Dedekind Cut - Tahoe

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:8 Release Date:2018-02-23
Dedekind Cut - Tahoe
Dedekind Cut - Tahoe

Fred Warmsley is no newcomer to the music scene. Although he's still fairly young, he's something of a journeyman, having working with the hip hop group Pro Era before going his own way and producing a wide variety of music under a lot of different names. Currently working as Dedekind Cut, a project named after the mathematical concept of splitting all rational numbers into two distinct groups, he's releasing his second proper album, Tahoe, under the name, although he's dropped a handful of EPs with it as well.

Tahoe is, in a word, lush. The ambience is deep and heavy across most of the set, with a combination of sounds that put it somewhere between Biosphere and Aphex Twin circa Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2. Lead track 'Equity' is like rising up through misty mountains to survey a vast dawn-lit expanse of nothingness. It's as gentle an introduction as an ambient album can get, floaty and light. 'Crossing Guard' switches to a more rippling, aquatic style, floating in an ocean of effervescent pads. Both tracks delve into that supremely ambient state where the glacial progression is not a source of impatience, but of meditation.

The album might peak early with the title track, which goes into a cinematic, string-heavy space of profound delight. Here the music starts to give off more of a pensive, moody vibe in the style of the Twin Peaks soundtrack. But that sense of melancholic reflection is abruptly terminated with the wider ranging oddities of 'MMXIX', which changes gears continuously over its nine minutes. Leading with a sort of steamworks percussion and classical guitar, it's overlaid with breathy choral vocals that mutation into woody winds, before it's all supplanted by deep, undulating synths. Then that's pushed aside by much lighter, twinkling synths, which transition to a more glittering iteration, only to be joined by Mongolian throat singing and drifting off into dusk. Then we're back at splashing effects and bright synths, mixed in with chopped vocals and more layers and transitions to other synth styles. It's absolutely dizzying, and a great example of ambient music as a journey. This is the kind of bizarre track that would fit on an old Orb or KLF set, or even Future Sound of London.

Things get back to normal, as it were, with 'De-Civilization', a very straightforward and luxurious piece. Tragically short at three and a half minutes, it mines deeply into the heart and mind with its soothing, airy melody, and again manages to strike a delicate note of longing or sadness. It's followed by the only real misstep, 'Spiral', a track that's just a bit too grating and aimless. It's like someone struggling to get a car into gear in super slow motion.

'Hollow Earth' tries some of the same tricks, but manages to keep things more interesting, creating a place very much like the alien sounds of SAW2, a sort of creepy buzzing that unsettles as it intrigues. The second half of the epic-length track slides away from the scary and back to the relaxing, giving a sense of slow dissipation into the void. And final track 'Virtues' sounds like church on the moon, with rich, organ-toned keys providing a strong, calming backbone.

Despite a few minor problems near the end, this is an extremely solid set. I've listened to it over and over again, and find it to be a kind of focusing stone. The overall tone here is one of contemplation and introspection, of drawing into oneself and finding inner peace. It's definitely in the running as one of the best ambient sets of the year.

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