Silhouette, and the Stars Emerging

“Silhouette, and the Stars Emerging” is apparently the final release to appear under Seth Chrisman’s Widesky moniker, marking a break with an aesthetic train of thought running back to 2011. The album opens in classic laptop ambient style, widescreen cinematic colours softened and blurred; if the field recordings that characterise the artist’s work under his own name are present then they are well buried under thick synth chords. The introduction of a piano mid-way through the record ushers in a more feverish and unsettled atmosphere, before things circle back to a consonant elegiac conclusion. It’s the details that make the music work: the deep irregular clunking of wood that punctuates “The Future Is Never, Really” are essential to the creation of that track’s sound world, while in “Moon on the Meadow” it is the background counter-melody in the high register, poking out above the tape hiss, that holds the piece together.

Can one be nostalgic for a sound that is itself filled with nostalgia? Who knows, but Chrisman’s decision to move on from the laptop ambient genre is perhaps indicative of a change in the general air, a broader shift away from retroisms and reverie and towards new aesthetic approaches that find their necessity in the present and the immediately to hand. “Silhouette, and the Stars Emerging” nonetheless remains a fine example of the blissful, zoned-out ambient drone that has inspired and empowered countless musicians and labels over the past few years, and bodes well for Chrisman’s future projects.


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