The most tangible thing about ‘For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)‘ is its title. The latest release from Huerco S is ambient music in its purest, most unadulterated form, focused purely on tone and atmosphere. The title, a simple play on language, takes a lot of words to say precious little – simply reveling in language itself; the music does the opposite, taking precious little in the way of sounds to create something which seems to grow and evolve with each listen.
It comes across as a pointillist record. Elements of dance music, the twinkling arpeggio on ‘Cubist‘, or the filter saturated loop of ‘Kraanvogel‘, are present but vague, the faded memories of the morning after rather than the ear rattling dance floor itself. As simple loops play out, repeating and repeating, they blur and merge into each other until full images slowly start to appear.
"Ambient music places tone and atmosphere above everything else, and Huerco S, aka Brian Leeds, has followed this approach ruthlessly on his second album."
Ambient music places tone and atmosphere above everything else, and Huerco S, aka Brian Leeds, has followed this approach ruthlessly on his second album. His previous releases – whether the crackling outsider house of his untitled Opal Tapes breakthrough, the sultry slow groove of ‘No Jack‘ or his debut album, all felt connected by their faded, lo-fi aesthetic. Club music for people who only hear it muffled by walls or old speakers. On ‘For Those of You…‘ the beats, the melodies, the vocal samples and the wandering bass lines have all been cut away.
If his last two EPs: ‘A Verdigris Reader‘ and ‘Railroad Blues‘, seemed to point towards an increasingly minimal direction, this latest offering has taken it to an extreme conclusion. Opening track ‘A Sea of Love‘ is little more than a looping single note phrase, one chord stretched out over the track’s entirety and some warm crackle. The rest of the tracks add little else to this formula, but they don’t need to.
"'For Those of You...' proves that an uncompromising commitment to tone and atmosphere over everything else can show sound at its most lucid and eloquent."
Huerco S’ previous work has been deconstructed to the point that nothing is left but echoes and imprints, revealing there is just as much narrative and feeling in them as there was in the discarded elements.
The scarcity is a brave move, but the results are beautiful. The vast majority of the tracks end abruptly, like the loops were simply shut off or faded out. Chord changes, rhythmic shifts, even the introduction of new loops are a rarity; they’ve all been subjugated, deemed surplus in the relentless pursuit of atmosphere. While the musical elements feel like endless loops, the mind is forced to focus on the constantly shifting atmosphere around them.
By its nature ambient music often comes across as throwaway, too vague to really engage with. ‘For Those of You…‘ proves that an uncompromising commitment to tone and atmosphere over everything else can show sound at its most lucid and eloquent.
For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have) is scheduled for released via Proibito on 6th June 2016.
- Read our review of Huerco S. ‘Colonial Patterns’ released on Software (2013).
A1. A Sea Of Love
A2. Lifeblood (Naïve Melody)
B1. Hear Me Out
C1. On The Embankment
C2. Marked For Life
C3. Cubist Camouflage
D1. Promises of Fertility
D2. The Sacred Dance