Two Shadows Collide builds upon 2013’s Movements of Night and delves further into the cobweb-strewn corridors of consciousness and transcendence. Amir Abbey has the ability to continuously captivate and Two Shadows Collide is no different. This isn’t a rehash on old territory. Instead, it’s familiar while seeming very different: a new dream on a different night. Abbey’s music has a strange, almost unreal vapor as well as an immense underlying power which further cements the Vancouver-based musician’s reputation within the ambient genre.
Spectral harmonies float over translucent archways and through barely-there gateways until they find themselves in the ivy-strewn courtyards of kind dreams. These paper-thin melodies are agile and slow, decaying in their youth and appearing to levitate a couple of inches off the ground. It’s a soft, looping progression, but the notes prickle the skin with their rougher edges, almost ripping apart the vulnerable, naked flesh of the track; every rose has its thorn. Abbey’s music acts as a vague link to a place of indeterminate origin – a place that doesn’t exist in the physical realm, at least – as well as being a dream-like fugue, touching upon a long-held mystery but never quite grasping it in the palm of its hand. You could get lost in the trance-like atmosphere.
“Touch”, the opener, unfolds slowly – as do all of the eight tracks. Dynamically, a strangely-lit harmony with a sweet tooth grows in volume. This is a deep and ever-flowing dream, a gravity-defying spell of pleasing vertigo. Ambient music and dreaming go hand in hand, of course, but this isn’t a mere cliché but an actual realization. The multiple layers of “Possession” unfurl darker coils, while the brooding chords that infiltrate “In Wind” act as a tribute to the Pacific Northwest; the darker mood is like a lost episode of Twin Peaks and is very much in the style of Angelo Badalamenti.
It’s strange to listen to music of such a deep nature, of such a meditative quality, built on colliding forces, conflict, surrender and consumption, but that’s the magic of music. These conflicts and forces are constantly at play within the wider universe and within our own tiny shells. Life is complicated and is never for a second sketched in black and white. In this world, internal conflicts, rapid-fire thoughts and quick responses are necessary for survival. As chaos balances out peace, so too will things always collide. (James Catchpole)