One release that has been sitting in the never-ending queue was this one by Chicagoan musician Adam London. When I first heard it (on random), my initial thought was “Who is this?” as it stopped me in my step such was the mesmerizing effect of the music. Interestingly enough it features both art, musical and technical input from Brady Kendall aka Alaskan Tapes, whose album was the last covered artist in these pages. As London himself states: “This album focuses on the themes of Time & Love. How at times, they can be so completely offsetting, but yet can still be so powerful together in favor. I had written a poem about my personal experiences when both of these instances occurred.”
The album’s track titles are part of a poem he wrote to convey his personal experiences.
“We lie stationary with your sun dog beside
dreaming of fields
dreaming of maine
to make believe we could escape
our timeless love became outreached
you are the inner pattern”
“Sun Dog” opens the release with lush flowing ambience, the type that undulates, twists and turns, sounding like as a feather. Echoing guitar lines and piano build upon this ambience with throughout minimal melodic touches. Running Piano lines paired with spiralling guitar create both another layer of ambience and something for the listener to hold onto. All the elements that comprise the track are heading in the same direction and compliment each other. There is a feeling of ‘classic ambient’ blueprint where each movement and instrument suits exactly the feeling and mood to be conveyed. From such core instruments, the music created, is just refreshingly good.
“To Make Believe” continues with the lush walls of ambience, this time in shifts of resonating sound that moves through with vapor trails, delicate piano and flickers of guitar arcs. The sound has a thick in the way it fills up with ambience. An echoing guitar piece that cascades across the track is a feature that subtly changes the feel of the track, and also raises the layers of ambience.
“The Inner Pattern” a howling and rumbling sound opens the track with a stark, isolating feeling. Almost like you are staring at a lake in the middle of nowhere, no one else around and the surface is still. Muted piano and guitar layers of various tone mix in together covering a multitude of different sounds, from delicate to melodic to shimmering. You can see why on the artists bandcamp page as it why London is photographed guitar in hand, because other than it is his main instrument of choice, he feels very comfortable with the guitar and it shows in his music.
“Fields” a short interlude of purely what sounds like a collage of field recordings that is used as an intro and a component of “Maine” which pairs with guitar and piano. The piano is minimal in its playing, but not by the effect – which is an introspective feeling. This constant piano allows the guitar to run lyrically on top with layers of slightly different feelings. While other tracks the guitar has had more of a hand in the construction of the ambience, this time around its more about creating a mood and the playing shares the inward looking feel of the piano.
“Stationary (feat. Alaskan Tapes)” furthers the collaboration between these two artists (other than the art) and sees two independent artists that are well suited to each other. The music is noticeable for having more prominent field recordings alongside guitar and fractured sound that like a rumbling manipulated guitar piece or piano and for the first minute and a half is central to the track. After a brief break it returns, while the guitar ambience that has been present since the beginning starts to assert itself more, sometimes battling for attention alongside the field recordings. Another instrument that sounds almost like clarinet comes through just before the end with piano that has in a way been disguised under everything else throughout the track, slowly brings the song to rest.
“Outreach” field recordings of a storm or the beach washes over deliberately piano while echoing and somewhat submerged guitar ripples across tremolo style wafting rays of ambience. The track changes when the guitar echoes one long time to silence before the slow, melancholic piano comes back into frame bringing with it the field recordings and the re- emerging guitar that continues to roll out waves of sound. I wouldn’t necessarily say there is a dark feel to the track, but the tone of the guitar, the structure of the drones it creates and alongside the sounds of the field recordings, indicates a more stormier feel than the other tracks. This could be attributed to what London says above about Love and how things can offset each other – which for me may indicate rocky periods in a relationship, which the title may or may not allude to with something possibly being out of reach.
“Timeless” brings us full circle with long airy drones of a light and floating quality paired with delicately fragile piano and guitar strums that punctuate the music. The piano is the central instrument and flows more on this track than those preceding it. The guitar comes back into frame playing similar notes to the piano but sounding different from the other guitar sounds of this album. There is a feeling of a layer of effects over the two main guitar sections with one being used in say a more ornate style while the other has a looping repetitive style.
“A Song I Wrote (featuring RKZ)” is not listed on the bandcamp page or on the CD but comes as a bonus. RKZ is Rikesh Chauhan from the UK who is a Singer/Rapper/Writer/Creative who is more in the Rap/ R&B sphere of a music than Ambient. The track opens with a field recording of stormy seas, piano and a wall of pure ambience before RKZ’s echoing vocals join the track. Initially used sparingly they match the music with their echoing touches it’s only after a short interlude of piano where they really make their impression and the vocals becoming more pronounced and the theme of lost love is more noticeable. Lightly sung without being overly emotional, they fit in with the music and are a more pronounced look at love due to the message communicated rather than the listeners interpretation of the instrumental tracks.
London has created an extremely nice release that brings you back to a musical setting of pure ambience, where the sound is not cluttered, the instruments used are complimentary to each other and it is just a pleasure to listen to. “The Inner Pattern” is available on limited CD (only 100 copies) and Digital and is recommended listening for people who are looking for well recorded and constructed music.