29 June 2017


polar seas 2017, edition of 50

"recorded in toronto, canada, summer 2016 and winter 2017 with minilogue, blofeld, juno, guitar and effects pedals. photography and layout by brad deschamps and shaleen sangha." - POLAR SEAS

"recordings by brad deschamps. 1/2 of north atlantic drift, curator of polar seas recordings" - ANTHENE bandcamp

ANTHENE's sophomore cassette completes an illustrious arc of limited (some impossibly so) cd titles spanning the eighteen months or so since originating in late 2015 with debut cassette REPOSE (also concurrently issued on cd), also via "ambient / drone / electronic" label POLAR SEAS -and as far as i can tell, the only two tapes put out by this cd dominant imprint are these two ANTHENE tapes- that despite the distinction of being mastered by SEAN MCCANN it somehow managed to fall through the cracks, though the risk of that invariably increases for me as the year winds down

i think it was GUIDE ME LITTLE TAPE -which sadly closed up shop late last year- that turned my attention to REPOSE early last year, and like i said, SHIFTING LANDS is very much on the same path, just further on down the road a ways - a certain dynamism rises to the surface with unexpected turns forming emotional hooks that draw you in, even if you aren't listening particularly closely, which i suppose is just a rewording of ENO's traditional assessment of "ambient music" - navigational references SEAN MCCANN and TIM HECKER and STARS OF THE LID probably sound about right without hearing a note, but there's a bit more to this lush minimalism with subdued airy synth melodies and alluring dark ambient atmospherics than many of this sort have to offer - there's just enough added and honed to an edge that is just sharp enough to set it apart, not just from REPOSE but from contemporaries at large - we might be considering metaphoric millimeters here, but that is often the distance between good and great in the world of ambient music - whatever it is, SHIFTING LANDS has it

some contemporaries to consider - KYLE LANDSTRA and SECRET PYRAMID, with the former's immersed sidelong passages of cosmic bliss segmented and compressed into a patchworked panorama of sorts, and the latter sunk into an even deeper dream state - there's some grayed out ethereality overlap with EKIN FIL, and favorable current year comparison to OJERUM's WHEN BIRDS FLY [REC #172] and SAMUEL REGAN's A WARM ROOM [REC #187]