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All India Radio - All India Radio + Josh Roydhouse - R E A L M CD (album) cover


All India Radio


Post Rock/Math rock

5.00 | 1 ratings

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Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars All India Radio's Martin Kennedy returns to the signature ambient and atmospheric layered sound the project is famous for after their 2019 experimental turn for the album 'Eternal' with the 2020 release entitled 'R E A L M' and brings along Josh Royhouse to add his piano to these surreal and ethereal soundscapes. This is the 2nd time that Royhouse has collaborated with Kennedy (the 1st time was with the 2010 album 'Piano and Ambience').

This time around, the tracks have distinct names and also sound more distinct on top of that, the music is more 'organized' if you will, into specific atmospheres and ideas. The music is ambient with Kennedy creating layered drones and synth sounds to create an orchestra of lush and beautiful music, and Royhouse melds his piano into the mix, sometimes using electronic treatments to add echo and atmosphere, and other times just coming in 'naked' with a more organic sound. Kennedy also adds his guitar atmospherics, now feeling comfortable enough to do his own 'slide' style guitar notes without help from his usual guest Graham Lee. This gives him more control to make those sounds seem more implanted in the music.

Many times through this album, Kennedy seems to present a canvas of musical drones and tones over which Royhouse improvises simple and lovely melodic notes like in the track 'Thin Air'. Other times, the two are more 'joined' in the effort as in 'For the Birds'. There is no need to worry about variation in the tracks either. Yes they are quite ambient and lush, but they each have their own distinct traits. For example, 'Billow' has a darker feel to it provided by the viola/cello effects created and a slight damper on the brightness of the piano with airy effects surrounding your head.

There is always a somewhat dusty and subdued feel to All India Radio's style which creates a certain warmth to the music, no matter what the overall soundscape or song is trying to convey. If the sound is cold and lonely, as in 'On a Hill', you still feel secure and comfortable in that signature warm blanket of style. It also takes away the stark sound that is often a trait in ambient music. Even so, the music can still pierce your soul, again using 'On a Hill' as a great example of this. Then there is Martin's use of effect pedals to help bring that expansive drone like feel to the airy guitar layers, the way he does in 'Folding Space', as his sound layers back up the heart-rending and soft chords of the piano. The muffled synths take advantage of the piano chords to create their own melodic sequence later in the track.

The extra bonus tracks that are available on the digital download version are actually remixed versions of the tracks on 'Piano & Ambience', this time, however, they are separated and given specific names.

This is layered and melodic ambience at its best. The music is astoundingly beautiful and will sweep you up easily in its embrace. There is no percussion or rhythm present in any of these tracks, allowing your mind to just drift freely along as you listen. Everything is mixed to perfection with no stray notes or sounds to distract. This is the perfect album for you to lose yourself in when you are able to find a moment for yourself, or to just put on when you need something relaxing and non- abrasive.

TCat | 5/5 |


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