A benefit of our digital music-making world is that in the right hands, it can take very little to do a lot. Lumi, the new release from K (aka Ivan Kamaldinov), was made using “a laptop, two midi controllers, and [an] iPod Touch 4 microphone for taking field recordings.” From that stepping-off point, Kamaldinov proceeds to give us work that is quiet yet dense with texture, calming overall but with the right amount of edge to keep us alert and paying attention. The texture most often comes in the form of small, static-like crackles that tickle the ear. On “Two,” combined with infrequent snaps, the impression is of the sound of a small fire. Long, brooding pads fill the atmosphere darkly. On “Six” the textures take on something of the feel of creaking wood; a washed-through sound in the background whispers like water, the overall effect that of being adrift. Sharp tones and moments of dissonance lend a mildly unnerving edge. In other spots, the textures fade and the slow drifts set about the business of lulling you into a quieted state. “Four” and “Five” blend to carve out more than 20 minutes of ambient bliss. “Five” catches your ear with reverse-echo-style tones over trembling pads. There is quite a bit of music here—the eight tracks cover 81 minutes, but the time passes in a haze. The texture work is kind of the star of the show here; it adds interest, tension, and imagery, all without ever being interruptive. It provides the listener with a viable reason to take a deep dive into the sound, but the album as a whole makes for a perfect ambient looping piece. Very much worth grabbing.
Available from Timbrae.