Tapes and Topographies is an Ambient project formed by Dallas, TX based musician Todd Gautreau. Having released 8 albums since 2014, Todd has evolved and refined his sound with Tapes and Topographies over the years. He has brilliantly expanded his use of sound experimentation, carefully honed his use of effects, and tastefully worked around the emphasis of utilizing frequencies in a versatile manner throughout differently sustained sonic textures. Released on February 5, 2021, the most recent Tapes and Topographies full-length, A Season of Loss further travels down the more minimalist path in terms of taking a more narrow scope of frequencies and sparsely using too many different keyboard sounds. This is not to say that the music is limiting or shallow. In contrast, many of the works on the release provide a more open-ended listening experience. The overall mood is contemplative, calm, and pensive, without coming across as too "sad" or too "melancholy". Starting off with "Band Waves", the album's soothing, warm tone is instantly set. A brief sentence of spoken words appears near the beginning of the piece, courtesy of Klankbeeld. Much of the musicianship and sonic textures were impressively crafted, layered, and mixed. I found myself quite at ease and relaxed as I listened to the arrangements throughout. Although "Other Distant Mermaids" had a little bit too much low-end for my personal taste, the composition on it was well constructed with its clever use of chorus drenched, delayed guitars. "Graph of a Circle", "Calming of the Tides", and "Narcosis" are my favorite works on A Season of Loss; the mood and soundscapes on these tracks struck a nerve within, compelling me to go outside and explore the beauty of nature on a day tampered by bleak weather. The album ends with a nice touch of poignance on "Coda", which adds some nice whispers, courtesy of Alexandra Drotz Ruhn.
A Season of Loss is highly recommended. If you're looking for an Ambient release that neither goes too deep into heavy bass oriented Drone nor relies on too many treble oriented synth sounds that would otherwise make the music seem too obtrusive or forced, then this release would be ideal. I recommend listening if you're meditating, relaxing, reading, or are on a slow-paced, easy going walk on the beach.