Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Loving ... “Life Cycle” by John Puchiele Ensemble

One of the things I love most about ambient music is the breadth of the genre. To call something "ambient" could mean different things to different people. This ubiquity, for some, may devalue the genre and remove it of meaning but for me it just makes me all the more curious.

Take “Life Cycle” by John Puchiele Ensemble. Billed as ambient ... I see it sitting more at the wonderful no-man’s-land between ambient and neo-classical ... not that it really matters, if I am honest because, let’s face it, there are only two types of music: good and bad ... and “Life Cycle” is definitely in the good camp.

Weighing in at 13 tracks and 63 minutes ... “Life Cycle” is a wondrous demonstration of neo-classical expression: effervescent piano & luscious string-like synths pervade the tracks ... creating a delightful soundtrack to the listener’s day.

Puchiele’s ability to create eloquent soundscapes is to their credit - the music presented is deeply engaging and of a quality that will stand the test of time. In fact, it is this timelessness that makes this release so appealing and all the more enjoyable. It is on a par with the most evocative soundtracks ... something the listener can revisit time and again.

There are tracks where the ambient leanings of the ensemble come to the for ... where the track features waves of sound that ebb and flow in a rather hypnotic manner. Tracks like “the big sky”, “thinking” with its ethereal choral effect, and the languid drones of "climbing" exemplify these waves of sound.

Whereas there are other tracks where the neo-classical leanings of the Ensemble come to the fore: tracks like "life gets busy I" with its dynamic string-like synths, "life gets busy II" with its rather vibrant, dynamic and wildly extrovert piano playing, or the deliciously pastoral "from here to there" which features some delightfully ethereal vocal-like synths that really set off the track and close the album perfectly.

I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album. It captured and kept my attention ... and I would highly recommend it to fans of the ambient genre, especially those who like the sound of strings.

Please take the time to listen to the album via the embedded player and, if it is your thing, do what you can to support truly independent music.


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