CROSSING THE BRIDGE by Living Pictures
Discovering hidden gems in the midst of a deluge of music can be an exhilarating experience. The sensation of a clear and emotive sound flowing into your ears can send shivers down your spine. Ambient music is a genre that evokes images, emotions, and histories through its unique style. In this genre, the musician provides only the background, leaving everything else to the listener's imagination. Perhaps it is the most personal, controversial and underrated music style of our time. Living Pictures, a project by Reif Larsen and Andrew Perreault, has recently released their debut album, "Crossing the Bridge," which blends ambient, electronic, dark pads, mysterious sounds, and an intriguing story. I highly recommend not just listening to the album but also imagining that you are listening to an audiobook, watching a movie, or playing a post-apocalyptic video game in which you are the main character. Close your eyes… As the darkness falls, let the music take you on a journey.
As the darkness envelops, a sudden burst of light illuminates the old building, revealing a lamp that flickers with an intermittent supply of electricity. This is the opening scene of the first track, "Persistent Dreams," marking the beginning of a story that grips you with its air of mystery, ghostliness, and slight anxiety. The electric sound gradually intensifies and breaks into light synth waves that sway to the beat of drums. It is as if the musicians are expressing the protagonist's hope, aspirations, and faith in a bright future by changing the mood of the music. However, the track comes to an abrupt end, giving way to the next one, "Disbelief."
A series of steps or knocks create a dull and low thud that sweeps from one ear to the other, producing a 3D sound effect that evokes a sense of anxiety within me. The track sustains an atmosphere of an enclosed space lit by a single light bulb, accompanied by a shaking sound that resembles the humming of electricity. The track's instruments and beats seem to remind the listener that they are still in a world full of mysteries, where invisible enigmas lurk around every corner. The track "No Headlights" expresses this mysticism through intense and unsettling minor chords, conveying a sense of something strange and inexplicable.
The track "The Sleepwalker" evokes the sensation of me wandering outside, holding a lamp, and exploring a dark and wooded world enveloped in a forest haze and the scent of wet grass. It's astonishing! The following track, "Crystal Palace," adopts a lo-fi, synthetic ambient style, accompanied by a light, downtempo beat. However, the story regains its gloomy and mystical shade in "The Harbor" and "Biodome" tracks. A dull thud, reminiscent of an excited and fast heartbeat, resonates in the background, indicating that the protagonist is close to uncovering the secrets of this grim place and finding a way out. The track "Biodome" creates a fully immersive effect through its sound landscape, which strongly reflects the album's overall mood.
The album culminates with two tracks, "Driving In Snow" and "Convergence", which leave me with a sense of urgency to escape the mysterious place of "Crossing the Bridge". It feels like the creature's lair is just beyond my reach, and I need to slip past it unnoticed. The haunting piano melody adds to the sense of impending doom, which is further intensified by the dark ambient sounds. Is there no way out? Running seems to be the only option. However, it won't be easy to escape as the creature is lurking, ready to tear me apart. Finally, in the last track "Convergence", there is a sense of resolution, climax, and redemption. Despite the mystical elements, pain, fear and impending doom, there is a glimmer of hope, and the dawn of a new beginning emerges. The solemn organ chords symbolize the triumph of good over evil, and perhaps the main character wakes up, rubbing the bad dream from his eyes, relieved and unharmed.
The "Crossing the Bridge" album offers a multi-dimensional experience that brings forth unique adventures with every listen. After listening to all 9 tracks, I found myself in complete amazement at the surreal journey I had just embarked on, without even realizing it. While my experience with the album may be subjective, others may have a completely different interpretation and emotional response, and that is the beauty and uniqueness of this album. Reif Larsen and Andrew Perreault have created a cinematic masterpiece, and we are fortunate to have one of the most significant albums of 2023 on Indie Boulevard.
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