Ed Herbers - Upper Atmosphere

Released: May 31

This newest album from Cincinnati-based artist Ed Herbers is one that resonated with me quite deeply considering its themes. I, like many others, think about space quite a bit in terms of the still limited knowledge we have about it, the wonders it may hold, and how very small and insignificant it makes our paltry world seem. Herbers touches on these themes magnificently throughout this album using an array of deep and reflective sounds that remain ambient while also touching into the territory of post-rock with sparkling delays and deep pad tones that enveloped me in a soft cushion of sound. It almost feels as if the void of space is softly expanding itself into my ears blissfully. 

Most of the album remains beat-less, centering itself in expansive sounds that bring the cosmos to life. "Cruising Altitude" and "Fragile Beauty" play out in this manner with the soft interjections and sparse notes of a delayed guitar melding into the surrounding textures wonderfully. So when the album reached "Something is Out There," it stood out clearly as the first thumps appeared. Deep yet somewhat muffled thumping ebbs and flows into the soundscape, beating out a rhythm that seems to bee the heartbeat of the universe itself - a rhythm unlike a human's but also still faintly reminiscent. It makes for a rather beautiful moment as the aethereal synth textures rise and fall around it. 

There are also moments in which Herbers chooses to thin out the sound a bit such as "Points of Light." This fittingly named song comes across as something incredibly delicate with a twinkling aura that melts into long ambiances of cosmic wonder. It feels like trying to hold onto fog in a way - its seems so tangible to the eye but is impossible to contain in a physical form. Pure audible stardust. It twirls into the next several tracks with "Stratosphere" continuing this theme to an extent and "Splashdown" bringing back some of the deeper textures that crescendo into stunning elongated risers that make for a feeling of constantly rising waves. The album as a whole is so incredibly layered and intricate so as to be difficult to separate, much like staring up into the night sky and trying to see every individual heavenly body. 


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