Misty drones and washes make up the majority of sounds on Kartography, a 30-minute ambient appetizer from the Czech duo Praguedren. Subtle field recordings and near-hidden bass drum pulses tucked into the flow add texture and a little aural interest. While the disc is quite listen-worthy, there’s not much variation as it goes along. Tones move in slow motion, following a rise-and-fall cadence, often bordering on white-noise softness. The only real shift here is felt in “Memory Map” as the duo rough up the edges a bit and drop in some disjointed soundbites for atmosphere. As I listened, it felt like some of the tracks fade out too soon. The endings feel arbitrary in spots, and it’s the quality of these pieces that make the early exit more noticeable. “Beyond the Edge of the World,” for example, is drifting along quite nicely for itself, buzzing drones working into your head, but then it seems to change its mind and just…stop. Kartography may have benefitted from having some if not all of the tracks quietly run together, making a smooth shift from one to the next, instead of pinching tracks off in what feels like mid-stride.
For the short jaunt that it is, Kartography is a pleasant enough ride. It’s a soothing suite of pieces that take on extra depth in a headphone listen, and the softness of it overall lends itself to looping.
Available in February from Dank Disk.