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Brian Eno, the man who coined the term “ambient music” once described the genre in ideal terms as something that can be “…listened to with attention or as easily ignored.” This description certainly rings true in every spa, lounge, hotel lobby, airport and the commonplace area where such music often occupies the background among people’s general chatter, activity and going about their own lives.
Occasionally however there are records in this unassuming category that fall on the attention side instead of the ignore, capturing the listener by branching out into numberless uncharted territories while simultaneously staying within its own realm.
Reelaxmusic by Leif Martinsson is one of those surprisingly transcendent background records that can be described as ambient, yet structured; relaxing, yet grabbing in its sonic reach. The opening track, “Freedom” consists of a sleepy, reverberating acoustic guitar with phasing, complimenting synths laid gently over top.
“Flying backward” treads further down the synthesized path while embracing a more active approach; tailored more to be the soundtrack for a first course Buddha-Bar meal than a candlelit reiki session. The fat, distorted bass of “Flying” eventually gives way to the metropolitan jazz vibes of “Azzymetric”, invoking the feeling of floating amidst the clouds to the sound of trumpets more than any sort of everyday scenario.
Having already traveled the gamut of acoustic to digital to brass and bass in three tracks, “Starglider” continues the odyssey with its computerized exploration reminiscent of Genesis’ “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight”; albeit sans Phil Collins or anyone singing vocals. “Build a life” starts slow and plodding with foreboding piano, evolving into a cohesive, full track complete with synths, strings and electric guitar in a smooth and accessible blend.
“Rising whisperings” recaptures much of the same feel as “Freedom” but with an Eastern twinge, plucking first in solitary mountaintop fashion before exchanging the harps for an immersive guitar-and-fluted bliss.
Beyond even the realm of the genre, Martinsson channels both the Occident and the Orient in his global exploration. “Drifting” hovers amidst the stars in space, giving off the air of a soothing breeze encapsulating the winding piano that defines the track at its center.
“Going High” is an eclectic number, rooted around a typical trap beat and a punching bass line with everything from breathy synths to New York rush hour trumpets accompanying it. Finally, “A trip to Asia” closes out the album, though devoid of the Oriental flavor previously expressed on “Rising wisperings.”
It is a track fairly insignificant and indistinguishable from standard-issue music found in any lounge or even on this album, yet still a strong enough finish to leave an impression as to the overall creative character of the album and what could potentially be to come.
Off of the merits of this record alone, Leif Martinsson shows himself to be a far-reaching, diverse composer who deserves far more than to fly under the radar for the rest of his life.
Reelaxmusic may just be a project created by a hobbyist musician fine to put out his record purely for the sake of fun and entertainment, or it could be an opportunity for its composer to seize upon and graduate onto greater heights. Either way, the record, to circle back to Eno, is, while relaxing, far more attention-grabbing with its expansion into a wide series of musical territories. No words had to be put onto this record; the music speaks entirely for itself.
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