Agate Rollings - Meantime / Elsewhere [Midira Records - 2022]
Moody downtempo electronic project Agate Rollings is a duo originating from Italy. Their music has a somber energy, comprised of gently murmuring beatless melodic synth loops and keys, with a sweet tinge of strings. Meantime / Elsewhere is the duos fourth full length album, which appears on Germanys Midira Records, as either a cassette or digital download.
Listening to the six-track album, I'm brought back to the subtly tragic realms conjured by modern classical/ambient musicians like Stars of the Lid and Kyle Bobby Dunn. With a heavier emotional tone than one would find in traditional ambient as it emerged from 'new age' culture, the soundscape genre here collects deeper peaks and valleys, longer shadows, and the weight of a Romantic period symphony.
I doubt Agate Rollings source every sound from classical instrumentation like the above groups did, but the spirit and timbral elegance of such an approach is present here. The sound of this album is a deep and luminous reverberant sea, with an enduringly tuned and harmonious quality that is rich and orchestral. The vibrant heart of the chord progressions is distilled down to their singular expressive essences, these ephemeral wisps somehow conveying the melody perfectly.
The piano emerges plain and unprocessed at times, in the album's most naked moments, receding once again into the wet shimmer. The spatial effects and production on this album are smooth and pleasing to the ear, a contiguous environment in which sounds bleed into one another. The dominant tonalities are often carried by warm, rounded bass tones which are often pure sine waves.
The ornate titles ("Motionless In Meadows Of Ruin, My Gaze Turns Towards The City Skyline") capture the affect of the music perfectly, an inevitable emotional overflowing in the face of everyday life, the painful splendor of the world in an impressionistic sensory blur. Like some of the best Stars of the Lid music, there is an emotionally wounded quality, as if the music was made to ease the pain of a death of a loved one, or the day after a mental breakdown, somehow pulled out of the most vulnerable, fragile moments of a person's life.
With its poetic emotiveness, this album would make a wonderful soundtrack to a similarly intimate indie film. Meantime/Elsewhere is a heartbreaking release, but it's also amazingly good too. To find out more/ buy direct, drop by here Josh Landry