The interesting thing about Ed Carlsen’s new album ‘Morning Hour’ is that I had to give it several listens because I kept drifting off to sleep before the end! It is a blessing and sometimes a curse to be a gifted composer that weaves together sublime piano-based electronica dreams. This album evokes dreamland and the first moments of waking each day.
So why is this a great thing? Ed Carlsen over the course of the album opens up his tracks with a carefully crafted style that centres around a few mainstays. The first is a gentle echoing piano. It is so warm and inviting that you’ll want to put your head on its pillow production. The second mainstay is the electronic element – the beats and synths. The synths are constantly flowing like water so they refuse to sound angular. It is an invitation to swim in its main layers, letting you enjoy meditative but expressive melodies that never take over your brain directly, but get you into a rhythm regardless. This pairs up with some ambient white noise effects which soften everything out.
The third element is less common but it involves the softest post-rock style guitar. Only on occasions like the stunning track ‘Words’ does anything anthemic come of them but the guitar just massages around the edges of the synths and pianos like a mothering cradle. Often when the guitars are missing, a string quartet arrangement takes over to do a similar job. It grounds the spacious digital elements into the analogue acoustic feel. It’s a perfect marriage.
So with such an expressive and fluid album, Ed Carlsen has been a gift that’s kept giving during a week when my day job has been stressful and I’ve needed help to switch my brain off. Not only does ‘Morning Hour’ do this effortlessly, but it can also help invigorate you upon waking by waking you gently into the world with a positive edge.
Recommended track: Words
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