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Talk about a guy who goes from strength to strength. There’s a lot of ambient dub/dub-techno/what-have-you floating around in ‘Netland, and much of it tends to go for the same watery, delay-drenched, reverb-enriched sounds made popular back in the day by the likes of Yagya, Porter Ricks, Monolake, et al. Not the good Mr. Shek. From the artfully sculpted patina of his rhythms to the beautifully kaleidoscopic calligraphy of his atmospheres and sound design, he tends to go where most dub-o-nauts have never gone before. Take the title track. In a wholly absorbing seven minutes, Shek sets the mood alight, his gently airbrushed tic-toc beats and late-night synth whoosh conjuring fog creeping up on island shoals, gently lapping waves of iridescent ocean softly eroding the shoreline, orange-caked skies melting into twilight auroras. It’s a supremely wonderful thing, and that’s only track one. “A Spot of Dust” thrusts you deep into the heart of darkness, but you’re ultimately redeemed by the ascending, piano-like chords that provide just enough shimmering, emotional rescue. “Forbidden Forests” is all verdant reverie and lush soylent green, as Shek guides your inner ear canals through thickets of dripping electronic brush, Avatar-esque synth colors brimming with primary hues, and an air of portentous anticipation that makes you wonder if you now regret your choice to aurally explore such lands of perilous enchantment. When the rhythmic propulsion kicks in, its brevity feels like an exhalation, until you enter the echo chamber fairyland of “Nightingales”, whose softly spitting curlicues ripple like synthetic soda. Gorgeous, ridiculously original, and necessary as all get-out.

Krystian Shek | Despite Our Silence | CD

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  • 1. Despite Our Silence
    2. Most Likely
    3. From the Depths of the Hearts
    4. A Spot of Dust
    5. Occupied by Night
    6. Morning Fog
    7. Forbidden Forests
    8. Nightingales
    9. The Bells of Kiribati

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