Liminal Space (Bandcamp)
West Coast ambient pioneer Kevin Braheny has returned with this magnificent album following a long absence from releasing and a decades-long struggle with illness. Now suddenly more prolific with new releases than he ever was, the beatless Liminal Space is the best of the batch, a pitch-perfect example of lush, sophisticated electronic ambient in the Hearts of Space style with impeccable sound design. He doesn’t so much repeat past glories as keeps on telling the story; slow and lyrical melodies, complex beds of noise and tones, and a gloriously spaced-out sound anchored by his gift for complex harmony and exotic microtonal shifts. Tibetan gongs and droplets of Vangelis-like electric piano add further texture. The dark-edged title track is surely one of his greatest-ever pieces: a tentative progression of descending piano chords draped in gorgeous synths, with cries overhead from his trademark Steiner EWI electronic woodwind instrument.