Ambient music, as a whole, isn’t newfound. Its elements exist as the residue of drones that are inherent in all of sound. Some tracks are never meant to be released, and some fall through the cracks because of this idiomatic precipice. Other tracks blossom as fully realised works over short to long spaces of time. Imprints, a collective on the Serein label, had their “Data Trails” LP amassed in less than a week. This quickness doesn’t speak of slapdash, and one is foolish if believing that comment anyway. Short or long, process is all-important in the sculpting of music, and it’s the techniques employed in this case that really make all the difference.
Serein has generally been known as a purveyor-stroke-umbrella of ambient and drone that becomes wispy and malleable, a message slipping through one’s fingers that permeates further than the flesh via spine-chilling tension. For Imprints, a charitable carving of instruments – including those essential Ableton Max patches – is present. Chorus memory, like an elongated effusion of the general infrastructure of an office, weaves its way through “White Russian”, one of the cornerstones of wishing to return to the record. Overcast like rain coming down hard on your clothes, the mood of all tracks shifts the dynamics between frustrated and fowl, a bionic and embryonic meshing of life and technology.
An ode to a Sherlock Holmes mystery of the elements, then. The grid of grey streets in the middle distance, we’re shrouded with net curtains and a picture on the other side of the room of a couple engaging in hugging each other ever so gently. A music living an inward life, only to have its heart wrenched from the gutter and catapulted into stratosphere otherwise. A damp, crumbling building, its layers of masonry buried underneath soaking weather of tonal euphoria and Eoyre’s gloomy place. Not always riven by depression, here juxtaposition and tension, rather suspension and mobility than dread and weary contempt. Solitariness and space, as on opener “Horror Birds”, interlocks a private and secluded sanctuary for the senses, probing like a drugged fingertip.
With sleep still in the system, a lamp of melody shines but is used to light a cigar to propel the relaxation, a suggestion of rhythmic smokiness plays over a soft monotone mood, morose at times, spreading out like a peacock tail at others, as on the finale “The Sea & Electricity”, which reminds us of Lymbyc Systym’s warm fuzzies on guitar and glockenspiel . It sounds like the members of Imprints have paid a lot of personal attention to it – here it’s an open book – opened many aeons ago – and they let surroundings colour their sound, improvising together as a modus operandi for change and development. Discreetly leaving packs of tissues – “Data Trails” traces an informative line that is omnipresently sleepy, like it’s cloaked with a dressing gown over its head. Mock eureka, there is none. In its place, a delightfully thick, grainy, mottled conundrum.