Ambient soundscapes are blended with spoken word, read out as a kind of poetry in a delectable, feminine English accent; the vocal delivery alone is the very first exercise in beauty. Taking shape are ‘imperfect sound sketches’, but it’s apparent that any imperfections in the music are ones out of sight and out of focus; they remain concealed, unnoticed in the midst of free-flowing atmospheres. In some instances, imperfections actually help to shape music perfectly. During the ten steps, the atmospheres are able to bloom into perfect creations. By letting go of the unobtainable, yet highly admirable pursuit for perfection, 6&8 just go with the flow. Everything is so much more natural when you let go; exercisesInBeauty releases itself to the way of the music and does exactly that. It lets go.
It isn’t all plain sailing, though; the intro of old, rusty swings creaking rhythmically, as if recorded in an abandoned park, is enough to remind you that those days competing to see how high you could go are long over, and have been for awhile; the looped scrapes may also be fingernails tapping at the surface. It is beautiful, but it may not be the sort of instant, obvious physical beauty found in the poses of models and the obsession for physical perfection; it isn’t the kind of beauty that you were perhaps expecting. Let the atmospheres sink in, and you’ll find that the inner beauty – an asset so much more appealing – will reach out to you effortlessly.
Stuck right at the core is that all-too-familiar word nostalgia; an experience that flirts with ambient music on a daily basis. It’s subtle, but the atmospheres seem to pull you into a kaleidoscopic past that hasn’t seen its colour diluted. In focus, the music becomes an invitation to peer through the lens and discover the intoxicating atmospheres of Jessica Peace & Rory McCormick. The distinct crackle of vinyl adds unparallelled depth to an already gorgeous listen, free of predictability. A once-vibrant flower drooping close to death can be just as beautiful as the young upstart, but it suffers when it comes to appreciation. exercisesInBeauty is youthful and pretty, but it isn’t afraid to put on display the beauty in decay, and our fascination with the ending of things. This is confronted as early on as the second step, as a suffocating atmosphere descends over the music, failing on take-off, with no hope of revival possible, eventually resulting in the white streak of a flat-line. Strangely enough, it’s still really relaxing, perhaps induced by the laboured sound of shallow breathing that could just as easily be on the verge of a panic attack. Unexpected areas reveal the potential for beauty in all things, not just the main attractions.
The third step is a lesson taught in the classic ambient school, where what must surely be the Holy Grail of ambience soothes and then sends the music away into tranquil contemplation; the sound of angelic beings, singing a distant chorus married with blue and white waves of foam lapping against the shore. Vocals dissect the air with precision, as if it was cut with a well-trained blade. And the slice has left an open wound, where decay and decimation share a space with the healing process. An incredibly open atmosphere is made possible thanks to the cut, revealing the inner beauty that was there all along. Experimental, but in an entirely approachable way, the music is a tranquil thrill – exciting ambient, if there is such a thing – and a little eclectic in soundscape use. Poetry takes flight on an expressive voice; the music herself is poetry, and a true exercise in beauty. (James Catchpole)