Updated: Jan 19, 2021
New Orleans producer Alex Talbot has exploring the experimental, ambient side of music under the moniker of storyinsoil. Originally a musician with years of experience playing in Punk bands, Alex decided to expand his horizons and take the roads lesser traveled on his release with storyinsoil, titled Confined. Released on Outward Records on September 20, 2019, Confined is an album that, according to Alex's own words, "features various instruments including synthesizers, bass, guitar, saxophone, and circuit bent toys/guitar pedals set to self-oscillate. This release is an attempt to portray tension and release both sonically and emotionally." After having listened all the way through several times, it has not disappointed me one bit; I find something new in the musical arrangements upon each listen. Some intriguing, thought provoking, peculiarly rhythmic music is crafted on Confined. An abundance of very well known artist influences appear throughout the musical elements; Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Edgar Froese, Kraftwerk – without having any of the works end up sounding like imitations. Alex cleverly adds his own unique spin of originality and refreshing creativity to avoid the pitfalls of wallowing in monotony or self-indulgence. "Conflict" opens the album with a dream-like, pensive, introspective, synth arrangement. A series of thought-provoking spoken word quotes are weaved throughout, allowing the listener to interpret one's own meaning to the words along with their relevance to the music delivered on the album. On "ACAB", we're presented with a space-like, quiet, foreboding, cosmic inspired series of lush synth layers. A Lo-Fi percussive element enters the mix halfway through that carried a funky, tribal, slightly danceable pattern without serving as the focal point of the music. "Carousel Gardens" takes things into more Ambient, free-flowing, mesmerizing territory akin to staring off the edge of a cliff into a cloudy horizon. "Hallways" is a nice change of pace, taking on an abstract, Art Rock approach. The interesting use of guitars, synths, chordal changes brought the 80's period of King Crimson's work to mind (listen to Discipline, Beat, and Three of a Perfect Pair for a good example.)
As the center of Confined approaches, "Speak" eases its way into the picture. Ethereal by nature, it's coated with some noise-like static elements that hover over a bed of lush, low-end synths like small, black clouds. It climactically builds up as some synth pads higher in timbre provide a haunting yet enigmatic melodic structure. Next, "Letter & Key" takes the listener into a cave like atmosphere with deeper, mysterious textures. "Nymphaea" continues along a similar path, but has a more atmospheric, space-like, peaceful nature to its major key tonal center. Finally, "For Wiggly" closes the album on a brighter note with a happy, inspiring, jangly mood akin to the ending credits of a completed video game.
Explore storyinsoil's release, Confined, for a vivid Electronic Ambient listening experience. You'll find much awe throughout sonic density, spacy textures, and versatile experimentation on the album. I'm eager to see what Alex comes up with next and how he utilizes his talents on future storyinsoil albums.