Mute Forest is a deep calming breath amongst the clatter and chatter of modern life. It’s a place of space and beauty, where stillness and simplicity is valued over complexity and virtuosity. That’s not to say there isn’t something virtuous about this music, as it feels like a gift to the listener – audio mindfulness that gently lowers the heart rate and draws you back into tune with your surroundings.
It’s the work of Colorado’s Kael Smith (Mombi) and Riderstorm is his second album as Mute Forest, after 2015’s similarly beautiful Deforestation. You can read our review here. The recipe hasn’t changed much, everything moves slowly, pieces build and swell, but the ingredients remain sparse and the playing precise. There’s something minimal about his approach. Everything has a place and exists for a reason. Percussion for example rarely appears, but when it does its majestic, and welcome, helping the pieces soar. You could call this music melancholic, or perhaps ambient folk. There’s also an atmospheric quality, and a spirit of experimentation, but its always pleasing to the ear, always designed to assist you to submerge into. Vocals too are sparse, appearing periodically in gentle hushed tones, a lower key Red House Painter, delivered with a sincere serenity.
There’s something quite fragile about these constructions, gentle electrics, pulses or drones, acoustic and at times electric guitar, a smattering of percussion and voice. It’s a beautiful sounding album, detailed, resonant, and precise. You can hear the timbre of the instruments, you can hear the room. You can hear space. But more importantly you can hear yourself within it.