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6LA8 - Final Wanderings (w/ MMI) CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 2 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The final set in a series of ambient wandering from this collaborative duo 6LA8 and MMI is in a similar vein as the previous releases, but a bit darker.

This duo of artists had created some of the most enjoyable (and longest) ambient albums I can remember hearing recently, being evocative of certain atmospheres (generally aquatic or spacey) and giving the improvisations enough time in each recording to really flesh out the sounds so everything doesn't sound rushed or forced.

Final Wanderings, while it is made up of the same long-form ambient improvisations that together run just over two hours, is slightly different; whereas Minimal Wanderings and Extended Wanderings both mostly had an uplifting or ethereal feel throughout, this album is somewhat darker and more ominous while still maintaining that ambient shoegaze electronic sound.

"Feels the Same" is a deceptive opener; it's very beautiful, consisting of familiar ethereal synths with cloudy guitar tones emanating from the background, creating a loose melody that kind of bleeds through the speakers, and is overall optimistic sounding in tone not unlike Steve Roach's Structures from Silence, though with a bit more muddy and organic production quality. Occasionally the spacey synths shoot up in tinny bursts, which has an awakening affect, almost like notifying the listener that something is awry.

From the first couple of measures, "We are Important." sounds as if it is going to be equally optimistic and uplifting, but then an off-sounding note comes in, and suddenly the entire composition leads its way through an ominous and dissonant shoegaze-inspired descent into some foreboding aural creepiness. The production is similarly misty and heavenly in quality, but with a profound creepiness to it, and it really gives a nice contrast to the previous track. The atmosphere remains somewhat sparse until a bit after the half-way point, where some nice but underplayed guitar noodling takes place, giving off somewhat of an ambient jazz sound, though nowhere near as active or obviously jazz as something by The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble.

"Subtle Puddle" is in the same creepy mood as the previous track, but with slightly more bombast at points. The misty production and empty sounding ambient soundscape backdrop is peppered with bits of sonically assaulting bursts of feedback that sound like songs from distant sirens attempting to lure travelers from this dark path.

With some slow, pounding tribal percussion, "PPRB" begins as less creepy but much more desolate. This also is the most progressive epic on this album (at over 45 minutes), as it progresses from it's slightly lonely tribal and spacey intro to shoegazey melodic section with dizzying metallic resonances to the glistening uplifting melodic section at the end.

Final Wanderings is a nice way to end 6LA8 and MMI's trio of ambient wanderings, because not only is it consistent with the long-form ambient improvisation style of the series, but it also incorporates darker and sometimes avant elements that prove that these guys are interested in experimentation. The experimentation pays off well, too, because nothing sounds forced. The avant elements never become overbearing, and these long tracks still have ambiguous and mystical melodies. If you had enjoyed the previous two albums in this series of ambient wanderings, then you'll most likely enjoy Final Wanderings because it doesn't sound like a rehashing of old ideas, but new ideas in the same style.

colorofmoney91 | 4/5 |


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