Hessien, Your Empire In Decline, old-fashioned illustration of two men waving at sinking ships from a hot air balloon

Your Empire, In Decline

“Your Empire, In Decline” is open, bountiful music that sways like a palm tree as it catches a light breeze. It lives in a time of easy peace, but the deeper textures and the grainy distortion tell an altogether different tale. The static comes and goes, and it warns of an uneasy period — something it’s endured once before, or something lurking around the corner in the future — a brutal conflict that was, once upon a time, locked up in the cage of history.

Ambient circles slowly swirl, and the guitars glide and soar on a soft current of delay and reverb, but its past is always close behind and it’s intent on catching up. You can’t always shake off the past; “Your Empire, In Decline” has a skeleton in the closet. New-born ambient embers litter the air like scattered ashes. They announce a fiery end to a long-fought conflict, the end of one reign and the beginning of another. Ambient peacekeepers & comrades Hessien caress their evocative soundscapes with delayed guitars and atmospheric electronics, and they always hint at the music’s backstory. The rich and colourful tones and drones take us back to a settled place that writhes in the grip of history, a land that sleeps under pink skies.

The sound is pretty, but there’s melancholy, too. Notes cry as they slide downwards, descending like tears that can never return. The howls are low and far away, but the wind brings them closer. Their home is a distant swamp where tears run into tributaries. From time to time, the ambient sheets cloak the guitar and set about in motion a swirling, pleasant lethargy that lingers long after the music has stopped. With their gentle breaths of air, the soundscapes are similar to Pausal’s, while the clearer guitars gently move the sound forward. Hessien have a smooth sound that trickles like honey, but you’ll also find a couple of narrow, static-ridden passages and slightly distorted guitars that gives the music a little rebellion, like a commander leading a disloyal charge against his king. It makes the music nervy, as if there were a rumoured outbreak of the Black Death in another county. It does, however, stay serene. There’s a lot of depth, and the record really bears fruit over repeated listens. The undulating electronics rock against the warm, serene flow of the music. The ambient light is a golden flame that streaks across the sky in a long, glorious sustain that forever lights up the night.

A creaking ship comes into the harbour, with an exiled king on board. A healthy, youthful drone enters and rises. It takes control and leans back on the dull gold of the ambient throne. The music slowly fades out, and as it does it crackles and becomes weak. The revolution has begun; your empire is in decline.


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