Words by the ever erudite Adam Turner.
Local Artist is Vancouver resident Ian Wyatt, a sound-designer whose music is intended to ‘Create a clearing for your attention to be delivered back to you… offering support for your stress cycles in a chronically over stimulated world’… and we could all do with a little bit of that eh?
Recorded while not one but two close family members were ill with cancer there’s no doubting the emotional weight that these songs have for Wyatt, and the catharsis he seems to have achieved while writing, playing and committing them to tape / hard drive. The songs are hazy, intimate and fragile, at times veering close to the incidental music from 80s daytime soaps but pulling away due to the weight of the themes, of love and loss.
The nine track album, Expanding Horizons, drifts into earshot with Head Right, some echo/ chorus-laden guitar reminiscent of The Durutti Column, paired with softly sung vocals. The title track follows sharply, R&B beats and slinky synth sounds, a palette of washed-out pastels. Without You is subtler, and odder – laid back beats, 80s synths and Wyatt’s voice smothered in soft reverb. Neo Wise fades in with hisses and a rising and falling synth-line, soft bleeps and bloops, with even prettier twinkling melodies on top. It continues in this pattern, wispy and delicate before fading out again in a hiss of static, segueing into Rif Kibdani`s hand drums, running water and reveries, drifting ambient music.
Bubbles and insects open Self Healing, then bells and synth notes and a vocoder advising ‘it’s time to loosen your grip… breathe… remember to breathe’. The vocals become increasingly distorted as the ambient wash finds its focus. Good Enough is a New Age/ Yacht Rock crossover, Ian’s voice blurred over a funky top-line. The last two songs, Give You My Love and Distance Calling, are ambient R&B, an up-to-now untapped genre – Jon Hassell and 80s Tangerine Dream in a slow collision with Toni Braxton – soft gloss, textures and breathy vocals. This is music to help you feel better when you’re feeling bad.
Local Artist`s Expanding Horizons is out now, on Mood Hut.
You can find more fine prose from Adam Turner over at his own brilliant blog, The Bagging Area.