Filed under: Reviews | Tags: Hope Review, Morpheus Music, Various Artists - Hope
Electro-acoustic downtempo instrumentals. This is an album of inspiring digital delight – the collaborating artists have worked under harmonious vision to produce music of Hope. Here smooth drones and light washes interact with environmental recordings; melodies ebb and flow in understated restraint, moved by glitchy structures entwining ‘found’ percussive sounds and delicate beats. The melodic content often has a classical beauty about it – overtly through the use of wistful strings and elegant pianos – also through a recurring tone reminiscent of the grace and pensive nature of the nocturne. Introspective voices hang in the mix in places, musing in the misty headspace of the music. Static flecks and sleeting noise enliven the textural content. Acoustic and electric guitar meanderings thicken the synthetic elements and bring additional colour to a number of tracks.
The title well describes the mood here – ‘Hope’. The artists involved were asked to create compositions that reflected their interpretation of the term – the results, uplifting and optimistic. The attractive fragility of the music, imbued with frequent warm currents capturing something of the positivity and aspirational nature of our imperfect species. There is also a thread of pensive melancholy running through much of the music – a reminder that this album has a serious back story and deals with disturbing issues that should rightly not go unnoticed.
The delivery of the CD is strictly in keeping with the visionary theme of Hope, all the artwork and packaging having been crafted with exceptional care. The disc manufacturing is eco-conscious: ISO 14000 & 14001 compliant CD manufacturing with 100% re-use of scrap polycarbonate salvaged from CD & DVD replication. Printing too is responsible: sourcing of papernic Compound (VOC) emissions from inks or coatings, and use of quick dry glues with ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) being eliminated. Collection and recycling of paperboard, inks, coatings and other waste from printing processes. 60,000 tons of pa stock from FSC Compliant (Forestry Stewardship Council) mills and printers. Wood fibre procured within the Sustainable Forest Initiative guidelines: every acre harvested is reforested – 400 Million tree seedlings planted each year. Paper products are typically recyclable, compost-able, and under the right conditions biodegradable. No wood from old-growth or endangered forests. Vegetable based inks. 100% alcohol-free printing. The premise used to create the CD/Packaging is also 100% carbon neutral and powered with green electricity, and business travel emissions are also offset.
The cover imagery itself is handcrafted – a green boat afloat on the curling waves of an indigo sea, each breaker tipped in sparkling gold. The bright sky holds a sun of glitter and runs from the front cover across to the rear where a cooler glitter moon disc sits centrally. Here is a tracklist and a web address for each artist. Inside the boat and waves are seen in close up – turbulent, dark and unnerving – yet brightened by the twinkle of golden edges and semi-submerged stars. Slipped discreetly into the sleeve is an eight page booklet that contains a series of slightly sepia toned chiaroscuro photographs of children. Accompanying information draws attention to the plight of some of this world’s unfortunate young ones. Information is also here regarding the charitable nature of the project along with relevant thanks and credits.
Hope is the debut album from the new Fluid Audio label – an impressive introduction with an admirable mission and honestly awe-inspiring content. The thirteen tracks here present established artists such as Ishq, Digitonal, James Murray, Hol Baumann and Bersarin Quartet alongside rising stars Field Rotation, Iambic, Snakestyle, Playb, Halogen and Ben Beiny. But this is not just a collection of music from genre sharing musicians; Hope is a tightly themed concept album of exquisitely complementary compositions. Promotional material gives some insight into the artists’ motivations: Iambic explained “My two tracks were intended to give the listener a blank canvass to paint their emotions of Hope on”. Playb commented “Children who are born in disadvantaged situations stir up so much admiration within me. I see sadness in their eyes but at the same time a passion to live.” Snakestyle put it this way, “With the music I make, I try to create something that gently catches your attention, hypnotises you, helps you think, and takes you to a place where you feel reassured”. The resultant music has an evocative depth and maturity about it that you don’t often hear. Mastering by Vincent Villuis at Ultimae provides the stamp of guaranteed sound quality. In addition fifty percent of all sales from this release will be donated to Toybox Charity committed to providing hope for the most disadvantaged children, young people and their families, principally in Latin America.
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM
If you enjoy classical beauty and ambient downtempo you will be hard pressed to find a stronger collaborative album than Hope this year. This is an album for anyone that loves intelligent, transportational, dreamy electronica. This is an album for anyone into deeply chilled soundscapes looking to support a good cause. If you still aren’t convinced that you need to buy this album now – have a listen to the samples at the Fluid Audio website.
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