Robert Otto, Lux Aeterna

otto_luxAlthough I enjoyed easing through Robert Otto’s quiet set of peaceful ambient pieces on Lux Aeterna, I often found myself wanting it to have a bit more substance and depth. As nicely put together as the songs are, I never felt that I was being given a reason to want to hear them or to get deeper into them. It’s spacemusic by the numbers, and it has a definite grace and calm, but the sound tends to be a bit thin for my tastes. There are moments that are nice enough to listen to, like the light glisten of “Starlight,” or the slow float of “Requiem for a Dream,” but again, they just wash through without leaving any kind of lasting impression. My overall takewaway is that I’ve heard this before. The best track here is the very beautiful “Peace.” Quiet pads host a slowly played melody on keys. Otto leaves plenty of room between the notes to let the resonance form a mist, and the sensation overall is warm and gentle.

To sum up, it’s like I’ve listened to Lux Aeterna without really noticing it. And while that may sound like the picture-perfect definition of ambient music, the difference is that I never really felt the album. It shared space with me but didn’t affect me the way ambient is intended. There’s nothing wrong with Lux Aeterna; it just doesn’t work hard enough to be right for me. Chances are it works better as part of a shuffle, where its soft tones and light weight either blends in or adds contrast. As a straight listen, it’s not for me.

Available from Bandcamp.

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