Sonmi451 - The Limbic System, handwritten medical records with inked-over photograph of patient

The Limbic System

Sonmi451 (Bernard Zwijzen) sends us away on the cloudy wings of his music, a beautiful ambient voyage that sails into the ports of the mind — “The Limbic System”, to be precise. It’s the part of the brain that deals with motivation, the flow of adrenaline, learning and creativity. The set of structures also house the emotions, as well as the flowers of memory.

Time Released Sound showers every release with love, and they always take immense care and pride in their releases, especially when it comes to the physical copy. They’ve turned it into an art-form, and now they’ve really pushed the boat out. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous music, but the limited edition of their fiftieth release — of which there are only seventy copies — is made up of a patient’s case file. Each file contains a photo of a patient, with papers, handwritten sheet music, poetry sheets and notes on the study of the brain left by the side of the bed. And each track is itself an X-ray that reveals the inner details of the deep, sleepy music. It’s a smooth place — one that’s unhurried and untroubled by the pressures of life. In fact, it’s borderline comatose.

Chilled guitar melodies blend in with the softest of whispers. They rise up, emerging up and out of a dream state. Ambient music has always flirted with sleep, and this is a lullaby of a record. Other, twinkling chimes are left to sway in the background, and they never disrupt the flow of the music. The hushed yet textured tones ooze quality and the slightly muddy timbre only deepens the experience.

Lilting ambient layers gently lift the music. The sweet, cherry blossom tones are light and slightly mystical — the brain remains to be fully explored, and a lot of it is still a mystery — and as we go further into the recesses of the mind the voices slowly start to disappear. Magic is in the air; the notes repeat, and the melody sprinkles the air with its fairy dust. It’s very calm, very still. The emotions are subtle, controlled and tastefully done; just a smattering here and there. A million lights float by in a washed-out haze. Slowly, we pass through the gateways of dreams and their various states. The voices are lights and ropes that help you to cling onto the music, allowing some kind of entry into the never-ending ambient tide. The music does turn a little darker, but there’s still enough light to see by, like dusk falling in early May. The night comes, and the notes still carry a dull tonality. It’s subtle, sensitive music. Listen to your limbic system. Be one with the music.

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