Mike Cooper ~ New Kiribati

NKIn 1999, Kiribati became the first installment in a trilogy that later called itself the Ambient Exotica Soundscapes series. Hot off Discrepant, this is the first ever vinyl release for a record that still dazzles like a shiny, expensive jewel.

New Kiribati’s translucent music sees out of clear, stunningly colorful eyes. The infinitely deep tones are light enough to bubble slowly upwards, where they gently touch the surface of a cyan sea. Fresh and frothy sounds dip and slowly dive. Litres containing nothing but deeply meditative sounds pour into the recording. Mike Cooper described the music of Kiribati as ‘…imaginary soundscapes from imagined exotic places based on my travels in the Pacific Islands and South East Asia’. Pretty amazingly, the record is still extremely refreshing (and still remarkably youthful, considering its age). In fact, it eclipses many a modern day ambient record. It hasn’t dated at all. Its bright, inviting atmosphere dapples the music. Aquatic, colorful tones dominate the music. It’s a glowing fountain.

An eclectic collection of diverse-yet-highly-ambient sounds rhythmically converge, splashing against one another. A chorus of birds and slightly dusty, darker chimes enter with the arrival of dusk. A more experimental series of notes that nevertheless retains its love for the melody, “An Aesthetic of Bird Calls” sings its culturally-diverse song; nocturnal insects, sacred chimes – they both belong, and they’re both beloved sons and daughters of their parent, music.

Returning to the lighter, luminescent sequences of sound, “Stones for Voyaging” places fragile, susceptible loops at the feet of the listener. They shimmer, radiate and shine brightly, like a pool of clear water as it catches the afternoon light. Lovely tones – as soft as a feather, really – breeze through to the listener; you may feel your hair rustle a little as you’re taken away. Circling the music, and glowing as powerfully as an aura, a tropical incandescence lights up the air.

Casual guitar chords blend in with a creamy reverb, splaying out as they reach the horizon. At this stage, and with a little lap-steel lilting, the music’s all about drifting. Slightly American in its feel, the hazy tones sit under the stars, recalling the comfort of home and the care-free swaying of the hammock in the yard by the porch. The cassette’s re-issuing is a beautiful reminder of what ambient music really is, teleporting the listener away and gently nudging them outside of their own reality, never fully aware of the motion or the progressing state of affairs until the actual destination appears. New climes await. (James Catchpole)

 Release Date: January 29

Available here

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