Word has it that Radiant Mind has been a semi-known quantity in electronic music circles for quite some time. Robert Englis, the man behind the Mind, has created his brand of electronic music for years, but Sense, his debut release on Periphery, marks the first time the general public has been made privy to the secret. It’s a strong first outing, shifting feel from arcing-pad ambient to energetic electronica. There’s a comfortable familiarity to Englis’ work. He may not be treading new ground, but he’s retracing the steps of others in superb style. Sense kicks off with the twilit overtones of “Inner Dimension,” entering on growling pads and an air of uncertainty. Englis shows some of his craftsmanship when he draws back his darker shades to reveal lighter pads and a growing rhythm, then flows the whole thing seamlessly into the beat-based environs of “Sense One.” It’s a smooth move, perfectly piloted and showcasing some of the range at work here. That track evolves into a pumping fractal groove evocative of Roach’s later Immersion pieces. Very nice to fall into. “Sense Three” burbles and churns like a Ray Lynch tune infused with a little extra intensity. Full-fisted chords rise and fall, their low end rich with bass, the high end bordering on celestial. The ever-popular choral vocal pads round it out toward the end. The mix of energy and calm on this track is superb. A Tangerine Dream-derived bass pulse powers the start of “Reaching the Beyond,” then Englis cuts the thrust and lets the rest glide in a soft ambient direction. The centerpiece is the closer, the 23-minute title track. This alone is reason enough to discover Radiant Mind. Shifting through drifts and beats in turn, maneuvering through well-lit landscapes and shadowy vistas, Englis truly gives the listener an overview of his style and his influences. Like a lot of good ambient, this one will ease into your head in places to make you forget you’re listening, then draw your attention back with a slight shift in tone or the almost invisible insertion of a rhythm.
Sense plays out as a well-crafted and well-inspired set of electronic pieces that are very easy on the ears and ready for looping. The familiarity of Englis’ style helps the listener get settled as the journey rolls on. I’m glad that Radiant Mind is no longer a secret. Sense gives me a sense of more good thing to come.
Available from Periphery.