Review: | RG | – Blush (A R C H I V E, Aug 13)

Ambient music serves different purposes for different people. Some fall asleep to it, others use it as background music for reading or studying, etc. For me, it fills many needs, and the mark of a great ambient album in my mind is its versatility. Blush, the new tape by Belgian artist | RG |, conceals a myriad of valuable elements within its unassuming, calm atmosphere. It’s certainly music you can drift away to, and makes sure to stay out of your way if some intense thinking is on the docket, but | RG | has ensured that these soft sounds have substance. There’s a distinct tangibility to many of the reverb-drenched drones, implying a musique concrète methodology, and especially in tracks like “Sink Shots” close attention will reveal very physical constructions beneath the clouds of fuzzy ambiance. This long piece is the tape’s strongest, delving the deepest into the harmonies between the corporeal and treated sounds used. Stretches like the middle section make me wish this was explored more in the rest of the album, but it also shows that | RG | is drawing from a very deep pool of material with admirable restraint. This restraint is what makes Blush a much more universally appreciable album, and allows it to complement both distracted activity and focused listening.