Review: Pentode – Ambiens (Djezmusic, Apr 4)

The most recent—and my favorite—of the four downloadable albums Pentode has already released in 2023, Ambiens is in many ways the opposite of my surroundings today. The air is warm and the people moving through it even warmer, yet these eight exactly-four-minute tracks are cool and crystalline. But their stochastically generated, near-static presence is distilled (and nonintrusive) enough to be either undercurrent or contrast for the heat they don’t possess themselves: a rare breeze in the scorching dryness or the freezer you recline against when the AC isn’t cutting it. Though there is some amount of artistic input with regard to the quantity of recordings and their uniform length, mostly the automatic output is left to its own devices, the start of each section marking a subtle shift in atmosphere, temperature, or tonality. In one of the best examples of this, the final bit ditches the digital crackle for smooth, soothing tones tied in a loop of lulling rhythm, fit to either put one to sleep or the exact opposite. A great option for anyone looking for stasis that doesn’t demand patience.

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