Nostalgia fits ambient music like a glove, carrying with it a train of golden recollections, deep, loving thoughts and memorable moments. The Swiss Illness is sublime music from Lowercase Noises, and it tugs at the heart from the very first swell.
Andy Othling’s music is an emotional rollercoaster (a slow ride…take it easy), blessed with quivers of power and a shuddering, subtle weight which in any situation is more than capable of delivering a fatal blow. The quiet-but-never-shy music is louder and more effective than a shout, capable of making even the strongest fall to their knees when coming face-to-face with its relentless beauty. When you add to that a reel of cherished memories, all emerging from the nostalgia-tainted thought-pools of the mind, you want to dive right in and let yourself go; tears of gratitude gush like a river.
The sound is bathed in blurry, golden swells which emit a warm, angelic light. The piano feels warm against the skin, too. Always deep and involving, the layered ambient sounds appear to have more of a structure, more of a body, than before, but they still give off a generous amount of space. Above anything else, though, the record exudes warm feelings of love and appreciation. It doesn’t matter if those moments were years and years ago, because they live on in our hearts, still influencing our lives long after they’ve helped to shape us; they live on in who we become.
Writing this in the aftermath of the horrific and unimaginable barbarism in London, Manchester and Egypt, there’s a sense of music such as this having a much wider significance, of being like medicine on the streets of the soul, a remedy for dark times, capable of drinking in the hydration of relief. The music is there in times of grief and it’s hopeful when we desperately search for signs of love. It’s reassuring to know that there is still kindness in a world that is getting crazier by the day…but the world is still beautiful. Music is light.
Wispy loops circulate in and around the breathe-easy swells, a deep, long and calming respiration that gently pulls and deflates against the ambient backdrop. The sharper strings of an acoustic guitar help to bring definition to a perfect dream, but even these looping melodies are soft and caring. They will open your eyes and your emotions. The Swiss Illness will wreck you, renew you, and deliver you home. (James Catchpole)