As Anthéne, Brad Deschamps continues to release an embalming form of ambient music. Warm and quiet, Collide follows on from 2019’s Weightless, and much like its predecessor, the analogue-influenced tracks are in a calibre of their own. A modest and unassuming guitar is fed through to the listener, its ambient style being produced by sparse, unassuming playing as much as the use of reverb, and its small, shy notes are dotted throughout the music. Synths are also present, and Deschamps is able to entwine meaningful, concentrated melodies within the wider expanse of an ambient soundscape without sacrificing space and the fresh, oxygenated air it brings.
The focus on melodic and harmonic development is strong and distinguishes anthéne from many a modern ambient musician, but developments are still allowed space and room, so the music never feels cluttered or rushed. Instead, Collide feels sparse and clean, gleaming with icicle-like tones.
Deschamps is able to retain the soul of ambient music while pursuing more melodic ideas, and the resultant music shines like a gem; he understands the style. The billowing tones are breeze-soft and as benevolent as they come. The record is kind, despite its title. While some collisions can cause anxiety, with images of devastation and wreckage, they can also be stunning works of art, straight from the hands of the Universe. One day, the Milky Way will collide with the Andromeda Galaxy, but while many would see that as the apocalypse, some see it as a spectacular new creation, and collisions can birth new beauty. That’s exactly the case with this record, as Collide is cool, refreshing, and close to the sacred.