Though most of the ambient music albums (unsurprisingly) will appeal to ambient music devotees only, every now and then an album appears that transcends the genre borders and also appeals to a more ‘pop’ oriented public – without explicitly becoming ‘pop music’.
Parks‘ new album, called “[hidden]“, is one of those albums.
Parks is Igor Bystrov from St. Petersburg, Russia. He has been creating music since 1990 as ‘Project Parks’, releasing seven titles until now, of which “Umber” (2001) is relatively well-known since it has been re-released by Infraction Records in 2007.
“[hidden]” shows all signs of becoming an ambient classic. That is, if it can become wider known of course.
Bystrow is not only building his atmospheres from layered sounds, but adds some very strong melodies to them, and some sparse rhythms to complete the ‘ambient pop’ feel.
With the exceptions of September.Koivisto (5’54”), all tracks on [hidden] are between 8 – 10 minutes long, and take their time to develop.
The ‘pop ambient’ feel is even stronger on the three tracks containing vocals (apparently female, but since there’s no reference to the singer in the liner notes I would not be very surprised if it turned out to be Igor’s own voice somewhat manipulated). Opinions may differ about the vocals, however, depending on your taste.
The whispering vocal parts add a melancholic dimension, but personally I find the singing a bit too unstable to be impressive. I definitely prefer the instrumental tracks, but of course that may not be the same for everyone.
From his somewhat enigmatig biographical notes on myspace, , we read that Igor is looking for the sound he hears in his dreams, “the sounds that sounded always around when it was possible to catch silence“.
With its dreamy atmosphere, [hidden] clearly succeeds in catching some of this silence, especially in the concluding track, entitled “Perfect Silence”.
Previous Parks records were transferred from their original cassette recordings and then distributed in ‘controlled circulation’ among his friends. But all of us living outside Russia may consider us lucky that [hidden] is released by Infraction records, and thus available for us too (while stock lasts).