Gentle Heart is a blissful closure to Mark Templeton‘s Heart trilogy. The soft and creamy loops are a return to paradise. These loops quickly overflow, close to being out of control but reigned in when things start to become too wild, and they still retain a sense of purpose and underlying intelligence. The loops blend into one another, splattering themselves over the music, at first spilling over into almost tropical phrases with what could be a lilting slice of Hawaii. Aloha!
Loops arrive on wafts of timid air, and the delicate snippets become jumbled up things in a jungle of delightful elements, constructing melodies out of deconstructed parts. Quivering like a bowl of neon jello, the album enjoys a high degree of smooth elegance, which is very hard to achieve (especially so when there’s a lot going on). As they daintily sidestep through these cluttered fields, the music is populated with warm wildflowers of sound.
Sometimes the bending notes stutter in and out, sounding for all the world like bright-but-dissolving major pentatonic licks or the blissfully broken melodies of country music, its notes diluted and softened by the constant presence of a light, background reverb. The music’s like a radio with tuning issues, occasionally lighting upon a clearer signal only for it to fuzz over a couple of seconds later. Electronic echoes, dashes and blips arrive in the foreground while a primary loop sits further back, acting as the stable anchor. It’s not so much experimental as it is extremely playful; its arrangements are so laid-back as to be inclined rather than reclined, and the textures are so soft it can only lean into an ambient-shaped atmosphere. Tiny segments are always being added to the original foundation, so despite the looping nature things are never stuck in a rut. As the pages close, the music continues on…and on…and on, riding through the prairie and off into the sunset. Gentle Heart is a perfect ending to this chapter. (James Catchpole)