If only as an antidote to the madness of the world at the moment, the hustle and hassle, the knee-jerk reactions and the lack of thought, the self-centred view points and the narrow-minded visions, a new album from Astronomical Twilight feels like the perfect healing process. The first thing that hearing such ambient drifts and spacious haze does, for me anyway, is to make me think bigger. It may sound odd, I know, but there is something even in the vague vibe of the music which paints pictures of the beauty of deep space, the shimmering ice of arctic wastelands, the dark, almost impenetrable waters of the deep.
I feel that the purpose behind a piece of music, the reason that the artist wrote it, is pretty irrelevant, if that isn’t a rude thing to say, and it is the reaction it evokes in the listener that is the all. And the beauty of that idea is that a track or album, song or concept might have been written to capture just one idea but once out in the world it actually evokes a new and different meaning in the mind of every individual who hears it. Interestingly enough, it is when you take the direct communication process of lyrics out of the equation that it becomes all the more powerful and certainly more elegant. Astronomical Twilights music always makes me think bigger, look deeper, think longer…and there isn’t much music being made today which does that.
It is interesting to note that some of the subliminal inspiration behind the music comes from Nick Drake’s seminal Pink Moon and Nick Cave’s ambient masterpiece, Ghosteen, and it is the space and unhurried demeanour, the almost formless beauty and the understated atmospheres generated within the music which connects all three albums.
The title track is a glorious gathering of near-nothingness; the intangible vibe of the natural world, of memory, or sorrow, of the glacial paced movement of the planets myriad processes, all of which only makes sense when the right few transparent riffs and deftly placed notes create a frame to highlight this feeling. Ruminations takes similar hazed washes and uses their gossamer textures to cocoon chill-dance beats, Liberation shimmers, Together shines with increasing intensity and To Ineffable Places seems to brood and glower. Only music this good can be summed up in so minimal a description…ironic isn’t it.
As always, Astronomical Twilight makes music of filmic grace, music which has hidden meaning and meandering moods, music which is otherworldly and yet intimate, music which is birthed digitally but which seems to capture something which evokes the primal thoughts and organic motions of this world more precisely than any music from more…let’s say… natural sources, that I have ever heard.
If you think that there is nothing worth listening to in music today, then try listening to near-nothing…it will blow your mind.