Review of original Important Records CD version of 'Honey Rose'
Things are slowly thinning out here at GPHQ. There is a narrowing in the air. I notice
that Mike has arranged all his pencils neatly on his desk, the first with its finely
sharpened point pointing away from him, the second toward, him, the third away again,
and so on. All placed neatly side by side. He sits for hours and stares at them, as if
issuing some kind of challenge. Niina sleeps too much, but none of us dare say anything.
Who wants to wake the sleeping demon? Joel is defensive about his collection of toenail
clippings, but honestly, none of us have said word one about it. Everyone is focused inward,
quiet, contemplative. Biosphere's Shenzhou has been playing on repeat for days. Inertia
grips us all. But still, someone has to write.
So, here we are in Day 4 of Ambient Week. Today brings with it Rameses III's Honey Rose, a
6track EP that reportedly comprises a soundtrack to a "mysterious" short film called
Suityman. I haven't personally seen this film and I am unfamiliar with Ramses III's previous
output, so that descriptor doesn't mean a lot to me. But I'll play along anyhow. Unlike the majority
of the three previous albums I've mentioned this ambient week, Honey Rose breaks out of a world
entirely instrument/computerbound and brings in lots of found sounds. It even includes some–gasp!–vocals.
Does this mean it doesn't qualify as an ambient record? I don't know. Who decides things like that,
anyway? To me a record is made "ambient" by the mood it creates, not any strictures on what can
or can not go into it.
Honey Rose is a lovely tangle of gently strummed and picked guitar, gracefully panned background drones
(both keyboard and guitarbased, I'm assuming) and nature sounds–the chirps of crickets, the dripping
of rain, the rustling of leaves. The album's cover, with its windblown wheat and endless blue skies,
is a fairly accurate representation of the sounds within. When vocals appear, they're soft,
subdued, lulling–barely intelligible amidst the, well… the ambiance. This is dreamy, beautiful
stuff. More melodic and structured than most ambient, but still perfect for a nap in the grass.
While I indicated that Loren Dent's album was ideal for twilight contemplation, Honey Rose feels
like an early morning affair, full of promise and hope.
Thursday 1 March 2007