Andrew Tasselmyer – Formosa

Photo by Jeff Towne

Formosa is an elemental record. Based on field recordings taken in Taiwan, Tasselmyer’s music is a gentle intake of ambient air. Grey clouds and a scattering of light rain populate the album. Field recordings take the music to another level, adding essential layers of authenticity to a deeply placid sound. What distinguishes this from other ambient albums is its distinct, thinner sound, and there’s a reason for this. It’s the ambient sound of the East, blending in with the physical geography of the land and adding something mystical in the process. A specific type of ambient emerges from this part of the globe, a sound realised and refined by the likes of Celer, Hakobune, and Chihei Hatakeyama. It just happens that way.

Undisturbed and unruffled by a fast-paced lifestyle, the ambient music chooses a rural recline instead of a caffeinated city and its in-your-face fluorescents. Formosa is an antidote, a cleansing sanctuary.

 Andrew Tasselmyer is a talented musician. He knows how to produce and develop patient and elongated ambient soundscapes which, in this instance, resemble postcards and aural environments more than traditional pieces. The ambient textures are as light as the air, immersive and calm. Coastlines, alcoves, mountains: the music is at one with nature, so concentrated on it as to erase the presence of anyone else in the area. This givesFormosa a deep focus. Tones rise and fall away, their rhythm as consistent as an everlasting tide even as their movements feel tired and lethargic. Changes and shifts emerge naturally and from their own free will because Tasselmyer doesn’t interfere. This is a protected environment, and Tasselmyer studies the landscape, recording the sounds of its many inhabitants, its light breeze and soothing sea. This is hidden, off-the-path music, found in a secret place.

The field recordings have already created their own music.

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