Swedish electronic producers Christopher Landin (aka Lav) and Ludvig Cimbrelius (aka Purl) previously collaborated last year on a couple of download only EPs on Amone and Eternell, but this latest release on US-based label A Strangely Isolated Place ‘A State Of Becoming’ offers up their debut album together. The seeds for the six tracks collected here were originally sown three years ago when Landin was travelling through Greece during the European summer and began making field recordings of the natural sounds surrounding him in remote places. After Landin passed the recordings on to him, Cimbrelius then added improvised piano, beats and subtle electronic production to the tracks, in a sense, composing to the swell and presence of the natural sounds captured by Landin.
It’s a fusion that might not have worked as well as it does here had Cimbrelius not exercised so much care in working with the source material, adding textural layers and emotional / rhythmic impetus, rather than obscuring the natural sounds. For the most part, there’s a lush downbeat post-IDM feel to a lot of this album that carries traces of the n5MD label’s similar aesthetic. Rather than coating everything in a layer of gauze, there’s a sharp-focus quality to the elements here, that brings into rich detail the sounds of wind, wild birds and flowing water alongside Cimbrelius’ refined and delicate electronic production and arrangements. ‘Remembering’ opens this album with a meadow full of birdsong as soft ambient pads slowly rise into focus against delicately trailing piano keys and the liquid murmur of a creek, the synthetic elements adding extra colour and undertones to the environmental noises more than anything else.
From there, softly flickering rhythms begin to shift towards the forefront as the rippling keys gradually grow more foreboding and droning ambient pads create the sense of a huge cavernous space lurking beneath the slow bass kicks and delayed-out bird calls. As a cinematically poised intro, it’s certainly an impressively vivid one. If anything, ‘Beyond Suffering’ sees the electronics taking centre stage far more as crisp broken electro rhythms power beneath glassy synth arpeggios and ambient trails, with the obvious field recorded elements being reduced to just the occasional sound of wind rushing through trees, in what’s easily this album’s most upbeat and dancefloor focused track.
After this comparatively brief rhythmic interlude, ‘Absorbed In Serenity’ sees nature asserting its dominance again as the sound of crashing ocean waves and wind gives way to fluttering snares and slowly ebbing bass kicks, before deep dubbed-out percussion tones echo through the mix, adding their momentum to the ocean’s cycles as warm ambient pads glimmer out into the foreground. ‘A State Of Becoming’ succeeds in its purpose of exquisitely merging natural and synthetic sounds primarily because Cimbrelius’ production respects the source recordings too much to drown them out.