Sense: Selected Moments Volume 1

Reflecting upon his latest Sense collection, Adam Raisbeck emphasizes how much he wanted the music to connect emotionally with the listener and how much the Melbourne, Australia native wanted people listening to it to be able feel what he was feeling at the moment of creation (in his own words, it's about “change and growth … opening hearts and healing”). In this regard, Selected Moments Volume 1 succeeds splendidly and to a far greater degree than the electronic-IDM norm, as its eight tracks are more open-hearted and emotionally affecting than most of the genre recordings I've heard. The long-time producer, who obtained his first synthesizer, the Roland JX-3P, in 1992 and established himself under the Soulenoid alias in 1995, has issued music on a number of high quality imprints, including Merck, U- Cover, and Neo Ouija.

A clinical title such as “36 4s (Mix 14)” hardly suggests that its music will be as luscious and serenading as it turns out to be, with quietly radiant synthesizer melodies and atmospheres collectively conjuring a becalmed oasis for eight glorious minutes. “Less Than Perfect” is, on the contrary, about as perfect an example of wistful ambient music as one might find, while there's a haziness to the cloud-covered “View From the Peephole” that invites comparison to Popol Vuh. A somewhat hymnal character pervades the album's centerpiece, “3songs,” which exhales gently for a transporting thirteen minutes. Throughout the piece, stately synthesizer patterns alternate between the gentlest of whispers and ecstatic, fortissimo statements. That devotional quality re-emerges during “Praise (Full)” in slightly different form when the soulful cry of a female singer appears amidst string synth washes. Rounding out the release is a Sense mix of Logreybeam's “Muado” that fits comfortably alongside Raisbeck's seven originals.

In this hour-long recording, Raisbeck has given us a beautiful and oft-stirring collection of emotive ambient-IDM. The way in which he is able, time and time again, to generate such deep feeling in these meditations is truly exceptional. Whatever barriers typically come between the musical architecture used to produce the tracks and the emotions the artist aspires to convey here fall away, affording the listener a rare opportunity to fully share in an intimate experience with the creator.

November 2011