I think we could all use some help with relaxing right now, so thank god Aural Canyon Records is still active and putting out healing, mellow ambient albums on the regular. Here’s a rundown of some of the chillest of their most recent releases.
Pulse Emitter/PJS – Split
Each artist helms their own side-length suite, which feel both complimentary and somewhat related to each other.
Pulse Emitter’s “Drifting in The Ether” is a flowing ocean of dreamy electronic tones and drones, all sliding into one another. Much like what the title states, listening to it feels like you are indeed being set adrift into some heavenly cosmos.
On the flip side, PJS’ “Paris Flashback” is a meditative wash of slowly oscillating keyboards and digital pulsations. For the majority of the epic piece, it sounds like an array of submerged synthesizers all beaming their sounds ups from the ocean floor. This is actually a perfect sonic interpretation of what being lost in a flashback daydream feels like. So again, this is one perfectly apt title.
You can grab this spacey power duo on cassette and digital here.
Akkad The Orphic Priest/City Of Dawn – The Stars Speak Quietly In Their Own Language
Now this split release/collaboration features a little more variety in tone, texture and atmosphere.
Akkad The Orphic Priest’s portion of the tape has a bit of a shadowy vibe to it and yet it still feels pleasantly reflective. Rough-edged synth waves coast above low humming drones, like something off of a mid-70’s Tangerine Dream record. The highlight for me from Akkad’s section is the beautiful “Mother Mary, Watch Over Me,” which features loops of what sounds like manipulated birdsongs.
City of Dawn’s sequence of tracks has a slightly brighter, euphoric sound, complete with keyboards that imitate strings and choral voices slathered in heaps of reverb. Occasionally, spoken word samples creep through, like in the heavenly “Lacuna,” which helps to give the song a faded recollection-like quality.
When you purchase this album, you receive a digital bonus track, which is a collaboration between both artists. The song combines the strengths of each musician, so you have that rough, buzzing synth texture from Akkad mixed with the celestial pearly tones of City of Dawn. It certainly makes for a fascinating and laid-back listen.
You can get this album on cassette and digitally here.
Arrowounds – Heterotropic
If you find that the best way to relax is by listening to the sounds of nature, then Arrowounds’ Heterotropic album is certainly for you.
Composed largely out of manipulated field recordings of the natural world, the single twenty-four minute track that makes up Heterotropic sounds like what might happen if artificial intelligence tried to interpret and recreate the sonic atmospheres of outdoor environments.
Throughout the piece, refracted babbling brooks meld with the distorted calls of birds and frogs, while amplified winds whip through drones of synthesized insects. The song feels both organic and manufactured. You never get the feeling that you’re hearing nature untampered. The touch of man and machine is evident through every second, which I believe, is the artist’s intention. Despite this though, “Heterotropic” is a vastly relaxing listen that’ll certainly leave you feeling reset, especially if you haven’t been able to get outside lately.
You can purchase a download for this album here.
Lunar Garden – Planted
Lunar Garden’s Planted is perhaps the most musically diverse and unique entry in Aural Canyon’s recent catalogue.
You’ll find it immensely easy to unwind your inner tensions while listening to Lunar Garden’s gorgeously ethereal combination of frosty keyboards and twinkling reverb-treated guitar.
Tracks like “Drops” flow freely like the music itself is somehow a fluid, with cosmic synths gliding uninhibited under layers of softly echoing guitar. The loose structure of these songs easily makes you feel transported to some different realm.
I think it is this transportive quality that absolutely makes this album. If you feel like you can’t handle your current reality at the moment, all you have to do is put this record on, and you’ll be able to take a break from this world for a little while. What more could you ask for from an ambient album?
You can purchase a download of Planted right here.
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