Absent Without Leave is the solo project of Athens based George Mastrokostas. On this, his latest release, there are eight dreamy instrumental tracks that flow from cold and dark to bright and active. The music has ambient Sigur Ros elements along with more experimental prog rock sounds in the vein of Mike Oldfield, both of which meld nicely to create some beautiful sounds.
The album opens with the ambient How the winter comes. As the title suggests there is a great wintery feeling in the music with a feeling of wondering through the snow on a chilly afternoon. The music slowly drifts along nicely creating a deep atmosphere. Dreams and hopes is a more upbeat tune with some more active tunes painting a more Spring-like feel. The title track sees things pick up even more with a catchy tune leading into some bright and colourful soundscapes. As the sound progresses the sounds build acting like additional rays of sunlight shining down. The brightness hits its climax with the poppy and upbeat sounds of Balloons in the sky.
Where the birds fly in winter sees the music move back around to the chilling wintery feel with some slow and melancholy sounds in the vein of The Cure. The cold sets further in with the chilling daydream lullaby. The tunes here are soft and soothing enough to lull one into a state of relaxation.The album closes with the soft and gentle Above the trees.
This is an absolutely beautiful collection of chilled out ambient sounds. There are all manner of ideas explored across the eight tracks, all of which are done gradually allowing the various textures to be fully realised. If you’re after some music escapism or just want to hear relaxing sounds this music is for you!