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Tom Eaton — Elements: Audio Environments Part One: Air
(Bandcamp no#, 2020, DL)

Tom Eaton — Elements: Audio Environments Part Two: Earth
(Bandcamp no#, 2020, DL)

Tom Eaton — Elements: Audio Environments Part Three: Fire
(Bandcamp no#, 2020, DL)

Tom Eaton — Elements: Audio Environments Part Four: Water
(Bandcamp no#, 2020, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-07-04

Elements: Audio Environments Part One: Air Cover artElements: Audio Environments Part Two: Earth Cover artElements: Audio Environments Part Three: Fire Cover artElements: Audio Environments Part Four: Water Cover art

Often with a piece of music, context exists only in the mind of the creator, and the listener is left with the puzzle of either trying to understand how that came about, or else just accepting the music at face value for what it is. Such is the case with these four full-length floating ambient releases by Tom Eaton, a composer, producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist known for years of work with Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman. In 2016 he began releasing his own material, recording at Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios in rural Vermont, releasing two albums that year, Abendromen and Indesterren. More recently in April 2019, he recorded his third, How It Happened, for the Spotted Peccary label, which is a more structured set of eight compositions, though presented in a beautiful ambient atmospheric setting using synths, floating guitars, piano, and intense studio processing. Elements: Audio Environments, a set of four releases titled Air, Earth, Fire and Water, offers a far less structured collection of immersive floating ambient environments, each with its own identity but all in a very similar vein. Each piece is exactly ten minutes long, fading up slowly and fading to black at the end, sporting descriptive titles like “A Frozen Moment at Treeline” (from Air), “The Sunrise That Changed Everything” (from Fire), “Same Path, Different Day” (from Earth) or “The Floating World” (from Water) offering a glimpse into the composer's intent, and indeed every title seems to fit its piece perfectly, but by a similar context, all 28 pieces could be shuffled around and listened to in any order resulting in the same overall effect: a beautiful, shimmering, and colorful emotional experience, with strong melodic content morphing slowly like waves as each piece slowly progresses, no fast sequences, hard edges, or sharp corners to be found anywhere. Even though each piece exists as a succinct vignette of a singular idea, each is long enough at ten minutes to provide an immersive experience, and taken all together provides almost five hours of dreamy, ever-shifting atmospheres and textures.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Tom Eaton

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