Review: 'All Rivers Lead' - Space Ark
Moonshoe Records has been a bastion of Sydney’s repressed electronic scene for some time now. The label, founded by Jackson of Freda & Jackson, has been ground zero for the duo’s acclaimed output of the last three years. The label’s steady catalogue of releases focus on a woozy brand of electronica that toes the line between downtempo, ambient, and house music. It comes as no surprise that the upcoming six track debut All Rivers Lead from elusive Sydney producer Air Space Ark feels right at home on Moonshoe, their long time affiliation with the label has undoubtedly played an important role in cultivating their serene musical sensibilities.
Opening track 333 does a sublime job of positioning the contemplative tone of the EP, hazy pads and field recordings gushing with ambience create a textured bed for soothing keys and loose beats that are counterbalanced by occasional washes of subbass. The following track Blank Page begins with similarly ambient styling before making way for a syncopated downtempo rhythm and jazzy chords reminiscent of the LA Beat Scene. Rounding out the A side is Words Between Self, the most uptempo offering from Air Space Ark’s debut. Gentle chimes and shuffling percussion ensure that despite the faster measure the ethereal, introspective tone of the record is not lost. A swirling crescendo of ambience echoes out to leisurely signpost the end of the EP’s first half.
Warped impressions of jazz welcome you into the record’s second half, Loft in 7 forgoes the percussive elements that are present across the majority of the A side. Instead the cut displays Air Space Ark’s knack for effects wizardry, driving the track with the ghost of what sounds like a decaying jazz tape. All Rivers Lead is a masterpiece exploration of balance, so it’s fitting that after the most experimental track on the EP comes the most straightforward. Not that ‘straightforward’ is meant in a derogatory sense, meandering pads and a crunchy breakbeat are buoyed by drifting keys on Dust Song to make way for record’s cosmic finale, Concrete. Swirling elements wobble to and fro over the course of the six minute closer, creating hypnotic moments of captivating textural beauty. When the track finally echoes into silence you’re struck by the experience of the record as a whole, and the captivating essence of each individual composition.
All Rivers Lead feels right at home with the rest of Moonshoe Records’ output – a meditative odyssey, it evokes an elegant sense of calm across all six tracks. The warming introspection of Air Space Ark’s debut offers the perfect soundtrack for the impending winter, consider it a hot water bottle for your mind and soul.
All Rivers Lead drops tomorrow, the 5th of June.
Preorders via Moonshoe’s Bandcamp
Words: Brenton Lowes.