Probably my favorite element of ambient music in general is the creative vision put forth by the artists to conceive something that is not only unique, but also personable that represents their state of mind at a particular given time. A good example of that would be the ever evolving music adventure of Black Box Memories. Although the debut album’s music more bordered dark ambient with elements of space ambient, sophomore effort ‘Missing Heart Pieces’ has a more down-to-earth nostalgic feeling with a huge focus on interwoven spoken word recordings. The result is a high-resolution ambient album that is full of empathy and dedicated to personal alienation.
Consisting of fourteen tracks that extend over eighty minutes of playing time, there is a lot of music to get aquatinted to on this recording. The album opener, “Details” begins with a mesmerizing keyboard loop and an immediate introduction to the first bit of spoken word dialog. The discussion consists of a one-sided conversation about someone’s travel plans, as if they are unsure about their final destination. As the keyboard loop continues to play, various drone melodies create a welcoming sound but at the same time institute a desolate feeling. Skipping a few tracks, we find the grandiose “First Experiences”. It slowly fades in to a cinematic style keyboard arrangement with hardly audible spoken word samples. The trance-like quality of this song assures its gloominess and the inclusion of soft piano adds a particularly eerie feeling as well. Another stunning track is “Dreaming Of Suburbia”. The dark ambient loops provide a calming attribute, while the random conversation that is included repeats over and over again, as if there is a deep meaning in the message that the narrator is trying to convey to her listener. Harrowing synthesized pads also give an overwhelming sensation of a wide-open space that has limitless boundaries for endless exploration. My favorite song on the album and one of the darker ones is called “The Eye”. The spoken word dialog seems to be that of a professor giving a valuable lesson on the inner workings of the eye, but vaguely explaining it in metaphors. However, the standout element of this track is the music itself. With a mix of ambient and 80’s style synth wave, this song has a very exclusive quality as compare to the dynamics of the rest of the album. Skipping a few more tracks, we have “The Death Of Newt”. Although this is one of the shorter tracks on the album, it takes on another uncommon approach as there is no dialog, and features a magnetic tape-like sound quality. Just another fine example of the high recording standard that Black Box Memories has set for this album. As we cut down to the last song on the album, “Dust”, the first thing that you’ll notice is the epic twelve plus minute time length. Starting with a peaceful acoustic guitar riff, it soon shifts to synth wave arrangement that is full of spirit and anticipation, as if you’re listing to a piece from the ‘Stranger Things Soundtrack’. Large-scale keys randomly fade in and out as if providing both melody and drama. This keeps up at a feverish pace for the majority of the song and the fades into a discordant piano arrangement that is extremely creepy.
I absolutely love these kind of recordings, as they provide enough diversity to occupy your audial senses as well as keep your imagination sharp and focused so that you can dwell on the despondent album theme. The looping, spoken word element is a feature that works really well with this genre and I wish more artist would use them. So, if you’re looking to diversify your ambient catalog, as well as wanting to reward yourself with some excellent music, look no further than ‘Missing Heat Pieces’ by Black Box Memories. Please support this incredibly talented artist by downloading this album from the link below.
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