On his debut album as Ages, Southern California’ Michael Lundy prefers drowsy rinses of melody and ambience rather than structured beats. Instrumental aside from a few vocal samples, this is chill-out music rendered porous and picturesque.
There’ no shortage of submerged and blunted tones, but Lundy is sure to flesh out most tracks with diverting details. The blissful acoustic guitar of “Senordrones’ could pass for folk at its core, while the somehow romantic “I Don’ Mind the Word Moist’s gains immediate traction with its looping whorl and the tropical-tinged “Lisa’ conjures both sun and erosion, like a water-damaged polaroid of a beach holiday.
Sometimes the ambient side of Ages takes over, as with the trilling keyboard melodies and deep remove of “Very Well Then…’ or the divided “You’re On Your Own Again’, a repeating sigh that gives way to an open-ended current. Smatterings of echoed beats recall chillwave on “I’ve Been Having Strange Dreams’, but more interesting is the mix of erratic percussive impulse and foreground calm.
Some of Bryan verges on a New Age placidness that’s then made foggy and crinkled around the edges as if through a third- or fourth-generation copy. The closing “Outro (You Can’ Always Get What You Want)’ takes that idea and stutters it with glitches, in addition to what sounds like sampled bird sounds and flapping wings. It has a sweet crystalline quality and yet winds up defined by an unexpectedly sharp ending.
Lundy still seems to be finding his way a bit, but his best moments have a dense, animated quality that makes us feel like we’re in the midst of a teeming ecosystem.