For Dennis Huddleston making music as 36 seems to be coming to an end with Lithea, the final part of what is a triptych album series that began with the a la Lifeforms-era Future Sound of London Hypersona, an album where ambient seems to be reborn out of its ashes and sound altogether new and apocalyptic, and the equally highly rated Hollow. Lithea has many of the characteristics that made me personally appreciate his previous albums. The beautiful usage of atmospheres, the controlled, yet so apparent emotions that seem to emerge from the music (emotions that vary from awe to horror and optimism to sadness) are here, but at the same time it is lacking some of the innocence of Hypersona, which is to be expected as the artist is exploring new territories and testing the boundaries of his sound. The music here is darker as 36 makes a greater use of cinematic sounds. Tracks such as “Susurrus” with what sounds like a field recording of the wind blowing at night or “1983” with the sounds of children playing in the background produce an eerie feeling, while others such as “Seance” or “Deluge” are more upbeat or psychedelic.
Lithea has many of the qualities one would expect from an ambient album with its dream- (or nightmare-) like atmospheres which allow the listener to travel to a matter-less world that resembles the abstract image on the album’s cover. In the almost one hour and twenty minutes the album lasts, we are slowly hypnotized as the music merges with the sounds of the environment no matter how different they might be. It is not easy for an album this long to keep one interested throughout its duration, but this one seems to evolve from one track to another with slight variations in rhythm and the addition of various thematic elements, which keep us wanting for more, and offer the opportunity to discover something new with repeated listenings.
Lithea is music of rare beauty, music to close your eyes to and meditate or imagine a better future where man, machine and nature are in complete harmony. (John Kontos)