Best Albums of 2019: Tom Eaton ‘How It Happened’

How It Happened (Spotted Peccary)

Sound engineers turned composers make some of the most immaculate-sounding music in ambient. Typically, by the time they start releasing their own material we get the best of both sides: fresh creativity coupled with exceptional studio craft. Keyboard player Tom Eaton does everything and has been doing so for a long time, most notably as resident engineer and co-producer at Windham Hill founder William Ackerman’s studio in Vermont, USA. But his venture into releasing his own non-commissioned music is recent and How It Happened – solo album number four – perfectly marries the two sides of his art. The reverberating pianoscapes of Harold Budd and Tim Story are one reference point; the sonorous spacemusic of classic Braheny and Michael Stearns is another. It’s lush, shadowed, emotional music that’s rich in harmonies and oceanic layers and it’s all so deliciously slow. This is the strongest release of new music from Spotted Peccary this year, and by way of contrast makes a fine pairing with the label’s reissue of Johan Agebjorn’s Scandinavian electronica gem Mossebo (2008).

Best Albums of 2019 Reviews Index

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