Filed under: Reviews | Tags: Aleph Zero Records, Hibernation, Morpheus Music, Seb Taylor, Some Things Never change
Deeply chilled electronic instrumentals. Some Things Never change is a powerfully immersive experience of multi-coloured electronica, lush sound collaging and imaginative downtempo beats. Literally brimming with a wide variety of synthetic sounds, liquid effects and a generous scattering of glitchy percussives, Hibernation comes across as a highly detailed, many-hued construction that somehow manages at the same time to convey an inviting sleepy effortlessness.
Among the bewildering array of lucid digital structures are various organic instrumental and human elements – vocal slices, disjointed spoken fragments, smooth female vocalising, whispering; Seb’s love of global sound still enhancing his music in places – subtle hints of international material drifting into the mix here and there. There are a number of jazzy sections with idle brushes sweeping across snares and lolling double bass suggesting late night lounge rhythms where muted trumpet phrases pierce the air, electric piano lines carrying the melody. The most extremely chilled tracks on the album are, for me, the most exciting pieces here – the opener Melt with its unhurried piano touches, loose percussion and floating pads; the deliciously nocturnal Reflect – fractured phrases and soft focus strings meandering over a silky sub-bass line.
Very restful and strongly transportational – this is a sumptuous spread of low light exotica that could easily accompany those half waking moments or fill your headspace with beautiful images as you slowly sink under the surface. Fantastic headphone music – Some Things Never Change has so much to hold the attention – makes me think of a fairground in the dark – winking lights, whirling forms and dense colours, the air full of sound – but everything is in slow motion, almost weightless, otherworldly.
The promo copy that I possess gives a good indication of the top notch artwork enveloping this disc. A burgeoning bouquet of graphically enhanced pink blooms and tightly furled plant forms bursts from the front cover, bright humming birds hovering at the edges. On closer inspection this floral arrangement can be seen to include shiny speaker rims and dangling jack plugs. The backdrop is consistent throughout the package – aged paper, worn and damaged at the edges, grunge marks and grey stains. Inside this fold-out is a tracklist footed by relevant credits and website details. The opposite panel holds a long paragraph outlining Seb Taylor’s musical background and varied projects, leading to a few words on the development of this current alias Hibernation.
Seb Taylor is well known to fans of electronic and dance music – if not by his own name, certainly through his aliases Kaya Project, Angel Tears, Shakta, Digitalis and Somaton. Twelve albums into his career, Hibernation introduces a new approach taken by Seb for Aleph Zero Records – here more heavily steeped in the kind of rich, dreamy, low bpm experimentalism that the label is known for. If you are familiar with the Aleph Zero house sound – Hibernation will immediately have a familiar feel. Very hi tech, yet very human – exploratory downtempo for the more discerning listener. That said – although Aleph Zero has established a sonic ethos, this is by no means achieved simply working to a formula – Some Things Never Change has a clearly unique identity. Very contemporary, very atmospheric, very hypnotic.
If you have enjoyed previous Aleph Zero releases – don’t hesitate to try this new release. Hibernation is ideal for lovers of evocative mood music that appreciate cutting edge chillout. Why not experience the E-flier and see hear for yourself or listen to some samples on the Aleph Zero website.
Review – Morpheus Music
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