- A sublime ambient cassette gets a deserved wide release.
- In 2016, Ryan Fall, AKA uon, quietly issued bblisss, an ambient cassette that seemed almost engineered for obscurity. Many of the seven artists featured were not familiar. The ones that were chose new aliases: Huerco S. debuted his Pendant project, and uon became DJ Paradise. Shying away from the ambient canon and from the hallowed names that too often define the genre, Fall curated an ambient tape without pretensions. After its initial release in 2016, bblisss has now been issued on vinyl. It's not so much a new life for a little-known album as a validation of its status as a cult favourite. Listeners won't necessarily be familiar with the artists on bblisss, but those who listen will be entranced by the radiant sublime that marks all the best ambient music.
bblisss contains restive, healing music meant to blanket listeners in therapeutic layers of sound. Some tracks are vignettes, or portals to imagined locations. "Moon," from Ulla Anona, evokes windchimes beneath a starry sky. Pendant offers low-register slush in between rainbow refractions on "Des Vieux Temples," which reflects all the cracked, ancient qualities suggested by its title. On the other hand, "Live January 13 2016," from Billington & Tramposh, gives no indication of place or setting, pointing only to the fact that it was once performed. Still, the track maintains a brilliant, propulsive energy that's as transportive as anything else here.
The final track, Naemi's "Procel," is the LP's most conventionally beautiful. Amid a subtle bass throb and sustained electroacoustic noise, sporadic plucked chords move in a subtle rise and fall, arcing over Naemi's misty mesh. It's a slippery new age shapeshifter, treading between the dub techno of GAS's Königsforst and the haunting zither melodies of Laraaji. bblisss draws on these influences naturally, sidestepping ambient tropes and resisting easy comparison. As these tracks often show, ambient music can revive as well as offer respite.
01. Ulla Anona - Moon
02. Pendant - Des Vieux Temples
03. DJ Paradise - Ssumo
04. Billington & Tramposh - Live January 13 2016
05. Enamel - Quad
06. DJ Paradise - Mbizi (R)
07. Naemi - Procel