Recently I was listening to Boris Lelong’s The Green Planet, Act One on my daily commute. It was a rainy, mist-cloaked morning as I wove my way through wooded New England back roads, and I thought, well, this is appropriate. The shining tones and quiet ambient atmospheres seemed to match the late summer greens and the first hints of autumnal color. “Photosynthesis” and “Chlorophyll” provided me with 20 minutes of smooth, laid-back listening reminiscent of Roach’s Quiet Music. And had that been all The Green Planet had to offer, I would have been very content. Lelong is a superb ambient talent, skilled at layering his wavering pads and expertly manipulating the sounds, and there is plenty of that here. But then along comes “Oxygen” and now I’m treated to a slowly loping bass line and a playful melody. A nice change in the flow that got a bit of a smile out of me. Later, Lelong throws in another comparatively uptempo piece, the brightly sparkling “Expansion.” Sequencer lines peck and weave their way over one another at reasonable velocity. Small dabs of bass underscore the blend. Lelong also gives us some more dramatic moments—though there’s one I have a minor issue with. Not to drop additional Roach waypoints into the review, but to my ears, “Moss, Roots, Fern” owes a total debt of inspiration to Possible Planet. Small, skittering sounds scuttle back and forth over a hushed backdrop. I like what Lelong does here, but it comes off a little derivative. To his credit, he uses it to bridge into “Giant Lizards,” about the heaviest track on the album. Ponderous bass chords announce its arrival, a solid stomp and rattle. He uses the course of the track to move the great beast past as we watch, surrounded by a world of chitters and chirps, the forest alive around us.
According to Lelong’s site, The Green Planet, Act One is the first suite in what is planned to be a trilogy. It’s off to a very good start. His style moves easily from warm, plush ambient flows to dark scenes and back, and consistently demands and deserves attention. It loops with perfect ease. It’s calming and lovely and has me eagerly awaiting the next act. A wonderful piece of work.
Available at Bandcamp.