Ironically, it can be quite exerting commenting on ambient music. One focuses on the task at hand, but little by little, the slowly evolving drones and ethereal soundscapes hypnotise you into a fugue state…. and once again all word trails have been lost. However sombre it may sound, ambient music holds an important place in the sonic realm. From cinematic scores, to art installations, to falling asleep… whenever our ears grow weary, ambient music can provide a quiet restful space in which one can escape.
Josco is the project of Gerard McDermott from our native soil of Ireland, and ‘Kahn Tam-
The EP kicks off with a remix of Epilogue from a Japanese lady who goes by the name of Shaula. Close your eyes and you can almost picture a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019. A Vangelis-esque orchestra of strings emerge atop a seabed of drone-based tension, a testament to the selection of sounds in Josco’s original. Just as the intensity grows, the track concludes in an unresolved fashion, leaving you in downtown LA with more questions than answers.
The Alessio Ballerini remix of An Echo begins full of life, with rising gusts of steam, far-off drones and sustained choral notes. The Italian artist weaves an immensely airy sound-scape, which almost but disappears before resurfacing for a final push towards its end.
The third track, the compilations shortest at two minutes, is by another Italian. Mushy is a solo alternative, shoegaze drone and goth-wave project based in Rome. Self described as a “ trip into a dark wood on heroin”, her Yearning Remix of Denial / Realisation opens the door into a slightly nightmarish world of dark romance. Some unearthly notes set the scene for ghostly chants and a fading high-pitched leitmotif. The whole thing gives us a brief but frightening insight into her world of the subliminal self and narcotic quietness.
The next four tracks are diverse interpretations of Josco’s 0611, beginning with Joshua Carro’s ‘Regn’ Reconstruction, the compilations longest at over nine minutes. Currently a masters student studying composition and tabla at California Institute of the Arts, he reshapes the original into a staggeringly beautiful nine minute voyage. Harmonised drones, raindrops and a clattering mechanical object slowly dance in and out of focus, ebbing and flowing, ebbing and flowing. The listening experience is very intimate, with an incredibly delicate arrangement, and stands out as one of the compilation’s finest.
Damian Valles is a sound artist & multi-instrumentalist living in The Kawartha Lakes region of Ontario, Canada. His interpretation of 0611 begins with with a high-pitched violin interspersed with guitar plucked strings. The suspense builds heavily up to the midway stage, where wider strokes of slightly affected strings appear and the ever present drones become slightly discordant, before delivering the killer vibrato violin note which brings you to the finalé. The layering of sounds is truly quite exquisite and makes for a masterful journey.
The third interpretation of 0611 is by British experimental sound artist Harry Towell, better known as Spheruleus. A bright and spacious beginning gives way to a distant plucked guitar, with drones and strings overtaking each other in slow motion, beautifully luring you into a dreamlike state.
The second last track on the compilation, and fourth version of 0611, is a remodel by Bilbao-based artist Fernando Carvalho, who fully succeeds in the art of ambience. An uplifting wave of familiar sound flows back and forth in tidal motion, with increasing intensity as it evolves over its seven minute expanse. With a feeling of coming home, it’s a perfect penultimate track before the compilation concludes with its softest offering, a remix of Epilogue by another Japanese artist, this time Koyto-based Nobuto Suda. A single droning pulse carries the short piece along with extrasolar sonic rays taking the whole piece to an ethereal space.
In totality ‘Kahn Tam-
The album was mastered by Per R. Salkowitsch with artwork by Gerard McDermott.
More on Josco
More on Individual Artists
Shaula on Soundcloud
Alessio Ballerini on Facebook
Alessio Ballerini Website
Mushy on Facebook
Joshua Carro on Soundcloud
Damian Valles on Facebook
Damian Valles on Soundcloud
Spheruleus on MySpace
Spheruleus on Facebook
Fernando Carvalho on MySpace
Fernando Carvalho on Soundcloud
Nobuto Suda Website
Nobuto Suda on Bandcamp
Nobuto Suda on Soundcloud