If the title of Ambient Musician Laureate existed in the USA, Taylor Deupree could be a shoo-in. He’s not an indie-crossover success story like Grouper or William Basinski, nor does his work are likely to problem preconceptions of what ambient music will be, however he’s one of many style’s most consummate professionals. As founder and head of the 12k label and engineering studio in New York, he’s the man that individuals who grasp ambient albums hit as much as grasp their very own information. You can too discover him working with David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto, composing music for images installations and out of doors tea gardens, or releasing pristine-sounding, artfully crafted ambient albums united by his pale, natural visible aesthetic.
Harbor is the 14th and newest of those releases, and Deupree’s sound design ensures it feels as pristine as something he’s launched whereas creating an intriguing wrinkle. The surfaces of those eight tracks sparkle with effervescent leads clearly performed on a synth however not far faraway from the Rhodes pianos beloved by the Album Leaf. In the meantime, a heavy, ominous low finish weighs these tracks down and retains them from floating into the ether. It provides fearful rigidity to this largely optimistic music. If Harbor is supposed to evoke its title, it’s straightforward to think about an idyllic floor of seashores and sailboats perched above the murky depths of the ocean.
However Harbor is much less efficient as a travelog than as a sculptural object, and the way in which the totally different layers of sound work together is extra fascinating than what they’re purported to signify; it’s straightforward to marvel in any respect the person noises as they flit in regards to the stereo area. There are some fantastic results right here, just like the fleck of Pastorian bass on “Mihto” and the second when the gnarly low finish takes over “Desaturation” and turns it right into a quite vicious noise-drone. You get the sense that Deupree has been doing this for therefore lengthy that sound is like bread and butter in his fingers.
Deupree loves textural grit, and every observe has a barely totally different assortment of burbles and hisses emanating out of the depths of the combo. The impact is much less to make it sound as if it’s glitching, as within the work of fellow Y2K-era sound explorers like Vladislav Delay and Oval, and extra to seize “the imperfect fantastic thing about nature” Deupree cites as important to each his music and his images. It’s as if Deupree has taken these eight finely-sculpted objects and left them exterior for some time so the rain and wind can work their magic. (Go away these things exterior for slightly longer and also you’d have Mike Cooper.)
At instances, Harbor sounds uncannily just like a few of the music presently being put out by the West Mineral secure of musicians, particularly final 12 months’s self-titled debut from Picnic. However whereas these artists emphasize thriller and obscurity, as if their music is concealing all method of shadowy secrets and techniques, there’s the sense with Harbor that what we’re listening to is what we’re seeing. This music is so high-definition, every component so exactly combined and clearly emphasised, that there’s by no means a way of something hidden or left to the creativeness. Fortunately, what’s already there’s greater than enough to stir it.