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Warmth - Warmth: Retrospective (2016-2021) Music Album Reviews

Warmth - Warmth: Retrospective (2016-2021) Music Album Reviews
This 20-track collection of music by the prolific Spanish ambient producer feels like submerging into a warm bath for 95 minutes.

There might be ambient musicians better at tugging at the heartstrings or bottling the great sad mystery of the world, but if you want to bliss out until your eyes roll back into your head, you could do a lot worse than listen to Warmth. Under that moniker, Spanish producer Agustín Mena makes some of the most physically pleasurable ambient music imaginable, blurring synths and field recordings into grand, luxurious drones that spread across the stereo field as if wrapping the listener in an embrace. Retrospective (2016-2021) compiles tracks from six albums in as many years, plus “Taiga,” from the odds-and-ends Wildlife Addendum, and “Growth,” from his Archives label’s Heights compilation. It feels like being submerged in a warm bath for 95 minutes.

Though Warmth’s albums since 2016’s Essay sound more or less of a piece, they can be split into a crop of earlier, longer albums (Essay, Home, Parallel) and later, shorter ones (Wildlife and onward). By presenting most of his older tracks in edits of about four or five minutes, Retrospective avoids the stasis of his earlier work even as its sheer length gives the listener more opportunities to luxuriate than ever before. Some may miss the way tracks like “Home” and “Odessa'' were allowed to simmer longer in their original versions, but on Retrospective, divisions between tracks become irrelevant once you’re deep enough in the album that it starts to fade in and out of your consciousness.

Wherever there’s gauzy, dense, drumless ambient, Rafael Anton Irisarri isn’t far away. The Black Knoll Studio engineer worked with Mena on his last two albums, 2020’s Life and last year’s The Darkest Place, and here he gives some of the older tracks a touch-up, pumping blood into the low end and excising a bit of errant hiss. Though Mena is adept at creating textures that sound like no instrument in particular, Irisarri’s remaster breaks the illusion of a wall of sound just slightly, and the moving parts that figure into Mena’s music are more clearly visible. The growling low end of “The Darkest Place” sounds more sinuous than ever, and it’s easier to appreciate how the little sonar pulses that show up often in Warmth’s music act as bassline, melody, and structural reinforcement all at once.

Even considering Mena’s prolificacy, six years and six albums might not seem like enough of a milestone to warrant a retrospective. But Retrospective isn’t about charting the progression of his sound, which has been subtle, to say the least. It’s about capping off a run of good work and offering a new context in which to enjoy it—not to mention an excuse to package it in a spiffy 2xCD jewel case with an awesome new photo from in-house Archives photographer and erstwhile bear researcher Alexander Kopatz. This compilation doesn’t tell us much about Warmth that we don’t already know, nor does it cast Mena’s work in a new light. It just gives us more of his music in one place, and with music this single-mindedly blissful, more is better.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Warmth - Warmth: Retrospective (2016-2021) Music Album Reviews Warmth - Warmth: Retrospective (2016-2021) Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, January 20, 2022 Rating: 5

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