The first frost of winter – the ambient classical soundtrack.
Josh Alexander created a stunning debut with Hiraeth in 2018. His whole approach to that album was around dainty synths and hazy pianos. For his follow up EP ‘Bright Morning Jetlag Blues’, the hazy and intimate pianos stay but the electrics are largely replaced with smeared string tapestries. This pulls Josh Alexander into a different arena and this whole EP makes me feel like I’ve listened to a crisp winter morning.
Across the six tracks, we have the piano leading the way in a variety of different recording styles. In ‘Casper’s Theme’ you’ll hear the hammers up close. ‘Winter Garden’ is far more stately and regal. ‘Parallax’ interestingly mixes the two styles together as if they are passing each other by. The melodies aren’t always ones that stick in the mind immediately but they evoke wistful but perky energy. It is like you are a bird popping you head out of your snow-capped nest.
The big change this time is the way the cello and synths work across the EP. In early tracks like ‘After All’ and the titular piece, its hard to tell where the bustle of the cello ends and synth begins. It is like Josh Alexander has taken lessons from the wall of sound shoegazers to create a wind sheer of sound. It is dense but sometimes difficult to connect to on first listen. Later on in the EP, the synths begin to show their colours as watery effects that make noises reverse and reverb over the piano and cello. I adore that kind of empty intricacy that gives space to many different quiet sounds firing off at the same time. It is here where I enjoyed Josh’s work the best as I could get absolutely lost in the tiny details of it all.
Whilst this EP isn’t the best place to start with his music (Hiraeth would be the recommended point), fans will love this transitional collection. Josh Alexander is seemingly moving towards less obvious synth work in his classical music and this is a tantalising taste of exploring this side of his music.
Recommended track: Casper’s Theme
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