Released: Nov 2018
Reviewed by: Benedict Roff-Marsh
Aythar is out of Budapest in Hungary. It is a sad thing but as an electronic musician myself I would have had a better career if I had moved to Hungary, Romania, Bolivia etc. than stay here in Northern Oz. Europe has always been a more open-ground than most other places.
“ElectrOcean” is very much in the classic Ambient mode. That is before it got invaded by Glitch-House drumbeats or subsumed in to New Age pap in the mid-90s. This delivers that timeless sound of washes & waves of curated sound and sub-melody that either falls very flat or sounds magical.
Hopefully, like me you feel that this a far more the latter. Aythar has created what is overall a very nice space to feel yourself expand into. Yes there are some drums and Electro parts later on but they are generally nicely balanced.
If this is a new style for you, the trick is that it is somewhat the opposite of Techno or Rock & Roll where you turn up the volume to obliterate your senses. With Ambient, you lower the volume on your stereo so that the music bubbles just above the volume of your room (which hopefully is a bit kinder than a tank factory). The music merges with the room and creates a new “guided” ambience – hence the term.
You can lie back and imagine yourself floating off to Planet Pethar where you commune with the ascended Petharians who have messages of cosmic peace (that sound a lot like Bhagwan Shree Oshoneesh) or you can simply go on about your tasks of writing or cooking me scones. The music permeates the atmosphere and changes your sense of sense somehow. It is like it helps you be more settled in or in-tune with your environment or self. You don’t feel so separated from the world around you. It is a nice “refining” thing. If not a tiny bit odd when you start to feel that car horns are part of the song and are therefore singing to you.
Which brings me to the one part that does stick out for me. About half way through there is a bit of dog growling. Every time, it feels more like a threat sound than a reassuring sound. That I don’t love. From track names it would appear that this track relates to his Labrador puppies so I guess having met a few lovely labbies I can accept.
Being who I am I have a few things in my collection to reference but will focus on the obvious ones for you. I have to start with the grand daddy of the style and that is Brian Eno and his Ambient Series. Second has to be Pete Namlook who took the mantle in the early 90s and redefined the sound. Michael Hoenig “Departure From The Northern Wasteland” is a bit less well known (esp. compared to Tangerine Dream & the solo works) but this record helped define that sound & style in big ways.
I hope you are finding your way to enjoying Aythar’s “ElectrOcean”. You can find it at: