Northern California’s Fred Welton Warmsley III delivers sublime and heartfelt ambient music under his solo alias, Dedekind Cut. Tahoe is named after the mountain lake town where he now resides and it acts as his second full-length release. Muted drones and dawn-lit synths stir quietly in and around the shifting atmosphere. Like sand slipping through the palms, the meditative music is engaged in a subtle and ever-changing segue; it is there one moment and gone the next.
Tonally-warm drones reflect California as a state, but the music goes even deeper than climate and appearance, working its way into the atmosphere until it’s at one with its surroundings, a warm and comfortable sound that’s still susceptible to cooler, synth-born breezes blown in on the salty spray of the ocean.
Warmsley calls Tahoe a “time piece”, a phasing between the past, present, future and fantasy, and his orchestrated sections leak into longer ambient drifts, merging the opposing sides of intentional activity and laidback passivity, the introverted and the extroverted. The result is the same, though: an all-encompassing serenity, settling on the still, cool waters of its shoreline. The ambient is awake, alive, and quicker bursts give clues to Warmsley’s wider discography. Tempo increases during ‘MMXIX’ without any trepidation, anxiety or discomfort, and the sudden fluctuations don’t disturb the underlying calm. At times, the music stands on the edge, gazing across a wide chasm at a harder style of electronica complete with aggressive bursts of static, but it holds itself back, willingly refraining from the temptation to cross over. Field recordings only add to the immersion.
Tahoe is a stunning ambient album, retaining its serenity all throughout its running time. These soft synths, locked in eternal progressions, loop fog-choked chords with subtle, cool hues. The tones caress the spirit, sounding at once like a place well-loved. Settled in and among the mountains, the air is silent and clear, as fresh as the morning sunshine. The music isn’t in a hurry; it can stay here all day, just looping softly, softly. Soaring vocals are free from all things, flying high on the wings of eagles, echoing around the valleys and the dips, the sunlight glinting sharply off the still, silver lake in time with an arriving drone. ‘Hollow Earth’ is darker and lower than the other tracks, wading through the swampy synth with a cold intensity, like an alligator looking for its next meal. The music sits under a sharp moon here, the nocturnal creatures slowly filing out for the night as its spotlight falls on the lake.
Circulating crisp, well-ventilated air, Dedekind Cut’s music reaches into sacred spaces and ascends to pristine altitudes. There’s a lot of diversity within Tahoe. It’s a fresh breath of air.