Earlier this week I review James Murray’s excellent ‘When Edges Meet’ courtesy of those nice people at Ultimae who sent me out a copy, at the same time they also sent me the latest work from Solar Fields a collection of eleven pieces entitled ‘Movements’. It’s a tricky prospect reviewing two artists from the same label who aren’t a million miles from each other stylistically. The temptation to compare can be often prove difficult but in this instance the contrasts make the process interesting.
Those with a prior interest in ambient music should find ‘Movements’ a very accessible body of work. Stylistically inviting, comfortable and familiar in terms of what might have influenced it. The album begins with the spatial ‘Sol’ and manages to sustain a sense of impressive scale throughout.
Whereas Murray’s album had a tight somewhat claustrophobic feel to it in places ‘Movements’ works with broader strokes, somewhat glacial and aloof in execution. The collection seems to celebrate the largely ‘artificial’ status of its sounds. In terms of listener involvement the material has emotional coolness to it. This keeps you at a distance but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, sometimes things work better from afar.
By the time you hit the third track, the somewhat ‘otherworldly’ intentions of the collection seem to be well and truly in place. The introduction of percussion doesn’t serve to intrude and like Murray’s album there is evidence of themes and images being built (both albums have what feels like journey elements to them, this collecton feels a little more ‘off world’ however).
Tracks like the intriguingly titled ‘The Stones Are Not Too Busy’ take on a slightly more aggressive approach, making use of thunderous percussive elements to add weight to the ethereal synth work which layers the top of the track. Its pieces like this which take the gentility of the album’s opening salvo and give it a little more bite and make the latter aspect of this collection a little more pensive in execution.
As a whole this album works pretty well, another progressive and cinematic release for the Ultimae label and one collection of pieces that work in complimentary form to each other as well as functioning as stand alone pieces.