This is the debut album from Memorybell, the ambient project of Grant Hazard Outerbridge. The album was recorded live in a single sitting using just a creaky grand piano and two microphones, and focuses on the silence between the musical notes as much as the notes themselves.
This is quite an unusual album that takes experimentation to a new extreme. The music is all about feelings and atmosphere and makes use of the “empty” spaces in the sound as well as the sounds. With nothing but a piano, and only a few simple notes played at any one time, this album is as minimalist as it gets but somehow the spaced out simple notes work to create a dark but intriguing soundscape. This is very much an album for the ambient music lovers out there, if you need to hear tunes and activity this might not be for you.
The album opens with the two minute and very minimalist Koan. Moving slowly with one key played at a time it sets the dark scene of the album. ‘Doldrums’ sees the activity begun to build, if only in a glacial sense. The song consists of short and slow groups of notes, allowing the feeling of both the sounds and the silence to come through and be felt. ‘Ambulator’ takes things down a notch, with simple repetitive notes slowly working their way through.
‘Somnolent’ sees the lower keys getting a workout to create a deeper and darker sound. The title track is perhaps the most active track on the record, with the notes coming together and the silences closing in a melody starts to emerge. ‘Entropy’ sees the gaps almost disappear with a slow tune rolling along. The closing track, ‘Dust’, takes things back to the minimalist sound with a simple low key being played between chunks of silence.
It has to be said that this is an extremely experimental and unconventional record. As a result there are many listeners to whom this will not be accessible. However if you are a fan of ambient and minimalist music there is something quite beautiful to be found here.
Check out Memorybell’s website to find out more!