Until 2016, Tom Eaton’s music was a secret he largely kept to himself. Then came Abendromen, and the secret was out–Tom Eaton makes beautiful work that balances impeccably on the edge between New Age and ambient. It’s quieting yet commands your attention, and is ever so listenable. He returns with Indesterren, doubling down perfectly on the truth that you should be listening to Tom Eaton. Indesterren picks up from its predecessor by putting piano up front and at the center, but here Eaton also opts to give his electronics more voice. So you get the New Age flair of a piece like “Vervagen,” which has the sort of implied country music honesty that struck me on “Friday/Patience” on the last album (come on, listen to that sweet lap steel slide), set in a sonic drawing of a glimmering night sky. Perfect. “Midnight Clouds and the Great Bear” hits a super-silky downtempo note, backed with the sigh and shine of cosmic pads and notes. More slide gets sprinkled like sugar over it–I just dig that sound. The beat walks itself in slowly and settles into place. Jeff Oster and his flugelhorn join Eaton for “Venus,” bringing a smooth jazz flow. Eaton’s guitar work here stands out, and Oster, as always, lays out beautifully voiced leads and accents. The chemistry between these two is superb and has me mentally begging for more of that mix. Strip the extra sounds from “The False Cross” and you’d have an excellent New Age solo piece. Add in Eaton’s airy electronics and a light, tapping beat, and it takes on a deeper richness. In the last two minutes or so, Eaton cuts everything back to a breath-thin drift and tiny whispers from the piano. It feels like he’s moved into a new track, but it’s just the well-planned, organic path the piece takes to its completion. Its fade dovetails into the gentle rise of the spacey “Eridanus.” This is where the album shifts a touch more to the ambient/space side. The pads carry the pieces and hints of piano sing out of the glittering distance. We go even further out on “Spica,” a warm float with the assistance of guitar nebulae.
Tom Eaton has matched, if not bested, himself with Indesterren. From what was already a truly impressive start, his followup solidifies his place as an artist with crossover appeal. New Age and contemporary instrumental fans will love this, I guarantee. Ambient fans who don’t mind some solid touches in their drifts will likely fall under its spell as well. It’s absolutely relaxing, and a pleasure to deep-dive into with headphones. Sure to be a favorite, it’s a definite must-hear.
Available at CD Baby.