough to ensure that the genuinely fantastic parts of this record don’t go ignored.
Samples are used sparingly and there’s enough going on in the background to keep the focus from waning. At times, something brilliant happens and the effect is a transition from detached-yet-entertained to full on captive audience. It’s at this point however that the disappointment comes.
As mentioned, it’s the failure to take things to that next level that lets this record down. Just as everything looks set to push to 11, there’s an inability to capitalise and the record pulls back from the brink leaving a definite sense of frustration.
There is certainly a lot to like here, and as Sunday morning and or rainy day music there’s certainly far worse choices that you could make. Ultimately though the impression is of a band with a huge amount of promise, just falling short of hitting the full mark. Echoes of Yul are certainly interesting and this is absolutely a project to keep an eye on, but as a sophomore effort this should have delivered more.