Aaron Holm & Matthew Felton - Transitions Seattle - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Aaron Holm & Matthew Felton - Transitions Seattle

by Jeff Penczak Rating:8 Release Date:2014-04-08

Transitions Seattle is a collaboration between an electronic composer (Holm) and a classical pianist (Felton) based in tech-savvy Seattle. Fortunately, it’s much warmer and emotional than you might expect from a couple of geeks playing with electronic toys.

‘So Far Away’ (not a Carole King cover!) sets the tone with floating atmospherics which tear a page out of the Tangerine Dream songbook, but tether it with minimalist passages evocative of Terry Riley. ‘Susumu My Man’ wanders around the brain like excerpts from Brian Eno’s ambient classics and the whole meditative vibe wouldn’t be out of place on Raymond Scott’s Soothing Sounds for Baby.

Except, being the inquisitive types, the pair are not adverse to tossing in the odd field recording to awaken us from our somnambulistic reverie (such as the bubbling waves which feel perfectly at home in the self-descriptive ‘Breathing Waves’). Holm and Felton also make effective use of the bits between the bits (or the notes they don’t play), adding an element of tension and foreboding to the ominous ‘I Thought I Knew’, which may attract sighs of relief and welcome nods of approval from Godspeed You! Black Emperor fans.

Glitch-rock is alive and well in ‘Electro Note Magnet’, which does indeed sound like it was composed and performed by one of those live electrical wires running between telephone poles overhead. It also seems to add a 21st century spin to some of Carl Stalling’s Warner Brothers cartoon music, particularly the industrial, assembly-line robotics which dehumanized the worker and turned him into a brainless automaton.

However, it’s not all communist propaganda and workers’ rights proselytizing at work here. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a warmth to some of the tracks which allows the pair to elicit an emotional response from the listener, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the delightfully cuddly, late night navelgazer ‘Be Gentle With Yourself,’ where Felton’s forlorn piano tinkles in an empty room while Holm serpentines around him with soft electronic soap bubbles.

Going out on a high note, everything comes together with ‘The Bliss of Possibilities’, a rolling tumbleweed of cascading piano and soothing electronics that’s like a long, slow stroll on the beach at midnight with waves rolling over your toes and moonlight catching a tear in your salty eye.

So what we have is a heartwarming amalgamation of synthy Krautrock, ambient snorecore, and post rock atmospherics which will soothe your troubled minds and ease your aching hearts. Not a bad way to spend the next hour of your life.

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