Both easy on the ear and pleasingly deep, Windows, the third release from Bryan Carrigan, works its way through classic electronic forms, New Age spaces, and moments of world-infused grooves. This is a great set of pieces, loaded with charm and familiar goodness, and every switch in style is nicely handled. Carrigan can float a track like “Pendulum,” which is sure to please spacemusic fans with its bouncing, pizzicato sequencer beat and quiet underlying melody, and can also ably pull off “Morning’s Gift,” with its sounds of dulcimer and strings, a piece that adds percussion and smooth bass to turn it into a charming, upbeat piece that will just make your soul happy. There’s a great strength in the diversity here. “Passages” is an energetic ambient-side piece that offers up big and airy pads describing an arc across stellar distances, flecked by sparkling electronic light. “Masquerade” ties together lightly glitched beats and glittering sequencer lines. I love the barely reined in kinetic energy here and the very subtle layering of sounds. “First Steps” is the shortest piece here, a playful song with guitar, pinging keys and gliding string accompaniment. Perfectly captures its theme, and happens to make me smile.
Windows has had its share of looped, extended listens over here, and not just because I was reviewing it. It’s the kind of disc that makes me want to hear it again, and when it’s been floating along in a shuffle, its variety of sounds has caught me by surprise–which is to say, something catches my ear, I check the iPod, and lo and behold, it’s Carrigan again, showing me another side of his ample talent. Now’s the time to get familiar with Bryan Carrigan’s music. He’s only three discs in, and the first two have been very well received in the ambient/electronic community, garnering a lot of praise from reviewers. (You can read my esteemed colleague Bill Binkelman’s review of “Passing Lights” at Wind and Wire.) I know I’ll be following him.
Available from Bryan Carrigan’s web site.