I have listened to and enjoyed a lot of Zero Ohms’ work over the years, from solo albums to collaborations, so it is absolutely without hestiation that I tell you this is the best thing he’s ever done. This is an album I never want to end, an ambient flow based around flute and electronic wind instrument underscored with warm drones. I just want to put this on and ignore time, get completely lost in the rich sounds and let it draw me into a state of pure meditation. Along with his soul-warming slow flows, Ohms folds in subtle touches, like the hushed night sounds peering out from below the washes on the first two tracks. It’s a thoughtfully used element that helps to deepen the dimensions of the work. There is also a great balance at play between the electronics and the breath-based instrumentation. When Ohms takes up his flute to play it unprocessed, we get the intimate whisper of his exhalation in our ears as the notes course over us, a reminder of the human, the organic, amid the enveloping electronic mist. And that playing is so very gorgeous. Patient and graceful, soulful and touching. It truly shines on “Glimpsing the Eternal,” spinning out beautiful, lyrical lines and then settling back to let the underlying ambient drift wrap itself around the listener. This is not the place where I want to draw comparisons, but this track does take me back to an album I loved in the 80s, Larkin’s O’Cean. It has that same deep honesty, that pure sense of soul. While your initial encounter with Process of Being should involve headphones to take in the fantastic detail work and to really experience its overall intimacy, this is also a work that should be allowed to fill your living space at low volume, to salve your mind while sleeping, to play on as endless a loop as you care to allow. This is a genuinely stunning album, and when I say I don’t want it to end, it’s not reviewer hyperbole. I mean, I have let this thing run for days and listened to nothing else. Happily. This is a masterful piece of work that excels in its perfectly understated beauty, and it is a must-own release for every ambient music fan. Easily one of the best ambient releases of 2014. Congratulations to Zero Ohms. Process of Being is nothing short of wonderful.
Available from Spotted Peccary.