‘I Am All Your Own’ is experimental, ambience generator Ilyas Ahmed’s first album in three years. Applying techniques inspired by the work of musicians, such as Lawrence English and Fripp & Eno to his songwriter lead guitar music, Ahmed achieves the delicate balance between simple, lo-fi songwriting and modern music making strategy with a beautifully deliberate stillness and purpose.
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- I Am All Your Own by Ilyas Ahmed
9/10 Robin Staff review, 13 May 2015
Dreaming for acoustic guitar and voice, Ilyas Ahmed has made one of this year’s most stunning records, one that’s two total bait genres -- ambient and singer-songwriter, the sweetest of the sweet -- but crucially is just a shelter from the storm. Ahmed’s referencing a lot of creative touchstones on these distant love songs, echoing Benoit Pioulard’s uncanny knack for switching between panorama and home recordings, as well as collaborator Liz Harris’ guitar-stretched water drones. You will love what it sounds like, trust me, but I think we should know better than to assume and compare. We all have our own dreams, and they’re special to who we are -- Ahmed’s sound like a wonderful night’s sleep.
And not because he’s dull, either, but because he’s so at peace: the guitar strums of this record weave in and out of the record at their own pace and with total humility, Ahmed’s finger-picking always sounding measured and at ease. Ambience for the most part is loud and overcast but nothing to be afraid of: when it gets noisier and more distorted, you can still hear Ahmed underneath, reciprocating with the gentility of voice and guitar. When his guitars screech out, they do so as a declaration of love, not violence, echoing the psychedelic contentedness of Michio Kurihara.
It’s easy to forget that Ahmed is a traditional songwriter in his own right when all you hear is the glorious fog consuming him, but ‘I Am All Your Own’ posits him as a centrepiece: you can hear his vocals being whisked through the air, obscured but somehow treasured by the production: if he’s being tender, then nature will be tender to him.
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