Imst is the ambient project of Ottawa-based recording artist Adam Feibel. His music sounds very similar to Lowercase Noises (if you haven’t listened to Lowercase Noises, read my review of “Carry Us All Away”, and you’ll start to see where I’m making the comparisons), except that this is without live guitar and much of the electronic and acoustic drums. Yet, Adam still manages to create his own unique sound on “Vanishing Point”. A sound that can be listened to at any time of the year, where you can hear the hints of winter in the mountains, yet it contains the warmth of a peaceful summer day. It’s much like the Boards of Canada sound, without the pure analog synths and lo-fi sound production that comes out of BoC’s array of tape machines. You can make any comparisons you want with the sound, but when it all comes down to it, the sound is merely Adam’s, which is a good thing.
The album starts with the sounds of rain or a stream, the twinkles of wind chimes, and suddenly, wonderous sounds of glockenspiels and pads in the opener “Bed of Leaves”. It’s a pretty good start, and allows the listener to start to relax and immerse themselves into the peaceful soundscapes that Adam creates. This continues with “Candles and Smoke”, where actually, I can imagine a house by the sea on a cloudy day, and a girl is looking out the window, holding what else, a candle. Kind of corny, I know, but yet, the music is peaceful enough that these innocent, nostaglic images come to mind. Then, hey, what do you know, “All These Days at Sea” comes along with its slow moving pads and unique instrumentation. The music is just fabulous, and obviously brings along a warm, nostaglic sound that instantly reminds me of summertime. Quite a welcome change from the colder ambient music I’ve been reviewing lately.
“The Rise and Fall” is one of the two longer ambient works on this album, clocking in at around 12 minutes. More field recordings and perhaps synthesized strings comes along, with an interesting mallet instrument and a reverse delay effect dropping around 3 minutes. The orchestral sounds here are obviously synthesized, but it doesn’t matter, because when it comes to the peaceful, nostaglic soundscapes, it’s amazing. And those strange synth sounds that pop up here and there? Wonderful.
“Home Away from Home” contains a light synthpop beat with ambient piano and pads. If only it could’ve been realized as a full song, because it only lasts for about 40 seconds before moving into the track “On Waves”, which itself is a magnificent happy soundscape that is very simple and childish, but allows room for thought and imagination. “Death Receives You”, on the other hand, is a more melancholic piece and a personal favorite of mine, due to the synthesized orchestra and light synth melodies. Very soothing and delightful.
“Beaten and Broken” actually reminds me of some of Iona’s songs from back on their self-titled 1990 debut, or perhaps some of the Titanic soundtrack, in terms of the tribal drums, the instrumentation used, and obviously, the scales and chord progressions. “Extrasensory” contains electric piano sounds, harps, and lush pads to create a stunning soundscape that is truly beyond the five senses. “See Something, Say Something” is the second of the longer tracks, clocking in at 10 minutes, which really contains much of the same orchestration and instrumentation that I’ve talked about for the past few tracks.
“Twin Souls (on the Parallel)” is a short ambient interlude lasting for about another 40 seconds before moving into the incredibly lush “The Silent Auction”. It seems there is a pattern here, in that whenever there is a short ambient track to be used as sort of an intermission, it leads into an incredible soundscape on the next track. Finally, continuing with the last track, the final 9-minute song on the album, “I See No God Up Here”, is a sadder track, with a hint of hope and happiness, containing very beautiful instrumentation similar to what Lowercase Noises has done.
Overall, though this wasn’t the best ambient album I’ve heard, “Vanishing Point” is certainly a very good album, with a very unique style that brings about a nostaglic, summerlike feel that brings to mind imagery of childhood and innocence. It’s a delightful album with some very good tracks and excellent soundscapes. Hopefully, Adam will continue with Imst, because he is already off to a good and promising start with this album. I will be looking forward to the next album.
Album: Vanishing Point
Self-released in 2010
You can buy the album at a name-your-own-price deal here: http://imst.bandcamp.com/album/vanishing-point