Fourth album from Dutch ambient neo-classicist Pieter Nooten. Made in collaboration with Stephen W Tayler (who has worked with the likes of Kate Bush and Underworld) this is Nooten's most intriguing work in three decades. Subtle but still incredibly moving, Stem's 60 minutes are well earned.
- LP £15.99
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- RGIRL115LP / LP on Rocket Girl. The vinyl has been specially edited by Stephen W Tayler and Pieter Noooten and comes with a postcard and a download code of the full version
- Includes download code
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Ambient music: yes, subtle it may be -- and often is, if only by its own definition -- but by golly, doesn’t it often tug at the heartstrings? So, here we have ‘Stem’ from ambient and classical composer Pieter Nooten; does it emote? Well, yes, yes it really does. The kind of instrumental music which, via its many melodic layers, bubbles up from deep wells of emotion that will have you catching your breath, it really is that stunning. So beautiful and luscious in these headphones that I nearly didn't start this review at all...
Working here with mixer and producer Stephen W Tayler, the individual sounds throughout Stem are as clear and beautiful as mountain streams which when combined are nothing short of ravishing (and refreshing). With additional strings across half the album directed by neo-classical clever bugger Stefano Guzzetti and the trio of Simone Soro (violin), Giulia Dessy (viola) and Gianluca Pischedda (cello) sound so sweet you might be in danger of making your cornflakes extra salty with tears, as I’ve (nearly) done this morning.
The very antithesis of ‘minimal’, if you like: this music features an array of instruments that complement each other beautifully, with simple piano motifs blending into gentle acoustic guitar riffs over the most delicious vibrations of cello. Allow me to project a little here; it’s a record that seems to perfectly fit in with the midweek office mood: just a little sad but focused, clear and a seamless mix to boot -- the tracks flow into each other like the fluid individual pieces of music they are. Constantly worthy of your attention without demanding of it; there’s no insisting, here, no show-boating. Just very fine music. I hope this helps.
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