Best Albums of 2019: Andrew Heath & Anne Chris Bakker ‘A Gift for the Ephemerist’

A Gift for the Ephemerist (Rusted Tone)

As evidenced on solo albums like The Silent Cartographer (2014), Brit composer Andrew Heath is a master at environmental ambient, at recreating a world – real or imaginary – in three-dimensional space for you to get totally enveloped in. A Gift For The Ephemerist is a very fine collaboration with Dutch artist Anne Chris Bakker and it stands somewhat apart from the crystal-clear sound paintings of his solo releases. By comparison this one sometimes sounds a bit fuzzy, a bit foggy, and no less seductive. The exquisite extended tones of “This Frosted Air” resemble the shimmering, subtly-layered ambient of Brian Eno’s best music for art installations, but unlike those pieces it’s not static. There’s a certain tension as the two-chord progression gradually rises in intensity. The album’s centrepiece is the 18-minute mini-epic “Waddenzee”, named after the wetlands reserve on the coast of the northern Netherlands where the album was recorded. It’s a masterfully realised sequence of shifting moods, ranging from warm new age-style organs and synths to dark drones of cellos and distorted guitar evoking a frozen landscape.

Best Albums of 2019 Reviews Index

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