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Green-House - Solar Editions Music Album Reviews

Green-House - Solar Editions Music Album Reviews
The Los Angeles ambient musician returns to the new-age sounds of last year’s Music for Living Spaces, but some of the richness and whimsy of past releases is missing.

New-age music has practically gone through a complete life cycle since re-entering the cultural conversation a little over a decade ago. First came the reclamatory noise acts of the late 2000s, like Emeralds, James Ferraro, and Oneohtrix Point Never, who twisted new-age tropes into darkly transcendental walls of sound. Then followed Light in the Attic’s popular I Am the Center compilation, which investigated artists like Iasos and Laraaji, who spent years making hypnotic, heavenly works long before new age was considered a punchline. Ever since that reappraisal of more overtly peaceful new-age music, a whole cottage industry has sprouted up around it—especially in Los Angeles. Labels like Leaving Records have cultivated an entire scene around reframing new age for the modern experimental world, smoothing the music’s edges out even further.

Out of this new wave of sage-toting zoners, Olive Ardizoni’s music as Green-House has stood out. Inspired by ’80s Japanese environmental music and ’70s lounge records, Ardizoni’s music plays like an ethereal update on Mort Garson’s Mother Earth’s Plantasia—organic-seeming, swelling patches of sound meant to sit in the background of living rooms, making everything just a little more colorful. On their Six Songs for Invisible Gardens debut, they blended lilting synthesizers and field recordings to radiant effect, bathing the listener in a gradual, lucid glow. Music for Living Spaces followed this up with a more childlike turn, with Ardizoni trading out their lush soundscapes for a delightfully quirky palette, like something a garden gnome might listen to while sweeping up leaves in their mushroom house. On both of these releases, Ardizoni maintained a refreshing playfulness in their work, embracing the lighter, cheesier side of ambient and drone music without sacrificing the melodic inventiveness to pull it off.

But on their Solar Editions EP, Ardizoni demonstrates the limits of new-age music designed purely for comfort. Its four tracks lack both the deep richness of Six Songs for Invisible Gardens and the silly whimsicality of Music for Living Spaces. In its wafting haze, Solar Editions feels closer to that original incarnation of mainstream new age that drew so much critical ire, now coated in just enough analog sheen to justify its inclusion on credible experimental-electronic playlists. Ardizoni shows flashes of their typical textural cleverness, but more often than not, these songs are overtaken by an encroaching numbness, their aesthetic gestures masking how simplistic this approach to synth music has become.

Where Ardizoni’s previous releases demonstrated careful attention to detail, here their approach rarely adds up to much more than casual knob twiddling. “Mycorrhizae Dreams” drifts along on gentle krautrock-y arpeggios that, while soothing, never find a real sense of place or direction. Rather than homing in on one perfectly executed tonal mood, Ardizoni piles breathy flutes and kitschy sci-fi synths on top of one another, even throwing in some of their usual running-water sounds for good measure. The results may be easy on the ears, but that doesn’t make them any less tame. Worse is “Flora Urbana Absumpto,” whose flat pianos literally feel like a balmy waiting room soundtrack purely meant to be ignored. Even late in the track when Ardizoni’s cloudy synths seem like they might finally come into focus, they merely resign to floating about in an anesthetic middle zone until the song ends as inconspicuously as it began.

There has always been an undercurrent of elevator-music easiness to Green-House’s output, but as the songs become less exciting, one wonders what ostensibly makes Solar Editions more profound than actual elevator music. Take “Produce Aisle,” whose tongue-in-cheek title alludes to the fact that the song sounds like something that would play in the corporate shopping mall in Stardew Valley. The chintzy pianos and vaporwavey sway are pleasant, but they don’t really go anywhere, and none of it pushes the concept far enough to be particularly mind-opening. It begs the question that haunts the current new-age scene: If the effect of the art is the same as that which it claims to critically reinvent (placating, bougie lifestyle music), why should we attribute so much experimental importance to it?

If there’s one moment on Solar Editions that serves as a reminder of why Green-House has emerged at the forefront of the new-age revival, it’s in the wonderfully whirling sonata of “Morning Glory Waltz.” With its winkingly baroque melody, the song gracefully layers one unfurling idea upon another, building to a bouncing chorus of Isao Tomita-esque synths that dance about like fanciful guests at an interstellar ball. It proves how creative and fun Ardizoni’s music can be when they nurture their sounds to their fullest potential. Sadly, most of Solar Editions comes off like a return toward a more arid era of new age, only now with tasteful reference points. These songs, as agreeably inoffensive as they may be, end up feeling like wellness fodder, more sedentary than spurring. For a project dedicated to the beauty of sprawling vegetation, the worst thing about Solar Editions is that it just feels a bit lifeless.

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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.
Green-House - Solar Editions Music Album Reviews Green-House - Solar Editions Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, May 02, 2022 Rating: 5

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