Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Loving ... "The Ebb and Flow" by Chris Weeks

I love it when I get music sent to me to listen to. It puts a spring in my step but also puts a doubt in my heart: what if I don't like what I have been sent? My parents brought me up to only say something good and to keep quiet if I have nothing good to say. I try to follow their advice and whilst I may not follow them to the letter in a face-to-face setting, I live by their philosophy on here.

I was recently sent “The Ebb and Flow” by Chris Weeks. It arrived in my In Box out of the blue and I was, quite naturally, hesitant. Weeks was not someone I was familiar with and I was approaching his music cold. I was, understandably, apprehensive.

I can happily say my reticence was completely unfounded and I am equally delighted to say “The Ebb and Flow” is a wonderful release ... filled to the brim with the kind of interesting, intelligent drone-orientated ambient soundscapes that I simply adore.

His music reminds me of the marvellous Emma^lee Crane ... there is a magnificence about the tracks that is simply breathtaking ... a grandeur that fills the room when the release is playing ... a presence that I have found captivating whether I am walking the dog, taking a long hot bath, or sitting alone in my living room taking a breather from the excitement and busyness of a time of annual leave.

Where Weeks is successful in my eyes is his use of drone and noise sparingly. He uses the ambience these styles create to underpin his soundscapes ... filling the remaining space with subtle percussive sounds or guitar-strums.

He also uses melody very effectively ... his drones are more melodic, kind of like strings in an orchestra ... and less noisy, if that makes sense? And it is this emphasis on melody that takes his music to a more pastoral level ... a kind of “ambient+” space ... the space frequented by Ms Crane, as mentioned above ... a space I treasure.

On “Wave V”, for example, he uses repetition really well ... juxtapositioning the repeated sounds of a guitar or a bell with what sounds like sliding guitar. These repeated sounds take on an almost hypnotic air and nicely underpin the melodic movement of the slides.

In addition, the use of a field recording of waves crashing against the shore in “Wave VI” really helps to underline the meaning of the release’s title. Here Weeks demonstrates a real awareness for ambient drones ... playing to their strength ... the ebb and flow being a feature to celebrate and emphasis rather than a byproduct or side effect.

I cannot fault this release and would highly recommend it. I love it deeply and have added it to my “Easter Holidays” playlist - where it sits alongside Emma^lee Crane, Rhian Sheehan, Hammock and Orbit Over Luna.

I look forward to hearing more from Weeks and glad he took the time to email me. Please have a listen using the embedded player before and, if you like what you hear, please support independent musicians like Weeks.


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