Review of Parallel Landscapes [12k2034]

Fluid Radio (UK)

Up next on 12k, Swiss musician Steinbrüchel invites us into his “Parallel Landscapes”. The album wants to design music, to let it linger naturally. Layers of soft notes rise up and fold over each other, like overlapping autumnal leaves. Sometimes they collide, but when they do it’s more of a gentle nudge than anything else. It has that special kind of stillness that’s only going to be found when the music just lays there, uninterrupted. Bells carry off into the distance, chiming sweetly. They twinkle like a handful of stars, bright-eyed children from the Andromeda Galaxy.

Music is a landscape – its topography (pitch) gently climbs until it reaches a hilltop, and the sparse music takes us by the hand to an open place washed hazily by emerald trees and sponge-soft branches. The uneven, and completely natural, lie of the land has been shaped and fashioned over time, and the end result is a unique kind of geography. It dips and inflates, and it appears to have stayed that way for centuries.

The cute and innocent notes twirl slowly, hovering over a soft, sleepy crib. They don’t want to cause any trouble — they’re ambient peacemakers, and they uphold the ambient world with cushioned batons and chiming harmonies in place of sirens. Only a light dusting of static comes through on the radio. When they reach their journey’s end, they gently curve up to their tonal resolution and stay there, content with a hot cup of tea and cuddle-soft sheets. A thin, snowy covering of static grazes the music, filling the space in the close-to-silent void. This is a de-stresser, a detox for your January and the winter blues that, surely enough, makes itself known as it enters through the gap in the door. Parallel Landscapes is close to heavenly: non-intrusive, distilled and pure.

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