Precipitation ~ Glass Horizon

Zefan Sramek has been recording as Precipitation for over a decade, but Glass Horizon is his first full-length vinyl edition. It follows a string of cassette, CD-R, and digital releases, with (as far as we can tell) a solitary 12”. What’s impressive about this nugget of information is not that Sramek’s work is now available in the racks of record shops across the country, but that Glass Horizon is a single disc LP. Given the back catalogue of Precipitation frequently features his carefully textured soundscapes expanding beyond the ten-, 20- and sometimes 30- minute marks, we may have anticipated a record with four side-long pieces. We would have been wrong, though.

Instead, we are presented with seven tracks inspired by Sramek’s travels in Japan, where he lives and studies. He spent several weeks on Sado Island in 2020, attuning to nature, sleeping in a hammock, and watching the sun rise and set over the tranquil ocean. It sounds like a blissful experience, and feeds into his compositions. He varies his approach from glassy ambient and thoughtfully-sculpted field recordings to breathy electro, with a sense of giddy joy throughout. The album is released through 100% Silk, and with that label’s back catalogue, some beats are to be expected, but rhythm doesn’t dominate. Don’t listen to the first track and assume that sets the template for the remainder.

“Gradient,” the opener, is ushered in by the sounds of the local environment, which reappear throughout Glass Horizon, providing a thematic link to hold the varying arrangements together. “Breakwater Acid” is a little more acid than breakwater, more influenced by Richie Hawtin’s FUSE than the ocean. The closing “Yuzuwa Experience” leaves us on a propulsive high with old-school hi-hats frantically churning away. However, inspired by nature rather than late-night inner-city drives, there’s a palpable lack of nervous energy in these beat-driven tracks. Precipitation balances the energetic rhythms with a sense of calm.

Stripping out the drums places the listener in a properly blissed-out state. The middle sequence of the album – most of Side 2 – is captivating, full of gorgeous textures and atmosphere. It’s here that Glass Horizon comes into its own; the beats are more restrained, if they appear at all. It is possible to imagine just floating on the sea, brushed by a warm summer breeze.

Sramek has crafted a thoughtful travelogue documenting his time on an island. Flowing between introspective meditations and uplifting dance tracks gives Glass Horizon a cyclical feel of a tidal ebb and flow. It makes sense that this gets a vinyl release – there are no tracks you would want to skip, just enjoy the journey. (Jeremy Bye)

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