Exposé Online banner

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

More info

Latest news

New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

John Fahey & Cul de Sac - The Epiphany of Glenn Jones – A promising collaboration between this Boston instrumental ensemble and the legendary avant-folk guitarist collapses under the burden of hero worship, hellish recording conditions, and incompatible...  (1999) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues