P J Philipson - Linotopia - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

P J Philipson - Linotopia

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:7 Release Date:2018-07-20
P J Philipson - Linotype
P J Philipson - Linotype

P J Philipson has returned four years after his debut album, Peaks, with another set of lustrous and dreamy guitar-centric ambience entitled Linotopia. This is some moody, introspective material that carves out a distinct niche in the instrumental ambient space. Many of the tracks feature a sort of reverberating, hypnotic style that lends itself well to concentration or meditation, and the album as a whole even has something of a healing vibe as it creates a feeling of wholeness despite the melancholy.

The set opens with the fragmented pieces of 'Sodium Light Years', which sound like the interference pattern generated by lights from another dimension. A mellow bass grounds the song and keeps it from drifting off into nothingness. 'Bowling into Deconstruction' is a spectral locomotive chugging across a vast, empty desert, with a frazzled guitar like static electricity.

'Model 48' gets away from the choppiness of the first two songs and is much more soothing, flowing affair, with synth pads ebbing and flowing like the tides while little electronic doodads twinkle and spin in the background. 'Renold Concertina' is simpler, sweeter song, with a guitar lead that could almost work in an old Smiths song before the synth washes give away the genre. It's as tranquil as a summer picnic.

'Rhymthmanalysis' blends the staccato and contiguous sounds of previous tracks into a swirling mist of glittering gems, but progresses into something more forceful halfway through, sounding a lot more like the soundtrack to an early 80s sci-fi film. 'Ghost Loyalty' leans in on the guitars more, but ends up as one of the blandest tracks in the set, more like going in circles rather than exploring new frontiers.

'Linotype', the closest thing to a title track, is beads of oil dripping down thin wires, a slow, expansive experience like tumbling end over end through the void as time stretches out like taffy. 'Machinery' contrasts strongly, going back to the chopped up motif, which reminds me vaguely of some of Future Sound of London's more numinous moments as it keeps striving for some ineffable final goal.

'Sunlight on Stairs' is another layered guitar piece, spinning slowly like a lily pad on a pond as it floats here and there. Like 'Ghost Loyalty', it's relatively uninspired, though not bad. Final track 'House and Universe' brings it all together will a sense of endless drifting across interstellar waves.

This isn't really the kind of music that is going to capture your attention. It's ambient in the purest sense, in that it creates a space and a mood, like a painting on the wall or a scented candle. There's no need to dig too far into the music. Just let it soak into your brain while you go about your day. It's the kind of deeply relaxing stuff that takes away all the rough edges in life. In that regard, it's blissful and absolutely worth your time.

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