If you would like to embark on a trek through the stillness of night from the comfort of your mind, wandering planes softly lit by a gentle aurora, Russ Young’s new EP Pala is the perfect pairing. A four-track ambient gem from the independent UK artist released on Audiobulb, the contribution marks his second commercial release and illustrates Young’s intuitive approach to the genre. His method is one of microsound collaging which when assembled produces a harmonious whole greater than the sum of its parts.
The first track “Polaris” swells subconsciously with atmosphere, a placid subtly expressive berceuse with simple and reverberating piano plucks in the midst of distant air. “Cavern” leads the listener through an opening of pure bass tone gently tunneling downward. In this piece woodwind sounds present themselves and then disintegrate, tucking away while minimal chimes ever so lightly glint atop the deep-rooted drone. What follows is the track really at the center of the Earth. It’s easy to picture walking alongside stalagmites and witnessing small geysers let off subterranean steam when listening to “Pourous.” Finally, “The Blue Air” brings forth emergence from the underground odyssey, a breath of fresh air, daylight, and with it a renewed sense of appreciation and meaning.
The experience Russ Young’s music captures here is personally settling. It’s akin to viewing the wonders of the world in solitary and being rewarded by the universe revealing itself to you as your companion. His technique and decided moments for the instrumentation he employs here is tasteful, complimented by balanced mastering from notable electronic musician Taylor Deupree. A relaxing and most enjoyable listen.
Merchants of Air
I often end my sets of Brieviews with a soothing ambient release. I have a good reason for that. Writing these short reviews can get intense, especially if I write them in one go, which means several hours of listening and writing. This time I picked a wonderful ambient EP by Russ Young. Four tracks, one as blissful and as restful as the next. Opener 'Polaris' is a beautiful piece of music, driving on minimal melodies and flowing soundscapes. 'Cavern' feels somewhat darker but is just as immersive. In all, 'Pala' is one of those releases that you just want to dive into, which is exactly what I would recommend. Press play, close your eyes and escape from the wicked world we live in...
The final entry in this Sound Bytes column is a four-track EP by Russ Young, a Lincoln (UK) based producer who is drawn towards “detailed textures, drones, and simple melodies.” Although this Audiobulb release is pretty short, it’s easy to get lost in its soundscapes, even as the music loops upon itself, and tells its story one more time. The intricate minimalism painted with the light strokes of dynamic sound design and field recordings will immediately appeal to the fans of Taylor Deupree, who, in fact, mastered Young’s record. The title of the release references Aldous Huxley‘s “The Island”, drawing parallels to the imaginary places of utopia, that only exist somewhere in our minds. “I made this short collection of microsound collages in the early hours of the morning before work,” says Young of his record. “They began to take on a restful dream-like quality which I enhanced by imagining nocturnal scenes, cave systems, caverns, islands, and night skies.” This is very delicate music, one which is best consumed on a frequency-rich sonic setup, be it a pair of headphones or a pair of hi-fi bookshelf speakers (with a sub), so that all of the intimacy hidden within becomes one with your own, as we live and dream on… So nice to revisit the Sheffield-based Audibulb imprint founded by David Newman, which I admittedly, regretfully, but not intentionally have been neglecting in the past few years. I’m taking a look at its vast catalogue now, my friends. And with those words, I’ll just sign off – I’ve got some catching up to do. 🙂
Avec son second EP (le premier que nous recensons ici, ne pouvant décemment pas suivre le rythme effréné de sorties d’Audiobulb), Russ Young fait le choix d’une ambient quasi-saturée, faite de nappes superposées, de légers souffles d’arrière-plan et de touches plus mélodiques. Certes cette description est-elle plus que traditionnelle et pourrait-elle correspondre à une large partie des publications ambient dont ces pages se font l’écho, mais ces quatre titres ont pourtant réussi à nous charmer.
Pour ce faire, le Britannique convoque quelques sonorités un peu aquatiques, lâche des notes chromatiques perlées et combine approche sensorielle et gestion très précise de ses éléments. C’est ainsi que le musicien ne semble jamais se laisser déborder par les composantes de ses morceaux, à l’image des mini-explosions de Porous, qu’il contient parfaitement, ne les laissant jamais prendre le dessus sur les autres parties. De même, Russ Young ne verse jamais dans le cérébral, conservant une véritable part humaine et touchante, prenant même des atours plus mélancoliques par la grâce des gouttelettes mélodiques lâchées sur The Blue Air. Si le principe du EP et ses vingt-et-une minutes s’avère peut-être un rien trop bref pour prendre la pleine mesure de ce musicien, on sera donc certainement attentif à ses prochaines publications, compte tenu de la très bonne qualité de ce format court.
Russ Young creates dusty drones, with layers of his immediate world, and beyond....we love his music -and one can hear it drifting, hiding, peeping from the dark expanses of the Vaché offices.
Carten Martin Steffen
Russ Young gets the job done to take you to places in your imagination like only few others do. Highly recommended for anyone who is into ambient!