Ghost and Tape – Vár

Following highly acclaimed releases on Akira Kosemura’s Schole label in Japan, Heine Christensen has returned with the musically-bright and vaporous Vár, marking his first release in over two years and, as further proof of his diligence, care and effort, only his fourth since 2010. As ghost & tape, rainbow-curved melodies and glistening (but vulnerable) harmonies, as delicate as a silky blouse, gently progress, taking a stroll out in the open fields on a sunlit day. The slow amble reveals a variety of soft, peaceful tones, which nestle together in the tips of the branches like a family of nesting birds; the roughened arms of the tree support them, and the melodies are in turn supported by an atmosphere that seems to be both vague and transparent, barely made of anything at all.

Vár’s meditations open the eyes to new, crystalline thoughts. You can see clearly here, seeing any and all possibilities in a positive, bright-blue light. It does this in a gentle way, being kind instead of intruding or forcefully directing, and that’s true ambient. The scattering of cherry blossom colours the air in pink dust. Spring is in the air; an April dawn is on the horizon. The titular word itself means spring and has its origins in Old Norse, so the music, as well as the season, is a chance for a new start.

The music is like a signet’s ballet upon silver, sun-dappled water…water that, like the melody itself, looks translucent, shimmering in the late afternoon light. Thin notes ripple outwards, not wanting to cause much of a stir, and its introverted music gazes out from a pair of shy, bright eyes, its rose-tinted cheeks all aglow. Its healthy and natural sounds help to detox the soul, giving it a deep cleansing. Lily-pads recline on the ambient surface; the roots of nearby willows (melodies) are deep and entrenched. But the sound itself is sparse, promoting an air of peace rather than being caught up in a tangle of twigs.

Everything is very gentle – when you’re dealing with electronics in ambient music as soft as this, you have to be careful, and even then it can be hard to pull off. You have to take care with the sound, or it can become sharp and harsh, but that’s never an issue with Vár. Yes, music such as this calls for a slow walk.

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