Tuesday, 3 April 2018

A subtle but epic journey: Ourdom by Solar Fields

It is safe to say that by now one can firmly expect Solar Fields albums to have impeccable production, delicate care taken in sound design, subtle details in the mix and no self-indulgent technological showing off.

Ourdom, the very recent release by Magnus Birgersson aka Solar Fields is no exception - but apart from the polished technical elements, the musical aspects of the just-under 80-minutes-long album don't let expecting fans down either.

In today's collapsing attention span, shrinking to almost a singularity, it is quite uplifting to see an artist trusting us with well-structured, seamlessly flowing long pieces in the vein of the epics by Klaus Schulze.

Burning View, the album's opening track, is gently introducing the epic musical adventure with a floating ambience and subtle sonic ornaments. The gradual transition to solemn piano chords in Shifting Nature, then to the anthemic uplift of Into The Sun is a typical and very satisfying Solar Fields construct.

One can fully expect to be gradually taken to climaxes like Mountain King and Moving Lines, which are high-octane, but perfectly economically done EDM pieces with imaginative changes and variations.

Tracks like Wave Cascade provide a repose and a chance for introspection between the energetic currents of the aforementioned tracks, and Ourdom is very capable of shifting us between inner states as it does so with musical epochs, too...

Joshua's Shop with its ascending playful notes is taking us from electronic ambiences to a classical period, when the first glassy harp-like notes appear... As a delicate, nostalgic and exquisitely economic piece, it again shows how sound design, musical elements and thinking in structures can produce a concise and evocative sonic picture.

If one was not convinced by the range of imaginings heard so far, then A Green Walk and Parallel Universe can show us how eminently ambient atmospherics and spacey harmonies can fit in with the more soaring and driven passages of the album.

One can appreciate in some perfectly put-together long mixes the way in which different moods and tempos can be combined into a whole sonic journey, the mix becoming greater than the sum of its parts.

However, to state the obvious, here we have original material composed of 13 tracks, each seemingly conceived to be organic parts of the greater unit: just inspect closely the subtle way in which musical elements of a track can reference other sections they build up from or dissolve into...

It is a rare treat, and in a rushing world it is perhaps outrageous to strongly emphasise that Ourdom is best enjoyed, due to above reasons, as a single musical journey - and not track by track. Having said that, each track perfectly functions on its own, and, again, in typical Solar Fields fashion, each is a little electronic gem.

The album flows and connects very distant moods, from pure atmospherics to playful melodies to energetic motions, but the transitions are never with harsh edges...

On Ourdom, there are no right angles nor sharp edges, only ascending and descending waves and curves...

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