Imaginary Planet – Salient Feature (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Ambient music has probably been the saviour of the soul over the last, terrible, year. Many people, unable to go to live shows or hang around in the usual hustle and bustle of a lively social scene, have been turned to ambient music to add some colour and company to their isolated existences. The art of such music is a blend of unobtrusive ambient flows and just enough dynamic and depth, spin and sparkle to keep it from becoming little more than sonic wallpaper. Imaginary Planet is not just an album of music which fits that brief, it fits it more perfectly than anything I have heard in a long time.

Inspired by “rainy and foggy days in the San Francisco Bay Area,” like all good music it allows the listener to bring their own interpretations to the music, unguided by lyrical direction. In fact, where there are voices at all, they are wielded as instruments, floating textures which weave through the gentle banks of electronica and soft, pulsing beats.

It ranges from drifting banks of sound, such as Fog Lifting, which paints a sonic picture of a hazy mist lifting to reveal the pulse of the city coming to life in its wake, to more driven dance moves such as the bubbling, liquid beats and shimmering electronica of Planet Grep. It is a very filmic, cinematic sound, Doomed coming on like the intro to a strange, off-kilter, sci-fi movie, all burning intensity and ambient noise…if that is even a thing… and Shortwave Relay being a montage of found sounds, short wave radio chaos, disembodied voices and melodic static arranged into an almost-song. By contrast, Modern Springtime is a gorgeous array of chilled sounds, part early hours comedown music, part classical elegance for the synth generation.

Imaginary Planet is an album with its feet on the ground whilst gazing in wonder into deep space, somehow part of the here-and-now but posing the what-ifs? and why’s? as it contemplates its place in the universal scheme of things.

It is both of and out of this world at the same time. How cool is that?

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