Review of For Myria [12k1043]

Silent Ballet (.COM)

“If a minimalist-ambient artist writes a melody, does it make a sound?” This familiar adage (or possibly one I just made up) enumerates the problem confronting most ambient music – what is the line between a soundscape and a song? Or more precisely: is a conglomeration of field recordings music or just an artist’s view of the world around them? Trickling water faucets, clinking bottles, wind chimes, and chirping birds are among the ‘natural’ elements used to create For Myria, Sheffield artist Jodi Cave’s first proper release on the experimental 12k label. The album, which feels more like an EP than a full-length, gently meanders back and forth between subtle ambience and the various aforementioned field recordings, creating a picture of Cave’s hopeful, yet melancholy world.

In the title and opening track For Myria, Cave is able to adeptly toe the line between minimalist-ambience and melody as the tones and blips quietly arrange to form the outline of a musical pattern. Yet, he quickly falls off the fine-rope into a repetitive soundscape abyss as “Rara.A,” “Rara.B,” and “Rara.C” (which account for almost a third of the album’s running time) all use the same looped sample of wind chimes, clinking bottles, and possibly someone eating soup. The final track brings For Myria back from the void and redeems the previous monotony using an unhurried progression of single notes on a keyboard which slowly descend into an ambient drone, a tasteful ending.

Regardless of what side of the ‘ambient-field recording’ argument one is on, Cave seems to still be undecided as to what degree melody and ambience will have in his music, leaving For Myria with a lack of cohesion and direction. However, there is much promise scattered in this short offering (notably the first and last tracks), and his next release will be anticipated. -Thomas Lloyd

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