Friday, 26 October 2018

Tim Shiel "Glowing Pains: Music From The Gardens Between" (2018)

I have fond memories of discovering Duet, back in the earliest of days spent writing these music blogs. Australian composer Tim Shiel's latest Glowing Pains, an indie game soundtrack, brings about a familiar realm of soothing ambience, ambiguous cloudy places that shape mood and induce relaxation with the powers of the subtle and inconsequential sound. Its forty one minutes play with an apprehension towards pace yet faintly drifting us through the passing seasons with its iterations.

This timeless place of simplicity lingers in limbo between childish innocence and frozen stillness as quirky murmuring instruments, long yawning airy synths and indifferent melodies bring about the distinct vision some artists reach. His hallmarks of winding backwards samples and the chirping of birds are infrequent as Tim homes in on the lungs of instruments as they breathe in and out of focus at a crawling pace.

A feeling of duality marks these songs as a stillness holds within it a pale life life. Time has slowed down as we gaze upon a moment in time immortalized by a lack of motion. Snow falls like it may never reach a surface, winds blow with no gust at all and the echos never bounce back. For whatever vision a song may conjure, it feels like an eternal moment of reflection. Never sad, upbeat, esoteric or even truly ambiguous, everything feels earnest and without exaggeration, letting an unenthusiastic beauty resonate.

Throughout the record a significant vocal inclusion makes itself known with a fair helping of featured vocalists who enter their soft and breathy human presences into otherwise devoid soundscapes. It works wonderfully until the last song where the two don't quite vibrate together. Through these drifting atmospheres the occasional bass guitar line strolls up and past the limelight, emerging like an occasional guest. It was a meager detail I enjoyed. Fine record.

Rating: 7/10