The Billows Burn Bright - Chrysididae


Based in North America, Experimental musician Daniel Armstrong, with his enigmatic Ambient music project The Billows Burn Bright, has been releasing a plethora of remarkably enigmatic music since 2014. Tapping into impressionistic sensibilities without coming across even remotely boring, each work under The Billows Burn Bright umbrella evokes a different set of emotions from the listener; the one constant is that it allows the listener to think, reflect, and introspect through the dense textures that comprise each composition. On the newest release, titled Chrysididae, the musical arrangements are scaled back in a more delightfully organic approach. While there is no percussion or beats on any of the material, this certainly doesn't take away from the impactful, resonant nature of the release on a whole. Opening track "Ocelli" gives off a pensive, wonderous vibe. The mournful guitar phrases tastefully compliment the swelling reverberated ambiance that makes up the backdrop of the arrangement. It starts off with a relaxing, wind-down sentiment as if one has returned home from a long, adventurous journey. It builds up with some interesting layers, as a collage of guitar ambiance that occasionally hints at dissonance yet maintains its melodic restraint. "Setae" swells in with a spacy, reverb saturated synth and guitar noise that results in anything but "noisy". Picture gliding in a mountainous landscape surrounded by clear blue skies and minimal clouds. Or, perhaps, visualize ocean waves calmly hitting a desolate shore. This is the tranquility that the arrangement gives off. A hint of spoken word appears midway through, allowing the listener to be left in wonder or to contemplate the stage of existence as it presents itself. "Ganglia" begins with a haunting, melancholy, drone like arrangement where strings swell in with a sad choral tone. One minute into the piece, the strings suddenly drop out where a chorus-flavored acoustic (12 string?) guitar takes over the main focus of the work. Set in a minor key, the song carries an element of sadness, as if a person is yearning or longing for something that they can't find or can no longer have. Finally, "Calyxes" slowly emerges with a deeper, darker arrangement. Low-end, haunting strings and reverberated guitars carry an atmospheric, cave-like drone that's foreboding while leaving a strand of hope and wonder for the listener. Tonally, the music has a more sullen and somber sentiment, allowing the listener to perhaps gracefully accept that all good things must come to an end. There's no knowing where The Billows Burn Bright will go next, but that's quite a good thing. Chrysididae is another fine feather in the cap of this multi-talented musician/sound artist. The arrangements throughout are highly suitable for a reflective, meditative, decompressing listening experience. I highly recommend it.


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