Full disclosure: When I got an email telling me that Markus Reuter and Zero Ohms had made an album together, I made a very loud, happy sound. And then when I listened, I got much, much quieter…but still just as happy. Pressing play on this is your tacit agreement to leave the real world for an hour and fifteen minutes as Reuter and ZO (aka Richard Roberts) spin reams of pure sonic silk and wrap them around you. I don’t know that there are adequate words to describe this, and so I find myself defaulting to well-worn descriptors like warm and soft, flowing and enveloping. And as standard-issue as those words may seem, they are absolutely accurate. This is an atmosphere, insubstantial yet affecting, a thing that slowly connects with you and becomes you. As with any good spacemusic/ambient, what Reuter and Roberts put together here is gently woven in long pads that melt when they meet, frosted in places with sparkling notes and glistening moments. The opening track, “Unseen,” does have some sharp sounds in it, sudden flashes that jar slightly against the softer elements around them. The juxtaposition works, but even after several listens, I find I would have preferred them to be downplayed a bit. But it’s a choice, and once it is past, the flow goes along unabated. There are passages where melodies play out across light years, recognizable but easing past in their own very good time. To me, there is no way of saying that one element is Reuter’s and another is Roberts’; they simply coexist in quiet beauty, and the deeper I fall into this splendid album, the less I care about the why of it. Ideal for low-volume looping and sleep listening, it is also marvelously hypnotic and soothing in headphones. This one should be left to play for hours at a time. An amazing work from a pair of veteran composers. Alone, their work is always wonderful. Together, it is pure and beautiful alchemy. A must-hear.
Available from Iapetus and Relaxed Machinery.