solemnland - Unknown No. 1
Released: February 10
After a very brief hiatus, Ontario-based composer Raymond Tani (a.k.a. solemnland) returns with his first release of the year on Waxing Crescent Records. Following heavily in the footsteps of his previous work, Tani blends classical composition techniques with heavily synthesized instrumentation throughout the album's runtime. While much of his previous work is a bit on the darker side, this release sees solemnland tone this down a bit to go with a distinctly more spacey sound complete with some sci-fi sounding wobbles and trills, especially on tracks such as "Owl in Dream." This track particularly caught my as those trills and warbles take a more natural sound, though the oddity of the composition is not lost.
While predominantly abstract in its thematic concept, no track feels out of place on this album. The expansive experimentation with sound is something that I rather appreciate as well. Even though the darkness is toned down a bit, the signature melancholy the Tani puts into much of his work is still very much there, though frequently sandwiched between his more experimental bouts. "Tea in My Special Cup" exhibits this dynamic well as deep pads and dark synthetic vocalizations drift about as the trills quickly cut in and out. A rather fantastic return for an excellent composer.