Wow. Simply wow. That was my first reaction after listening to ”Looking Through The New Window” by Gentleforce. It is 31 minutes of ambient music in all it’s glorious richness, variety and joyous vitality… and I was bowled over by it.
Now… I tend to listen to a piece of music that I am given to review as fresh and clean as possible. If I don’t know who the piece is by then I don’t research them before my initial listen. I want to approach the music as virginal as possible with no preconceived expectations.
This is important because if I had known and done some research… I would have looked at this piece of music not so much as a longform slice of ambience but as the recording of a live performance it ’technically’ is… and I would have probably seen it differently.
It’s expertly crafted, prophetically sequenced and the mixing is seamless… and would have probably looked to these elements rather than solely focussing on the content and it is the content of this piece that is truly the most impressive.
It commences with a deeply immersive ambient soundscape with drones underpinning some interesting and emotive sounds… before evolving subtly around the 4 minute mark into a more techno-orientated expression with a deliciously repetitive 4/4 beat pounding out. I love techno… particularly dub techno… and this was a most welcome surprise for me that took the piece from another longform release and differentiated it as something special indeed. The mood changes with the introduction of the beats… the drones dissipate and a more melodious synth appears… ebbing and flowing into my conscious.
The juxtaposition of the random nature of the emotive sounds with the fixed regime of the beats works so well here for me. Giving me an anchor to focus my concentration on whilst allowing my thoughts room for manoeuvre… allowing me to follow the sonic butterflies as they flit across my awareness.
Around the 10 minute mark the most delight string (I think cello) sound becomes apparent… this sound takes the melody forward in the most luscious manner. The beats are still present and the sounds are there too… but the overriding melody is that of the cello and it made me (and still makes me) smile like a loon when I hear it.
Around the 12 minute mark the piece changes almost entirely. The beats and sounds are replaced by an oscillating synth that allows the piece to change tact and ushers in some white noise. I’m not a big fan of this noise but welcome it… due to my sense of expectation as to what may come next.
Percussive sounds appear… manipulated symbol flourishes join forces with more melody in the form of further synths… which builds nicely and really helps to define this piece as a real rollercoaster of a release. The sense of wonder that this synth melody brings is tangible… it is a very open and immersive sound… almost euphoric in it’s expression.
By the 18 minute mark… we hear the emotive sounds once more before a staccato motif drifts into play. This is complemented once more by beats but ones not so regimented… almost dubsteppy in their irregular regularity.
This builds the foundation for some grandiose female vocals around the 21 minute mark that are almost operatic in nature. They are wonderful… hair-standing-on-back-of-the-neck wonderful. It really is an odd wall-of-sound but it definitely worked for me… I loved it.
New synths come in around the 24 minute mark… replacing the vocals with something warm and welcoming… and guiding the listener to the end of the piece.
I loved this release from Eli Murray aka Gentleforce and look forward to discovering more of his soundscapes. He is a talented chap, an expert musician and someone with real vision.