New Age tranquillity with an experimental side.
DiipSilence’s “The Ten” is one of those albums that creeps up on you. Upon my first listen I found it a curious oddity that combines new age chillout tropes with interesting field recordings. After my third listen, I was convinced I’d found a hidden gem of an album that is evocative as it is melodic. It is an album deeply rooted in sampling the world around us and tuned percussion. This makes the music feel familiar but alien too.
Take the beautiful track “The Koi” which has its base rooted in the hang drum. Yet over the top and circling around you is ice cracking from the Alaskan glacier. The ice cracks and spits but the water flows around you mixed with twisted frequencies and chimes. Water sounds synthetic but also granular like you can hear each particle bubbling and bursting around you. Drips are percussive, tuneful but abstractly warped too. This kind of weirdness invades each track. “The Flock” is a more dramatic handpan arrangement that is smothered in metallic synths and electronic bleeps like a retro computer in overdrive. Add in a kick beat and you have an unusual pre-battle tension building piece. “The Beasts” is crammed full of animal noises but the animals are twisted into other sounds. Bird tweets sound like primal screams, backed up by jews harps and dulcimers like a pagan folk piece.
This microscopic detail into the world and music is explored in so many different ways that chill out or new age doesn’t really fit the criteria. “The Insects” for example is angular and stabby like tiny pincers grabbing at synths. “The Clouds” is so atonal and out of sync with itself that you can’t relax to it but instead let go to the warbling drones and gurgles of frequency shifting plops. “The Woods” sounds like Bjork and Heinali had a love child as twinkling modular synths disintegrate into shivering quakes of themselves. Tuneful and glistening? Yes – but it is not chill out. Even the more relaxing tracks like “The Boulder” sounds like a cricket army coming to life around ethereal stretched piano notes. “The Lake” is meditative but as a weighted state of noise as whooshes and scrapes echo around you as if you have achieved a higher state of being.
DiipSilence spent five years collecting field recordings and then building unique instruments out of them and it really shows. There’s a playful element here that leans into experimentation placed on a bed of relaxation. New Age, chill out and ambient electronica fans should absolutely check this album out but know going in, this album is a varied and wild trip. It’s all the more fun and has a bucket load more character as a result. File under “future cult classic”.
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