Raisbeck delivers track after track of meticulously produced and emotionally charged mood music of the highest calibre that both recalls but never imitates a myriad of musicians with intoxicating nostalgic touches.
There were two albums released in 2011 that vividly and effortlessly spanned and embodied two discrete eras of modern electronic music, whilst retaining their own innate identities. The first was the critically acclaimed Folding In On Itself by Ezekiel Honig (a frequent entrant in top release lists for 2011) but for this reviewer at least, the second was this surprise release: Selected Moments Vol 1. Sense, who many will remember is Australian Adam Raisbeck, has a number of singles, albums and countless compilation appearances to his name from back in the early 00’s on a smorgasbord of electronic imprints archetypal of that era. Neo Ouija, Defocus, U-Cover, Miasmah, Merck and the online label Monotonik helped to define that era of emotive ambient / IDM and listening to Selected Moments Vol 1 at times feels like returning to the very beginning of that era and doing it all over again, this time even better.
While the album title, the presence of a remix of someone else’s material and various track versions mean that on the surface this appears to be more of a compilation than a fully fledged album, the quality and consistency of the material is so high that it never comes across as such. There’s a broader palette here than on A View From A Vulnerable Place or Learning To Be but Raisbeck has stated that this collection of tracks is “about selected moments of my life over the last five years.” In this context it makes far more sense, the tracks reflecting changing times, places, moods, but what is especially charming is how true to its roots the music remains, not dated in any way thanks to extremely polished production but definitely reminiscent of a particular era.
Raisbeck delivers track after track of meticulously produced and emotionally charged mood music of the highest calibre that both recalls but never imitates a myriad of musicians with intoxicating nostalgic touches. Straight away, “Somethings Gotta Give (ewapreview)” glimmers and breathes like the best Secede material, a waking dream of echoing playground laughter, bubbling waters, fantasy washes and ethereal pads. “View From The Peephole” and “Praise” possess the same dreamy longing of Global Communications’ Chapterhouse rework album Pentamarous Metamorphosis, the former exhaling clouds of smoky drones, glistening frost and room-vibrating bass, that latter adding loops of heavily reverb-laden strings, distinctive vocal samples and the introspection and melancholy of Bvdub into the mix.
It is “36 4s Mix 14” and his remix of Logreybeam’s “Muado” that most closely recall the days of Neo Ouija and Defocus. The innocent and playful melodies of “36 4x Mix 14” are pure Lackluster and the old-style synth tones of “Muado (Sense Mix)” would not sound out of place amongst Sense’s own A View From A Vulnerable Place. The album only stalls slightly once when it reaches the thirteen-and-a-half minute “3 Songs,” a track that is perhaps a little too sparse and volume-spiky for its own good. The closing track “Heading Take 1” features dense whirls of dry ice hiss and suspended, morphine ambience reminiscent of a beatless A Sight Below.
In a year dominated by synth releases that revel in analogue-era arpeggios and kosmische wizardry, Selected Moments Vol. 1 feels like a breath of fresh air even as it too evokes a not so distant but nevertheless bygone era. That this is denoted as a first volume gives one hope that Psychonavigation and Sense are set to deliver further entries in the series, as Adam Raisbeck has made a surefooted step back into the limelight with this stunning collection.