Corky Voce – Ambient Dreamer – 4.5/5
I’ve been building to this one for a while, as it very nearly slipped under my radar. Yet another Doujin release that I didn’t give the time of day – with so much around its very easy to quickly dismiss releases you shouldn’t – and it wasn’t until I found another article singing it’s praises that I returned, and I’m damn glad I did. The title doesn’t entirely fit; it isn’t really ambient music, even if it does share some of the slow psychadelia-laden guitar work and atmospheric detail from plethora’s of synths, piano work and elegant violins, that would indicate some influence from ambient music, but the result is altogether far more of a unconventional pop/rock with more than a dash of experimentalism to them.
Much of the musical set-up reminds somewhat of ska punk, particularly in the manner the lone electric guitar never feels the need to be dominative, instead with a remarkably pleasant thin twang varying from a slow psychedelic tone to distorted rock chords and solo’s swaying between neo-classical and jazz fusion. As interesting as his lines are, this thinner sound, pushed back in the production has done something rather remarkable; it’s opened up everything else. The drumming reads through loud and clear, each hit of the snare and cymbals registering and never overshadowed by excessive use of the bass drum, and the bass guitar gets to keep his own riffs in the end result; proving to be every bit as interesting as the lead guitars he supplies a darkness to the atmosphere, and working with the drums adds tension when needed.
The atmosphere doesn’t end here, with the violins, synths, flutes and piano work making a sparing appearance of more importance in some tracks than others, but always worked to provide atmosphere to the music already created with its role often diminished by the guitars and drums. In fact, if not for the bouncy female vocals lathering it all in a wash of adorable addictiveness; coating the rich musical cake with plenty of sugar, this wouldn’t feel like pop music at all, but the emotional vocal lines do nothing to diminish the end result. At no point does this feel excessive in its multiple influences, or any less serious by its use of simple vocals. This is a debut release that may be a little on the short side but I’ll be damned if I’m not waiting attentively to see what they have up their sleeve for next time.
Highlights: Ambient Dreamer, Good Day, Matryoshka, Chou