Teen Daze - Themes for a New Earth

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:9 Release Date:2017-11-10
Teen Daze - Themes for a New Earth
Teen Daze - Themes for a New Earth

Just nine months after his first physical release on his own Flora label, Themes for Dying Earth, Jamison Isaak is back once again as Teen Daze with his eleventh set, Themes for a New Earth, for the second physical release. Recorded at the same time as that album, this is something of a companion piece. But rather than being a collection of castoffs of whatever the modern equivalent to a B-side is, this album absolutely outshines the primary set in almost every way, finding Isaak at his very best.

Beginning with the languid beauty of the tragically short opener 'Shibuya Again', with a slow, humming pad backing delicate guitar and bass lines, Themes for a New Earth moves from one blissful scene to the next, like a journey along a mountain range with an endless procession of gorgeous vistas.

Most tracks feature a mix of softly plucked guitars and swirling electronics, but only some include percussion. 'On the Edge of a New Age' adds a rambling drum line to give a sense of progress, and the lead melody is just a bit hazy, giving a nostalgic 70s vibe like some of Boards of Canada's work. 'Kilika' eases back on the beats until they're barely there, and lets the guitar and an ultra sweet key melody dance joyously together. 'Wandering Through Kunsthal' is somewhere between those two, with a gentle, clicking beat and slightly firmer guitar work taking the lead, backed by sublime, watery synth effects.

Other tracks drift farther out to sea, like 'River Walk' with its waves of echoing guitars and lazily spinning effects, and 'An Alpine Forest', which goes fully into a world of deep, layered pads and never looks back. With this track in particular, Isaak is approaching an also Steve Roach level of ambience. 'Station' floats on diaphanous puffs of guitar, and feels like passing through the sheerest of gauzy curtains in slow motion. 'Prophets' is another track the has something of an aquatic feeling, but more like the depths rather than the top level tricklings, and makes a nice closer, as a sort of final sinking down.

Almost every track creates a feeling of utter tranquility and peace. 'Echoes' in particular though, with wind chimes in the background, and a melody that sounds like it was blown through a woodwind carved out of the heart of a rain forest, is simply transporting. It's a real highlight in an album essentially full of them.

I consider myself an ambient music connoisseur, and this is the best ambient set I've heard all year without a doubt. Anyone with an interest in the genre who doesn't have a problem with the lightest of guitars being included in the mix should run out and grab this album immediately. This is one of the ultimate relaxation sets to come out in recent memory. I really can't recommend it highly enough.

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