On his debut solo release, Pillars of Light, film composer and sound designer Siddharta Barnhoon offers a short suite of dramatic spacemusic pieces. It’s a decent introduction, albeit one that doesn’t stretch far enough to distinguish itself. The opener, “Foundations,” lays some good drumbeats over ambient flows for something of a techno-tribal feel, and its followup, “Artifacts,” manages to work its way to some strong visual imagery via clanking mechanical sounds and another dose of drums. From there, however, Pillars turns into your standard ambient music offering. I had this disc on loop for a while, but only ever really noticed it during those first two tracks. It has to be noted that Pillars clocks in at a lean 35 minutes or so–more an EP than a full offering. Barnhoon’s flows are quiet and well constructed, but given the short amount of time he’s asking us to invest, Barnhoon could have (or should have) gone further to give the work more impact, a more memorable aspect. The track “Nebulae” is a good example. It’s a pretty straightforward flow, but Barnhoon loads it in places with somber tones and a bit of texture that catch the attention. He then shifts the feeling back toward the light, creating a thread of drama that makes this track tell more a of a story and stand out. Don’t get me wrong–Pillars of Light is a workable collection of ambient flows that certainly doesn’t overstay its welcome. A good low-volume listen, and a hint of what I feel will be very good things to come from Siddhartha Barnhoon. A welcome addition to the ambient music world.
Available from Siddhartha Barnhoon’s web site.