Monday, September 28, 2020
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Artist: Umber (@)
Title: This Earth To Another
Format: CD + Download
Label: Sound In Silence Records (@)
Rated: *****
Umber is Leicestershire, UK musician/composer Alex Steward's ambient project, and 'This Earth To Another' is his second full-length release after his 2013 debut, 'Sunshine Young,' also having several EPs and a remix album to his credit. For the most part, Umber's style is melodic ambient, or what I term Melambient. The melodies aren't as defined as you might hear in a song, but the melodic content is there nevertheless. Melambient is the closest thing to modern New Age, laid back and kind of drifty-dreamy. 'This Earth To Another' begins with shimmering drones ("Altered Fragments") but the melambient aspect kicks in with the title track which follows, subtly creeping in. Percussion, where used tends to be subdued, discreet and minimal. The electronics/keyboards are complimented by ambient acoustic guitar making for some sonic diversity. The blending of elements is possibly the best aspect of this work which flows together in a harmonious musical mandala that easily achieves a calming and restive mood. The one track that seemed most different also happened to be the longest - "Harvest (Slow)," which begins with a nice droney electronic ambience, but then fills up with ambient guitar overtones from the same, producing a trancey sort of meditative psychedelia. It's twelve minutes with little variation once it gets going, but you can close your eyes and imagine just about anything on the plane of tranquility while listening to it. "Grape and Grain" is likely the closest piece resembling a traditional song, largely due to the guitar chording. Closing with "Low Tide," Umber leaves you with a sweet, nostalgic feeling of someplace you know you've been but can't quite put your finger on. Unlike some ambient albums that just pass through you like water, 'This Earth To Another' will leave you with a subconscious wistful feeling that is bound to draw you back again and again. As is the case with most all Sound in Silence releases, this is a limited edition (200 copies) handmade and hand-numbered CDr packaged in a lovely hand-stamped light blue cardboard envelope with the front cover image printed on a polaroid style photo paper and an insert sheet containing tracklist and information. Includes unlimited streaming of the album plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.


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