Release Date: January 20th, 2017
Label: Arts &Crafts
Electronic artist Kid Koala (aka Eric San) not only has the ability to create enticing musical fabrics but he also has the ear to catch sounds in our environment that lend themselves to being processed into pleasant electronica. In other words, despite his background as a turntablist, San has the makings of a great ambient artist; and if ‘Music To Draw To: Satellite’ were just a great ambient album then we would all have good reason to be happy. But it is more than that.
First of all, San retains his leanings as an electronic artist (most of the instruments here are “conventional”, i.e. guitar, bass and viola), so this isn’t just about making some sweet sounds — there is also the thrill of hearing music created from unexpected sources. In “Adrift” (which, quite appropriately, floats untethered in the air before us) for example, the beat is created by sounds resembling hollow logs. This stands in satisfying contrast to the main “song” itself, which is quite “organic”.
Second of all …. Emiliana Torrini. The Icelandic performer sings on almost half the tracks, providing both human warmth and human frailty. The frailty comes from her child-like voice that just quavers with vulnerability. Her voice also suggests something beyond, something more ethereal, thereby adding another dimension to music that is already pretty damn cosmic.
So, ‘Music To Draw To: Satellite’ is a very good ambient album, with enough of a twist to keep the listener interested. But, it is still an ambient album, meaning that things stay mellow, with no wild swings in any direction. The listener reacts accordingly, not expecting any emotional highs or lows, and satisfying themselves just eking beauty from the sounds.