Two years on from his equally diaphanous record Transient, French ambient artist Baptiste Martin returns with a new collection of air-cooled bliss. This time he’s moved out of the solely practical realm and into building his works via samples – bumping up his arsenal with Slovikian fujara flutes, PVC panpipes and a library of chimes. While this all sounds like it could devolve into a drug store impulse buy New Age CD on paper, in practice Martin is working much closer to the spiritual realms of meditative divination rather than the “free with incense” version. His compositions not only tap into the ether with a rippling calm, but his stacked drones sparkle with a complexity that makes them just as interesting to pick apart as they are effective at blocking out of the world around.
Part of the constructed quality of his meditations stems from Martin’s insistence that he’s building landscapes free from human hands. The pieces are all labeled as either Horizon, Distance or Mirage and each category conjures up a corresponding sonic simulation – with the Horizon pieces creating a palpably close feeling and Distance and Mirage working their way further from scope and into formless abstractions respectively. The artist has been steadily building a repertoire over the years with an excellent bounty of labels (Constellation Tatu, Noumenal Loom, Carpi) but his work with Not Not Fun seems to find him reaching new peaks. Highly recommended for those looking to melt away some of the sludge of 2018, but seconded for those of you who appreciate ambient’s shimmering sway.
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