Keenya: Moment Invisible
Hush Hush Records

Ricky Fabulous's career has taken some unusual turns since the London musician's engagement with the electronic-soul scene as the bassist in the UK trio Belleruche. And though his initial appearance on Seattle-based label Hush Hush, a debut 2013 EP titled While Everyone Sleeps, reportedly featured R&B-heavy beats, the Keenya album that followed two years later, Gone Home, found the producer turning his attention to the ambient genre. The move would seem to have been an artistically satisfying one, as it's a direction he again pursues, this time on the sophomore full-length effort Moment Invisible.

The promotional literature accompanying the recording pitches it as one possible answer to the question, “What would Music For Airports sound like in space?” It's a clever tag line that can't help but arouse curiosity in the ambient aficionado, and true to its word the material is undeniably spacey. Nine settings present variations on the theme, each one a self-contained, beatless landscape that manages to convincingly suggest galaxial expanse, even when none of its tracks pushes past the five-minute mark. In a genre where it's not uncommon for a setting to last anywhere from ten to twenty minutes, Keenya's pieces are rare for being so concise. But that they are modest in duration doesn't mean they lack for atmosphere, presence, and detail. Each setting presents a compact universe of amorphous drift in miniature form, its panoramic effect achieved despite the brevity of the track's presentation.

Is Moment Invisible comparable to Music For Airports? Not literally so: the icy, sometimes metallic timbres of Keenya's material are far removed from the piano and vocal choirs that grace Eno's classic; further to that, the production methodologies deployed by the respective artists are also very much reflections of their times. That said, Keenya's thirty-six-minute collection does share with Eno's a commonality of mood, as both favour soothing splendour over turbulence. Certainly no one could conceivably describe Moment Invisible as cataclysmic, and neither will anyone come away from it with nerves hopelessly frayed.

February 2016