First off, kudos to Busy Beds for having one of the most eye-catching titles in recent memory. In cramming 18 pieces into less than an hour on Seascape with Sharks and Dancer, Busy Beds offers up a swiftly changing palette of musical colors, all tied together by his use of minimalist loops. This collection could feel a little directionless if not for that unifying device. Tonally, the pieces zig-zag from lush guitar layers to sad piano ballads to raspy ambient swirls. Most run less than two minutes, with the longest topping out at just under six. Yet the switch up never feels forced or jarring, which is a pretty good trick. There’s a statement to be made, it gets made, we move on. Overall, the pieces here are wrapped in a consistent dreamy haze, which goes a long way to keeping the feel even. The more I’ve listened, the more I’ve come to enjoy the way Busy Beds moves through the variety. Sometimes I’m listening to folksy guitar, as on “Don’t Be So Nice” and “Sometimes.” The sound is charming, a bit rustic, and plays perfectly against ambient backdrops. Then there’s the melancholy-drenched piano of “Indian Ocean,” laced through with electronic warbles as counterpoint, putting me very much in mind of the work Tim Story and Roedelius–the gentle side rubbing against the slightly experimental side. Piano is also at the front of the very lovely “Truro,” where the minimalist touch is superb. Simple piano chords repeat a pattern against a swirl of pads. The way this piece cuts out mid-cadence is excellent. It leaves the listener with a slight sense of longing for completion. “Delivering” takes my mind to the middle of Oldfield’s Ommadawn and its chorus of guitars. This piece is like a warm cocoon of sound that just keeps spiraling upward, beautifully. On my initial listens, I sometimes felt that some pieces had an unfinished feel–that they were cutting out just as they were reaching a point of saying something interesting. On repeat listens, however, it bothered me less. For the most parts, these are vignettes or passing glances at a musical thought, and they are as long as they need to be. I’m very intrigued by Seascape with Sharks and Dancer, and look forward to more from Busy Beds.
Available at Bandcamp.