Best Albums of 2019: Motionfield ‘A Clear Horizon’ and ‘Signals’

A Clear Horizon (Txt Recordings)
Signals (Neotantra)

Swedish composer Petter Friberg’s contributions to ambient as Motionfield include the towering Luftrum (2015), a slow-motion masterpiece of lush, oceanic, IDM-inflected chillout. After that album he made a few more that commendably took a somewhat different direction, seemingly ignoring any pressure for more of the same. Now comes two more albums in 2019, both outstanding in their own way.

The superbly atmospheric Clear Horizon reasserts many of Luftrum’s fine qualities without sounding like a copy. The mood is a little more sombre and this time the clicks, basslines and rhythmic pulses – when they appear at all – are subdued even further below the hovering multi-layered textures and ghostly melodic figures that reverberate in the ether. What remains is awe-inspiring psychedelic tone poems like “Golden”, “Home” and the title track, constructed around one or two-chord drones and intoxicating almost beyond words. The chilly monochrome cover photo is intriguing: an ominous robot-like crane sitting in a lonely fog-enveloped shipyard or rail siding. What does it mean? Like the music itself, it’s left to you to join the dots. The other album Signals seems to have thicker beds of low-fi textures and plays a little more with static, semi-abstract drones. But it’s still a Motionfield album though and through, and a great one, with those shimmering widescreen melodies stretching to the horizon, full of longing and tantalising hints of mystery.

Best Albums of 2019 Reviews Index

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