Label: Ad Noiseam
Release Date: 17/06/13
Berlin based Ad Noiseam have been known to release all manner of music, from Dubstep to Ambient to Breakbeat. As always their latest release is completely unchained by past output, coming from ambient craftsman Ben Lukas Boysen, often better known as Hecq.
Here however, we see Boysen releasing under his real name, and given the album’s departure from the droning, electronic soundscapes and off-the-wall Dubstep of his work as Hecq, this seems like a good decision. Centring around reflective piano work and drawn out atmospheres, the album has as much a common reference to Hauschka or Nils Frahm as it does to the likes of Tim Hecker or Fennesz, with whom the Hecq project was often referenced in context with.
Gravity should certainly not be taken as a track-by-track type of album, as each track gently flows into the next. The tender, emotionally charged melodies of ‘Nocturne1’, or following track ‘To The Hills’, wouldn’t sound out of place soundtracking Danny Boyle’s Sunshine, due to their ethereal, transcendental atmospheres. ‘Nocturne 1’ is particularly powerful, and warrants significant attention even as a standalone track. Sweeping, and highly cinematic, the track slowly builds to a climax, with the introduction of downtempo drums and powerful washes of synthesiser.
It is interesting how Gravity’s midpoint seems to signify a drop in energy rather than an increase as would be expected, as tracks ‘You’ll Miss Us One Day’ and ‘Eos’ strip away Boysen’s already subtle atmospheres, leaving gentle, haunting piano as the central focus.
Boysen’s output seems to have been rather sparse over the last few years, and it is interesting how _Gravity _retains certain elements characteristic of his productions, whilst also shaking free of other conventions and idiosyncrasies. In essence, I would argue that the album signifies a refining of his sound, and I for one am certainly looking forward to seeing where this new direction takes him in the future.