Dialog Tapes is a special, one-off project. It sees two different labels and a number of artists unite for what are two very special albums. This being ambient music, the respective worlds of Dauw and Eilean Records don’t so much collide as lightly grace each other’s presence with the tip of a white feather. This is what happened: one artist from Dauw linked up with another artist from Eilean, and one artist from Eilean teamed up with another artist from Dauw. The result is very interesting (and very pretty) music. Distant bells chime. Dry leaves fall into the earthy lap of the soil. A piano crosses a nearby stream. Drones bleed into acoustic guitars.
‘How Does It Feel’ emerges out of a lengthy spell of hibernation. Slow and still sleepy, the lumbering tones are as soft as fresh sheets and can barely open their eyes. ‘Alpine Carpet’ adds some oscillating vocals to its drifting piano lines. At forty thousand feet, a chilly atmosphere passes over its metallic wings. Some kind of low-hanging, overcast hum drones at a lower altitude. It seems permanently lost in its own key. ‘Phase Serendipity’ by Leigh Toro + Miguel Isaza crackles at the edges. Icicles break apart and scurry over the face of the drone, while Ruhe + The Humble Bee’s ‘Blue Moon’ enjoys much lighter, warmer surroundings. The soaring drones that lay the opening foundations make way for an acoustic guitar, and then the piano joins in. The drones never return, but in a way they’ve already served their purpose. ‘Collapse in Undergrowth’ by Aaron Martin and David Andree is more of a ponderous response; the cello meets with the cool drone, and the cello’s overbearing, emotionally resonating weight anchors the drone firmly to the ground and prevents it from ascending. The music turns cooler; there’s a nip in the September air.
An uneasy coming-together occurs when the cool, drone-eyed notes that usually make their nest deep within the Windows 10 operating system and the Apple MacBook pack up their things and leave their screen-lit homes behind. They travel through an open doorway and enter into this world, where they come into direct physical contact with the instrument herself. One world feels the touch of another, in the same way that a musician can feel his or her own instrument held steadily and tightly against his or her own skin. A piano gracefully and respectfully plays as an icy, horn-like drone filters slowly through. This is ‘Of Rainforests and Glaciers’, and it glistens in the pale mist. Two different flavours, two different scents and perfumes, melt and then become one. The dark tone colours of the cello are naturally grey and misty, gravelly and emotionally raw. Her strings scratch at a variety of human emotions in a way that no other instrument can. She’s closest in range to the human voice, after all. The natural harmonics of an acoustic guitar softly puncture the air. Danny Clay + Wil Bolton round the collaboration off with a gentle sojourn to unworried climes. The piano is robed by the drone and it resides in tonal majesty. The music is as smooth and as lovely as a generous scoop of Italian ice cream. There is a true sensation of harmony within the serene music, and it spreads outwards and engulfs both albums. With Dialog Tapes, the labels are linked, but so are their hands.