Departure Street - Into the Drop Zone

Released: March 27

Continuing his streak of recent releases to start out the new year, guitarist Allan J. Kimmel brings us another swirling cloud of blue notes on his newest album Into the Drop Zone. Being almost completely guitar-driven, Kimmel takes us through eight slowly drifting soundscapes, each of which gives a full yet seemingly lonely and deeply reflective aura about them. It begins with the aptly named "Everything is a Dream." The sparse, stripped back chords of this soundscape stand largely all on their own, with only the noise of the room echoing around them as the only accompaniment. As it leads slowly into the next track, the bare chords now find themselves as the backing to a gentle lead played out in "Another Soul Sings Unencumbered."

Even with all of the focus on guitar here, Kimmel makes excellent use of effects and timing to create deep ambient textures on tracks like "Come to Spin the Moon" and "Night Stones and the Quick Earth." Both are excellent tracks that tickle all of the cravings for wide ambient space that I normally have. But I strangely found myself more drawn to the more bare guitar tracks on the album, especially "Like a Bird Whispered in my Ear." The tone on guitar here is nearly perfect in my opinion. The slight dryness of the tone is wonderfully augmented by a short reverb and just a light touch of crunch that presents itself very occasionally through out the song. 

While the album is rather simple in its approach and elements, there are a number of subtle decisions made throughout that alter the overall vibe in interesting ways. It's especially interesting in terms of sonics that the space of each track varies so widely with some tracks leaning far more into the ambient territory while other carry a less spaced out tone that relies on improvisation. It makes for a rather lovely and varied listening experience that is minimally psychedelic and entirely tranquilizing. 


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