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  The Sight Below  
  Ghostly International  
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Last year i was nicely impressed with Glider the debut full-length from The Sight Below. It was a lovely record of low-key ambient music, with slow washes of sound backed by subtle electronic beats. This year the artist has returned with another EP, one that is, if anything, even lovelier. So i tracked down this release, and then when i went to write about i hit a bit of a wall. The Sight Below is the project of a reclusive Seattle artist. His name is not given on any of his websites, and all i really know is where he is from.

That's okay though. This music speaks for itself. It is a blend of what Yellow6 and Loscil are doing, in that there are slow drones ebbing and flowing against a backdrop of echoed percussion. Other artists that are similar to this are Monolake, Gas, and Worriedaboutsatan. Each is doing a similar sort of thing, and i think that there is likely a good bit of crossover in fans of each.

The Murmur EP consists of four tracks, so let me go over each. Up first is Murmur, which starts with a faint scratchy synth tone that is later joined by a deep, head-bopping bass beat. It progresses along nicely, the synths wavering and the beat deep and echoed. Eventually some dubby percussion comes in. Wishing Me Asleep features the same sort of deep in the background bass beat and more prominent synth tones. It is not that different of a song, but it continues to work well. This sort of thing is the modus operandi of The Sight Below, and if you dislike one song, you will dislike most of what the artist does.

The remainder of the EP are remixes of The Sight Below's work. The first remix is by Eluvium, and is of the song No Place For Us, the original of which was the title track to a free EP given away by Ghostly International last year. The general mode of the song is the same: subtle beats and washes of droning sound. Eluvium has stuttered up the percussion a bit, but not changed the song all that much, preferring to use a soft touch, but enough to make the tune seem just slightly different.

The second remix is of At First Touch off of Glider, and here it is given a reworking by Simon Scott, aka, Televise. This is, if you can imagine such a thing, a slower tune for The Sight Below. It doesn't really have any percussion, instead it consists of layers of rumbling tones that grate against each other, eventually joined by a barely heard and heavily mangled vocal sample of some sort. If the first three tunes on this EP are spacey ambient dub, but this is more illbient (if you remember that short-lived "disturbing ambient" genre from the 1990s). Still, it does not sound bad.

Now, if you are lucky enough to track down the vinyl version of this EP (which i recommend by the way), you get a third remix, Biosphere reworking The Sunset Passage, also from Glider. I really enjoy Biosphere's work, and i think what he does here is just lovely. There is a patient percussion bit backing some heavily echoed guitar. The percussion is scratchy in a way that seems very typical of Biosphere's post-Shenzhou work. He may be stuck in a bit of a rut these days, but it is a rather pleasant rut after all. This is a lovely remix, and my favorite of the three.

Overall, i am impressed. This type of ambient music is not for everyone (and by "everyone" i mean "most people"), but i find it to be great sitting around relaxing music. It is introspective and interesting, yet moves at a pace that does not force itself into your consciousness. Rather, itís meandering pace seems to bend to fit whatever flow your own brain chooses to take.

Anyway, nice work from an ambient artist to be on the lookout for.

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